The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 101

instant Norman of Torn had learned the
difference between friendship and love, and love and passion.

The moon was shining brightly upon them, and the girl turned, wide-eyed
and wondering, toward him. She had felt the wild call of love and she
could not understand his seeming coldness now, for she had seen no
vision beyond a life of happiness within those strong arms.

"Joan," he said, "I would but now have wronged thee. Forgive me. Forget
what has passed between us until I can come to you in my rightful
colors, when the spell of the moonlight and adventure be no longer upon
us, and then,"--he paused--"and then I shall tell you who I be and you
shall say if you still care to call me friend--no more than that shall I
ask."

He had not the heart to tell her that he loved only Bertrade de
Montfort, but it had been a thousand times better had he done so.

She was about to reply when a dozen armed men sprang from the
surrounding shadows, calling upon them to surrender. The moonlight
falling upon the leader revealed a great giant of a fellow with an
enormous, bristling mustache--it was Shandy.

Norman of Torn lowered his raised sword.

"It is I, Shandy," he said. "Keep a still tongue in thy head until I
speak with thee apart. Wait here, My Lady Joan; these be friends."

Drawing Shandy to one side, he learned that the faithful fellow had
become alarmed at his chief's continued absence, and had set out with
a small party to search for him. They had come upon the riderless Sir
Mortimer grazing by the roadside, and a short distance beyond, had
discovered evidences of the conflict at the cross-roads. There they had
found Norman of Torn's helmet, confirming their worst fears. A peasant
in a nearby hut had told them of the encounter, and had set them upon
the road taken by the Earl and his prisoners.

"And here we be, My Lord," concluded the great fellow.

"How many are you?" asked the outlaw.

"Fifty, all told, with those who lie farther back in the bushes."

"Give us horses, and let two of the men ride behind us," said the chief.
"And, Shandy, let not the lady know that she rides this night with the
Outlaw of Torn."

"Yes, My Lord."

They were soon mounted, and clattering down the road, back toward the
castle of Richard de Tany.

Joan de Tany looked in silent wonder upon this grim force that sprang
out of the shadows of the night to do the bidding of Roger de Conde,

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