The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 5

force of knights and
men-at-arms to wage a relentless war upon his own barons that he might
effectively put a stop to all future interference by them with the royal
prerogative of the Plantagenets to misrule England.

If he could but learn the details of this plan, thought De Vac: the
point of landing of the foreign troops; their numbers; the first point
of attack. Ah, would it not be sweet revenge indeed to balk the King in
this venture so dear to his heart!

A word to De Clare, or De Montfort would bring the barons and their
retainers forty thousand strong to overwhelm the King's forces.

And he would let the King know to whom, and for what cause, he was
beholden for his defeat and discomfiture. Possibly the barons would
depose Henry, and place a new king upon England's throne, and then De
Vac would mock the Plantagenet to his face. Sweet, kind, delectable
vengeance, indeed! And the old man licked his thin lips as though to
taste the last sweet vestige of some dainty morsel.

And then Chance carried a little leather ball beneath the window where
the old man stood; and as the child ran, laughing, to recover it, De
Vac's eyes fell upon him, and his former plan for revenge melted as the
fog before the noonday sun; and in its stead there opened to him the
whole hideous plot of fearsome vengeance as clearly as it were writ upon
the leaves of a great book that had been thrown wide before him. And,
in so far as he could direct, he varied not one jot from the details
of that vividly conceived masterpiece of hellishness during the twenty
years which followed.

The little boy who so innocently played in the garden of his royal
father was Prince Richard, the three-year-old son of Henry III of
England. No published history mentions this little lost prince; only the
secret archives of the kings of England tell the story of his strange
and adventurous life. His name has been blotted from the records of men;
and the revenge of De Vac has passed from the eyes of the world; though
in his time it was a real and terrible thing in the hearts of the
English.




CHAPTER III

For nearly a month, the old man haunted the palace, and watched in the
gardens for the little Prince until he knew the daily routine of his
tiny life with his nurses and governesses.

He saw that when the Lady Maud accompanied him, they were wont to repair
to the farthermost extremities of the palace grounds

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