The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 104

may still
entertain of our fealty."

"Yes, I, too, am sorry," agreed Zellerndorf. "I can assure you that
the news we hoped Captain Maenck would bring from America would have
gone a long way toward restoring you to the confidence and good
graces of the king."

"I did my best," came another voice that caused Barney's eyes to go
wide in astonishment, for it was none other than the voice of Maenck
himself. "Twice I risked hanging to get him and only came away after
I had been recognized."

"It is too bad," sighed Zellerndorf; "though it may not be without
its advantages after all, for now we still have this second bugbear
to frighten Leopold with. So long, of course, as the American lives
there is always the chance that he may return and seek to gain the
throne. The fact that his mother was a Rubinroth princess might make
it easy for Von der Tann to place him upon the throne without much
opposition, and if he married the old man's daughter it is easy to
conceive that the prince might favor such a move. At any rate, it
should not be difficult to persuade Leopold of the possibility of
such a thing.

"Under the circumstances Leopold is almost convinced that his only
hope of salvation lies in cementing friendly relations with the most
powerful of Von der Tann's enemies, of which you three gentlemen
stand preeminently in the foreground, and of assuring to himself the
support of Austria. And now, gentlemen," he went on after a pause,
"good night. I have handed Prince Peter the necessary military
passes to carry you safely through our lines, and tomorrow you may
be in Blentz if you wish."



For some time Barney Custer lay there in the dark revolving in his
mind all that he had overheard through the partition--the thin
partition which alone lay between himself and three men who would be
only too glad to embrace the first opportunity to destroy him. But
his fears were not for himself so much as for the daughter of old
Von der Tann, and for all that might befall that princely house were
these three unhung rascals to gain Lutha and have their way with the
weak and cowardly king who reigned there.

If he could but reach Von der Tann's ear and through him the king
before the conspirators came to Lutha! But how might he accomplish
it? Count Zellerndorf's parting words to the three had shown that
military passes were necessary to enable one to reach Lutha.

His papers were practically worthless even inside the lines.

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