The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 174

for in
plain American it might have been described as announcing to Leopold
precisely "where he got off." But Barney did not have the
opportunity to read it, since that ultimatum was never delivered.

Barney took the wind all out of it by his first words. "Your
excellency may wonder why it is that we have summoned you at such an
early hour," he said.

General Petko inclined his head in deferential acknowledgment of the
truth of the inference.

"It is because we have learned from our chancellor," continued the
American, "that Serbia has mobilized an entire army corps upon the
Luthanian frontier. Am I correctly informed?"

General Petko squared his shoulders and bowed in assent. At the same
time he reached into his breast-pocket for the ultimatum.

"Good!" exclaimed Barney, and then he leaned close to the ear of the
Serbian. "How long will it take to move that army corps to Lustadt?"

General Petko gasped and returned the ultimatum to his pocket.

"Sire!" he cried, his face lighting with incredulity. "You mean--"

"I mean," said the American, "that if Serbia will loan Lutha an army
corps until the Austrians have evacuated Luthanian territory, Lutha
will loan Serbia an army corps until such time as peace is declared
between Serbia and Austria. Other than this neither government will
incur any obligations to the other.

"We may not need your help, but it will do us no harm to have them
well on the way toward Lustadt as quickly as possible. Count
Zellerndorf will be here in a few minutes. We shall, through him,
give Austria twenty-four hours to withdraw all her troops beyond our
frontiers. The army of Lutha is mobilized before Lustadt. It is not
a large army, but with the help of Serbia it should be able to drive
the Austrians from the country, provided they do not leave of their
own accord."

General Petko smiled. So did the American and the chancellor. Each
knew that Austria would not withdraw her army from Lutha.

"With your majesty's permission I will withdraw," said the Serbian,
"and transmit Lutha's proposition to my government; but I may say
that your majesty need have no apprehension but that a Serbian army
corps will be crossing into Lutha before noon today."

"And now, Prince Ludwig," said the American after the Serbian had
bowed himself out of the apartment, "I suggest that you take
immediate steps to entrench a strong force north of Lustadt along
the road to Blentz."

Von der Tann smiled as he replied. "It is already done, sire," he
said.

"But I passed in along the road this

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