The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 20

An officer escorted them to the great hall, and presently
a dark visaged captain of cavalry entered and approached them.
Butzow saluted.

"His Majesty, the King," he announced, "has returned to Blentz. In
accordance with the commands of the Regent I deliver his august
person into your safe keeping, Captain Maenck."

Maenck nodded. He was looking at Barney with evident curiosity.

"Where did you find him?" he asked Butzow.

He made no pretense of according to Barney the faintest indication
of the respect that is supposed to be due to those of royal blood.
Barney commenced to hope that he had finally come upon one who would
know that he was not king.

Butzow recounted the details of the finding of the king. As he
spoke, Maenck's eyes, restless and furtive, seemed to be appraising
the personal charms of the girl who stood just back of Barney.

The American did not like the appearance of the officer, but he saw
that he was evidently supreme at Blentz, and he determined to appeal
to him in the hope that the man might believe his story and untangle
the ridiculous muddle that a chance resemblance to a fugitive
monarch had thrown him and the girl into.

"Captain," said Barney, stepping closer to the officer, "there has
been a mistake in identity here. I am not the king. I am an American
traveling for pleasure in Lutha. The fact that I have gray eyes and
wear a full reddish-brown beard is my only offense. You are
doubtless familiar with the king's appearance and so you at least
have already seen that I am not his majesty.

"Not being the king, there is no cause to detain me longer, and as I
am not a fugitive and never have been, this young lady has been
guilty of no misdemeanor or crime in being in my company. Therefore
she too should be released. In the name of justice and common
decency I am sure that you will liberate us both at once and furnish
the Princess von der Tann, at least, with a proper escort to her
home."

Maenck listened in silence until Barney had finished, a half smile
upon his thick lips.

"I am commencing to believe that you are not so crazy as we have all
thought," he said. "Certainly," and he let his eyes rest upon Emma
von der Tann, "you are not mentally deficient in so far as your
judgment of a good-looking woman is concerned. I could not have made
a better selection myself.

"As for my familiarity with your appearance, you know as well as I
that

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