The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 37

of the castle after
this outbreak, Shandy, turning to Norman of Torn, with a wide grin,

"By the Pope's hind leg, but thy amiable father loveth the English.
There should be great riding after such as he."

"Ye ride after ME, varlet," cried Norman of Torn, "an' lest ye should
forget again so soon who be thy master, take that, as a reminder," and
he struck the red giant full upon the mouth with his clenched fist--so
that the fellow tumbled heavily to the earth.

He was on his feet in an instant, spitting blood, and in a towering
rage. As he rushed, bull-like, toward Norman of Torn, the latter made
no move to draw; he but stood with folded arms, eyeing Shandy with cold,
level gaze; his head held high, haughty face marked by an arrogant sneer
of contempt.

The great ruffian paused, then stopped, slowly a sheepish smile
overspread his countenance and, going upon one knee, he took the hand of
Norman of Torn and kissed it, as some great and loyal noble knight might
have kissed his king's hand in proof of his love and fealty. There was
a certain rude, though chivalrous grandeur in the act; and it marked
not only the beginning of a lifelong devotion and loyalty on the part of
Shandy toward his young master, but was prophetic of the attitude which
Norman of Torn was to inspire in all the men who served him during the
long years that saw thousands pass the barbicans of Torn to crave a
position beneath his grim banner.

As Shandy rose, one by one, John Flory, James, his brother, One Eye
Kanty, and Peter the Hermit knelt before their young lord and kissed
his hand. From the Great Court beyond, a little, grim, gray, old man had
watched this scene, a slight smile upon his old, malicious face.

"'Tis to transcend even my dearest dreams," he muttered. "'S death,
but he be more a king than Henry himself. God speed the day of his
coronation, when, before the very eyes of the Plantagenet hound, a black
cap shall be placed upon his head for a crown; beneath his feet the
platform of a wooden gibbet for a throne."


It was a beautiful spring day in May, 1262, that Norman of Torn rode
alone down the narrow trail that led to the pretty cottage with which he
had replaced the hut of his old friend, Father Claude.

As was his custom, he rode with lowered visor, and nowhere upon his
person or upon the trappings of his horse were sign or insignia

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