The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 97

said Butzow seriously. "I did not tell you, Barney,
all there is in this letter"--he tapped his breastpocket, where the
foreign-looking envelope reposed with its contents.

Custer looked at him inquiringly.

"Besides saying that war between Austria and Serbia seems
unavoidable and that Lutha doubtless will be drawn into it, my
informant warns me that Leopold had sent emissaries to America to
search for you, Barney, and myself. What his purpose may be my
friend does not know, but he warns us to be upon our guard. Von der
Tann wants me to return to Lutha. He has promised to protect me, and
with the country in danger there is nothing else for me to do. I
must go."

"I wish I could go with you," said Barney. "If it wasn't for this
dinged old mill I would; but Bert wants to go away this summer, and
as I have been away most of the time for the past two years, it's up
to me to stay."

As the three men talked the afternoon wore on. Heavy clouds
gathered in the sky; a storm was brewing. Outside, a man, skulking
behind a box car on the siding, watched the entrance through which
the three had gone. He watched the workmen, and as quitting time
came and he saw them leaving for their homes he moved more
restlessly, transferring the package which he held from one hand to
another many times, yet always gingerly.

At last all had left. The man started from behind the box car, only
to jump back as the watchman appeared around the end of one of the
buildings. He watched the guardian of the property make his rounds;
he saw him enter his office, and then he crept forward toward the
building, holding his queer package in his right hand.

In the office the watchman came upon the three friends. At sight of
him they looked at one another in surprise.

"Why, what time is it?" exclaimed Custer, and as he looked at his
watch he rose with a laugh. "Late to dinner again," he cried. "Come
on, we'll go out this other way." And with a cheery good night to
the watchman Barney and his friends hastened from the building.

Upon the opposite side the stranger approached the doorway to the
mill. The rain was falling in blinding sheets. Ominously the thunder
roared. Vivid flashes of lightning shot the heavens. The watchman,
coming suddenly from the doorway, his hat brim pulled low over his
eyes, passed within a couple of paces of the stranger without seeing
him.

Five minutes later there was

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