The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 102

time during his trip from
Beatrice to do considerable thinking, and had found it rather
difficult to determine just what to do should he have overtaken
Maenck in the United States. He couldn't kill the man in cold blood,
justly as he may have deserved the fate, and the thought of causing
his arrest and dragging his own name into the publicity of court
proceedings was little less distasteful to him.

Furthermore, the pursuit of Maenck now gave Barney a legitimate
excuse for returning to Lutha, or at least to the close neighborhood
of the little kingdom, where he might await the outcome of events
and be ready to give his services in the cause of the house of Von
der Tann should they be required.

By going directly to Italy and entering Austria from that country
Barney managed to arrive within the boundaries of the dual monarchy
with comparatively few delays. Nor did he encounter any considerable
bodies of troops until he reached the little town of Burgova, which
lies not far from the Serbian frontier. Beyond this point his
credentials would not carry him. The emperor's officers were polite,
but firm. No newspaper correspondents could be permitted nearer the
front than Burgova.

There was nothing to be done, therefore, but wait until some
propitious event gave him the opportunity to approach more closely
the Serbian boundary and Lutha. In the meantime he would communicate
with Butzow, who might be able to obtain passes for him to some
village nearer the Luthanian frontier, when it should be an easy
matter to cross through to Serbia. He was sure the Serbian
authorities would object less strenuously to his presence.

The inn at which he applied for accommodations was already overrun
by officers, but the proprietor, with scant apologies for a
civilian, offered him a little box of a room in the attic. The place
was scarce more than a closet, and for that Barney was in a way
thankful since the limited space could accommodate but a single cot,
thus insuring him the privacy that a larger chamber would have
precluded.

He was very tired after his long and comfortless land journey, so
after an early dinner he went immediately to his room and to bed.
How long he slept he did not know, but some time during the night he
was awakened by the sound of voices apparently close to his ear.

For a moment he thought the speakers must be in his own room, so
distinctly did he overhear each word of their conversation; but
presently he discovered that they were upon the opposite side of a
thin partition

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