The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 85

know that you are
king. When I saw how you led the troops in battle, I prayed that
there could be no mistake. God give that I am right. But God help
you if you are playing with old Ludwig von der Tann."

When the old man had left the apartment Barney summoned an aide and
sent for Butzow. Then he hurried to the bath that adjoined the
apartment, and when the lieutenant of horse was announced Barney
called through a soapy lather for his confederate to enter.

"What are you doing, sire?" cried Butzow in amazement.

"Cut out the 'sire,' old man," shouted Barney Custer of Beatrice.
"this is the fifth of November and I am shaving off this alfalfa.
The king is found!"

"What?" cried Butzow, and upon his face there was little to indicate
the rejoicing that a loyal subject of Leopold of Lutha should have
felt at that announcement.

"There is a man in the next room," went on Barney, "who can lead us
to the spot where Coblich and Maenck guard the king. Get him in
here."

Butzow hastened to comply with the American's instructions, and a
moment later returned to the apartment with the old shopkeeper of
Tafelberg.

As Barney shaved he issued directions to the two. Within the room
to the east, he said, there were the king's coronation robes, and in
a smaller dressingroom beyond they would find a long gray cloak.

They were to wrap all these in a bundle which the old shopkeeper was
to carry.

"And, Butzow," added Barney, "look to my revolvers and your own, and
lay my sword out as well. The chances are that we shall have to use
them before we are ten minutes older."

In an incredibly short space of time the young man emerged from the
bath, his luxuriant beard gone forever, he hoped. Butzow looked at
him with a smile.

"I must say that the beard did not add greatly to your majesty's
good looks," he said.

"Never mind the bouquets, old man," cried Barney, cramming his arms
into the sleeves of his khaki jacket and buckling sword and revolver
about him, as he hurried toward a small door that opened upon the
opposite side of the apartment to that through which his visitors
had been conducted.

Together the three hastened through a narrow, little-used corridor
and down a flight of well-worn stone steps to a door that let upon
the rear court of the palace.

There were grooms and servants there, and soldiers too, who saluted
Butzow, according the old shopkeeper and the smooth-faced young
stranger only cursory glances. It was evident that without

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