The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 121

chance should prevent the accomplishment of our
meeting, My Lord Earl, I send thee this by one who knoweth not either
its contents or the suspicions which I will narrate herein.

He who bareth this letter, I truly believe to be the lost Prince
Richard. Question him closely, My Lord, and I know that thou wilt be as
positive as I.

Of his past, thou know nearly as much as I, though thou may not know the
wondrous chivalry and true nobility of character of him men call!!!!!

Here the letter stopped, evidently cut short by the dagger of the
assassin.

"Mon Dieu! The damnable luck!" cried De Montfort, "but a second more
and the name we have sought for twenty years would have been writ.
Didst ever see such hellish chance as plays into the hand of the fiend
incarnate since that long gone day when his sword pierced the heart of
Lady Maud by the postern gate beside the Thames? The Devil himself must
watch o'er him.

"There be naught more we can do here," he continued. "I should have been
on my way to Fletching hours since. Come, my gentlemen, we will ride
south by way of Leicester and have the good Fathers there look to the
decent burial of this holy man."

The party mounted and rode rapidly away. Noon found them at Leicester,
and three days later, they rode into the baronial camp at Fletching.

At almost the same hour, the monks of the Abbey of Leicester performed
the last rites of Holy Church for the peace of the soul of Father Claude
and consigned his clay to the churchyard.

And thus another innocent victim of an insatiable hate and vengeance
which had been born in the King's armory twenty years before passed from
the eyes of men.




CHAPTER XVI

While Norman of Torn and his thousand fighting men marched slowly south
on the road toward Dover, the army of Simon de Montfort was preparing
for its advance upon Lewes, where King Henry, with his son Prince
Edward, and his brother, Prince Richard, King of the Romans, together
with the latter's son, were entrenched with their forces, sixty thousand
strong.

Before sunrise on a May morning in the year 1264, the barons' army set
out from its camp at Fletching, nine miles from Lewes and, marching
through dense forests, reached a point two miles from the city,
unobserved.

From here, they ascended the great ridge of the hills up the valley
Combe, the projecting shoulder of the Downs covering their march from
the town. The King's party, however, had no suspicion that an attack was
imminent and,

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