The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

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...This etext was created by Judith Boss, Omaha, Nebraska.
The equipment: an IBM-compatible 486/50, a Hewlett-Packard
ScanJet...

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...or ravines
upon the opposite side of the plain of Lustadt.

Peter of Blentz was filled with...

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...are there not, your highness?"

"There are, Coblich," replied the prince, "and if Leopold is able...

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...too
perfect German for a foreigner. Were I in mein Herr's place, I
should speak mostly the...

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...runaway.

The road at the point where the animal had passed Custer was cut
from the hillside....

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...touch
the horse. The thought of that and what it would mean to the girl
sent a...

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...pursuing machine came into view he slipped
over the edge of the road to slink into...

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...You need not be
afraid."

Barney Custer looked up at her quickly, and then he grinned. ...

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...of entreaty, "that you would forgive
and forget my foolish words, and then let me accompany...

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...to wear the green bonnet. The beard is bad
enough, but the bonnet--ugh!"

Emma von der Tann...

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...manner as this. He wondered what in the world the authorities
at the asylum had been...

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...have suffered."

"Yes," he said, realizing that he must humor her--it was difficult
to remember that this...

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...if you were found with me? Why, they may
even take me for an emperor or...

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...Emma when we were children."

"Very well, then, you shall be Emma and I Leopold. ...

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...watching the battle with wide, frightened eyes. If
she could only do something to aid the...

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...we heard the
shot." Then, arising, he removed his cap, saying in a very low
voice: "The...

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...bad. But
come--it is some distance to Blentz, and the afternoon is already
well spent. Your highness...

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...to a place of safety,"
replied Barney.

"She will be quite safe at Blentz," said the lieutenant.

Barney...

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...He saw her flush slightly as his eyes met hers.

"Can your highness ever forgive me?"...

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...the lantern until its light shone upon the girl.

"And who's the wench with him?" he...

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...An officer escorted them to the great hall, and presently
a dark visaged captain of cavalry...

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...I have never seen you before. But that is not necessary--you
conform perfectly to the printed...

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...and I may truly believe
it now that I have seen what manner of man you...

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...of that sharp point.

"What do you mean?" he cried. "This is mutiny."

"When I received...

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...both if we
establish pleasant relations from the beginning. What do you say?"

"I shall not be...

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...a full length oil of a
former Blentz princess looked down in arrogance upon the unwilling
occupant...

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... "His
highness, the prince, found the means to obtain service for me with
the new retinue...

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...the rope to make our way
down the hillside, but let us hope that we shall...

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...the interval of his absence Barney paced the length of his prison
time and time again....

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...the fireplace on either
side was in reality a door hiding the entrance to a shaft...

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...to hide the fact by removing the insignia of your
divine right to rule in Lutha."

Barney...

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...the floor beneath.

No sooner had Joseph's lantern shown him the way than Barney was
ascending the...

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...matter with her? Was she losing all control of herself
to be frightened like a little...

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...upon her fair throat, shaking her as a terrier might shake a
rat. Futilely the girl...

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...in one end of the rope and
made it fast about her body below her arms,...

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...men were searching. He could hear Maenck
directing them. Only a thin portiere screened him from...

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...that even if they had been retaken,
he could serve her best by hastening to her...

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...them close enough that he might have ample opportunity to
hail the first passerby.

The road was...

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...Lutha do not wear swords," he said. "You are
an officer. Why should you desire to...

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...them were well grounded.

The man ahead had halted at the sound of Barney's voice, and...

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...concluded,
addressing the American with a leer.

"I'm after no one," replied Barney. "I tell you...

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...their keenest thrusts,
instead, often joining in the laugh with them at his own expense.
They thought...

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...father is a poor man, so that it will take a long time before he
can...

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...of Blentz was
willing to go to obtain the crown of Lutha!

"I do not know, your...

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...let youse off dis time.'"

"I do not know what you are talking about," replied Yellow...

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...precaution was unnecessary for Yellow Franz would
never again press finger to trigger. He was dead...

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...after us directly," said Barney.

"Yes, your majesty," replied Rudolph, "but in the darkness they will
not...

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...slender frame wracked by the
convulsion of each new attack. Barney had placed an arm about...

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...his head dropping
against Barney's breast.

With the lad grasped close to him, the young man turned...

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...shoulder of his jacket
tend to lessen the martial atmosphere which surrounded him.
Fortunate it was for...

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...sought without attracting attention.

Swinging to the ground he tied the pony to one of the...

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...the shop, nor did it satisfactorily account for the blotch of
blood upon his shoulder from...

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...life, from his birth in Beatrice to his coming to Lutha upon
pleasure. He showed Herr...

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...the patient
lay, the servant eyed Herr Kramer in surprise, as though wondering
what had occurred to...

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...ravine. I feel that I owe you full reparation for
the injuries you received, though it...

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...of the royal ring of the kings of Lutha upon the third
finger of your left...

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...the fate that would doubtless befall her father
and his house were Peter of Blentz to...

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...to the office of the medical director
and obtained a leave of absence for twenty-four hours.




VIII

THE...

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...the sleepy eyes of those who answered
his summons, and daylight found him still forging ahead...

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...and at sight of Barney's face gave
an exclamation of astonishment. The officer was Butzow.

"Well met,...

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...better time toward his destination. His spirits rose, and as
they galloped along the highway, he...

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...was happier without a crown. Barney had come to believe that
no man lived who could...

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...of all the glitter of gold and gleam of jewels that
surrounded them--a grim, business-like appearance...

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...man at her side showed her the stern, commanding
features of her sire molded in an...

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...Leopold?" he asked. "For ten years we
have not seen our king."

"The governor of Blentz has...

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...voices.

"Yes, Prince Ludwig! Prince Ludwig!" took up the throng.

Prince Ludwig von der Tann turned...

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...no coronation in Lutha until all
doubts are allayed and all may unite in accepting without...

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...I do not ask you to understand--it is not necessary--but this
you must know and believe:...

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...wear clothes that had been fitted to Barney; and it was part
of his plan to...

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...have come into your own, and
there is no longer aught to fear from Peter or...

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...snapped Peter. "There is an impostor in the
palace at Lustadt. But the real Leopold...

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...branches
from that to Blentz, and the four who were to fetch the king wheeled
their horses...

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...of the shadows beside him, and with the report of the revolver a
heavy fist caught...

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...but not before the
American's point had found him twice to leave him streaming blood
from two...

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...had told them that when he had reached the scene of the
conflict in company with...

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...then a brave man will sit upon the throne of Lutha, your
majesty."

Barney laid his hand...

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...answering the
fire of Prince Peter's artillery, while several machine guns had
been placed to sweep the...

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...in the mean time?"

"We shall be with the major's squadron, and when you see us...

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...the Royal Horse closed around him, and there, for
five minutes, was waged as fierce a...

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...answer shall we send the
traitor who even now ignores the presence of his king?"

"Treat with...

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...two and arrest
them "with all found in their company," as his order read, he felt
sure...

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...as he does not plot against the
true king.

"Major," he added, turning to the commander of...

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...as the two faced each other.

"We have him," replied Coblich. "But we had the...

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...recently quitted and spoke
to the nobles of Lutha who were gathered there.

"Coblich has found the...

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...Tann, Barney was convinced, was on the point of
deserting him, and going over to the...

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...know that you are
king. When I saw how you led the troops in battle, I...

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...his beard
it was not likely that Barney would be again mistaken for the king.

At the...

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...suffering--the crown that
has now placed the sentence of death upon me."

"Why not let him go?"...

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...facing the
assemblage raised a silencing hand.

"He who claimed to be Leopold of Lutha," he said,...

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...for Peter of Blentz. "Let's have done with
treason, and place upon the throne of...

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...to the aisle, that he might meet the
impostor at the foot of the chancel steps....

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...Lutha in your stead.
Having Peter of Blentz safely in custody our next immediate task
should be...

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...and so it does. I am the son of the
runaway Princess Victoria of Lutha."

Both Leopold...

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...shall be yours."

Barney thought of the girl he loved; but he did not mention her
name,...

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...my fault that I shall always love you. Tell me
that you forgive me my part...

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... "We shall give you
forty-eight hours to leave Lutha. Should you ever return your life
shall...

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...you rather than
serve in the court of an ingrate."

"Well, you are an obstinate Dutchman, after...

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...said Butzow seriously. "I did not tell you, Barney,
all there is in this letter"--he tapped...

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...a blinding glare accompanied by a
deafening roar. It was as though nature had marshaled all...

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...time. "I wish some excuse would pop up to
which I might hang a reason for...

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...hurriedly
beneath another tree nearer the house. This time there was no doubt.
It was a man!

Directly...

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...at liberty.

Before dawn he swore the gardener and chauffeur to silence, and at
breakfast announced his...

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...time during his trip from
Beatrice to do considerable thinking, and had found it rather
difficult to...

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...in an adjoining room. But half awake, and with the
sole idea of getting back to...

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...may still
entertain of our fealty."

"Yes, I, too, am sorry," agreed Zellerndorf. "I can assure...

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...That
they would carry him through the lines he had not the slightest
hope. There were two...

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...drink of water," replied the American, and stepped
toward the door.

Behind him Peter of Blentz sat...

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...this the American
landed, and from there he dropped to the courtyard without mishap.
Glancing up, he...

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...Possibly the
man might turn and take his beat in the opposite direction. In which
case Barney...

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...the window. He
turned to look back into the alley. He had been just in time;...

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...give her prisoner
physical proof of the weapon he could not see she thrust the muzzle
against...

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...me if they'd caught me
sneaking through the alleys of Burgova at midnight."

Throwing himself on the...

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...Barney Custer; but whether he referred to his
predicament or to the girl it would be...

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...breath, every atom of which Barney had knocked out of
him.

The officers sitting on Barney alternately...

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...his appearance might
pass more readily for an American than a Serbian. I have sent for
Prince...

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...he is Bernard Custer, an American," urged the
general, who, it seemed to Barney, was anxious...

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...standing before the wall of a low brick
building. Barney noticed that there were no windows...

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...the hollows of the men's shoulders.
The leveled barrels were upon a line with the breasts...

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...head, stunning him. All day he had lain there
unconscious. It had been the tugging of...

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...masonry over which two or three inches of
water ran sluggishly. Above him he heard the...

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... He had reached the mouth of the
sewer and was in the river. For a...

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...the
fact that he let Barney come within reach of his gun. Instantly the
drunken Austrian was...

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...remained quietly in the shadow of a tree waiting for an
opportunity to escape, but before...

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...appear upon the scene, after
discovering another of his comrades. He was certain to inquire of
the...

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...through a doorway that led into
a large building that flanked the court upon one side....

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...that only the men on guard carried them.
Without an instant's hesitation he ran briskly up...

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... Cars were
passing up and down in both directions, usually at high speed. Their
numbers protected...

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...this strong man and envied him his strength,
which, in a weak nature, is but a...

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...that dynasty was loyal to Lutha. Only
when the king attempted to sell the freedom of...

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...smiled. He was
Count Zellerndorf, the Austrian minister to Lutha.

The king's outraged majesty goaded him to...

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...the runaway Princess Victoria, there
will remain to him only the other alternative of seizing the...

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...day to visit Peter of Blentz.

There was but one thing to do and that was...

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...and
attempt to have audience with the king.

"Risk anything," he instructed the officer to whom he...

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...might find in him a very ugly obstacle to the
fruition of their plans.

With Von der...

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...the Von der Tann nature--one cannot force a Von der Tann."

"Pardon, sire," urged Zellerndorf, "but...

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...der Tann has suffered a slight stroke. Do not be
alarmed, but come at once....

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...by force, and if my king is not
sufficiently a gentleman to demand an accounting of...

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...one not
familiar with the trail. Maenck and his soldiers had already
partially relaxed their vigilance. The...

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...his men came to a sudden stop
at the edge of the gully. Below them one...

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...wood. The foremost horseman was close upon her as she finally
succeeded in urging the animal...

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...was inordinately fond. And possibly,
too, it was dear to him because of the royal blood...

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...either side of the road.

Barney took the turns carefully and had just emerged into the...

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...rapid
rush of increasing momentum as the machine gained headway by leaps
and bounds.

The bullets were ripping...

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...he thought, and again he accelerated the speed of the car.
Once before he had had...

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...could but throw his pursuers off
the trail for a while he might succeed in escaping...

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...the hands of the Austrians.
The garb had served its purpose well in aiding in his...

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...from where the American hid. He waited in silence to
discover what would happen next. Would...

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...I knew that it was quite possible that he had
discovered treachery upon the part of...

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...a cry the fellow threw his hands above his head, staggered
forward and plunged full length...

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...to halt, and then, of a
sudden, gave an order to one of the men at...

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...morning.

At last darkness came, and with it they approached and entered the
village. They kept to...

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...have something to drive. Whatever it is
it should be at the other end of the...

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...He ran his hand over
the pedals and levers, breathing a sigh of relief as his...

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...clear, and the road visible for some distance ahead.

The fugitives were congratulating themselves upon the...

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...shooting over our heads purposely. If they
deliberately attempt to pot us later, then go for...

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...spurring their
jaded horses to a final spurt of speed. At last the white ribbon of
the...

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...They had been much nearer
that grim fortress than either had guessed. At the outskirts of...

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...speak again when his
eyes wandered to the face of the American. Instantly his own went
white...

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...the apartment, then he turned
toward the king.

"And the other prisoner, sire?" he inquired.

"There is no...

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...visit to it. He recalled the incidents of the hour of his
imprisonment here, thought of...

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...closed it after him. To strike
a match was but the matter of a moment. The...

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...Were he sure the king was alone it might be
accomplished. Should he enter now or...

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...revolver at
Leopold. The king picked up one of the garments gingerly between the
tips of his...

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...him. As
he entered he heard a knock at the door.

"Do not disturb me now," he...

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...he raised his
eyes to the newcomer, who stood stiffly at salute. The officer
looked him full...

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...poor return for her courage and loyalty to him that her
statement to the man she...

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...for Tann tonight," he said, "at once. You will
conduct us from the castle and...

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...stables a sleepy groom answered the summons of the officer,
whom Barney had warned not to...

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...this to your lieutenant," he said, "and tell him to hand it to
Prince Peter before...

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...was with
more confidence that Barney gave the countersign here, nor was he
surprised that the soldier...

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...be
withdrawn from Luthanian territory at once, and has offered to
assist your majesty in maintaining your...

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...said, "before you judge. The princess was brought to
Blentz by Prince Peter. She will...

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...at Blentz and that there the King of
Lutha is not apt to learn all that...

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...and let us work together for the salvation of our country
and your majesty's throne."

Barney laid...

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...for in
plain American it might have been described as announcing to Leopold
precisely "where he got...

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...morning," said Barney, "and saw
nothing of such preparations."

"The trenches and the soldiers were there, nevertheless,...

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...imagine, count; but the honor of Lutha means
a great deal."



XI

THE BATTLE

At five o'clock that afternoon...

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...three miles north of the forts. Shells were
bursting in the trenches, the forts, and the...

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...was five o'clock in the morning of the second day, and though the
Luthanian line still...

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...staff at his heels, shrapnel burst about them. Von der Tann
spurred to his side.

"Sire," he...

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...shout rose from the Luthanian ranks--an answering groan
from the throats of the Austrians. Hemmed in...

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...been
disregarded--the American is to be shot tomorrow. I have just
escaped from Blentz. Peter is furious....

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...toward her.

"What is it?" he asked. "What is the matter?"

For a moment he had...

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...of a single tiny tear that trickled
down the girl's cheek. He seized the hand that...

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...across the Serbian frontier."

The American shook his head.

"I got the king into this mess and...

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...he had spent ten years of his life
as a prisoner. He shuddered. What had become...

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...that would suffer could his admirers see him now."

"But I am not the American," pleaded...

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...as another's bond.

He was commencing, under this line of reasoning, to achieve a
certain hopeful content...

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...about how we got in here
than I can--provided we entered through that doorway," and the...

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...no sound
other than the pawing of the horses outside the barbican and the
subdued conversation of...

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...Maenck stood to the left of them. He was giving
commands. They fell upon the doomed...

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...and from her he
had received minute directions. Occasionally he struck a match, and
presently in the...

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...that was taking place. The American tried to
regain his feet, but the shock of the...

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...figure upon the great
bed.

Butzow turned and crossed to where the American lay. He saw that...

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...said. "Are you going to keep
your word and return my identity?"

"I have promised," replied...

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...know of the exchange."

"Again you are too fast," answered Barney. "There is another
condition."

"Well?"

"You must...

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...to some excellent headwaiters I have
known."

For some time the king remained silent. He was...

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...The regular breathing of the
sleeper proclaimed the soundness of his slumber. Gingerly the man
placed one...

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...feet,
their muscles reacting to the command that their brains but half
perceived. They snatched their guns...

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...found a candle
and lighted it. Walking a few steps he came to a figure sleeping
upon...

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...he had finished the old man
hobbled to a shed that leaned against the south wall....

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...The party
rode directly to the royal palace, and the king retired immediately
to his apartments. A...

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...riding through
the streets of Lustadt. Some announced to the people upon the
streets the coming marriage...

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...a little involuntary gasp. He looked at the
Princess Emma, and saw her eyes suddenly widen...

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...stormed and
raged and threatened, he was immediately packed off under heavy
guard back toward Lustadt.

Captain Ernst...

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...the
marriage robes of a king of Lutha, was the man he sought.

Maenck drew his revolver....

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...He snatched it from its
hangings, lifted it above his head in both hands, and hurled...

Page 207

...drawer at the bottom of the wardrobe he found many old shoes,
puttees, and boots.

From this...

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...and filled his lungs with the sweet,
pure air of freedom. He was a new man....

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...Leopold's head in his arms. The bishop and the doctor bent
over the limp form. The...

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...more--men had lost their
heads for tampering with the affairs of kings.

"Well?" persisted the chancellor.

"Lieutenant Butzow...

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...is closer to the throne than his. He
knew it, and this knowledge was the real...

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...of Lutha, and was sent to the front in command of the army
corps that guarded...

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... ...

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... 6 2...