The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 126

his men did not participate, but camped a little apart from the town
until daybreak the following morning, when they started east, toward
Dover.

They marched until late the following evening, passing some twenty miles
out of their way to visit a certain royalist stronghold. The troops
stationed there had fled, having been appraised some few hours earlier,
by fugitives, of the defeat of Henry's army at Lewes.

Norman of Torn searched the castle for the one he sought, but, finding
it entirely deserted, continued his eastward march. Some few miles
farther on, he overtook a party of deserting royalist soldiery, and from
them he easily, by dint of threats, elicited the information he desired:
the direction taken by the refugees from the deserted castle, their
number, and as close a description of the party as the soldiers could
give.

Again he was forced to change the direction of his march, this
time heading northward into Kent. It was dark before he reached his
destination, and saw before him the familiar outlines of the castle
of Roger de Leybourn. This time, the outlaw threw his fierce horde
completely around the embattled pile before he advanced with a score of
sturdy ruffians to reconnoiter.

Making sure that the drawbridge was raised, and that he could not hope
for stealthy entrance there, he crept silently to the rear of the great
building and there, among the bushes, his men searched for the ladder
that Norman of Torn had seen the knavish servant of My Lady Claudia
unearth, that the outlaw might visit the Earl of Buckingham,
unannounced.

Presently they found it, and it was the work of but a moment to raise
it to the sill of the low window, so that soon the twenty stood beside
their chief within the walls of Leybourn.

Noiselessly, they moved through the halls and corridors of the castle
until a maid, bearing a great pasty from the kitchen, turned a sudden
corner and bumped full into the Outlaw of Torn. With a shriek that might
have been heard at Lewes, she dropped the dish upon the stone floor and,
turning, ran, still shrieking at the top of her lungs, straight for the
great dining hall.

So close behind her came the little band of outlaws that scarce had the
guests arisen in consternation from the table at the shrill cries of the
girl than Norman of Torn burst through the great door with twenty drawn
swords at his back.

The hall was filled with knights and gentlewomen and house servants and
men-at-arms. Fifty swords flashed from fifty scabbards as the men of the
party saw the

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