The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 162

revolver at
Leopold. The king picked up one of the garments gingerly between the
tips of his thumb and finger.

"Hurry!" admonished the American, drawing the silk half-hose of the
ruler of Lutha over his foot. "If you don't hurry," he added,
"someone may interrupt us, and you know what the result would be--to

Scowling, Leopold donned the rough garments. Barney, fully clothed
in the uniform the king had been wearing, stepped across the
apartment to where the king's sword and helmet lay upon the side
table that had also borne the revolver. He placed the helmet upon
his head and buckled the sword-belt about his waist, then he faced
the king, behind whom was a cheval glass. In it Barney saw his
image. The king was looking at the American, his eyes wide and his
jaw dropped. Barney did not wonder at his consternation. He himself
was dumbfounded by the likeness which he bore to the king. It was
positively uncanny. He approached Leopold.

"Remove your rings," he said, holding out his hand. The king did as
he was bid, and Barney slipped the two baubles upon his fingers. One
of them was the royal ring of the kings of Lutha.

The American now blindfolded the king and led him toward the panel
which had given him ingress to the room. Through it the two men
passed, Barney closing the panel after them. Then he conducted the
king back along the dark passageway to the room which the American
had but recently quitted. At the back of the panel which led into
his former prison Barney halted and listened. No sound came from
beyond the partition. Gently Barney opened the secret door a
trifle--just enough to permit him a quick survey of the interior of
the apartment. It was empty. A smile crossed his face as he thought
of the difficulty Leopold might encounter the following morning in
convincing his jailers that he was not the American.

Then he recalled his reflection in the cheval glass and frowned.
Could Leopold convince them? He doubted it--and what then? The
American was sentenced to be shot at dawn. They would shoot the king
instead. Then there would be none to whom to return the kingship.
What would he do with it? The temptation was great. Again a throne
lay within his grasp--a throne and the woman he loved. None might
ever know unless he chose to tell--his resemblance to Leopold was
too perfect. It defied detection.

With an exclamation of impatience he wheeled about and dragged the
frightened monarch back to the room from which he had stolen

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