The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 145

those who be down that they may sink deeper
into the mud. Mon Dieu! How I hate you," she finished. And as she spoke
the words, Bertrade de Montfort looked straight into the eyes of her

The old Earl turned his head, for at heart he was a brave, broad, kindly
man, and he regretted what he had done in the haste and heat of anger.

"Come, child," said the King, "thou art distraught; thou sayest what
thou mean not. The world is better that this man be dead. He was an
enemy of organized society, he preyed ever upon his fellows. Life in
England will be safer after this day. Do not weep over the clay of a
nameless adventurer who knew not his own father."

Someone had lifted the little, grim, gray, old man to a sitting posture.
He was not dead. Occasionally he coughed, and when he did, his frame was
racked with suffering, and blood flowed from his mouth and nostrils.

At last they saw that he was trying to speak. Weakly he motioned toward
the King. Henry came toward him.

"Thou hast won thy sovereign's gratitude, my man," said the King,
kindly. "What be thy name?"

The old fellow tried to speak, but the effort brought on another
paroxysm of coughing. At last he managed to whisper.

"Look--at--me. Dost thou--not--remember me?
The--foils--the--blow--twenty-long-years. Thou--spat--upon--me."

Henry knelt and peered into the dying face.

"De Vac!" he exclaimed.

The old man nodded. Then he pointed to where lay Norman of Torn.

"Outlaw--highwayman--scourge--of--England. Look--upon--his--face.
Open--his tunic--left--breast."

He stopped from very weakness, and then in another moment, with a final
effort: "De--Vac's--revenge. God--damn--the--English," and slipped
forward upon the rushes, dead.

The King had heard, and De Montfort and the Queen. They stood looking
into each other's eyes with a strange fixity, for what seemed an
eternity, before any dared to move; and then, as though they feared what
they should see, they bent over the form of the Outlaw of Torn for the
first time.

The Queen gave a little cry as she saw the still, quiet face turned up
to hers.

"Edward!" she whispered.

"Not Edward, Madame," said De Montfort, "but--"

The King knelt beside the still form, across the breast of which lay the
unconscious body of Bertrade de Montfort. Gently, he lifted her to the
waiting arms of Philip of France, and then the King, with his own hands,
tore off the shirt of mail, and with trembling fingers ripped wide the
tunic where it covered the left breast of the Devil of Torn.

"Oh God!" he cried, and buried his head in his arms.

The Queen had seen also, and

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