The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 59

and at sight of Barney's face gave
an exclamation of astonishment. The officer was Butzow.

"Well met, your majesty," he cried saluting. "We are riding to the
coronation. We shall be just in time."

"To see Peter of Blentz rob Leopold of a crown," said the American
in a disgusted tone.

"To see Leopold of Lutha come into his own, your majesty. Long live
the king!" cried the officer.

Barney thought the man either poking fun at him because he was not
the king, or, thinking he was Leopold, taking a mean advantage of
his helplessness to bait him. Yet this last suspicion seemed unfair
to Butzow, who at Blentz had given ample evidence that he was a
gentleman, and of far different caliber from Maenck and the others
who served Peter.

If he could but convince the man that he was no king and thus gain
his liberty long enough to reach Prince Ludwig's ear, his mission
would have been served in so far as it lay in his power to serve it.
For some minutes Barney expended his best eloquence and logic upon
the cavalry officer in an effort to convince him that he was not
Leopold.

The king had given the American his great ring to safeguard for him
until it should be less dangerous for Leopold to wear it, and for
fear that at the last moment someone within the sanatorium might
recognize it and bear word to Peter of the king's whereabouts.
Barney had worn it turned in upon the third finger of his left hand,
and now he slipped it surreptitiously into his breeches pocket lest
Butzow should see it and by it be convinced that Barney was indeed
Leopold.

"Never mind who you are," cried Butzow, thinking to humor the king's
strange obsession. "You look enough like Leopold to be his twin, and
you must help us save Lutha from Peter of Blentz."

The American showed in his expression the surprise he felt at these
words from an officer of the prince regent.

"You wonder at my change of heart?" asked Butzow.

"How can I do otherwise?"

"I cannot blame you," said the officer. "Yet I think that when you
know the truth you will see that I have done only that which I
believed to be the duty of a patriotic officer and a true
gentleman."

They had rejoined the troop by this time, and the entire company was
once more headed toward Lustadt. Butzow had commanded one of the
troopers to exchange horses with Barney, bringing the jaded animal
into the city slowly, and now freshly mounted the American was
making

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