Click here to Download The Mad King PDF Book by Edgar Rice Burroughs Language English having PDF Size 2.2 MB and No of Pages 238.
All Lustadt was in an uproar. The mad king had escaped. Little knots of excited men stood upon the street corners listening to each latest rumor concerning this most absorbing occurrence. Before the palace a great crowd surged to and fro, awaiting they knew not what. For ten years no man of them had set eyes upon the face of the boy-king who hastened to the grim castle of Blentz upon the death of the old king.
The Mad King PDF Book by Edgar Rice Burroughs
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His father. There had been murmurings then when the lad’s uncle, Peter of Blentz, had announced to the people of Lutha the sudden mental affliction which had fallen upon his nephew, and more murmurings for a time after the announcement that Peter of Blentz had been appointed Regent during the lifetime of the young King Leopold, “or until God.
In His infinite mercy, shall see fit to restore to us in full mental vigor our beloved monarch.” But ten years is a long time. The boy-king had become but a vague memory to the subjects who could recall him at all. There were many, of course, in the capital city, Lustadt, who still retained a mental picture of the handsome boy who had ridden out nearly every morning from the palace gates beside the tall.
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Martial figure of the old king, his father, for a canter across the broad plain which lies at the foot of the mountain town of Lustadt; but even these had long since given up hope that their young king would ever ascend his throne, or even that they should see him alive again. Peter of Blentz had not proved a good or kind ruler.
Taxes had doubled during his regency. Executives and judiciary, following the example of their chief, had become tyrannical and corrupt. For ten years there had been small joy in Lutha. There had been whispered rumors off and on that the young king was dead these many years, but not even in whispers did the men of Lutha dare voice the name of him whom they believed had caused his death.
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For lesser things they had seen their friends and neighbors thrown into the hitherto longunused dungeons of the royal castle. And now came the rumor that Leopold of Lutha had escaped the Castle of Blentz and was roaming somewhere in the wild mountains or ravines upon the opposite side of the plain of Lustadt.
“Your majesty will find him a very attentive and faithful servant,” said Stein. “He will remain with you and administer your medicine at proper intervals.” “Medicine?” ejaculated Barney. “What in the world do I need of medicine? There is nothing the matter with me.” Stein smiled indulgently. The Mad King PDF Book
“Ah, your majesty,” he said, “if you could but realize the sad affliction that clouds your life! You may never sit upon your throne until the last trace of this sinister mental disorder is eradicated, so take your medicine voluntarily, or otherwise Joseph will be compelled to administer it by force. Remember, sire, that only through this treatment will you be able to leave Blentz.”
After Stein had left the room Joseph bolted the door behind him. Then he came to where Barney stood in the center of the apartment, and dropping to his knees took the young man’s hand in his and kissed it. “God has been good indeed, your majesty,” he whispered. “It was He who made it possible for old Joseph to deceive them and find his way to your side.”
“Who are you, my man?” asked Barney. “I am from Tann,” whispered the old man, in a very low voice. “His highness, the prince, found the means to obtain service for me with the new retinue that has replaced the old which permitted your majesty’s escape. There was another from Tann among the former servants here. The Mad King PDF Book
“It was through his efforts that you escaped before, you will recall. I have seen Fritz and learned from him the way, so that if your majesty does not recall it it will make no difference, for I know it well, having been over it three times already since I came here, to be sure that when the time came that they should recapture you I might lead you out quickly before they could slay you.”
“You really think that they intend murdering me?” “There is no doubt about it, your majesty,” replied the old man. “This very bottle”—Joseph touched the phial which Stein had left upon the table—“contains the means whereby, through my hands, you were to be slowly poisoned.” “Do you know what it is?” “Bichloride of mercury, your majesty.
One dose would have been sufficient, and after a few days—perhaps a week—you would have died in great agony.” Barney shuddered. “But I am not the king, Joseph,” said the young man, “so even had they succeeded in killing me it would have profited them nothing.” For half an hour the Princess von der Tann succeeded admirably in immersing herself in the periodical. The Mad King PDF Book
To the exclusion of her unhappy thoughts and the depressing influence of the austere countenance of the Blentz Princess hanging upon the wall behind her. But presently she became unaccountably nervous. At the slightest sound from the palace-life on the floor below she would start up with a tremor of excitement.
Once she heard footsteps in the corridor before her door, but they passed on, and she thought she discerned the click of a latch a short distance further on along the passageway. Again she attempted to gather up the thread of the article she had been reading, but she was unsuccessful. A stealthy scratching brought her round quickly, staring in the direction of the great portrait.
The girl would have sworn that she had heard a noise within her chamber. She shuddered at the thought that it might have come from that painted thing upon the wall. What was the matter with her? Was she losing all control of herself to be frightened like a little child by ghostly noises? The Mad King PDF Book
She tried to return to her reading, but for the life of her she could not keep her eyes off the silent, painted woman who stared and stared and stared in cold, threatening silence upon this ancient enemy of her house. Presently the girl’s eyes went wide in horror. She could feel the scalp upon her head contract with fright.
Her terror-filled gaze was frozen upon that awful figure that loomed so large and sinister above her, for the thing had moved! She had seen it with her own eyes. There could be no mistake—no hallucination of overwrought nerves about it. The Blentz Princess was moving slowly toward her! Like one in a trance the girl rose from her chair, her eyes glued upon the awful apparition that seemed creeping upon her.
Slowly she withdrew toward the opposite side of the chamber. As the painting moved more quickly the truth flashed upon her—it was mounted on a door. The crack of the door widened and beyond it the girl saw dimly, eyes fastened upon her. With difficulty she restrained a shriek. The portal swung wide and a man in uniform stepped into the room. The Mad King PDF Book Download
Toward dusk of the day upon which the mad king of Lutha had been found, a dust-covered horseman reined in before the great gate of the castle of Prince Ludwig von der Tann. The unsettled political conditions which overhung the little kingdom of Lutha were evident in the return to medievalism which the raised portcullis and the armed guard upon the barbican of the ancient feudal fortress revealed.
Not for a hundred years before had these things been done other than as a part of the ceremonials of a fete day, or in honor of visiting royalty. At the challenge from the gate Barney replied that he bore a message for the prince. Slowly the portcullis sank into position across the moat and an officer advanced to meet the rider.
“The prince has ridden to Lustadt with a large retinue,” he said, “to attend the coronation of Peter of Blentz tomorrow.” “Prince Ludwig von der Tann has gone to attend the coronation of Peter!” cried Barney in amazement. “Has the Princess Emma returned from her captivity in the castle of Blentz?” The Mad King PDF Book Download
“She is with her father now, having returned nearly three weeks ago,” replied the officer, “and Peter has disclaimed responsibility for the outrage, promising that those responsible shall be punished. He has convinced Prince Ludwig that Leopold is dead, and for the sake of Lutha—to save her from civil strife—my prince has patched a truce with Peter.
Though unless I mistake the character of the latter and the temper of the former it will be short-lived. “To demonstrate to the people,” continued the officer, “that Prince Ludwig and Peter are good friends, the great Von der Tann will attend the coronation, but that he takes little stock in the sincerity of the Prince of Blentz would be apparent could.
The latter have a peep beneath the cloaks and look into the loyal hearts of the men of Tann who rode down to Lustadt today. Several of the nobles drew away from Barney. Others looked at him questioningly. Butzow stepped close to his side, and it was noticeable that the troopers, and even the officers, of the Royal Horse which Barney had led in the charge upon the two batteries in the wood. The Mad King PDF Book Download
Pressed a little closer to the American. This fact did not escape Butzow’s notice. “If you are content to take the word of the servants of a traitor and a would-be regicide,” he cried, “I am not. There has been no proof advanced that this man is not the king. In so far as I am concerned he is the king, nor ever do I expect to serve another more worthy of the title.
“If Peter of Blentz has real proof—not the testimony of his own faction—that Leopold of Lutha is dead, let him bring it forward before noon today, for at noon we shall crown a king in the cathedral at Lustadt, and I for one pray to God that it may be he who has led us in battle today.”
A shout of applause rose from the Royal Horse, and from the foot-soldiers who had seen the king charge across the plain, scattering the enemy before him. Barney, appreciating the advantage in the sudden turn affairs had taken following Butzow’s words, swung to his saddle. “Until Peter of Blentz brings to Lustadt one with a better claim to the throne.” The Mad King PDF Book Download
He said, “we shall continue to rule Lutha, nor shall other than Leopold be crowned her king. We approve of the amnesty you have granted, Prince Ludwig, and Peter of Blentz is free to enter Lustadt, as he will, so long as he does not plot against the true king. “Major,” he added, turning to the commander of the squadron at his back, “we are returning to the palace.
Your squadron will escort us, remaining on guard there about the grounds. Prince Ludwig, you will see that machine guns are placed about the palace and commanding the approaches to the cathedral.” Possibly the fact that one of the men had himself just entered and was excitedly talking to the others may have drowned the noisy approach of the two.
However that may be, it is a fact that Barney and the cavalry officer came to the very door of the library unheard. There they halted, listening. Coblich was speaking. “The Regent commands it, Maenck,” he was saying. “It is the only thing that can save our necks. He said that you had better be the one to do it, since it was your carelessness that permitted the fellow to escape from Blentz.” The Mad King PDF Book Free
Huddled in a far corner of the room was an abject figure trembling in terror. At the words of Coblich it staggered to its feet. It was the king. “Have pity—have pity!” he cried. “Do not kill me, and I will go away where none will ever know that I live. You can tell Peter that I am dead. Tell him anything, only spare my life.
Oh, why did I ever listen to the cursed fool who tempted me to think of regaining the crown that has brought me only misery and suffering—the crown that has now placed the sentence of death upon me.” “Why not let him go?” suggested the trooper, who up to this time had not spoken. “If we don’t kill him, we can’t be hanged for his murder.”
“Don’t be too sure of that,” exclaimed Maenck. “If he goes away and never returns, what proof can we offer that we did not kill him, should we be charged with the crime? And if we let him go, and later he returns and gains his throne, he will see that we are hanged anyway for treason. The Mad King PDF Book Free
There were many cries for Peter of Blentz. “Let’s have done with treason, and place upon the throne of Lutha one whom we know to be both a Luthanian and sane. Down with the mad king! Down with the impostor!” Peter turned to ascend the chancel steps. Von der Tann still hesitated. Below him upon one side of the aisle were massed his own retainers.
Opposite them were the men of the Regent, and dividing the two the parallel ranks of Horse Guards stretched from the chancel down the broad aisle to the great doors. These were strongly for the impostor, if impostor he was, who had led them to victory over the men of the Blentz faction. Von der Tann knew that they would fight to the last ditch for their hero should he come to claim the crown.
Yet how would they fight—to which side would they cleave, were he to attempt to frustrate the design of the Regent to seize the throne of Lutha? The Mad King PDF Book Free