The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 39

of
broad and lovely meadowland through which wound a sparkling tributary of
the Trent.

Two more gateways let into the great fortress, one piercing the north
wall and one the east. All three gates were strongly fortified with
towered and buttressed barbicans which must be taken before the main
gates could be reached. Each barbican was portcullised, while the inner
gates were similarly safeguarded in addition to the drawbridges which,
spanning the moat when lowered, could be drawn up at the approach of an
enemy, effectually stopping his advance.

The new towers and buildings added to the ancient keep under the
direction of Norman of Torn and the grim, old man whom he called father,
were of the Norman type of architecture, the windows were larger, the
carving more elaborate, the rooms lighter and more spacious.

Within the great enclosure thrived a fair sized town, for, with his ten
hundred fighting-men, the Outlaw of Torn required many squires, lackeys,
cooks, scullions, armorers, smithies, farriers, hostlers and the like to
care for the wants of his little army.

Fifteen hundred war horses, beside five hundred sumpter beasts, were
quartered in the great stables, while the east court was alive with
cows, oxen, goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits and chickens.

Great wooden carts drawn by slow, plodding oxen were daily visitors to
the grim pile, fetching provender for man and beast from the neighboring
farm lands of the poor Saxon peasants, to whom Norman of Torn paid good
gold for their crops.

These poor serfs, who were worse than slaves to the proud barons who
owned the land they tilled, were forbidden by royal edict to sell or
give a pennysworth of provisions to the Outlaw of Torn, upon pain of
death, but nevertheless his great carts made their trips regularly and
always returned full laden, and though the husbandmen told sad tales
to their overlords of the awful raids of the Devil of Torn in which he
seized upon their stuff by force, their tongues were in their cheeks as
they spoke and the Devil's gold in their pockets.

And so, while the barons learned to hate him the more, the peasants'
love for him increased. Them he never injured; their fences, their
stock, their crops, their wives and daughters were safe from molestation
even though the neighboring castle of their lord might be sacked from
the wine cellar to the ramparts of the loftiest tower. Nor did anyone
dare ride rough shod over the territory which Norman of Torn patrolled.
A dozen bands of cut-throats he had driven from the Derby hills, and
though the barons would much rather have had

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