The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 143

of sadness and finality in her
voice; but her eyes met his squarely and bravely.

Instantly, the sword of the young Prince leaped from its scabbard, and
facing De Montfort and the others, he backed to the side of Norman of
Torn.

"That she loves him be enough for me to know, my gentlemen," he said.
"Who takes the man Bertrade de Montfort loves must take Philip of France
as well."

Norman of Torn laid his left hand upon the other's shoulder.

"No, thou must not do this thing, my friend," he said. "It be my fight
and I will fight it alone. Go, I beg of thee, and take her with thee,
out of harm's way."

As they argued, Simon de Montfort and the King had spoken together, and,
at a word from the former, the soldiers rushed suddenly to the attack
again. It was a cowardly strategem, for they knew that the two could
not fight with the girl between them and their adversaries. And thus,
by weight of numbers, they took Bertrade de Montfort and the Prince away
from Norman of Torn without a blow being struck, and then the little,
grim, gray, old man stepped forward.

"There be but one sword in all England, nay in all the world that can,
alone, take Norman of Torn," he said, addressing the King, "and that
sword be mine. Keep thy cattle back, out of my way." And, without
waiting for a reply, the grim, gray man sprang in to engage him whom for
twenty years he had called son.

Norman of Torn came out of his corner to meet his new-found enemy, and
there, in the apartment of the Queen of England in the castle of Battel,
was fought such a duel as no man there had ever seen before, nor is it
credible that its like was ever fought before or since.

The world's two greatest swordsmen: teacher and pupil--the one with the
strength of a young bull, the other with the cunning of an old gray fox,
and both with a lifetime of training behind them, and the lust of blood
and hate before them--thrust and parried and cut until those that gazed
awestricken upon the marvellous swordplay scarcely breathed in the
tensity of their wonder.

Back and forth about the room they moved, while those who had come to
kill pressed back to make room for the contestants. Now was the young
man forcing his older foeman more and more upon the defensive. Slowly,
but as sure as death, he was winning ever nearer and nearer to victory.
The old man saw it

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