The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 137

him, burying her face in her raised
arms, he came to her side, and, laying his hand upon her shoulder, said
sadly:

"And now you see, My Lady, why I did not follow you to France. My heart
went there with you, but I knew that naught but sorrow and humiliation
could come to one whom the Devil of Torn loved, if that love was
returned; and so I waited until you might forget the words you had
spoken to Roger de Conde before I came to fulfill the promise that you
should know him in his true colors.

"It is because I love you, Bertrade, that I have come this night. God
knows that it be no pleasant thing to see the loathing in your very
attitude, and to read the hate and revulsion that surges through your
heart, or to guess the hard, cold thoughts which fill your mind against
me because I allowed you to speak the words you once spoke, and to the
Devil of Torn.

"I make no excuse for my weakness. I ask no forgiveness for what I know
you never can forgive. That, when you think of me, it will always be
with loathing and contempt is the best that I can hope.

"I only know that I love you, Bertrade; I only know that I love you, and
with a love that surpasseth even my own understanding.

"Here is the ring that you gave in token of friendship. Take it. The
hand that wore it has done no wrong by the light that has been given it
as guide.

"The blood that has pulsed through the finger that it circled came from
a heart that beat for Bertrade de Montfort; a heart that shall continue
to beat for her alone until a merciful providence sees fit to gather in
a wasted and useless life.

"Farewell, Bertrade." Kneeling he raised the hem of her garment to his
lips.

A thousand conflicting emotions surged through the heart of this proud
daughter of the new conqueror of England. The anger of an outraged
confidence, gratitude for the chivalry which twice had saved her honor,
hatred for the murderer of a hundred friends and kinsmen, respect and
honor for the marvellous courage of the man, loathing and contempt for
the base born, the memory of that exalted moment when those handsome
lips had clung to hers, pride in the fearlessness of a champion who
dared come alone among twenty thousand enemies for the sake of a promise
made her; but stronger than all the rest, two stood out before her
mind's eye like living

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