The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 116

until he had but just received it. The message
closed with these words:

"Any clew, however vague, which might lead nearer to a true knowledge
of the fate of Prince Richard, we shall most gladly receive and give our
best attention. Therefore, if thou wilst find it convenient, we shall
visit thee, good father, on the fifth day from today."

Spizo, the Spaniard, had seen De Montfort's man leave the note with
Father Claude and he had seen the priest hide it under a great bowl on
his table, so that when the good father left his cottage, it was the
matter of but a moment's work for Spizo to transfer the message from its
hiding place to the breast of his tunic. The fellow could not read, but
he to whom he took the missive could, laboriously, decipher the Latin in
which it was penned.

The old man of Torn fairly trembled with suppressed rage as the full
purport of this letter flashed upon him. It had been years since he had
heard aught of the search for the little lost prince of England, and now
that the period of his silence was drawing to a close, now that more and
more often opportunities were opening up to him to wreak the last shred
of his terrible vengeance, the very thought of being thwarted at the
final moment staggered his comprehension.

"On the fifth day," he repeated. "That is the day on which we were to
ride south again. Well, we shall ride, and Simon de Montfort shall not
talk with thee, thou fool priest."

That same spring evening in the year 1264, a messenger drew rein before
the walls of Torn and, to the challenge of the watch, cried:

"A royal messenger from His Illustrious Majesty, Henry, by the grace of
God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Aquitaine, to Norman of
Torn, Open, in the name of the King!"

Norman of Torn directed that the King's messenger be admitted, and the
knight was quickly ushered into the great hall of the castle.

The outlaw presently entered in full armor, with visor lowered.

The bearing of the King's officer was haughty and arrogant, as became a
man of birth when dealing with a low born knave.

"His Majesty has deigned to address you, sirrah," he said, withdrawing
a parchment from his breast. "And, as you doubtless cannot read, I will
read the King's commands to you."

"I can read," replied Norman of Torn, "whatever the King can write.
Unless it be," he added, "that the King writes no better than he rules."

The messenger

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