The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 100

moat. What may we do now, Roger,
without horses?"

"Let us get out of this place, and as far away as possible under the
cover of darkness, and I doubt not I may find a way to bring you to your
father's castle," replied Norman of Torn.

Putting out the light, lest it should attract the notice of the watch
upon the castle walls, Norman of Torn pushed open the little door and
stepped forth into the fresh night air.

The ravine was so overgrown with tangled vines and wildwood that, had
there ever been a pathway, it was now completely obliterated; and it
was with difficulty that the man forced his way through the entangling
creepers and tendrils. The girl stumbled after him and twice fell before
they had taken a score of steps.

"I fear I am not strong enough," she said finally. "The way is much more
difficult than I had thought."

So Norman of Torn lifted her in his strong arms, and stumbled on
through the darkness and the shrubbery down the center of the ravine. It
required the better part of an hour to traverse the little distance to
the roadway; and all the time her head nestled upon his shoulder and her
hair brushed his cheek. Once when she lifted her head to speak to him,
he bent toward her, and in the darkness, by chance, his lips brushed
hers. He felt her little form tremble in his arms, and a faint sigh
breathed from her lips.

They were upon the highroad now, but he did not put her down. A mist
was before his eyes, and he could have crushed her to him and smothered
those warm lips with his own. Slowly, his face inclined toward hers,
closer and closer his iron muscles pressed her to him, and then, clear
cut and distinct before his eyes, he saw the corpse of the Outlaw of
Torn swinging by the neck from the arm of a wooden gibbet, and beside it
knelt a woman gowned in rich cloth of gold and many jewels. Her face
was averted and her arms were outstretched toward the dangling form that
swung and twisted from the grim, gaunt arm. Her figure was racked with
choking sobs of horror-stricken grief. Presently she staggered to her
feet and turned away, burying her face in her hands; but he saw her
features for an instant then--the woman who openly and alone mourned the
dead Outlaw of Torn was Bertrade de Montfort.

Slowly his arms relaxed, and gently and reverently he lowered Joan
de Tany to the ground. In that

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