The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 172

at Blentz and that there the King of
Lutha is not apt to learn all that transpires in Lustadt."

"Sire," replied the chancellor, "we face a grave crisis. Not only
is there within Lutha the small force of Austrian troops that
surround Blentz, but now an entire army corps has crossed the
border. Unquestionably they are marching on Lustadt. The emperor is
going to take no chances. He sent the first force into Lutha to
compel Serbian intervention and draw Serbian troops from the
Austro-Serbian battle line. Serbia has withheld her forces at my
request, but she will not withhold them for long. We must make a
declaration at once. If we declare against Austria we are faced by
the menace of the Austrian troops already within our boundaries, but
we shall have Serbia to help us.

"A Serbian army corps is on the frontier at this moment awaiting
word from Lutha. If it is adverse to Austria that army corps will
cross the border and march to our assistance. If it is favorable to
Austria it will none the less cross into Lutha, but as enemies
instead of allies. Serbia has acted honorably toward Lutha. She has
not violated our neutrality. She has no desire to increase her
possessions in this direction.

"On the other hand, Austria has violated her treaty with us. She
has marched troops into our country and occupied the town of Blentz.
Constantly in the past she has incited internal discord. She is
openly championing the Blentz cause, which at last I trust your
majesty has discovered is inimical to your interests.

"If Austria is victorious in her war with Serbia, she will find some
pretext to hold Lutha whether Lutha takes her stand either for or
against her. And most certainly is this true if it occurs that
Austrian troops are still within the boundaries of Lutha when peace
is negotiated. Not only our honor but our very existence demands
that there be no Austrian troops in Lutha at the close of this war.
If we cannot force them across the border we can at least make such
an effort as will win us the respect of the world and a voice in the
peace negotiations.

"If we must bow to the surrender of our national integrity, let us
do so only after we have exhausted every resource of the country in
our country's defense. In the past your majesty has not appeared to
realize the menace of your most powerful neighbor. I beg of you,
sire, to trust me. Believe that I have only the interests of Lutha
at heart,

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