The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 131

day to visit Peter of Blentz.

There was but one thing to do and that was to follow the king to
Blentz. Some action must be taken immediately--it would never do to
let this breach of treaty pass unnoticed.

The Serbian minister who had sent word to the chancellor of the
invasion by the Austrian troops was closeted with him for an hour
after his arrival at the palace. It was clear to both these men that
the hand of Zellerndorf was plainly in evidence in both the
important moves that had occurred in Lutha within the past
twenty-four hours--the luring of the king to Blentz and the entrance
of Austrian soldiery into Lutha.

Following his interview with the Serbian minister Von der Tann rode
toward Blentz with only his staff in attendance. It was long past
midnight when the lights of the town appeared directly ahead of the
little party. They rode at a trot along the road which passes
through the village to wind upward again toward the ancient feudal
castle that looks down from its hilltop upon the town.

At the edge of the village Von der Tann was thunderstruck by a
challenge from a sentry posted in the road, nor was his dismay
lessened when he discovered that the man was an Austrian.

"What is the meaning of this?" he cried angrily. "What are Austrian
soldiers doing barring the roads of Lutha to the chancellor of

The sentry called an officer. The latter was extremely suave. He
regretted the incident, but his orders were most positive--no one
could be permitted to pass through the lines without an order from
the general commanding. He would go at once to the general and see
if he could procure the necessary order. Would the prince be so good
as to await his return? Von der Tann turned on the young officer,
his face purpling with rage.

"I will pass nowhere within the boundaries of Lutha," he said, "upon
the order of an Austrian. You may tell your general that my only
regret is that I have not with me tonight the necessary force to
pass through his lines to my king--another time I shall not be so
handicapped," and Ludwig, Prince von der Tann, wheeled his mount and
spurred away in the direction of Lustadt, at his heels an extremely
angry and revengeful staff.



Long before Prince von der Tann reached Lustadt he had come to the
conclusion that Leopold was in virtue a prisoner in Blentz. To prove
his conclusion he directed one of his staff to return to Blentz

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Now, at last, I saw the grim humor of the method they had adopted to do me this great honor, but that there was any hoax in the reality of the title they had conferred upon me was readily disproved by the sincerity of the congratulations that were heaped upon me by the judges first and then the nobles.