The Mucker (Chapter 8, page 1 of 12)


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Chapter 8

Instantly Barbara Harding looked into the face of the mucker she read her danger. Why the man should hate her so she could not guess; but that he did was evidenced by the malevolent expression of his surly countenance. For a moment he stood glaring at her, and then he spoke.

"I'm wise to wot youse an' dat guy was chinnin' about," he growled, "an' I'm right here to tell youse dat you don't wanta try an' put nothin' over on me, see? Youse ain't a-goin' to double-cross Billy Byrne. I gotta good notion to han' youse wot's comin' to you. If it hadn't been fer youse I wouldn't have been here now on dis Gawd-forsaken wreck. Youse is de cause of all de trouble. Wot youse ought to get is croaked an' den dere wouldn't be nothin' to bother any of us. You an' yer bunch of kale, dey give me a swift pain. Fer half a cent I'd soak youse a wallop to de solar plexus dat would put youse to sleep fer de long count, you--you--" but here words failed Billy.

To his surprise the girl showed not the slightest indication of fear. Her head was high, and her level gaze never wavered from his own eyes. Presently a sneer of contempt curled her lip.

"You coward!" she said quietly. "To insult and threaten a woman! You are nothing but an insufferable bully, and a cowardly murderer. You murdered a man on the Lotus whose little finger held more true manhood, bravery, and worth than the whole of your great, hulking carcass. You are only fit to strike from behind, or when your victim is unsuspecting, as you did Mr. Theriere that other day. Do you think I fear a THING such as you--a beast without honor that kicks an unconscious man in the face? I know that you can kill me. I know that you are coward enough to do it because I am a defenseless woman; and though you may kill me, you never can make me show fear for you. That is what you wish to do--that is your idea of manliness. I had never imagined that such a thing as you lived in the guise of man; but I have read you, Mr. Byrne, since I have had occasion to notice you, and I know now that you are what is known in the great cities as a mucker. The term never meant much to me before, but I see now that it fits your kind perfectly, for in it is all the loathing and contempt that a real man--a gentleman--must feel for such as you."

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