The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 104

of
Torn advanced on foot with Shandy and the eight others, close in the
wake of the traitorous servant.

The fellow led them to the rear of the castle, where, among the brush,
he had hidden a rude ladder, which, when tilted, spanned the moat and
rested its farther end upon a window ledge some ten feet above the
ground.

"Keep the fellow here till last, Shandy," said the outlaw, "till all
be in, an' if there be any signs of treachery, stick him through the
gizzard--death thus be slower and more painful."

So saying, Norman of Torn crept boldly across the improvised bridge, and
disappeared within the window beyond. One by one the band of cut-throats
passed through the little window, until all stood within the castle
beside their chief; Shandy coming last with the servant.

"Lead me quietly, knave, to the room where My Lord sups," said Norman
of Torn. "You, Shandy, place your men where they can prevent my being
interrupted."

Following a moment or two after Shandy came another figure stealthily
across the ladder and, as Norman of Torn and his followers left the
little room, this figure pushed quietly through the window and followed
the great outlaw down the unlighted corridor.

A moment later, My Lady of Leybourn looked up from her plate upon the
grim figure of an armored knight standing in the doorway of the great
dining hall.

"My Lord Earl!" she cried. "Look! Behind you."

And as the Earl of Buckingham glanced behind him, he overturned the
bench upon which he sat in his effort to gain his feet; for My Lord Earl
of Buckingham had a guilty conscience.

The grim figure raised a restraining hand, as the Earl drew his sword.

"A moment, My Lord," said a low voice in perfect French.

"Who are you?" cried the lady.

"I be an old friend of My Lord, here; but let me tell you a little
story.

"In a grim old castle in Essex, only last night, a great lord of England
held by force the beautiful daughter of a noble house and, when she
spurned his advances, he struck her with his clenched fist upon her fair
face, and with his brute hands choked her. And in that castle also was
a despised and hunted outlaw, with a price upon his head, for whose neck
the hempen noose has been yawning these many years. And it was this vile
person who came in time to save the young woman from the noble flower of
knighthood that would have ruined her young life.

"The outlaw wished to kill the knight, but many men-at-arms came

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