The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 2

are there not, your highness?"

"There are, Coblich," replied the prince, "and if Leopold is able he
will make straight for the Tann, so that there may be two hunting
together in a day or so, Coblich."

"I understand, your highness," replied the minister. "With your
permission, I shall go at once and dispatch troops to search the
forest for Leopold. Captain Maenck will command them."

"Good, Coblich! Maenck is a most intelligent and loyal officer. We
must reward him well. A baronetcy, at least, if he handles this
matter well," said Peter. "It might not be a bad plan to hint at as
much to him, Coblich."

And so it happened that shortly thereafter Captain Ernst Maenck, in
command of a troop of the Royal Horse Guards of Lutha, set out
toward the Old Forest, which lies beyond the mountains that are
visible upon the other side of the plain stretching out before
Lustadt. At the same time other troopers rode in many directions
along the highways and byways of Lutha, tacking placards upon trees
and fence posts and beside the doors of every little rural post
office.

The placard told of the escape of the mad king, offering a large
reward for his safe return to Blentz.

It was the last paragraph especially which caused a young man, the
following day in the little hamlet of Tafelberg, to whistle as he
carefully read it over.

"I am glad that I am not the mad king of Lutha," he said as he paid
the storekeeper for the gasoline he had just purchased and stepped
into the gray roadster for whose greedy maw it was destined.

"Why, mein Herr?" asked the man.

"This notice practically gives immunity to whoever shoots down the
king," replied the traveler. "Worse still, it gives such an account
of the maniacal ferocity of the fugitive as to warrant anyone in
shooting him on sight."

As the young man spoke the storekeeper had examined his face closely
for the first time. A shrewd look came into the man's ordinarily
stolid countenance. He leaned forward quite close to the other's
ear.

"We of Lutha," he whispered, "love our 'mad king'--no reward could
be offered that would tempt us to betray him. Even in
self-protection we would not kill him, we of the mountains who
remember him as a boy and loved his father and his grandfather,
before him.

"But there are the scum of the low country in the army these days,
who would do anything for money, and it is these that the king must
guard against. I could not help but note that mein Herr spoke

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