The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 152

He ran his hand over
the pedals and levers, breathing a sigh of relief as his touch
revealed the familiar control of a standard make. Then he went to
the double doors. They opened easily and silently.

Once outside he hastened to the side of the waiting girl.

"It's a machine," he whispered. "We must both be in it when it
leaves the garage--it's the through express for Lustadt and makes no
stops for passengers or freight."

He led her back to the garage and helped her into the seat beside
him. As silently as possible he ran the machine into the driveway. A
hundred yards to the left, half hidden by intervening trees and
shrubbery, rose the dark bulk of a house. A subdued light shone
through the drawn blinds of several windows--the only sign of life
about the premises until the car had cleared the garage and was
moving slowly down the driveway. Then a door opened in the house
letting out a flood of light in which the figure of a man was
silhouetted. A voice broke the silence.

"Who are you? What are you doing there? Come back!"

The man in the doorway called excitedly, "Friedrich! Come! Come
quickly! Someone is stealing the automobile," and the speaker came
running toward the driveway at top speed. Behind him came Friedrich.
Both were shouting, waving their arms and threatening. Their
combined din might have aroused the dead.

Barney sought speed--silence now was useless. He turned to the left
into the street away from the center of the town. In this direction
had gone the automobile with Maenck, but by taking the first
righthand turn Barney hoped to elude the captain. In a moment
Friedrich and the other were hopelessly distanced. It was with a
sigh of relief that the American turned the car into the dark
shadows beneath the overarching trees of the first cross street.

He was running without lights along an unknown way; and beside him
was the most precious burden that Barney Custer might ever expect to
carry. Under these circumstances his speed was greatly reduced from
what he would have wished, but at that he was forced to accept grave
risks. The road might end abruptly at the brink of a ravine--it
might swerve perilously close to a stone quarry--or plunge headlong
into a pond or river. Barney shuddered at the possibilities; but
nothing of the sort happened. The street ran straight out of the
town into a country road, rather heavy with sand. In the open the
possibilities of speed were increased, for the night, though
moonless, was

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