The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 117

scowled angrily, crying:

"It ill becomes such a low fellow to speak thus disrespectfully of our
gracious King. If he were less generous, he would have sent you a halter
rather than this message which I bear."

"A bridle for thy tongue, my friend," replied Norman of Torn, "were in
better taste than a halter for my neck. But come, let us see what the
King writes to his friend, the Outlaw of Torn."

Taking the parchment from the messenger, Norman of Torn read:

Henry, by Grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of
Aquitaine; to Norman of Torn:

Since it has been called to our notice that you be harassing and
plundering the persons and property of our faithful lieges!!!!!

We therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in us by Almighty God,
do command that you cease these nefarious practices!!!!!

And further, through the gracious intercession of Her Majesty, Queen
Eleanor, we do offer you full pardon for all your past crimes!!!!!

Provided, you repair at once to the town of Lewes, with all the fighting
men, your followers, prepared to protect the security of our person, and
wage war upon those enemies of England, Simon de Montfort, Gilbert de
Clare and their accomplices, who even now are collected to threaten and
menace our person and kingdom!!!!!

Or, otherwise, shall you suffer death, by hanging, for your long
unpunished crimes. Witnessed myself, at Lewes, on May the third, in the
forty-eighth year of our reign.

HENRY, REX.

"The closing paragraph be unfortunately worded," said Norman of Torn,
"for because of it shall the King's messenger eat the King's message,
and thus take back in his belly the answer of Norman of Torn." And
crumpling the parchment in his hand, he advanced toward the royal
emissary.

The knight whipped out his sword, but the Devil of Torn was even
quicker, so that it seemed that the King's messenger had deliberately
hurled his weapon across the room, so quickly did the outlaw disarm him.

And then Norman of Torn took the man by the neck with one powerful hand
and, despite his struggles, and the beating of his mailed fists, bent
him back upon the table, and there, forcing his teeth apart with the
point of his sword, Norman of Torn rammed the King's message down the
knight's throat; wax, parchment and all.

It was a crestfallen gentleman who rode forth from the castle of Torn a
half hour later and spurred rapidly--in his head a more civil tongue.

When, two days later, he appeared before the King at Winchelsea and
reported the outcome of his mission, Henry

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