The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 67

I do not ask you to understand--it is not necessary--but this
you must know and believe: that I am not Leopold, and that the true
Leopold lies in hiding in the sanatorium at Tafelberg, from which
you and I, Butzow, must fetch him to Lustadt before noon on the
fifth."

"But, sire--" commenced Butzow, when Barney raised his hand.

"Enough of that, Butzow!" he cried almost irritably. "I am sick of
being 'sired' and 'majestied'--my name is Custer. Call me that when
others are not present. Believe what you will, but ride with me in
secrecy to Tafelberg tonight, and together we shall bring back
Leopold of Lutha. Then we may call Prince Ludwig into our
confidence, and none need ever know of the substitution.

"I doubt if many had a sufficiently close view of me today to
realize the trick that I have played upon them, and if they note a
difference they will attribute it to the change in apparel, for we
shall see to it that the king is fittingly garbed before we exhibit
him to his subjects, while hereafter I shall continue in khaki,
which becomes me better than ermine."

Butzow shook his head.

"King or dictator," he said, "it is all the same, and I must obey
whatever commands you see fit to give, and so I will ride to
Tafelberg tonight, though what we shall find there I cannot imagine,
unless there are two Leopolds of Lutha. But shall we also find
another royal ring upon the finger of this other king?"

Barney smiled. "You're a typical hard-headed Dutchman, Butzow," he
said.

The lieutenant drew himself up haughtily. "I am not a Dutchman,
your majesty. I am a Luthanian."

Barney laughed. "Whatever else you may be, Butzow, you're a brick,"
he said, laying his hand upon the other's arm.

Butzow looked at him narrowly.

"From your speech," he said, "and the occasional Americanisms into
which you fall I might believe that you were other than the king but
for the ring."

"It is my commission from the king," replied Barney. "Leopold
placed it upon my finger in token of his royal authority to act in
his behalf. Tonight, then Butzow, you and I shall ride to Tafelberg.
Have three good horses. We must lead one for the king."

Butzow saluted and left the apartment. For an hour or two the
American was busy with tailors whom he had ordered sent to the
palace to measure him for the numerous garments of a royal wardrobe,
for he knew the king to be near enough his own size that he might
easily

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