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Volume 6788a
Edgar Rice Burroughs'
Summary and Comments
By John Martin

Chapters 7-12

--Summary and Comments--

Barney Custer, on a horse secured from one of the dead brigands, and now fully armed, continued looking for a way to the Old Forest and Prince von der Tann when he came across a huge burnt-out hulk which was nothing other than his own roadster. It had been moved from its original landing point, but for what reason Barney couldn't imagine.

But the find gave him a sense of his bearings and he thought of the inn owner with whom he had conversed earlier, and recalled how the man seemed to be loyal to King Leopold.

He went to the innkeeper, a fellow named Kramer, who asked him how he got out of the hospital. It seemed that a man who looked very much like Barney had been found pinned by the wreckage of Barney's car and had been taken to a hospital. The rescued fellow had looked a lot like the king, but had claimed he was not. Barney then tried explaining to the innkeeper that he Barney Custer wasn't the king, either. Finally, the innkeeper believed him enough to lead him to the hospital, the Tafelberg sanitorium.

As they entered the sanitorium and inquired about the man they sought, a villain spotted Barney and set out to spy upon them. The reader knows he is a villain because ERB described him as "dark-visaged" and "sallow and small-eyed." Had he not been a villain, he would probably have been "fair-haired" and "light-complexioned" with clear, gray eyes.

Barney tells his story to King Leopold, who denies being the king. Eventually, after Barney gives him a pep talk, he begins to believe that it is really possible that if he joins up with Prince von der Tann he can actually regain his throne.

During the conversation, Leopold mentioned his aunt, Princess Victoria, who ran away with a foreigner. The attentive reader will immediately make a tie-in with the revelation in Chapter I that Barney's father had literally stolen his bride away from Lutha. And this also would mean that Barney has royal blood in his veins. Yes, the reader recognizes that, but Barney was seemingly oblivious to the implications of the king's words. After all, Barney had a lot on his mind.

But the sallow and small-eyed man had listening to all of this and left the sanitorium, up to no good no doubt!
- - - - -
1. ERB reveals to the reader that Lutha's principal claim upon the attention of the outer world is:
A. The picturesque cliff-hugging roads
B. The myriad of autumn colors that spread over the landscape
C. The quaint little inns along the road.
D. The Tafelberg sanitorium.
2. The maiden name of Barney's mother, Victoria (actually revealed in chapter one) was:
A. Rothschild
B. Rosenkranz
C. Rubinroth
D. Rothenberg
1. (D) Yellow Franz's pistol grips were studded with silver and pearls
2. (B) The brigand boss introduced himself to Barney as "Yellow Franz of the Black Mountains"

1. Barney Custer noticed his wrecked roadster had been moved, but didn't understand why unitl he visited the Tafelburg sanitorium.
2. The Tafelberg inkeeper was getting accustomed to hearing about people who claimed they weren't Leopold.
Art courtesy of Martin Gately.


Leaving the real Leopold at the sanitorium, Barney found his way at the end of the day to the Castle of Prince Ludwig von der Tann, only to learn the Prince and his daughter Emma were in Lustadt for the coronation of Peter of Blentz. An officer let Barney know that Ludwig was doing this for the sake of the unity of the people, but hinted that his heart was not in it and that, in fact, he and his men were well-prepared for any eventuality.

Barney took off for Lustadt, hoping to reach the ears of Ludwig prior to the coronation, letting him know that the true king was still alive, and where he was.

But it was a long road to Lustadt and, it being night, Barney lost his way a few times and had to awaken sleepy farmers to enquire. In addition, his horse was getting tuckered from all the work and he wasn't moving too fast. Unfortunately...he ran into some horse troops but, fortunately...they were commanded by Lieutenant Butzow, who still thought Barney was the true king. Butzow reminded Barney his loyalty was to the king, not Peter of Blentz. Butzow explained that he had been out of the country for a few years and, upon his return, gradually discerned the true character of Peter.

Meanwhile, the ceremony was commencing in Lustadt. Ludwig had been offered a place on the dais with other dignitaries but had chosen to sit with his men. He, Emma and the soldiers endured the ceremony with proper outward respect, but there were other emotions seething within them.

ERB keeps the reader in suspense as long as possible, with the bishop at last lowering the crown toward Peter's head in as agonizingly slow a speed as ERB can possibly write it.

But at last, before the hands holding the crown were close enough to barely start tickling the hairs on Peter's head, the main Cathedral door burst open and Butzow and Barney, accompanied by the cavalry troop, rode their horses down the aisle and up to the dais.

Maenck saved them from further announcing themselves by not having the presence of mind to keep his cool and denounce the intruders, but instead reflexively belted out: "Mein Gott the King!"

That was the magic word for many in the crowd, and the cry was quickly taken up by those loyal to Leopold and even by some who were loyal to Peter of Blentz.

Peter immediately denounced Barney as an impostor and, for a moment, there was silence. Then Butzow pointed out that Maenck himself recognized Barney as the king. A war of words began and soon begot a war of indoor sword-fighting by the two factions. But soon Peter saw that half of his own men were siding with Barney and he engineered a timely retreat.

After the prince and his cohorts had fled, cooler heads once more assessed the identity of this man who seemed to be king. Leopold had loaned Barney his royal ring as a token of his faith in him, and Barney produced the ring, to confirm his identity. Of course, the American didn't really want to be king, but wanted them to think he was to (1) keep Peter from being crowned and (2) to find time to get the true king on the throne.

Many wanted to complete the coronation ceremony and crown Barney as king right then and Barney was genuinely tempted to accept. However, he told them to hold off as there were still some who did not believe he was the true king. Ludwig told Barney that, by law, the coronation must be completed in two days by Nov. 5 or they would have to wait another year.

Ludwig said the problem with waiting was that Peter would rule for the next two days. Not a problem, said Barney, and ordered the arrest of Peter, Coeblich, Maenck and Stein for treason. However, they had already escaped the palace grounds.

So, Barney said he'd handle the ruling chores for the next two days.
- - - - -
1. Lt. Butzow told Barney he had been out of Lutha for several years. During that time he had...
A. Served as a spy in Austria
B. Served as a military attache in a foreign court
C. Attended the university at Bornova
D. Learned aerial combat tactics with a German squadron
2. The coronation must take place by Nov. 5. What other event, mentioned in an earlier chapter, would coincide with that date?
- - - - -
1. (D) the Tafelberg sanitorium was said to be Lutha's principal claim upon the attention of the outer world.
2. (C) Rubinroth was the maiden name of Barney's mother, Victoria.

1. Many will no doubt recognize the castle of Prince von der Tann,
since it is often pictured on postcards mailed from tourists visiting Lutha.
Here, in artist's rendering, Barney is shown leaving the castle on his way to stop the coronation of Peter of Blentz.
As a tourist, Barney was having the vacation of a lifetime. Art courtesy of Martin Gately.
2. Peter of Blentz would have had the crown on his head had not Lt. Otto Butzow
arrived with Barney Custer, thought to be "the real king," in tow. Art courtesy of Martin Gately.


Barney tried once more to explain to the loyal Butzow that he was not really the true king and that they must get Leopold from the sanitorium and deliver him safely to Lustadt. Because of Barney's penchant for American slang, Butzow began to believe him a teeny tiny bit.

Meanwhile, Barney allowed himself to be measured for coronation robes, figuring he was about the same size as Leopold.

Von der Tann was loyally at Barney's side, helping him with proper protocol as various visitors were greeted. That didn't seem unusual to the old Prince, since it was known that Leopold had been sheltered and probably not educated in proper royal procedures.

At last, Barney saw a chance to talk with Emma, and cut her out of a herd of court people and reaffirmed his love for her, although he reminded her that he was not really the king, but an American. He wondered aloud if she would still love him if he were not the king and she replied that it was the man she loved, not the office.

Barney Custer cursed the fate that had failed to make him a king by birth. But the careful reader may recall that we have already had two hints that his mother may, indeed, have belonged to the royal line. And if we had not those two hints, the third major hint is the remarkable resemblance Barney has to the king himself.

An hour later, Barney and Butzow rode out of the city, leading an extra horse.

Meanwhile, as luck would have it and plot demands would dictate, the reader learns that earlier in the day the sallow and small-eyed fellow from the sanitorium, who first surfaced back in Chapter VII, met the fleeing Peter and company on the highway and told them of the real Leopold's location.

The fellow, who name was Ferrath, as in ferret, a rat-like creature, headed for Blentz with Peter while Coblich, Maenck and Stein, along with a cavalry trooper, rode for the Tafelberg sanitorium. Earlier, we wondered if ERB chose the name Stein, another dubious doctor of fiction, after the more well-known Victor Frankenstein. We now further note that, twice in this chapter, when listing the names, ERB puts "Maenck and Stein" (rhymes with Frankenstein) together in that order in the listing.

Barney and Butzow didn't set any speed records to get to Tafelberg, partly because they didn't think there was any hurry and partly to keep the horses from getting too tired. So, Peter's co-conspirators got there first. But Barney and Butzow weren't far behind, and arrived while Peter's men were still there. They were alerted when they saw one cavalryman outside the building holding four horses in the dark.

Butzow told Barney to wait while he sneaked up on the trooper to try to learn more but, while waiting, Barney saw three other men come from the building with a strugglilng, half-naked figure. Barney leaped into action and ran to join Butzow, arriving in time to flatten the trooper who was about to plug Butzow with a bullet.

With the trooper out cold, Barney and Butzow wrestled Leopold from his captors and then continued to battle them. ERB revealed that Barney had been trained in fencing by one Colonel Monstery. Barney had the pleasure of getting in a couple more licks at Maenck, on whom he had already planted his fists on two previous occasions. While all this was going on, Leopold attempted to sneak away, but was grabbed by the trooper who had regained consciousness.

The numbers worked against Barney and Butzow. Maenck rushed Barney to assist Stein and, distracted, Barney took a glancing sword blow to the head and fell, unconscious. Coblich and Maenck then took on Butzow, knocking him out, but not before the lieutenant ran his sword through the heart of the "rat-faced" Dr. Stein. The evil physician's death was a boon to his comrades, because it freed up a horse. They planted Leopold on the extra mount and took off for a secret hideout Peter had designated.

Of course, they made a major mistake in not running their swords through the hearts of the unconscious Barney and Butzow before leaving.

The pretender to the throne and his lieutenant awoke in the sanitorium, where they had been taken by employees who had been attracted by the sound of the melee. They rushed outside but it was too late. All was quiet and the king and his captors were gone.
- - - - -
1. At a point when Butzow was still refusing to believe that Barney was not Leopold, Barney smiled and called him:
A. A typical hard-headed Dutchman.
B. A dog who won't drop a bone.
C. A stubborn slav
D. A bull-headed Teuton
2. As Barney and Butzow rode from the city, a diner at a local cafe recognized the "king" and saluted him orally while doing something physically. What did he do physically?
A. Used his fork to point the king out to others.
B. Raised a mug and called for a toast.
C. Waved a napkin over his head.
D. Left his dining companions to pick up the check.
3. Colonel Monstery, who had trained Barney in fencing, is described as:
A. Acknowledged to be the greatest swordsman in all of France
B. John Carter's protege
C. The man whose high school yearbook called him "least likely to lose a duel"
D. One of the than-whomest of fencing masters.
1. (B) While Lt. Butzow had been out of Lutha, he had been serving as a military attache to a foreign court
2. In chapter 2, Barney tells Emma that Nov. 5 is the day he can shave off his beard, according to the terms of an election bet that he lost.

1. What the well-dressed ERB fan is wearing: Shirts like this one for "The Mad King" by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
You, too, can own a Mad King T-shirt. See Below
2. Once again, Barney Custer has the pleasure of doing bodily damage to the deserving Captain Ernst Maenck. Art courtesy of Martin Gately

THE MAD KING, PART I, CHAPTER X: On the Battlefield

After losing Leopold at the sanitorium, Barney and Butzow rode all night and the following day, looking for the missing king. They came to Blentz and, while Barney hid in the nearby woods, Butzow rode boldly in, since he was still known as a loyal member of the Royal Horse Troops. He was able to learn that Peter was in the lowlands recruiting followers.

Returning to Barney, Butzow informed him that, one way or the other, a king would be on the throne by Nov. 5, and he let Barney know that he preferred him to Leopold. Butzow, a keen observer of behavior, had noticed the previous evening on the sanitorium grounds that Leopold was trembling and whimpering and, when freed from his captors, didn't even bother to try helping Barney and Butzow with so much as a stone he might have taken up for a weapon.

They went back to Lustadt where Von der Tann warned the king that it was not safe to go gallivanting around the country.

As they talked, an officer came in with a report that Peter had been successful in recruiting an army and that an attack might come on the following day.

The reader may presume that Barney finally got some sleep that night.

After initially meeting Leopold at the sanitorium on Nov. 2 (Chapter VII), he had ridden all that day before coming to Castle Von der Tann at dusk. Then, upon learning the coronation would take place the following day, he had ridden all night in order to get to Lustadt before the crown sank onto Peter's head (Chapter VIII). After the events of that day, Nov. 3, he and Butzow had taken off in the evening to ride for the sanitorium and retrieve the king (Chapter IX). What little sleep Barney got that night came while he was knocked out cold in the sanitorium scuffle. Then, he and Butzow were on their way again, searching all that night and all of the following day, Nov. 4 (Chapter X).

Finally, in this same Chapter X, we read that they entered Lustadt at dusk and, after conferring with Von der Tann, we read: "The morning of November 5 broke clear and cold." So, we assume that if Barney had any sense, and if he was able to relax with all the excitement, that he had taken advantage of the opportunity for a good night of sleep between the royal sheets.

He would have needed it because, assuming he was awake for two 24-hour periods on Nov. 2 and 3 and probably at least 16 hours on Nov. 4, he had been up for 64 hours, minus probably less than an hour of "rest" after he had been knocked unconscious on the sanitorium grounds.

That morning, the forces of Peter began taking up positions to assault the royal palace. Seeing a weakness in the enemy's deployment, Barney immediately took command and ordered a squadron of the Royal Horse Guard to accompany him and Von der Tann. The party slipped out to the east. He explained his plan to Von der Tann and, although the elder statesman wasn't quite sure about it, he followed orders. He headed back to the castle and ordered a five-minute fusillade on Peter's cannons, which were in the woods behind which Barney and company were waiting.

After the fusillade, Von der Tann led infantry troops from the castle, and Peter's cannons swung to begin firing in that direction. Barney and the Royal Horse squadron then sneaked up behind the cannoneers. As they charged among the artillery troops, some of the enemy began shouting that it was the king, thus confusing each other. However, a bullet dropped Barney's horse and immediately about a dozen closed in on him. The Royal Horse came to his rescue and "...for five minutes, was waged as fierce a battle for possession of a king as was ever fought." At last, 50 of the enemy raised a white flag (nice that they had one handy) and the rest were in disarray.

Back on a horse and the artillerymen in disarray, Barney and his men charged from the woods and Von der Tann advanced his troops. Peter immediately realized the battle was lost and whipped out his own personal white flag (these troops came prepared for any eventuality).

Peter, under his white flag, asked for a meeting with Von der Tann but the old man asked Barney's opinion, since Peter had pointedly ignored the presence of the senior negotiator, the king himself.
"Treat with him," said Barney, pointing out that Peter might have a genuine belief that Barney was an impostor.

Indeed, this was the crux of Peter's argument to Von der Tann, and he pointed out Barney's own denials to several people, as well as the testimony of several from his castle who knew the real king by sight.
However, Butzow and several others moved closer to Barney and said they needed more proof than just the testimony of people loyal to Peter. Seizing the moment, Barney made a brief, accurately worded speech:

"Until Peter of Blentz brings to Lustadt one with a better claim to the throne, we shall continue to rule in 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."
He then gave some orders to Von der Tann for the defense of the castle and left, and one of those present asked Ludwig why he would obey one who might not be the true king. Von der Tann had picked up on the precise wording of Barney's statement, though, and replied: "Were he an impostor, he would have insisted by word of mouth that he is king. But not once has he said that he is Leopold. Instead, he has proved his kingship by his acts."

Looks as if Von der Tann used a little clever wording himself. He didn't say Barney was Leopold; he said he had proved his kingship.
- - - - -
1. The horse that was shot out from beneath Barney was:
A. A stalwart stallion
B. A great bay
C. A battle-hardened palimino
D. A hunter-seeker
1. (A) Barney called Otto Butzow a hard-headed Dutchman
2. (C) The man in the restaurant waved a napkin over his head as a greeting to the king. Whether any particles of food flew off the napkin is not revealed.
3. (D) Colonel Monstery was considered to be one of the than-whomest of fencing masters

1. Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo each had an opportunity to paint an Ace paperback cover for "The Mad King" by Edgar Rice Burroughs. T
his was the first Ace "Mad King" paperback, with the work of Frazetta, showing Barney Custer aboard a charging steed.
Since people DO judge books by their covers, a lot of copies of this flew off the paperback racks.
2. This was Vallejo's "Mad King" paperback, showing Barney Custer in battle mode after a horse was shot out from under him.

By this time, so many people believed Barney to be King Leopold
that he figured he might as well play the role of Leopold
long enough to save the palace (and all of Lutha) from Peter of Blentz's takeover.
Somebody had to take charge around here, Barney reasoned.
He is depicted by artist Enrique Alcatena outlining his battle plans to Prince Ludwig von der Tann.
Art courtesy of Martin Gately.


The battle in Chapter X was over well before noon. As the rest of Nov. 5 moved toward the magic hour, Peter and his henchmen gathered in the cathedral, awaiting word from Coblich on whether he, Maenck and company were successful in capturing the true Leopold at the sanitorium. Meanwhile, Barney was at the palace, hoping for word that searching soldiers had located the true king in good health.
At last, a blood-encrusted Coblich entered the city and found Peter and told him that Leopold has been secured in the secret hideway, and in "such a state of cowardly terror that he is ready to agree to anything, if you will but spare his life and set him free across the border."

However, Peter's plans were to kill Leopold and bring his dead body into the city for all to see, and then claim that Barney killed him at the sanitorium in an effort to seize the throne.

Coblich, crooked though he was, quailed at the prospect of killing Leopold with his own hands. However, Peter said he really didn't have much choice in the matter. He either must kill Leopold and enjoy a plush government job, or let him live and face death for treason. Coblich agreed, but hoped that God would have mercy on his soul.

Peter then told the elder statesmen of Lutha that Coblich had found the body of Leopold who, it turned out, was not killed by bandits as Peter had reported earlier, but had actually escaped the bandits and been in a sanitorium until the evil Barney and Butzow had slain him there. The elders agreed to support Peter if he could prove any of this. Their main concern was having a rightful king on the throne enough of all this drama!

Meanwhile, it was closer to noon and Barney was getting concerned. His troops seemed unlikely at this point to produce Leopold. Von der Tann made an appearance and was starting to show the strain of the situation, having heard the talk that Leopold was dead and Barney was his killer.

"None but the royal blood of Rubinroth may reign in Lutha...." said Von der Tann. And suddenly the lights went on in Barney's mind. This was the first time he has heard his mother's maiden name Rubinroth since entering Lutha. Before he could say anything to Von der Tann, he was interrupted by a messenger. After receiving the message, Barney told Von der Tann, "I swear that the royal blood of the Rubinroths flows in my veins, and as God is my judge, none other than the true Leopold of Lutha shall be crowned today."

Von der Tann left and Barney headed to the water closet while summoning Butzow. When the lieutenant showed up, Barney called him into the bathroom, where he was shaving off his great red beard. "The king is found!" he announced. "This is the fifth of November and I am shaving off this alfalfa," the coronation deadline just happening to coincide with the expiration of the consquences of Barney's lost bet.
The messenger was none other than Kramer, the old shopkeeper of Tafelberg, who told Barney he could lead him to the place where the king was held.

The three acquired horses and no questions were raised, since Barney no longer looked like the king.

They rode to a dilapidated building, an old library, and sneaked up to the door where they heard Coblich telling Maenck that Peter had ordered the latter to kill the king. Leopold was huddled in a corner, begging for mercy and pity.

Maenck was not as queasy about murder as Coblich was, and drew his sword and made for the quavering king. But a gun fired and Maenck fell. Coblich made a break for the back door and the trooper was shot, too, while making a move for his gun.

At that point, the narrative leaves that scene and switches to the cathedral of Lustadt, where it was two minutes until noon.

As the assemblage waited tensely for the king to show up, Peter seized the opportunity to mount the chancel steps and declare that "he who claimed to be Leopold" was a mad adventurer whose nerve gave out and has now fled. Peter then declared the throne vacant and himself to be king.

At that moment, Coblich ran into the auditorium and spoke to Peter. He tried to whisper but he was so out of breath that several nearby, including Von der Tann, heard him say that Maenck was dead and the impostor had stolen the king. Von der Tann demanded an explanation, since Peter had earlier announced that Leopold was dead. Quick-thinking Peter responded that Coblich meant that they had stolen Leopold's body.

Peter then told the bishop to proceed with the coronation ceremony, while Von der Tann silently considered whether to go along with it or start a rebellion right there.

However, once more the great doors swung open and a trooper of the Royal Horse shouted: "The king! The king! Make way for Leopold of Lutha!"
- - - - -
1. Peter warned Coblich that he will be hanged "higher than Haman" for treason if Leopold lives. Which Biblical book tells the story of Haman being hanged on a gallows that was about 75 feet high?
A. Exodus
B. Ezra
C. Esther
D. Ephesians
1. (B) A great bay

1. The bearded Barney is history.
2. A shot is fired and Maenck is hit. Art courtesy of Martin Gately.

THE MAD KING, PART I: CHAPTER XII: The Gratitude of a King

Interruptions to coronation ceremonies were becoming a way of life in Lutha. The assembly fell silent when the grim-looking procession marched in, four khaki-clad members of the Royal Horse Guard led three other men, and following them were more of the Royal Horse.

The three men included a gray-eyed, red-bearded man in royal robes, flanked by Lieutenant Butzow and a clean-shaven stranger. There were cries of "impostor" as well as "the king!" from the assemblage but perhaps the two people most affected were Peter as he saw who he knew to be the true king and Emma, who suddenly realized that the king of Lutha and the king of her heart were not the same man.
Leopold, who seemed rather strong and kingly now instead of the quavering coward that he was before, marched up to Peter and demanded that he answer the question: "Who am I?"

And it was Peter himself who was suddenly thrust into the position of the one who must beg for pity, as he identified Leopold Rubinroth and asked for mercy.

But Leopold had another question. "Am I mad? Was I ever mad?"

Peter had to reply "no," and Leopold ordered Butzow to remove the traitor.

After the coronation, Von der Tann and Leopold huddled and Von der Tann sought clarification on all that happened. As Von der Tann spoke of Barney the "impostor," Leopold smiled; but, when Von der Tann began to speak about Barney's bravey, the king frowned.

Then the king summoned an aide and Barney and Butzow were ushered into the room. Barney noticed that Leopold in royal surroundings was quite different from Leopold the fugitive.

Leopold credited Barney and Butzow with saving his life, as well as his kingship, and then the two told their stories to Von der Tann. He was amazed at all that was happening under his nose, and praised Barney for all he did. That began to annoy Leopold.

Barney then mentioned that he was actually the son of the runaway princess of Lutha, Victoria Rubinroth.

This further troubled Leopold. He asked how many in the kingdom actually knew that Barney not him was the one who showed up to rule Lutha for the two days of uncertainty. The answer was that hardly anyone knew. So Leopold suggested they need never know (and, of course, that would give him credit for having bravely led the Royal Horse troops in the battle against Peter).

This suggestion made sense to Von der Tann, but it also saddened him that it came from Leopold and not from some other. Butzow could hardly restrain a sneer. It was Barney who sealed the deal, however, by saying the king was right and that he would leave the palace after dark and cross the border the following evening.

The king offered Barney a reward, but the only reward he really wanted was the hand of Princess Emma, and he knew that was beyond reach, so he didn't mention it. When the king suggested a money reward, Barney got hot under the collar but concealed his anger and just turned and walked from the room.

The king, feeling affronted, ordered them to bring him back but the others persuaded him that he should just let Barney go. The king thought about it and finally decided that Barney's reward would be that the king would take no notice of his insolence.

But the king was not through being annoyed by Barney.

As Barney prepared to leave, he saw Emma sitting at a window and came up to her and asked for her forgiveness. He reminded her that he tried to tell her he wasn't Leopold and said he couldn't help loving her. He also said that no one else would ever need to know what had passed between them. While he spoke, Leopold came down the corridor and listened and observed from afar.

Suddenly, Barney and Emma embraced and kisses were exchanged.

Then, she saw the king watching.

Leopold was enraged, charging Barney with wanting to steal his girl since he failed to steal his throne. Barney nobly accepted responsibility and attempted to get Emma off the hook by saying, loud enough for the king to hear, "Your highness knows the truth now and that after all I am not the king. I can only ask that you will forgive me the deception."

After Emma leaves, Leopold gave Barney 48 hours to get out of the country, or lose his life.

Barney held back his hot words and instead inclined his head in a slight bow and took his leave.

As Barney was readying to leave, though, Butzow burst in and warned him to get going. The king had changed his mind and had sent soldiers to arrest him, swearing that Barney would hang for treason. Apparently, the king had gone to sweet-talk Emma and she had spurned him, and now he was wild with rage.

Butzow rode along with Barney as they headed down the highway toward the border. They came at last to the great granite monument which marked the boundary between Lutha and "her powerful neighbor upon the north."

Barney tried to urge Butzow to go back to his country, but Butzow did not wish to stay and serve a cowardly king, preferring the prospect of growing corn in Nebraska.
As the cavalry neared their location, they crossed the border.

Thirty years before, Barney's father crossed the border with a princess.

His son left without a princess, but at least with a loyal comrade-in-arms.
- - - - -
That's the end of what we know as Part I of "The Mad King." But when it first appeared in the March 21, 1914, edition of All-Story Weekly, complete in one issue, readers had no assurance there would even be a sequel until one appeared, titled "Barney Custer of Beatrice," beginning as a serial in the same magazine about a year and five months later, on Aug. 7, 1915.

Nowadays, we have but to turn the page to get to Part II.

But someone who really likes to read everything in order might wish to read "The Eternal Lover" before going on to part II of "The Mad King."
- - - - -
1. Without his beard, Barney was described as:
A. Square-jawed
B. having aristocratic cheekbones
C. more handsome
D. white-faced
1. (C) The account of Haman's execution by hanging was in the book of Esther

1. This wasn't the horse Barney Custer rode in on but but he was happy to be astride one
for his ride out of Lutha in the company of his friend, Lt. Otto Butzow.
They didn't realize that they would soon both be guests of Lord Greystoke,
he who had once been known only as Tarzan of the Apes, in ERB's novel, "The Eternal Lover."
2. "Here indeed was a king." Oops! That's a line from "Tarzan's Quest," not "The Mad King."
However, a thought similar to that may have crossed the mind of Prince Ludwig von der Tann
as he credited Barney Custer with saving the throne for Leopold.
3. Barney Custer's farewell to Princess Emma von der Tann was crashed by none other than Leopold himself.
Art courtesy of Martin Gately.

Oddly enough, readers of The All-Story Magazine in 1914 met Barney Custer and Lieutenant Butzow a couple of weeks before the publication of their adventures in "The Mad King."

A novelette, "The Eternal Lover," was published in the All-Story, complete in one issue, on March 7, 1914. That story primarily concerned Victoria Custer, the sister of Barney Custer. Later, it would be combined with a followup magazine story, "Sweetheart Primeval," and both would be published in one book called "The Eternal Lover."

But in reading "The Eternal Lover," the reader might be a bit puzzled as Barney Custer is said to be in Africa, along with Victoria, "to forget." It doesn't say what he was trying to forget, and the reader might have wondered about that, briefly, before getting caught up in the adventures of Victoria herself.

Then, the faithful All-Story reader would have found the story "The Mad King" in the magazine, complete in one issue, on March 21 of that same year. At that time, he or she would have gotten the "back story" of Barney Custer how he had gone to Lutha and how he had met Lt. Butzow there and how the two of them had restored a king to his throne, only to see the jealous king show ungratefulness for Barney's services, and even try to kill him.

And so, Barney had to flee Lutha, in the company of his now good friend, Lt. Butzow. But he had to leave behind the love of his life, Princess Emma.

That explained what Barney was trying to forget while vacationing on the estate of Lord Greystoke, Tarzan of the Apes.

The earlier story also set up a possible romantic interest for Lt. Butzow, who got to know Victoria a little bit while staying at Barney's Nebraska home. Victoria was not an easy catch, and had turned down many suitors, including William Curtiss who came to Africa with Butzow in order to join up with Barney and Victoria where he could propose to the lady. She turned him down, and then went on a fantasy adventure with a stone-age caveman. However, the adventure ended with the caveman's death, putting Victoria back to square one, romantically speaking. Curtiss, whom she didn't want to marry anyway, was killed in Africa after she rebuffed him.

In the opening chapter of "Barney Custer of Beatrice," the sequel to "The Mad King," there was a hint that Victoria might at last have realized that Lt. Butzow would be a good catch. But would anything come of that possibility? The reader would have to read the whole story to find out.

So, in proper sequence, Barney Custer went to Lutha and placed the rightful king upon the throne; then, he went to Africa "to forget," and new friend Lt. Butzow joined him there. After that, with both back in Beatrice, Nebraska, the story would continue in the three-part All-Story serial, "Barney Custer of Beatrice," Aug. 7 to Aug. 21, 1915, almost a year and a half after the initial Mad King story appeared.
Edgar Rice Burroughs was always the "Master of Adventure." Not only was he able to link the story line of a "Ruritarian romance" into adventures with a 100,000-year-old caveman, but he was also able to tie in Tarzan of the Apes!

Next up: The Mad King, Part II, Barney Custer of Beatrice
1. (A) Without his beard, Barney was described as square-jawed
- - - - -

The story of a Nebraska farm gal's fling with a 100,000-year-old caveman turned
up in the middle of a two-part adventure about intrigue in an Eastern European country.
The stories were told in "The Eternal Love" and "The Mad King" by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Tarzan of the Apes played a role as well.
This cover for "The Eternal Lover" was put on a jacket by Charlie Madison at erbgraphics, using the image from the Ace paperback.
See Variants section at

The Eternal Lover: Bibliographic Info and e-Text Edition in ERBzine

More on The Mad King

On-going Mad King comic strip by Martin Gately, script; 
Enrique Alcatena, artist, and Josh Aitken, letters, 
is among several available by signing up for COMICS at ERB Inc.:

If you visit Lutha this summer, be sure to wear
your T-shirt promoting Edgar Rice Burroughs's "The Mad King." 
These shirts, and many others (three web pages full, in all) are available at:

ERBzine book publication information, e-text, other features and links:
Read the e-Text Edition

Off-Site References
ERBlist summary roject, Mad King
Edgardemain Mad King summary

By John Martin
ERBzine 6787: INTRO and CONTENTS
ERBzine 6788
ERBzine 6788a
ERBzine 6789
ERBzine 6789a

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