The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 33

upon her fair throat, shaking her as a terrier might shake a
rat. Futilely the girl struck at the hate-contorted features so
close to hers.

"Stop!" she cried. "You are killing me."

The fingers released their hold.

"No," muttered the man, and dragged the princess roughly across the
room.

Half a dozen steps he had taken when there came a sudden crash of
breaking glass from the window across the chamber. Both turned in
astonishment to see the figure of a man leap into the room, carrying
the shattered crystal and the casement with him. In one hand was a
naked sword.

"The king!" cried Emma von der Tann.

"The devil!" muttered Maenck, as, dropping the girl, he scurried
toward the great painting from behind which he had found ingress to
the chambers of the princess.

Maenck was a coward, and he had seen murder in the eyes of the man
rushing upon him. With a bound he reached the picture which still
stood swung wide into the room.

Barney was close behind him, but fear lent wings to the governor of
Blentz, so that he was able to dart into the passage behind the
picture and slam the door behind him a moment before the infuriated
man was upon him.

The American clawed at the edge of the massive frame, but all to no
avail. Then he raised his sword and slashed the canvas, hoping to
find a way into the place beyond, but mighty oaken panels barred his
further progress. With a whispered oath he turned back toward the
girl.

"Thank Heaven that I was in time, Emma," he cried.

"Oh, Leopold, my king, but at what a price," replied the girl. "He
will return now with others and kill you. He is furious--so furious
that he scarce knows what he does."

"He seemed to know what he was doing when he ran for that hole in
the wall," replied Barney with a grin. "But come, it won't pay to
let them find us should they return."

Together they hastened to the window beyond which the girl could see
a rope dangling from above. The sight of it partially solved the
riddle of the king's almost uncanny presence upon her window sill in
the very nick of time.

Below, the lights in the watch tower at the outer gate were plainly
visible, and the twinkling of them reminded Barney of the danger of
detection from that quarter. Quickly he recrossed the apartment to
the wall-switch that operated the recently installed electric
lights, and an instant later the chamber was in total darkness.

Once more at the girl's side Barney drew

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