The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 33

behind him to tie his neck with a halter
later, and dead men talk the least."

"If it be The Black Wolf," whispered Father Claude to the boy, "no worse
fate could befall us for he preys ever upon the clergy, and when drunk,
as he now is, he murders his victims. I will throw myself before them
while you hasten through the rear doorway to your horse, and make good
your escape." He spoke in French, and held his hands in the attitude of
prayer, so that he quite entirely misled the ruffians, who had no idea
that he was communicating with the boy.

Norman of Torn could scarce repress a smile at this clever ruse of the
old priest, and, assuming a similar attitude, he replied in French:

"The good Father Claude does not know Norman of Torn if he thinks he
runs out the back door like an old woman because a sword looks in at the
front door."

Then rising he addressed the ruffians.

"I do not know what manner of grievance you hold against my good friend
here, nor neither do I care. It is sufficient that he is the friend of
Norman of Torn, and that Norman of Torn be here in person to acknowledge
the debt of friendship. Have at you, sir knights of the great filth and
the mighty stink!" and with drawn sword he vaulted over the table and
fell upon the surprised leader.

In the little room, but two could engage him at once, but so fiercely
did his blade swing and so surely did he thrust that, in a bare moment,
The Black Wolf lay dead upon the floor and the red giant, Shandy, was
badly, though not fatally wounded. The four remaining ruffians backed
quickly from the hut, and a more cautious fighter would have let them
go their way in peace, for in the open, four against one are odds no man
may pit himself against with impunity. But Norman of Torn saw red when
he fought and the red lured him ever on into the thickest of the fray.
Only once before had he fought to the death, but that once had taught
him the love of it, and ever after until his death, it marked his manner
of fighting; so that men who loathed and hated and feared him were as
one with those who loved him in acknowledging that never before had God
joined in the human frame absolute supremacy with the sword and such
utter fearlessness.

So it was, now, that instead of being satisfied with his victory,

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