The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 108

Possibly the
man might turn and take his beat in the opposite direction. In which
case Barney was sure he could dodge across the street, undetected.

Already the vague threat of pursuit from the direction of the inn
had developed into a certainty--he could hear men moving toward him
through the alley from the rear. Would the sentry never move!
Evidently not, until he heard the others coming through the alley.
Then he would turn, and the devil would be to pay for the American.

Barney was about hopeless. He had been in the war zone long enough
to know that it might prove a very disagreeable matter to be caught
sneaking through back alleys at night. There was a single chance--a
sort of forlorn hope--and that was to risk fate and make a dash
beneath the sentry's nose for the opposite alley mouth.

"Well, here goes," thought Barney. He had heard that many of the
Austrians were excellent shots. Visions of Beatrice, Nebraska,
swarmed his memory. They were pleasant visions, made doubly alluring
by the thought that the realities of them might never again be for

He turned once more toward the sounds of pursuit--the men upon his
track could not be over a square away--there was not an instant to
be lost. And then from above him, upon the opposite side of the
alley, came a low: "S-s-t!"

Barney looked up. Very dimly he could see the dark outline of a
window some dozen feet from the pavement, and framed within it the
lighter blotch that might have been a human face. Again came the
challenging: "S-s-t!" Yes, there was someone above, signaling to

"S-s-t!" replied Barney. He knew that he had been discovered, and
could think of no better plan for throwing the discoverer off his
guard than to reply.

Then a soft voice floated down to him--a woman's voice!

"Is that you?" The tongue was Serbian. Barney could understand it,
though he spoke it but indifferently.

"Yes," he replied truthfully.

"Thank Heaven!" came the voice from above. "I have been watching
you, and thought you one of the Austrian pigs. Quick! They are
coming--I can hear them;" and at the same instant Barney saw
something drop from the window to the ground. He crossed the alley
quickly, and could have shouted in relief for what he found
there--the end of a knotted rope dangling from above.

His pursuers were almost upon him when he seized the rude ladder to
clamber upward. At the window's ledge a firm, young hand reached out
and, seizing his own, almost dragged him through

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