The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 5

touch
the horse. The thought of that and what it would mean to the girl
sent a cold shudder through Barney Custer's athletic frame.

The man cast a glance to his right. His machine drove from the left
side, and he could not see the road at all over the right hand door.
The sight of tree tops waving beneath him was all that was visible.
Just ahead the road's edge rushed swiftly beneath the right-hand
fender; the wheels on that side must have been on the very verge of
the embankment.

Now he was abreast the girl. Just ahead he could see where the road
disappeared around a corner of the bluff at the dangerous curve the
girl had warned him against.

Custer leaned far out over the side of his car. The lunging of the
horse in his stride, and the swaying of the leaping car carried him
first close to the girl and then away again. With his right hand he
held the car between the frantic horse and the edge of the
embankment. His left hand, outstretched, was almost at the girl's
waist. The turn was just before them.

"Jump!" cried Barney.

The girl fell backward from her mount, turning to grasp Custer's arm
as it closed about her. At the same instant Barney closed the
throttle, and threw all the weight of his body upon the foot brake.

The gray roadster swerved toward the embankment as the hind wheels
skidded on the loose surface gravel. They were at the turn. The
horse was just abreast the bumper. There was one chance in a
thousand of making the turn were the running beast out of the way.
There was still a chance if he turned ahead of them. If he did not
turn--Barney hated to think of what must follow.

But it was all over in a second. The horse bolted straight ahead.
Barney swerved the roadster to the turn. It caught the animal full
in the side. There was a sickening lurch as the hind wheels slid
over the embankment, and then the man shoved the girl from the
running board to the road, and horse, man and roadster went over
into the ravine.

A moment before a tall young man with a reddish-brown beard had
stood at the turn of the road listening intently to the sound of the
hurrying hoof beats and the purring of the racing motor car
approaching from the distance. In his eyes lurked the look of the
hunted. For a moment he stood in evident indecision, but just before
the runaway horse and the

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