The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 209

Leopold's head in his arms. The bishop and the doctor bent
over the limp form. The Princess Emma stood a little apart. She had
leaped from the couch where she had been lying. Her eyes were wide
in horror. Her palms pressed to her cheeks.

It was upon this scene that a hatless, dust-covered man in a red
hunting coat burst through the door that had admitted Maenck. The
man had seen and recognized the conspirator as he climbed to the top
of the limousine and dropped within the cathedral grounds, and he
had followed close upon his heels.

No one seemed to note his entrance. All ears were turned toward the
doctor, who was speaking.

"The king is dead," he said.

Maenck raised himself upon an elbow. He spoke feebly.

"You fools," he cried. "That man was not the king. I saw him steal
the king's clothes at Blentz and I followed him here. He is the
American--the impostor." Then his eyes, circling the faces about him
to note the results of his announcements, fell upon the face of the
man in the red hunting coat. Amazement and wonder were in his face.
Slowly he raised his finger and pointed.

"There is the king," he said.

Every eye turned in the direction he indicated. Exclamations of
surprise and incredulity burst from every lip. The old chancellor
looked from the man in the red hunting coat to the still form of the
man upon the floor in the blood-spattered marriage garments of a
king of Lutha. He let the king's head gently down upon the carpet,
and then he rose to his feet and faced the man in the red hunting
coat.

"Who are you?" he demanded.

Before Barney could speak Lieutenant Butzow spoke.

"He is the king, your highness," he said. "I rode with him to
Blentz to free Mr. Custer. Both were wounded in the courtyard in the
fight that took place there. I helped to dress their wounds. The
king was wounded in the breast--Mr. Custer in the left leg."

Prince von der Tann looked puzzled. Again he turned his eyes
questioningly toward the newcomer.

"Is this the truth?" he asked.

Barney looked toward the Princess Emma. In her eyes he could read
the relief that the sight of him alive had brought her. Since she
had recognized the king she had believed that Barney was dead. The
temptation was great--he dreaded losing her, and he feared he would
lose her when her father learned the truth of the deception that had
been practiced upon him. He might lose even

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