The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 103

thousand more lurked in the woods before
the grim pile.

Under cover of the tangled shrubbery, they crawled unseen to the little
door through which Joan de Tany had led him the night before. Following
the corridors and vaults beneath the castle, they came to the stone
stairway, and mounted to the passage which led to the false panel that
had given the two fugitives egress.

Slipping the spring lock, Norman of Torn entered the apartment
followed closely by his henchmen. On they went, through apartment after
apartment, but no sign of the Earl or his servitors rewarded their
search, and it was soon apparent that the castle was deserted.

As they came forth into the courtyard, they descried an old man basking
in the sun, upon a bench. The sight of them nearly caused the old fellow
to die of fright, for to see fifty armed men issue from the untenanted
halls was well reckoned to blanch even a braver cheek.

When Norman of Torn questioned him, he learned that De Fulm had ridden
out early in the day bound for Dover, where Prince Edward then was. The
outlaw knew it would be futile to pursue him, but yet, so fierce was his
anger against this man, that he ordered his band to mount, and spurring
to their head, he marched through Middlesex, and crossing the Thames
above London, entered Surrey late the same afternoon.

As they were going into camp that night in Kent, midway between London
and Rochester, word came to Norman of Torn that the Earl of Buckingham,
having sent his escort on to Dover, had stopped to visit the wife of a
royalist baron, whose husband was with Prince Edward's forces.

The fellow who gave this information was a servant in my lady's
household who held a grudge against his mistress for some wrong she had
done him. When, therefore, he found that these grim men were searching
for De Fulm, he saw a way to be revenged upon his mistress.

"How many swords be there at the castle?" asked Norman of Torn.

"Scarce a dozen, barring the Earl of Buckingham," replied the knave;
"and, furthermore, there be a way to enter, which I may show you, My
Lord, so that you may, unseen, reach the apartment where My Lady and the
Earl be supping."

"Bring ten men, beside yourself, Shandy," commanded Norman of Torn. "We
shall pay a little visit upon our amorous friend, My Lord, the Earl of
Buckingham."

Half an hour's ride brought them within sight of the castle.
Dismounting, and leaving their horses with one of the men, Norman

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