The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 111

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

Throwing himself on the cot Barney was soon asleep, for though his
predicament was one that, under ordinary circumstances might have
made sleep impossible, yet he had so long been without the boon of
slumber that tired nature would no longer be denied.

When he awoke it was broad daylight. The sun was pouring in through
a skylight in the ceiling of his tiny chamber. Aside from this there
were no windows in the room. The sound of voices came to him with an
uncanny distinctness that made it seem that the speakers must be in
this very chamber, but a glance about the blank walls convinced him
that he was alone.

Presently he espied a small opening in the wall at the head of his
cot. He rose and examined it. The voices appeared to be coming from
it. In fact, they were. The opening was at the top of a narrow shaft
that seemed to lead to the basement of the structure--apparently
once the shaft of a dumb-waiter or a chute for refuse or soiled
clothes.

Barney put his ear close to it. The voices that came from below
were those of a man and a woman. He heard every word distinctly.

"We must search the house, fraulein," came in the deep voice of a
man.

"Whom do you seek?" inquired a woman's voice. Barney recognized it
as the voice of his captor.

"A Serbian spy, Stefan Drontoff," replied the man. "Do you know
him?"

There was a considerable pause on the girl's part before she
answered, and then her reply was in such a low voice that Barney
could barely hear it.

"I do not know him," she said. "There are several men who lodge
here. What may this Stefan Drontoff look like?"

"I have never seen him," replied the officer; "but by arresting all
the men in the house we must get this Stefan also, if he is here."

"Oh!" cried the girl, a new note in her voice, "I guess I know now
whom you mean. There is one man here I have heard them call Stefan,
though for the moment I had forgotten it. He is in the small
attic-room at the head of the stairs. Here is a key that will fit
the lock. Yes, I am sure that he is Stefan. You will find him there,
and it should be easy to take him, for I know that he is unarmed. He
told me so last night when he came in."

"The devil!" muttered

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