The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 62

of all the glitter of gold and gleam of jewels that
surrounded them--a grim, business-like appearance that cast a chill
upon Peter of Blentz as his eyes scanned the multitude of faces
below him.

He would have shown his indignation at this seeming affront had he
dared; but until the crown was safely upon his head and the royal
scepter in his hand Peter had no mind to do aught that might
jeopardize the attainment of the power he had sought for the past
ten years.

The solemn ceremony was all but completed; the Bishop of Lustadt had
received the great golden crown from the purple cushion upon which
it had been borne at the head of the procession which accompanied
Peter up the broad center aisle of the cathedral. He had raised it
above the head of the prince regent, and was repeating the solemn
words which precede the placing of the golden circlet upon the man's
brow. In another moment Peter of Blentz would be proclaimed the king
of Lutha.

By her father's side stood Emma von der Tann. Upon her haughty,
high-bred face there was no sign of the emotions which ran riot
within her fair bosom. In the act that she was witnessing she saw
the eventual ruin of her father's house. That Peter would long want
for an excuse to break and humble his ancient enemy she did not
believe; but this was not the only cause for the sorrow that
overwhelmed her.

Her most poignant grief, like that of her father, was for the dead
king, Leopold; but to the sorrow of the loyal subject was added the
grief of the loving woman, bereft. Close to her heart she hugged the
memory of the brief hours spent with the man whom she had been
taught since childhood to look upon as her future husband, but for
whom the all-consuming fires of love had only been fanned to life
within her since that moment, now three weeks gone, that he had
crushed her to his breast to cover her lips with kisses for the
short moment ere he sacrificed his life to save her from a fate
worse than death.

Before her stood the Nemesis of her dead king. The last act of the
hideous crime against the man she had loved was nearing its close.
As the crown, poised over the head of Peter of Blentz, sank slowly
downward the girl felt that she could scarce restrain her desire to
shriek aloud a protest against the wicked act--the crowning of a
murderer king of her beloved Lutha.

A glance at the old

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