The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 8

of entreaty, "that you would forgive
and forget my foolish words, and then let me accompany you to the
end of your journey."

"Whither were you bound when I became the means of wrecking your
motor car?" asked the girl.

"To the Old Forest," replied Barney.

Now she was positive that she was indeed with the mad king of Lutha,
but she had no fear of him, for since childhood she had heard her
father scout the idea that Leopold was mad. For what other purpose
would he hasten toward the Old Forest than to take refuge in her
father's castle upon the banks of the Tann at the forest's verge?

"Thither was I bound also," she said, "and if you would come there
quickly and in safety I can show you a short path across the
mountains that my father taught me years ago. It touches the main
road but once or twice, and much of the way passes through dense
woods and undergrowth where an army might hide."

"Hadn't we better find the nearest town," suggested Barney, "where I
can obtain some sort of conveyance to take you home?"

"It would not be safe," said the girl. "Peter of Blentz will have
troops out scouring all Lutha about Blentz and the Old Forest until
the king is captured."

Barney Custer shook his head despairingly.

"Won't you please believe that I am but a plain American?" he

Upon the bole of a large wayside tree a fresh, new placard stared
them in the face. Emma von der Tann pointed at one of the

"Gray eyes, brown hair, and a full reddish-brown beard," she read.
"No matter who you may be," she said, "you are safer off the
highways of Lutha than on them until you can find and use a razor."

"But I cannot shave until the fifth of November," said Barney.

Again the girl looked quickly into his eyes and again in her mind
rose the question that had hovered there once before. Was he indeed,
after all, quite sane?

"Then please come with me the safest way to my father's," she urged.
"He will know what is best to do."

"He cannot make me shave," insisted Barney.

"Why do you wish not to shave?" asked the girl.

"It is a matter of my honor," he replied. "I had my choice of
wearing a green wastebasket bonnet trimmed with red roses for six
months, or a beard for twelve. If I shave off the beard before the
fifth of November I shall be without honor in the sight of all men
or else I shall have

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