could but throw his pursuers off
the trail for a while he might succeed in escaping through the wood,
eventually reaching Tann on foot. He had a rather hazy idea of the
exact direction of the town and castle, but that he could find them
eventually he was sure.
The sight of the river and the bridge he was nearing suggested a
plan, and the ominous grating of the overheated motor warned him
that whatever he was to do he must do at once. As he neared the
bridge he reduced the speed of the car to fifteen miles an hour, and
set the hand throttle to hold it there. Still gripping the steering
wheel with one hand, he climbed over the left-hand door to the
running board. As the front wheels of the car ran up onto the bridge
Barney gave the steering wheel a sudden turn to the right, and
The car veered toward the wooden handrail, there was a splintering
of stanchions, as, with a crash, the big machine plunged through
them headforemost into the river. Without waiting to give even a
glance at his handiwork Barney Custer ran across the bridge, leaped
the fence upon the right-hand side and plunged into the shelter of
Then he turned to look back up the road in the direction from which
his pursuers were coming. They were not in sight--they had not seen
his ruse. The water in the river was of sufficient depth to
completely cover the car--no sign of it appeared above the surface.
Barney turned into the wood smiling. His scheme had worked well.
The occupants of the two cars following him might not note the
broken handrail, or, if they did, might not connect it with Barney
in any way. In this event they would continue in the direction of
Lustadt, wondering what in the world had become of their quarry. Or,
if they guessed that his car had gone over into the river, they
would doubtless believe that its driver had gone with it. In either
event Barney would be given ample time to find his way to Tann.
He wished that he might find other clothes, since if he were dressed
otherwise there would be no reason to imagine that his pursuers
would recognize him should they come upon him. None of them could
possibly have gained a sufficiently good look at his features to
recognize them again.
The Austrian uniform, however, would convict him, or at least lay
him under suspicion, and in Barney's present case, suspicion was as
good as conviction were he to fall into
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