The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 169

was with
more confidence that Barney gave the countersign here, nor was he
surprised that the soldier passed them readily; and now they were
upon the highroad to Lustadt, with nothing more to bar their way.

For hours they rode on in silence. Barney wanted to talk with his
companion, but as king he found nothing to say to her. The girl's
mind was filled with morbid reflections of the past few hours and
dumb terror for the future. She would keep her promise to the king;
but after--life would not be worth the living; why should she live?
She glanced at the man beside her in the light of the coming dawn.
Ah, why was he so like her American in outward appearances only?
Their own mothers could scarce have distinguished them, and yet in
character no two men could have differed more widely. The man turned
to her.

"We are almost there," he said. "You must be very tired."

The words reflected a consideration that had never been a
characteristic of Leopold. The girl began to wonder if there might
not possibly be a vein of nobility in the man, after all, that she
had never discovered. Since she had entered his apartments at Blentz
he had been in every way a different man from the Leopold she had
known of old. The boldness of his escape from Blentz supposed a
courage that the king had never given the slightest indication of in
the past. Could it be that he was making a genuine effort to become
a man--to win her respect?

They were approaching Lustadt as the sun rose. A troop of horse was
just emerging from the north gate. As it neared them they saw that
the cavalrymen wore the uniforms of the Royal Horse Guard. At their
head rode a lieutenant. As his eyes fell upon the face of the
princess and her companion, he brought his troopers to a halt, and,
with incredulity plain upon his countenance, advanced to meet them,
his hand raised in salute to the king. It was Butzow.

Now Barney was sure that he would be recognized. For two years he
and the Luthanian officer had been inseparable. Surely Butzow would
penetrate his disguise. He returned his friend's salute, looked him
full in the eyes, and asked where he was riding.

"To Blentz, your majesty," replied Butzow, "to demand an audience.
I bear important word from Prince von der Tann. He has learned the
Austrians are moving an entire army corps into Lutha, together with
siege howitzers. Serbia has demanded that all Austrian troops

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