The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 10

manner as this. He wondered what in the world the authorities
at the asylum had been thinking of to permit her to ride out alone
in the first place.

"From where did you ride today?" he blurted out suddenly.

"From Tann."

"That is where we are going now?"

"Yes, your majesty."

Barney drew a breath of relief. The way had become suddenly
difficult and he took the girl's arm to help her down a rather steep
place. At the bottom of the ravine there was a little brook.

"There used to be a fallen log across it here," said the girl. "How
in the world am I ever to get across, your majesty?"

"If you call me that again, I shall begin to believe that I am a
king," he humored her, "and then, being a king, I presume that it
wouldn't be proper for me to carry you across, or would it? Never
really having been a king, I do not know."

"I think," replied the girl, "that it would be eminently proper."

She had difficulty in keeping in mind the fact that this handsome,
smiling young man was a dangerous maniac, though it was easy to
believe that he was the king. In fact, he looked much as she had
always pictured Leopold as looking. She had known him as a boy, and
there were many paintings and photographs of his ancestors in her
father's castle. She saw much resemblance between these and the
young man.

The brook was very narrow, and the girl thought that it took the
young man an unreasonably long time to carry her across, though she
was forced to admit that she was far from uncomfortable in the
strong arms that bore her so easily.

"Why, what are you doing?" she cried presently. "You are not
crossing the stream at all. You are walking right up the middle of
it!"

She saw his face flush, and then he turned laughing eyes upon her.

"I am looking for a safe landing," he said.

Emma von der Tann did not know whether to be frightened or amused.
As her eyes met the clear, gray ones of the man she could not
believe that insanity lurked behind that laughing, level gaze of her
carrier. She found herself continually forgetting that the man was
mad. He had turned toward the bank now, and a couple of steps
carried them to the low sward that fringed the little brooklet. Here
he lowered her to the ground.

"Your majesty is very strong," she said. "I should not have
expected it after the years of confinement you

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