The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 43

of Blentz was
willing to go to obtain the crown of Lutha!

"I do not know, your majesty," replied Rudolph, "when they will do
it; but soon, doubtless, since the sooner it is done the sooner they
can collect their pay."

Further conversation was interrupted by the sound of footsteps
without, and an instant later Yellow Franz entered the squalid
apartment and the dim circle of light which flickered feebly from
the smoky lantern that hung suspended from the rafters.

He stopped just within the doorway and stood eyeing the American
with an ugly grin upon his vicious face. Then his eyes fell upon the
trembling Rudolph.

"Get out of here, you!" he growled. "I've got private business with
this king. And see that you don't come nosing round either, or I'll
slit that soft throat for you."

Rudolph slipped past the burly ruffian, barely dodging a brutal blow
aimed at him by the giant, and escaped into the darkness without.

"And now for you, my fine fellow," said the brigand, turning toward
Barney. "Peter says you ain't worth nothing to him--alive, but that
your dead body will fetch us a hundred thousand marks."

"Rather cheap for a king, isn't it?" was Barney's only comment.

"That's what Herman tells him," replied Yellow Franz. "But he's a
close one, Peter is, and so it was that or nothing."

"When are you going to pull off this little--er--ah--royal demise?"
asked Barney.

"If you mean when am I going to kill you," replied the bandit, "why,
there ain't no particular rush about it. I'm a tender-hearted chap,
I am. I never should have been in this business at all, but here I
be, and as there ain't nobody that can do a better job of the kind
than me, or do it so painlessly, why I just got to do it myself, and
that's all there is to it. But, as I says, there ain't no great
rush. If you want to pray, why, go ahead and pray. I'll wait for
you."

"I don't remember," said Barney, "when I have met so generous a
party as you, my friend. Your self-sacrificing magnanimity quite
overpowers me. It reminds me of another unloved Robin Hood whom I
once met. It was in front of Burket's coal-yard on Ella Street, back
in dear old Beatrice, at some unchristian hour of the night.

"After he had relieved me of a dollar and forty cents he remarked:
'I gotta good mind to kick yer slats in fer not havin' more of de
cush on yeh; but I'm feelin' so good about de last guy I stuck up
I'll

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