The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 48

a swordsman," spoke up a son of De Stutevill. "Never in all
the world was there such swordplay as I saw that day in the courtyard."

"I, too, have seen some wonderful swordplay," said Bertrade de Montfort,
"and that today. O he!" she cried, laughing gleefully, "verily do I
believe I have captured the wild Norman of Torn, for this very knight,
who styles himself Roger de Conde, fights as I ne'er saw man fight
before, and he rode with his visor down until I chide him for it."

Norman of Torn led in the laugh which followed, and of all the company
he most enjoyed the joke.

"An' speaking of the Devil," said the Baron, "how think you he will side
should the King eventually force war upon the barons? With his thousand
hell-hounds, the fate of England might well be in the palm of his bloody
hand."

"He loves neither King nor baron," spoke Mary de Stutevill, "and I
rather lean to the thought that he will serve neither, but rather
plunder the castles of both rebel and royalist whilst their masters be
absent at war."

"It be more to his liking to come while the master be home to welcome
him," said De Stutevill, ruthfully. "But yet I am always in fear for the
safety of my wife and daughters when I be away from Derby for any time.
May the good God soon deliver England from this Devil of Torn."

"I think you may have no need of fear on that score," spoke Mary, "for
Norman of Torn offered no violence to any woman within the wall of
Stutevill, and when one of his men laid a heavy hand upon me, it was the
great outlaw himself who struck the fellow such a blow with his mailed
hand as to crack the ruffian's helm, saying at the time, 'Know you,
fellow, Norman of Torn does not war upon women?'"

Presently the conversation turned to other subjects and Norman of Torn
heard no more of himself during that evening.

His stay at the castle of Stutevill was drawn out to three days, and
then, on the third day, as he sat with Bertrade de Montfort in an
embrasure of the south tower of the old castle, he spoke once more of
the necessity for leaving and once more she urged him to remain.

"To be with you, Bertrade of Montfort," he said boldly, "I would forego
any other pleasure, and endure any privation, or face any danger, but
there are others who look to me for guidance and my duty calls me

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