The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 147

I knew that it was quite possible that he had
discovered treachery upon the part of Prince Peter. In which case he
might have escaped in disguise. I really wasn't sure that you were
not he until you spoke."

Barney stooped and removed the bandoleer of cartridges from the
fallen trooper, as well as his revolver and carbine. Then he took
the girl's hand and together they turned into the wood. Behind them
came the sound of pursuit. They heard the loud words of Maenck as he
ordered his three remaining men into the wood on foot. As he
advanced, Barney looked to the magazine of his carbine and the
cylinder of his revolver.

"Why were they pursuing you?" he asked.

"They were taking me to Blentz to force me to wed Leopold," she
replied. "They told me that my father's life depended upon my
consenting; but I should not have done so. The honor of my house is
more precious than the life of any of its members. I escaped them a
few miles back, and they were following to overtake me."

A noise behind them caused Barney to turn. One of the troopers had
come into view. He carried his carbine in his hands and at sight of
the man with the fugitive girl he raised it to his shoulder; but as
the American turned toward him his eyes went wide and his jaw

Instantly Barney knew that the fellow had noted his resemblance to
the king. Barney's body was concealed from the view of the other by
a bush which grew between them, so the man saw only the face of the
American. The fellow turned and shouted to Maenck: "The king is with

"Nonsense," came the reply from farther back in the wood. "If there
is a man with her and he will not surrender, shoot him." At the
words Barney and the girl turned once more to their flight. From
behind came the command to halt--"Halt! or I fire." Just ahead
Barney saw the river.

They were sure to be taken there if he was unable to gain the time
necessary to make good a crossing. Upon the opposite side was a
continuation of the wood. Behind them the leading trooper was
crashing through the underbrush in renewed pursuit. He came in sight
of them again, just as they reached the river bank. Once more his
carbine was leveled. Barney pushed the girl to her knees behind a
bush. Then he wheeled and fired, so quickly that the man with the
already leveled gun had no time to anticipate his act.


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