The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 31

the floor beneath.

No sooner had Joseph's lantern shown him the way than Barney was
ascending the ladder toward the floor above. At the next landing he
waited for the old man.

Joseph put out the light and placed the lantern where they could
easily find it upon their return. Then he cautiously slipped the
catch that held the panel in place and slowly opened the door until
a narrow line of lesser darkness showed from without.

For a moment they stood in silence listening for any sound from the
chamber beyond, but as nothing occurred to indicate that the
apartment was occupied the old man opened the portal a trifle
further, and finally far enough to permit his body to pass through.
Barney followed him. They found themselves in a large, empty
chamber, identical in size and shape with that which they had just
quitted upon the floor below.

From this the two passed into the corridor beyond, and thence to the
apartments at the far end of the wing, directly over those occupied
by Emma von der Tann.

Barney hastened to a window overlooking the moat. By leaning far
out he could see the light from the princess's chamber shining upon
the sill. He wished that the light was not there, for the window was
in plain view of the guard on the lookout upon the barbican.

Suddenly he caught the sound of voices from the chamber beneath.
For an instant he listened, and then, catching a few words of the
dialogue, he turned hurriedly toward his companion.

"The rope, Joseph! And for God's sake be quick about it."



For half an hour the Princess von der Tann succeeded admirably in
immersing herself in the periodical, to the exclusion of her unhappy
thoughts and the depressing influence of the austere countenance of
the Blentz Princess hanging upon the wall behind her.

But presently she became unaccountably nervous. At the slightest
sound from the palace-life on the floor below she would start up
with a tremor of excitement. Once she heard footsteps in the
corridor before her door, but they passed on, and she thought she
discerned the click of a latch a short distance further on along the

Again she attempted to gather up the thread of the article she had
been reading, but she was unsuccessful. A stealthy scratching
brought her round quickly, staring in the direction of the great
portrait. The girl would have sworn that she had heard a noise
within her chamber. She shuddered at the thought that it might have
come from that painted thing upon the wall.

What was the

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