The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 18

of his narrow shoulders and with waving of his arms and other
strange and amusing gesticulations. The child was fascinated. Here was
the first amusement of his little starved life. He listened intently to
the conversation, which was in French.

"I have just the thing for madame," the stranger was saying. "It be a
noble and stately hall far from the beaten way. It was built in the old
days by Harold the Saxon, but in later times, death and poverty and the
disfavor of the King have wrested it from his descendants. A few years
since, Henry granted it to that spend-thrift favorite of his, Henri de
Macy, who pledged it to me for a sum he hath been unable to repay. Today
it be my property, and as it be far from Paris, you may have it for the
mere song I have named. It be a wondrous bargain, madame."

"And when I come upon it, I shall find that I have bought a crumbling
pile of ruined masonry, unfit to house a family of foxes," replied the
old woman peevishly.

"One tower hath fallen, and the roof for half the length of one wing
hath sagged and tumbled in," explained the old Frenchman. "But the three
lower stories be intact and quite habitable. It be much grander even
now than the castles of many of England's noble barons, and the price,
madame--ah, the price be so ridiculously low."

Still the old woman hesitated.

"Come," said the Frenchman, "I have it. Deposit the money with Isaac the
Jew--thou knowest him?--and he shall hold it together with the deed
for forty days, which will give thee ample time to travel to Derby and
inspect thy purchase. If thou be not entirely satisfied, Isaac the Jew
shall return thy money to thee and the deed to me, but if at the end
of forty days thou hast not made demand for thy money, then shall Isaac
send the deed to thee and the money to me. Be not this an easy and fair
way out of the difficulty?"

The little old woman thought for a moment and at last conceded that
it seemed quite a fair way to arrange the matter. And thus it was
accomplished.

Several days later, the little old woman called the child to her.

"We start tonight upon a long journey to our new home. Thy face shall
be wrapped in many rags, for thou hast a most grievous toothache. Dost
understand?"

"But I have no toothache. My teeth do not pain me at all. I--"
expostulated the child.

"Tut, tut," interrupted the little

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