The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 97

week ago I thought you were
a coward--I ask your forgiveness."

"Ferget it," whispered Byrne, "fer a week ago I guess I was a coward.
Dere seems to be more'n one kind o' nerve--I'm jest a-learnin' of the
right kind, I guess."

"And, Byrne," continued Theriere, "don't forget what I asked of you
before we tossed up to see which should enter Oda Yorimoto's house."

"I'll not ferget," said Billy.

"Good-bye, Byrne," whispered Theriere. "Take good care of Miss Harding."

"Good-bye, old pal," said the mucker. His voice broke, and two big tears
rolled down the cheeks of "de toughest guy on de Wes' Side."

Barbara Harding stepped to Theriere's side.

"Good-bye, my friend," she said. "God will reward you for your
friendship, your bravery, and your devotion. There must be a special
honor roll in heaven for such noble men as you." Theriere smiled sadly.

"Byrne will tell you all," he said, "except who I am--he does not know
that."

"Is there any message, my friend," asked the girl, "that you would like
to have me deliver?"

Theriere remained silent for a moment as though thinking.

"My name," he said, "is Henri Theriere. I am the Count de Cadenet of
France. There is no message, Miss Harding, other than you see fit
to deliver to my relatives. They lived in Paris the last I heard of
them--my brother, Jacques, was a deputy."

His voice had become so low and weak that the girl could scarce
distinguish his words. He gasped once or twice, and then tried to speak
again. Barbara leaned closer, her ear almost against his lips.

"Good-bye--dear." The words were almost inaudible, and then the body
stiffened with a little convulsive tremor, and Henri Theriere, Count de
Cadenet, passed over into the keeping of his noble ancestors.

"He's gone!" whispered the girl, dry-eyed but suffering. She had not
loved this man, she realized, but she had learned to think of him as her
one true friend in their little world of scoundrels and murderers. She
had cared for him very much--it was entirely possible that some day
she might have come to return his evident affection for her. She knew
nothing of the seamy side of his hard life. She had guessed nothing of
the scoundrelly duplicity that had marked his first advances toward her.
She thought of him only as a true, brave gentleman, and in that she was
right, for whatever Henri Theriere might have been in the past the last
few days of his life had revealed him in the true colors that birth and
nature had intended him to wear through a brilliant

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