The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 35

we, be fit to command us."

"But what be the duties?" said he whom they called Peter the Hermit.

"To follow Norman of Torn where he may lead, to protect the poor and the
weak, to lay down your lives in defence of woman, and to prey upon rich
Englishmen and harass the King of England."

The last two clauses of these articles of faith appealed to the ruffians
so strongly that they would have subscribed to anything, even daily
mass, and a bath, had that been necessary to admit them to the service
of Norman of Torn.

"Aye, aye!" they cried. "We be your men, indeed."

"Wait," said Norman of Torn, "there is more. You are to obey my every
command on pain of instant death, and one-half of all your gains are to
be mine. On my side, I will clothe and feed you, furnish you with mounts
and armor and weapons and a roof to sleep under, and fight for and with
you with a sword arm which you know to be no mean protector. Are you
satisfied?"

"That we are," and "Long live Norman of Torn," and "Here's to the chief
of the Torns" signified the ready assent of the burly cut-throats.

"Then swear it as ye kiss the hilt of my sword and this token," pursued
Norman of Torn catching up a crucifix from the priest's table.

With these formalities was born the Clan Torn, which grew in a few years
to number a thousand men, and which defied a king's army and helped to
make Simon de Montfort virtual ruler of England.

Almost immediately commenced that series of outlaw acts upon neighboring
barons, and chance members of the gentry who happened to be caught in
the open by the outlaws, that filled the coffers of Norman of Torn with
many pieces of gold and silver, and placed a price upon his head ere he
had scarce turned eighteen.

That he had no fear of or desire to avoid responsibility for his acts,
he grimly evidenced by marking with a dagger's point upon the foreheads
of those who fell before his own sword the initials NT.

As his following and wealth increased, he rebuilt and enlarged the grim
Castle of Torn, and again dammed the little stream which had furnished
the moat with water in bygone days.

Through all the length and breadth of the country that witnessed
his activities, his very name was worshipped by poor and lowly and
oppressed. The money he took from the King's tax gatherers, he returned
to the miserable peasants of the district, and once when

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