The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 14

the dock and, gathering the sleeping child in his arms, stood
listening, preparatory to mounting to the alley which led to old Til's
place.

As he stood thus, a faint sound of clanking armor came to his attentive
ears; louder and louder it grew until there could be no doubt but that a
number of men were approaching.

De Vac resumed his place in the skiff, and again drew it far beneath
the dock. Scarcely had he done so ere a party of armored knights and
men-at-arms clanked out upon the planks above him from the mouth of the
dark alley. Here they stopped as though for consultation and plainly
could the listener below hear every word of their conversation.

"De Montfort," said one, "what thinkest thou of it? Can it be that the
Queen is right and that Richard lies dead beneath these black waters?"

"No, De Clare," replied a deep voice, which De Vac recognized as that of
the Earl of Leicester. "The hand that could steal the Prince from out of
the very gardens of his sire without the knowledge of Lady Maud or her
companion, which must evidently have been the case, could more easily
and safely have dispatched him within the gardens had that been the
object of this strange attack. I think, My Lord, that presently we shall
hear from some bold adventurer who holds the little Prince for
ransom. God give that such may be the case, for of all the winsome and
affectionate little fellows I have ever seen, not even excepting mine
own dear son, the little Richard was the most to be beloved. Would that
I might get my hands upon the foul devil who has done this horrid deed."

Beneath the planks, not four feet from where Leicester stood, lay the
object of his search. The clanking armor, the heavy spurred feet, and
the voices above him had awakened the little Prince and, with a startled
cry, he sat upright in the bottom of the skiff. Instantly De Vac's iron
band clapped over the tiny mouth, but not before a single faint wail had
reached the ears of the men above.

"Hark! What was that, My Lord?" cried one of the men-at-arms.

In tense silence they listened for a repetition of the sound and then De
Montfort cried out:

"What ho, below there! Who is it beneath the dock? Answer, in the name
of the King!"

Richard, recognizing the voice of his favorite uncle, struggled to free
himself, but De Vac's ruthless hand crushed out the weak efforts of the
babe, and all was quiet as

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