The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 93

shall be yours."

Barney thought of the girl he loved; but he did not mention her
name, for he knew that she was not for him now.

"There is nothing, your majesty," he said.

"A money reward," Leopold started to suggest, and then Barney Custer
lost his temper.

A flush mounted to his face, his chin went up, and there came to his
lips bitter words of sarcasm. With an effort, however, he held his
tongue, and, turning his back upon the king, his broad shoulders
proclaiming the contempt he felt, he walked slowly out of the room.

Von der Tann and Butzow and Leopold of Lutha stood in silence as the
American passed out of sight beyond the portal.

The manner of his going had been an affront to the king, and the
young ruler had gone red with anger.

"Butzow," he cried, "bring the fellow back; he shall be taught a
lesson in the deference that is due kings."

Butzow hesitated. "He has risked his life a dozen times for your
majesty," said the lieutenant.

Leopold flushed.

"Do not humiliate him, sire," advised Von der Tann. "He has earned
a greater reward at your hands than that."

The king resumed his pacing for a moment, coming to a halt once more
before the two.

"We shall take no notice of his insolence," he said, "and that shall
be our royal reward for his services. More than he deserves, we dare
say, at that."

As Barney hastened through the palace on his way to his new quarters
to obtain his arms and order his horse saddled, he came suddenly
upon a girlish figure gazing sadly from a window upon the drear
November world--her heart as sad as the day.

At the sound of his footstep she turned, and as her eyes met the
gray ones of the man she stood poised as though of half a mind to
fly. For a moment neither spoke.

"Can your highness forgive?" he asked.

For answer the girl buried her face in her hands and dropped upon
the cushioned window seat before her. The American came close and
knelt at her side.

"Don't," he begged as he saw her shoulders rise to the sudden
sobbing that racked her slender frame. "Don't!"

He thought that she wept from mortification that she had given her
kisses to another than the king.

"None knows," he continued, "what has passed between us. None but
you and I need ever know. I tried to make you understand that I was
not Leopold; but you would not believe. It is not my fault that I
loved you. It is not

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