The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 32

matter with her? Was she losing all control of herself
to be frightened like a little child by ghostly noises?

She tried to return to her reading, but for the life of her she
could not keep her eyes off the silent, painted woman who stared and
stared and stared in cold, threatening silence upon this ancient
enemy of her house.

Presently the girl's eyes went wide in horror. She could feel the
scalp upon her head contract with fright. Her terror-filled gaze was
frozen upon that awful figure that loomed so large and sinister
above her, for the thing had moved! She had seen it with her own
eyes. There could be no mistake--no hallucination of overwrought
nerves about it. The Blentz Princess was moving slowly toward her!

Like one in a trance the girl rose from her chair, her eyes glued
upon the awful apparition that seemed creeping upon her. Slowly she
withdrew toward the opposite side of the chamber. As the painting
moved more quickly the truth flashed upon her--it was mounted on a
door.

The crack of the door widened and beyond it the girl saw dimly, eyes
fastened upon her. With difficulty she restrained a shriek. The
portal swung wide and a man in uniform stepped into the room.

It was Maenck.

Emma von der Tann gazed in unveiled abhorrence upon the leering face
of the governor of Blentz.

"What means this intrusion?" cried the girl.

"What would you have here?"

"You," replied Maenck.

The girl crimsoned.

Maenck regarded her sneeringly.

"You coward!" she cried. "Leave my apartments at once. Not even
Peter of Blentz would countenance such abhorrent treatment of a
prisoner."

"You do not know Peter, my dear," responded Maenck. "But you need not
fear. You shall be my wife. Peter has promised me a baronetcy for
the capture of Leopold, and before I am done I shall be made a
prince, of that you may rest assured, so you see I am not so bad a
match after all."

He crossed over toward her and would have laid a rough hand upon her
arm.

The girl sprang away from him, running to the opposite side of the
library table at which she had been reading. Maenck started to
pursue her, when she seized a heavy, copper bowl that stood upon the
table and hurled it full in his face. The missile struck him a
glancing blow, but the edge laid open the flesh of one cheek almost
to the jaw bone.

With a cry of pain and rage Captain Ernst Maenck leaped across the
table full upon the young girl. With vicious, murderous fingers he
seized

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