The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 19

the lantern until its light shone upon the girl.

"And who's the wench with him?" he asked the officer who
had found them.

The man was standing close beside Barney's horse, and the words were
scarce out of his month when the American slipped from his saddle to
the portcullis and struck the officer full in the face.

"She is the Princess von der Tann, you boor," said Barney, "and let
that help you remember it in future."

The officer scrambled to his feet, white with rage. Whipping out
his sword he rushed at Barney.

"You shall die for that, you half-wit," he cried.

Lieutenant Butzow, he of the Royal Horse, rushed forward to prevent
the assault and Emma von der Tann sprang from her saddle and threw
herself in front of Barney.

Butzow grasped the other officer's arm.

"Are you mad, Schonau?" he cried. "Would you kill the king?"

The fellow tugged to escape the grasp of Butzow. He was crazed with
anger.

"Why not?" he bellowed. "You were a fool not to have done it
yourself. Maenck will do it and get a baronetcy. It will mean a
captaincy for me at least. Let me at him--no man can strike Karl
Schonau and live."

"The king is unarmed," cried Emma von der Tann. "Would you murder
him in cold blood?"

"He shall not murder him at all, your highness," said Lieutenant
Butzow quietly. "Give me your sword, Lieutenant Schonau. I place you
under arrest. What you have just said will not please the Regent
when it is reported to him. You should keep your head better when
you are angry."

"It is the truth," growled Schonau, regretting that his anger had
led him into a disclosure of the plot against the king's life, but
like most weak characters fearing to admit himself in error even
more than he feared the consequences of his rash words.

"Do you intend taking my sword?" asked Schonau suddenly, turning
toward Lieutenant Butzow standing beside him.

"We will forget the whole occurrence, lieutenant," replied Butzow,
"if you will promise not to harm his majesty, or offer him or the
Princess von der Tann further humiliation. Their position is
sufficiently unpleasant without our adding to the degradation of
it."

"Very well," grumbled Schonau. "Pass on into the courtyard."

Barney and the girl remounted and the little cavalcade moved forward
through the ballium and the great gate into the court beyond.

"Did you notice," said Barney to the princess, "that even he
believes me to be the king? I cannot fathom it."

Within the castle they were met by a number of servants and
soldiers.

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