The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 96

you rather than
serve in the court of an ingrate."

"Well, you are an obstinate Dutchman, after all," replied the
American with a smile, placing his hand affectionately upon the
shoulder of his comrade.

There was a clatter of horses' hoofs upon the gravel of the road
behind them.

The two men put spurs to their mounts, and Barney Custer galloped
across the northern boundary of Lutha just ahead of a troop of
Luthanian cavalry, as had his father thirty years before; but a
royal princess had accompanied the father--only a soldier
accompanied the son.





PART II


I

BARNEY RETURNS TO LUTHA

"What's the matter, Vic?" asked Barney Custer of his sister. "You
look peeved."

"I am peeved," replied the girl, smiling. "I am terribly peeved. I
don't want to play bridge this afternoon. I want to go motoring with
Lieutenant Butzow. This is his last day with us."

"Yes. I know it is, and I hate to think of it," replied Barney;
"but why in the world do you have to play bridge if you don't want
to?"

"I promised Margaret that I'd go. They're short one, and she's
coming after me in her car."

"Where are you going to play--at the champion lady bridge player's
on Fourth Street?" asked Barney, grinning.

His sister answered with a nod and a smile. "Where you brought down
the wrath of the lady champion upon your head the other night when
you were letting your mind wander across to Lutha and the Old
Forest, instead of paying attention to the game," she added.

"Well, cheer up, Vic," cried her brother. "Bert'll probably set
fire to the car, the way he did to their first one, and then you
won't have to go."

"Oh, yes, I would; Margaret would send him after me in that
awful-looking, unwashed Ford runabout of his," answered the girl.

"And then you WOULD go," said Barney.

"You bet I would," laughed Victoria. "I'd go in a wheelbarrow with
Bert."

But she didn't have to; and after she had driven off with her chum,
Barney and Butzow strolled down through the little city of Beatrice
to the corn mill in which the former was interested.

"I'm mighty sorry that you have to leave us, Butzow," said Barney's
partner. "It's bad enough to lose you, but I'm afraid it will mean
the loss of Barney, too. He's been hunting for some excuse to get
back to Lutha, and with you there and a war in sight I'm afraid
nothing can hold him."

"I don't know but that it may be just as well for my friends here
that I leave,"

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