The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 53

the patient
lay, the servant eyed Herr Kramer in surprise, as though wondering
what had occurred to his mentality since he had seen him the
previous day. He paid no attention to Barney other than to bow to
him as he passed, but there was another who did--an attendant
standing in the hallway through which the two men walked toward the
private room where one of them expected to find the real mad king of
Lutha.

He was a dark-visaged fellow, sallow and small-eyed; and as his
glance rested upon the features of the American a puzzled expression
crossed his face. He let his gaze follow the two as they moved on up
the corridor until they turned in at the door of the room they
sought, then he followed them, entering an apartment next to that in
which Herr Kramer's patient lay.

As Barney and the shopkeeper entered the small, whitewashed room,
the former saw upon the narrow iron cot the figure of a man of about
his own height. The face that turned toward them as they entered was
covered by a full, reddish-brown beard, and the eyes that looked up
at them in troubled surprise were gray. Beyond these Barney could
see no likenesses to himself; yet they were sufficient, he realized,
to have deceived any who might have compared one solely to the
printed description of the other.

At the doorway Kramer halted, motioning Barney within.

"It will be better if you talk with him alone," he said. "I am sure
that before both of us he will admit nothing."

Barney nodded, and the shopkeeper of Tafelberg withdrew and closed
the door behind him. The American approached the bedside with a
cheery "Good morning."

The man returned the salutation with a slight inclination of his
head. There was a questioning look in his eyes; but dominating that
was a pitiful, hunted expression that touched the American's heart.

The man's left hand lay upon the coverlet. Barney glanced at the
third finger. About it was a plain gold band. There was no royal
ring of the kings of Lutha in evidence, yet that was no indication
that the man was not Leopold; for were he the king and desirous of
concealing his identity, his first act would be to remove every
symbol of his kingship.

Barney took the hand in his.

"They tell me that you are well on the road to recovery," he said.
"I am very glad that it is so."

"Who are you?" asked the man.

"I am Bernard Custer, an American. You were found beneath my car at
the bottom of a

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