The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 76

answering the
fire of Prince Peter's artillery, while several machine guns had
been placed to sweep the slope up which the skirmish line was
advancing.

The trees that masked the enemy's pieces extended upward along the
ridge and the eastern edge of the city. Barney saw that a force of
men might easily reach a commanding position from that direction and
enter Lustadt almost in rear of the fortifications. Below him a
squadron of the Royal Horse were just emerging from their stables,
taking their way toward the plain to join in a concerted movement
against the troops that were advancing toward the fort.

He turned to an aide de camp standing just behind him.

"Intercept that squadron and direct the major to move due east along
the King's Road to the grove," he commanded. "We will join him
there."

And as the officer spurred down the steep and narrow street the
American, followed by Von der Tann and his staff, wheeled and
galloped eastward.

Ten minutes later the party entered the wood at the edge of town,
where the squadron soon joined them. Von der Tann was mystified at
the purpose of this change in the position of the general staff,
since from the wood they could see nothing of the battle waging upon
the slope. During his brief intercourse with the man he thought king
he had quite forgotten that there had been any question as to the
young man's sanity, for he had given no indication of possessing
aught but a well-balanced mind. Now, however, he commenced to have
misgivings, if not of his sanity, then as to his judgment at least.

"I fear, your majesty," he ventured, "that we are putting ourselves
too much out of touch with the main body of the army. We can neither
see nor accomplish anything from this position."

"We were too far away to accomplish much upon the top of that
mountain," replied Barney, "but we're going to commence doing things
now. You will please to ride back along the King's Road and take
direct command of the troops mobilized near the fort.

"Direct the artillery to redouble their fire upon the enemy's
battery for five minutes, and then to cease firing into the wood
entirely. At the same instant you may order a cautious advance
against the troops advancing up the slope.

"When you see us emerge upon the west side of the grove where the
enemy's guns are now, you may order a charge, and we will take them
simultaneously upon their right flank with a cavalry charge."

"But, your majesty," exclaimed Von der Tann dubiously, "where will
you be

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