The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 6

pursuing machine came into view he slipped
over the edge of the road to slink into the underbrush far down
toward the bottom of the ravine.

When Barney pushed the girl from the running board she fell heavily
to the road, rolling over several times, but in an instant she
scrambled to her feet, hardly the worse for the tumble other than a
few scratches.

Quickly she ran to the edge of the embankment, a look of immense
relief coming to her soft, brown eyes as she saw her rescuer
scrambling up the precipitous side of the ravine toward her.

"You are not killed?" she cried in German. "It is a miracle!"

"Not even bruised," reassured Barney. "But you? You must have had
a nasty fall."

"I am not hurt at all," she replied. "But for you I should be lying
dead, or terribly maimed down there at the bottom of that awful
ravine at this very moment. It's awful." She drew her shoulders
upward in a little shudder of horror. "But how did you escape? Even
now I can scarce believe it possible."

"I'm quite sure I don't know how I did escape," said Barney,
clambering over the rim of the road to her side. "That I had nothing
to do with it I am positive. It was just luck. I simply dropped out
onto that bush down there."

They were standing side by side, now peering down into the ravine
where the car was visible, bottom side up against a tree, near the
base of the declivity. The horse's head could be seen protruding
from beneath the wreckage.

"I'd better go down and put him out of his misery," said Barney, "if
he is not already dead."

"I think he is quite dead," said the girl. "I have not seen him
move."

Just then a little puff of smoke arose from the machine, followed by
a tongue of yellow flame. Barney had already started toward the
horse.

"Please don't go," begged the girl. "I am sure that he is quite
dead, and it wouldn't be safe for you down there now. The gasoline
tank may explode any minute."

Barney stopped.

"Yes, he is dead all right," he said, "but all my belongings are
down there. My guns, six-shooters and all my ammunition. And," he
added ruefully, "I've heard so much about the brigands that infest
these mountains."

The girl laughed.

"Those stories are really exaggerated," she said. "I was born in
Lutha, and except for a few months each year have always lived here,
and though I ride much I have never seen a brigand.

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