The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 34

in one end of the rope and
made it fast about her body below her arms, leaving a sufficient
length terminating in a small loop to permit her to support herself
more comfortably with one foot within the noose. Then he stepped to
the outer sill, and reaching down assisted her to his side.

Far below them the moonlight played upon the sluggish waters of the
moat. In the distance twinkled the lights of the village of Blentz.
From the courtyard and the palace came faintly the sound of voices,
and the movement of men. A horse whinnied from the stables.

Barney turned his eyes upward. He could see the head and shoulders
of Joseph leaning from the window of the chamber directly above
them.

"Hoist away, Joseph!" whispered the American, and to the girl: "Be
brave. Shut your eyes and trust to Joseph and--and--"

"And my king," finished the girl for him.

His arm was about her shoulders, supporting her upon the narrow
sill. His cheek so close to hers that once he felt the soft velvet
of it brush his own. Involuntarily his arm tightened about the
supple body.

"My princess!" he murmured, and as he turned his face toward hers
their lips almost touched.

Joseph was pulling upon the rope from above. They could feel it
tighten beneath the girl's arms. Impulsively Barney Custer drew the
sweet lips closer to his own. There was no resistance.

"I love you," he whispered. The words were smothered as their lips
met.

Joseph, above, wondered at the great weight of the Princess Emma von
der Tann.

"I love you, Leopold, forever," whispered the girl, and then as
Joseph's Herculean tugging seemed likely to drag them both from the
narrow sill, Barney lifted the girl upward with one hand while he
clung to the window frame with the other. The distance to the sill
above was short, and a moment later Joseph had grasped the
princess's hand and was helping her over the ledge into the room
beyond.

At the same instant there came a sudden commotion from the interior
of the room in the window of which Barney still stood waiting for
Joseph to remove the rope from about the princess and lower it for
him. Barney heard the heavy feet of men, the clank of arms, and
muttered oaths as the searchers stumbled against the furniture.

Presently one of them found the switch and instantly the room was
flooded with light, which revealed to the American a dozen Luthanian
troopers headed by the murderous Maenck.

Barney looked anxiously aloft. Would Joseph never lower that rope!
Within the room the

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