The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 89

unaccustomed to firearms, drew back in dismay. Again Theriere
fired point-blank into the crowded room, and this time two men fell,
struck by the same bullet. Once more the warriors retreated, and with an
exultant yell Theriere followed up his advantage by charging menacingly
upon them. They stood for a moment, then wavered, turned and fled from
the hut.

When Theriere turned back toward Barbara Harding he found her kneeling
beside the mucker.

"Is he dead?" asked the Frenchman.

"No. Can we lift him together and get him through that window?"

"It is the only way," replied Theriere, "and we must try it."

They seized upon the huge body and dragged it to the far end of the
room, but despite their best efforts the two were not able to lift the
great, inert mass of flesh and bone and muscle and pass it through the
tiny opening.

"What shall we do?" cried Theriere.

"We must stay here with him," replied Barbara Harding. "I could never
desert the man who has fought so noble a fight for me while a breath of
life remained in him."

Theriere groaned.

"Nor I," he said; "but you--he has given his life to save yours. Should
you render his sacrifice of no avail now?"

"I cannot go alone," she answered simply, "and I know that you will not
leave him. There is no other way--we must stay."

At this juncture the mucker opened his eyes.

"Who hit me?" he murmured. "Jes' show me de big stiff." Theriere could
not repress a smile. Barbara Harding again knelt beside the man.

"No one hit you, Mr. Byrne," she said. "You were struck by a spear and
are badly wounded."

Billy Byrne opened his eyes a little wider, turning them until they
rested on the beautiful face of the girl so close to his.

"MR. Byrne!" he ejaculated in disgust. "Forget it. Wot do
youse tink I am, one of dose paper-collar dudes?"

Then he sat up. Blood was flowing from a wound in his chest, saturating
his shirt, and running slowly to the earth floor. There were two flesh
wounds upon his head--one above the right eye and the other extending
entirely across the left cheek from below the eye to the lobe of the
ear--but these he had received earlier in the fracas. From crown to heel
the man was a mass of blood. Through his crimson mask he looked at the
pile of bodies in the far end of the room, and a broad grin cracked the
dried blood about his mouth.

"Wot we done to dem Chinks was sure a plenty,

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