The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 143

he thought, and again he accelerated the speed of the car.
Once before he had had it up to seventy-five miles, and for a
moment, when he had had no opportunity to even glance at the
speedometer, much higher. Now he was to find the maximum limit of
the possibilities of the brave car he had come to look upon with
real affection.

The road ahead was comparatively straight and level. Behind him
came the enemy. Barney watched the road rushing rapidly out of sight
beneath the gray fenders. He glanced occasionally at the
speedometer. Seventy-five miles an hour. Seventy-seven! "Going
some," murmured Barney as he saw the needle vibrate up to eighty.
Gradually he nursed her up and up to greater speed.

Eighty-five! The trees were racing by him in an indistinct blur of
green. The fences were thin, wavering lines--the road a white-gray
ribbon, ironed by the terrific speed to smooth unwrinkledness. He
could not take his eyes from the business of steering to glance
behind; but presently there broke faintly through the whir of the
wind beating against his ears the faint report of a gun. He was
being fired upon again. He pressed down still further upon the
accelerator. The car answered to the pressure. The needle rose
steadily until it reached ninety miles an hour--and topped it.

Then from somewhere in the radiator hose a hissing and a spurt of
steam. Barney was dumbfounded. He had filled the cooling system at
the inn where he had eaten. It had been working perfectly before and
since. What could have happened? There could be but a single
explanation. A bullet from the gun of one of the three men who had
attempted to stop him at the second outpost had penetrated the
radiator, and had slowly drained it.

Barney knew that the end was near, since the usefulness of the car
in furthering his escape was over. At the speed he was going it
would be but a short time before the superheated pistons expanding
in their cylinders would tear the motor to pieces. Barney felt that
he would be lucky if he himself were not killed when it happened.

He reduced his speed and glanced behind. His pursuers had not
gained upon him, but they still were coming. A bend in the road shut
them from his view. A little way ahead the road crossed over a river
upon a wooden bridge. On the opposite side and to the right of the
road was a wood. It seemed to offer the most likely possibilities of
concealment in the vicinity. If he

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Text Comparison with Thuvia, Maid of Mars

Page 0
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It came from behind the screening shelter of the ersite shaft.
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