The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 138

his men came to a sudden stop
at the edge of the gully. Below them one of the troopers was
struggling to his feet. The other lay very still beneath his
motionless horse. With an angry oath Maenck directed one of his men
to remain and help the two who had plunged over the brink, then with
the others he rode along the gully searching for a crossing.

Before they found one their captive was a mile ahead of them, and,
barring accident, quite beyond recapture. She was making for a
highway that would lead her to Lustadt. Ordinarily she had been wont
to bear a little to the north-east at this point and strike back
into the road that she had just left; but today she feared to do so
lest she be cut off before she gained the north and south highroad
which the other road crossed a little farther on.

To her right was a small farm across which she had never ridden, for
she always had made it a point never to trespass upon fenced
grounds. On the opposite side of the farm was a wood, and somewhere
beyond that a small stream which the highroad crossed upon a little
bridge. It was all new country to her, but it must be ventured.

She took the fence at the edge of the clearing and then reined in a
moment to look behind her. A mile away she saw the head and
shoulders of a horseman above some low bushes--the pursuers had
found a way through the gully.

Turning once more to her flight the girl rode rapidly across the
fields toward the wood. Here she found a high wire fence so close to
thickly growing trees upon the opposite side that she dared not
attempt to jump it--there was no point at which she would not have
been raked from the saddle by overhanging boughs. Slipping to the
ground she attacked the barrier with her bare hands, attempting to
tear away the staples that held the wire in place. For several
minutes she surged and tugged upon the unyielding metal strand. An
occasional backward glance revealed to her horrified eyes the rapid
approach of her enemies. One of them was far in advance of the
others--in another moment he would be upon her.

With redoubled fury she turned again to the fence. A superhuman
effort brought away a staple. One wire was down and an instant later
two more. Standing with one foot upon the wires to keep them from
tangling about her horse's legs, she pulled her mount across into
the

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