The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 114

turn
loose upon her fair breast the beasts of hell who know no law or order
or decency other than that which I enforce."

As Norman of Torn ceased speaking, the priest sat silent for many
minutes.

"Thou hast indeed a grave responsibility, my son," he said at last.
"Thou canst not well go unless thou takest thy horde with thee out of
England, but even that may be possible; who knows other than God?"

"For my part," laughed the outlaw, "I be willing to leave it in His
hands; which seems to be the way with Christians. When one would shirk
a responsibility, or explain an error, lo, one shoulders it upon the
Lord."

"I fear, my son," said the priest, "that what seed of reverence I have
attempted to plant within thy breast hath borne poor fruit."

"That dependeth upon the viewpoint, Father; as I take not the Lord into
partnership in my successes it seemeth to me to be but of a mean and
poor spirit to saddle my sorrows and perplexities upon Him. I may be
wrong, for I am ill-versed in religious matters, but my conception of
God and scapegoat be not that they are synonymous."

"Religion, my son, be a bootless subject for argument between friends,"
replied the priest, "and further, there be that nearer my heart just now
which I would ask thee. I may offend, but thou know I do not mean to.
The question I would ask, is, dost wholly trust the old man whom thou
call father?"

"I know of no treachery," replied the outlaw, "which he hath ever
conceived against me. Why?"

"I ask because I have written to Simon de Montfort asking him to meet
me and two others here upon an important matter. I have learned that he
expects to be at his Leicester castle, for a few days, within the week.
He is to notify me when he will come and I shall then send for thee
and the old man of Torn; but it were as well, my son, that thou do
not mention this matter to thy father, nor let him know when thou come
hither to the meeting that De Montfort is to be present."

"As you say, Father," replied Norman of Torn. "I do not make head nor
tail of thy wondrous intrigues, but that thou wish it done thus or so is
sufficient. I must be off to Torn now, so I bid thee farewell."

Until the following Spring, Norman of Torn continued to occupy himself
with occasional pillages against the royalists of the surrounding
counties, and his patrols

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