The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 26

the moment De Montfort's back be turned."

"He fears his brother-in-law," interrupted another of the knights, "even
more than the devil fears holy water. I was in attendance on his majesty
some weeks since when he was going down the Thames upon the royal barge.
We were overtaken by as severe a thunder storm as I have ever seen, of
which the King was in such abject fear that he commanded that we land at
the Bishop of Durham's palace opposite which we then were. De Montfort,
who was residing there, came to meet Henry, with all due respect,
observing, 'What do you fear, now, Sire, the tempest has passed?' And
what thinkest thou old 'waxen heart' replied? Why, still trembling, he
said, 'I do indeed fear thunder and lightning much, but, by the hand of
God, I tremble before you more than for all the thunder in Heaven!'"

"I surmise," interjected the grim, old man, "that De Montfort has in
some manner gained an ascendancy over the King. Think you he looks so
high as the throne itself?"

"Not so," cried the oldest of the knights. "Simon de Montfort works for
England's weal alone--and methinks, nay knowest, that he would be first
to spring to arms to save the throne for Henry. He but fights the King's
rank and covetous advisers, and though he must needs seem to defy the
King himself, it be but to save his tottering power from utter collapse.
But, gad, how the King hates him. For a time it seemed that there might
be a permanent reconciliation when, for years after the disappearance
of the little Prince Richard, De Montfort devoted much of his time and
private fortune to prosecuting a search through all the world for the
little fellow, of whom he was inordinately fond. This self-sacrificing
interest on his part won over the King and Queen for many years, but of
late his unremitting hostility to their continued extravagant waste of
the national resources has again hardened them toward him."

The old man, growing uneasy at the turn the conversation threatened,
sent the youth from the room on some pretext, and himself left to
prepare supper.

As they were sitting at the evening meal, one of the nobles eyed the boy
intently, for he was indeed good to look upon; his bright handsome face,
clear, intelligent gray eyes, and square strong jaw framed in a mass
of brown waving hair banged at the forehead and falling about his ears,
where it was again cut square at the sides and back, after the fashion
of the times.

His upper body

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