The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 90

kiddo," he remarked to
Miss Harding, and then he came to his feet, seemingly as strong as ever,
shaking himself like a great bull. "But I guess it's lucky youse butted
in when you did, old pot," he added, turning toward Theriere; "dey jest
about had me down fer de long count."

Barbara Harding was looking at the man in wide-eyed amazement. A moment
before she had been expecting him, momentarily, to breathe his last--now
he was standing before her talking as unconcernedly as though he had not
received a scratch--he seemed totally unaware of his wounds. At least he
was entirely indifferent to them.

"You're pretty badly hurt, old man," said Theriere. "Do you feel able
to make the attempt to get to the jungle? The Japs will be back in a
moment."

"Sure!" cried Billy Byrne. "Come ahead," and he sprang for the window.
"Pass de kid up to me. Quick! Dey're comin' from in back."

Theriere lifted Barbara Harding to the mucker who drew her through the
opening. Then Billy extended a hand to the Frenchman, and a moment later
the three stood together outside the hut.

A dozen samurai were running toward them from around the end of the
"Palace." The jungle lay a hundred yards across the clearing. There was
no time to be lost.

"You go first with Miss Harding," cried Theriere. "I'll cover our
retreat with my revolver, following close behind you."

The mucker caught the girl in his arms, throwing her across his
shoulder. The blood from his wounds smeared her hands and clothing.

"Hang tight, kiddo," he cried, and started at a brisk trot toward the
forest.

Theriere kept close behind the two, reserving his fire until it could be
effectively delivered. With savage yells the samurai leaped after their
escaping quarry. The natives all carried the long, sharp spears of the
aboriginal head-hunters. Their swords swung in their harness, and their
ancient armor clanked as they ran.

It was a strange, weird picture that the oddly contrasted party
presented as they raced across the clearing of this forgotten isle
toward a jungle as primitive as when "the evening and the morning were
the third day." An American girl of the highest social caste borne in
the arms of that most vicious of all social pariahs--the criminal mucker
of the slums of a great city--and defending them with drawn revolver,
a French count and soldier of fortune, while in their wake streamed
a yelling pack of half-caste demons clothed in the habiliments of
sixteenth century Japan, and wielding the barbarous spears of the savage
head-hunting aborigines whose fierce blood coursed in their

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