The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 42

and struck
repeatedly but futilely against the iron headgear of her assailant while
he swung his horse up the road, and, dragging her palfrey after him,
galloped rapidly out of sight.

Norman of Torn sprang to the door, and, reckless of his unarmored
condition, leaped to Sir Mortimer's back and spurred swiftly in the
direction taken by the girl and her abductor.

The great black was fleet, and, unencumbered by the usual heavy armor
of his rider, soon brought the fugitives to view. Scarce a mile had been
covered ere the knight, turning to look for pursuers, saw the face of
Norman of Torn not ten paces behind him.

With a look of mingled surprise, chagrin and incredulity the knight
reined in his horse, exclaiming as he did so, "Mon Dieu, Edward!"

"Draw and defend yourself," cried Norman of Torn.

"But, Your Highness," stammered the knight.

"Draw, or I stick you as I have stuck an hundred other English pigs,"
cried Norman of Torn.

The charging steed was almost upon him and the knight looked to see the
rider draw rein, but, like a black bolt, the mighty Sir Mortimer struck
the other horse full upon the shoulder, and man and steed rolled in the
dust of the roadway.

The knight arose, unhurt, and Norman of Torn dismounted to give fair
battle upon even terms. Though handicapped by the weight of his armor,
the knight also had the advantage of its protection, so that the
two fought furiously for several minutes without either gaining an
advantage.

The girl sat motionless and wide-eyed at the side of the road watching
every move of the two contestants. She made no effort to escape, but
seemed riveted to the spot by the very fierceness of the battle she
was beholding, as well, possibly, as by the fascination of the handsome
giant who had espoused her cause. As she looked upon her champion, she
saw a lithe, muscular, brown-haired youth whose clear eyes and perfect
figure, unconcealed by either bassinet or hauberk, reflected the clean,
athletic life of the trained fighting man.

Upon his face hovered a faint, cold smile of haughty pride as the sword
arm, displaying its mighty strength and skill in every move, played with
the sweating, puffing, steel-clad enemy who hacked and hewed so futilely
before him. For all the din of clashing blades and rattling armor,
neither of the contestants had inflicted much damage, for the knight
could neither force nor insinuate his point beyond the perfect guard of
his unarmored foe, who, for his part, found difficulty in penetrating
the other's armor.

Finally, by dint of his mighty strength, Norman

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