The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 184

across the Serbian frontier."

The American shook his head.

"I got the king into this mess and I must get him out," he said.
"He may deserve to be shot, but it is up to me to prevent it, if I
can. And there is your father to consider. If Butzow rides to Blentz
and rescues the king, it may be difficult to get him back to Lustadt
without the truth of his identity and mine becoming known. With me
there, the change can be effected easily, and not even Butzow need
know what has happened.

"If the people should guess that it was not Leopold who won the
battle of Lustadt there might be the devil to pay, and your father
would go down along with the throne. No, I must stay until Leopold
is safe in Lustadt. But there is a hope for us. I may be able to
wrest from Leopold his sanction of our marriage. I shall not
hesitate to use threats to get it, and I rather imagine that he will
be in such a terror-stricken condition that he will assent to any
terms for his release from Blentz. If he gives me such a paper,
Emma, will you marry me?"

Perhaps there never had been a stranger proposal than this; but to
neither did it seem strange. For two years each had known the love
of the other. The girl's betrothal to the king had prevented an
avowal of their love while Barney posed in his own identity. Now
they merely accepted the conditions that had existed for two years
as though a matter of fact which had been often discussed between
them.

"Of course I'll marry you," said the princess. "Why in the world
would I want you to take me to America otherwise?"

As Barney Custer took her in his arms he was happier than he had
ever before been in all his life, and so, too, was the Princess Emma
von der Tann.




XII

LEOPOLD WAITS FOR DAWN

After the American had shoved him through the secret doorway into
the tower room of the castle of Blentz, Leopold had stood for
several minutes waiting for the next command from his captor.
Presently, hearing no sound other than that of his own breathing,
the king ventured to speak. He asked the American what he purposed
doing with him next.

There was no reply. For another minute the king listened intently;
then he raised his hands and removed the bandage from his eyes. He
looked about him. The room was vacant except for himself. He
recognized it as the one in which

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