The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 211

is closer to the throne than his. He
knew it, and this knowledge was the real basis of his hatred of
you."

As the old chancellor ceased speaking he drew his sword and raised
it on high above his head.

"The king is dead," he said. "Long live the king!"




XVI

KING OF LUTHA

Barney Custer, of Beatrice, had no desire to be king of Lutha. He
lost no time in saying so. All that he wanted of Lutha was the girl
he had found there, as his father before him had found the girl of
his choice. Von der Tann pleaded with him.

"Twice have I fought under you, sire," he urged. "Twice, and only
twice since the old king died, have I felt that the future of Lutha
was safe in the hands of her ruler, and both these times it was you
who sat upon the throne. Do not desert us now. Let me live to see
Lutha once more happy, with a true Rubinroth upon the throne and my
daughter at his side."

Butzow added his pleas to those of the old chancellor. The American
hesitated.

"Let us leave it to the representatives of the people and to the
house of nobles," he suggested.

The chancellor of Lutha explained the situation to both houses.
Their reply was unanimous. He carried it to the American, who
awaited the decision of Lutha in the royal apartments of the palace.
With him was the Princess Emma von der Tann.

"The people of Lutha will have no other king, sire," said the old
man.

Barney turned toward the girl.

"There is no other way, my lord king," she said with grave dignity.
"With her blood your mother bequeathed you a duty which you may not
shirk. It is not for you or for me to choose. God chose for you when
you were born."

Barney Custer took her hand in his and raised it to his lips.

"Let the King of Lutha," he said, "be the first to salute Lutha's
queen."

And so Barney Custer, of Beatrice, was crowned King of Lutha, and
Emma became his queen. Maenck died of his wound on the floor of the
little room in the east transept of the cathedral of Lustadt beside
the body of the king he had slain. Prince Peter of Blentz was tried
by the highest court of Lutha on the charge of treason; he was found
guilty and hanged. Von Coblich committed suicide on the eve of his
arrest. Lieutenant Otto Butzow was ennobled and given the
confiscated estates of the Blentz prince. He became a general in the
army

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