The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 1

De Montfort's bold challenge was to them
but little short of sacrilege.

Henry, flushing in mortification and anger, rose to advance upon De
Montfort, but suddenly recollecting the power which he represented, he
thought better of whatever action he contemplated and, with a haughty
sneer, turned to his courtiers.

"Come, my gentlemen," he said, "methought that we were to have a turn
with the foils this morning. Already it waxeth late. Come, De Fulm! Come,
Leybourn!" and the King left the apartment followed by his gentlemen,
all of whom had drawn away from the Earl of Leicester when it became
apparent that the royal displeasure was strong against him. As the
arras fell behind the departing King, De Montfort shrugged his broad
shoulders, and turning, left the apartment by another door.

When the King, with his gentlemen, entered the armory he was still
smarting from the humiliation of De Montfort's reproaches, and as he
laid aside his surcoat and plumed hat to take the foils with De Fulm,
his eyes alighted on the master of fence, Sir Jules de Vac, who was
advancing with the King's foil and helmet. Henry felt in no mood for
fencing with De Fulm, who, like the other sycophants that surrounded
him, always allowed the King easily to best him in every encounter.

De Vac he knew to be too jealous of his fame as a swordsman to permit
himself to be overcome by aught but superior skill, and this day Henry
felt that he could best the devil himself.

The armory was a great room on the main floor of the palace, off the
guard room. It was built in a small wing of the building so that it
had light from three sides. In charge of it was the lean, grizzled,
leather-skinned Sir Jules de Vac, and it was he whom Henry commanded to
face him in mimic combat with the foils, for the King wished to go with
hammer and tongs at someone to vent his suppressed rage.

So he let De Vac assume to his mind's eye the person of the hated De
Montfort, and it followed that De Vac was nearly surprised into an early
and mortifying defeat by the King's sudden and clever attack.

Henry III had always been accounted a good swordsman, but that day
he quite outdid himself and, in his imagination, was about to run
the pseudo De Montfort through the heart, to the wild acclaim of his
audience. For this fell purpose he had backed the astounded De Vac twice
around the hall when, with a clever feint, and backward step,

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