The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 170

be
withdrawn from Luthanian territory at once, and has offered to
assist your majesty in maintaining your neutrality by force, if
necessary."

As Butzow spoke his eyes were often upon the Princess Emma, and it
was quite evident that he was much puzzled to account for her
presence with the king. She was supposed to be at Tann, and Butzow
knew well enough her estimate of Leopold to know that she would not
be in his company of her own volition. His expression as he
addressed the man he supposed to be his king was far from
deferential. Barney could scarce repress a smile.

"We will ride at once to the palace," he said. "At the gate you may
instruct one of your sergeants to telephone to Prince von der Tann
that the king is returning and will grant him audience immediately.
You and your detachment will act as our escort."

Butzow saluted and turned to his troopers, giving the necessary
commands that brought them about in the wake of the pseudo-king.
Once again Barney Custer, of Beatrice, rode into Lustadt as king of
Lutha. The few people upon the streets turned to look at him as he
passed, but there was little demonstration of love or enthusiasm.

Leopold had awakened no emotions of this sort in the hearts of his
subjects. Some there were who still remembered the gallant actions
of their ruler on the field of battle when his forces had defeated
those of the regent, upon that other occasion when this same
American had sat upon the throne of Lutha for two days and had led
the little army to victory; but since then the true king had been
with them daily in his true colors. Arrogance, haughtiness, and
petty tyranny had marked his reign. Taxes had gone even higher than
under the corrupt influence of the Blentz regime. The king's days
were spent in bed; his nights in dissipation. Old Ludwig von der
Tann seemed Lutha's only friend at court. Him the people loved and
trusted.

It was the old chancellor who met them as they entered the
palace--the Princess Emma, Lieutenant Butzow, and the false king. As
the old man's eyes fell upon his daughter, he gave an exclamation of
surprise and of incredulity. He looked from her to the American.

"What is the meaning of this, your majesty?" he cried in a voice
hoarse with emotion. "What does her highness in your company?"

There was neither fear nor respect in Prince Ludwig's tone--only
anger. He was demanding an accounting from Leopold, the man; not
from Leopold, the king. Barney raised his hand.

"Wait," he

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