The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 108

to Tany."

"I shall give them plenty of room," replied Norman of Torn. "My neck
itcheth not to be stretched," and he laughed and mounted.

Five minutes after he had cantered down the road from camp, Spizo the
Spaniard, sneaking his horse unseen into the surrounding forest, mounted
and spurred rapidly after him. The camp, in the throes of packing
refractory, half broken sumpter animals, and saddling their own wild
mounts, did not notice his departure. Only the little grim, gray, old
man knew that he had gone, or why, or whither.

That afternoon, as Roger de Conde was admitted to the castle of Richard
de Tany and escorted to a little room where he awaited the coming of
the Lady Joan, a swarthy messenger handed a letter to the captain of the
King's soldiers camped a few miles south of Tany.

The officer tore open the seal as the messenger turned and spurred back
in the direction from which he had come.

And this was what he read:

Norman of Torn is now at the castle of Tany, without escort.

Instantly the call "to arms" and "mount" sounded through the camp and,
in five minutes, a hundred mercenaries galloped rapidly toward the
castle of Richard de Tany, in the visions of their captain a great
reward and honor and preferment for the capture of the mighty outlaw who
was now almost within his clutches.

Three roads meet at Tany; one from the south along which the King's
soldiers were now riding; one from the west which had guided Norman
of Torn from his camp to the castle; and a third which ran northwest
through Cambridge and Huntingdon toward Derby.

All unconscious of the rapidly approaching foes, Norman of Torn waited
composedly in the anteroom for Joan de Tany.

Presently she entered, clothed in the clinging house garment of the
period; a beautiful vision, made more beautiful by the suppressed
excitement which caused the blood to surge beneath the velvet of her
cheek, and her breasts to rise and fall above her fast beating heart.

She let him take her fingers in his and raise them to his lips, and then
they stood looking into each other's eyes in silence for a long moment.

"I do not know how to tell you what I have come to tell," he said sadly.
"I have not meant to deceive you to your harm, but the temptation to be
with you and those whom you typify must be my excuse. I--" He paused.
It was easy to tell her that he was the Outlaw of Torn, but if she loved

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