The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 53

let us understand each other once and for all. For all
thou dost and hast done to blight and curse the nobleness of his nature,
I have done and shall continue to do all in my power to controvert. As
thou hast been his bad angel, so shall I try to be his good angel, and
when all is said and done and Norman of Torn swings from the King's
gibbet, as I only too well fear he must, there will be more to mourn his
loss than there be to curse him.

"His friends are from the ranks of the lowly, but so too were the
friends and followers of our Dear Lord Jesus; so that shall be more
greatly to his honor than had he preyed upon the already unfortunate.

"Women have never been his prey; that also will be spoken of to his
honor when he is gone, and that he has been cruel to men will be
forgotten in the greater glory of his mercy to the weak.

"Whatever be thy object: whether revenge or the natural bent of a cruel
and degraded mind, I know not; but if any be curst because of the Outlaw
of Torn, it will be thou--I had almost said, unnatural father; but I do
not believe a single drop of thy debased blood flows in the veins of him
thou callest son."

The grim old man of Torn had sat motionless throughout this indictment,
his face, somewhat pale, was drawn into lines of malevolent hatred and
rage, but he permitted Father Claude to finish without interruption.

"Thou hast made thyself and thy opinions quite clear," he said bitterly,
"but I be glad to know just how thou standeth. In the past there has
been peace between us, though no love; now let us both understand
that it be war and hate. My life work is cut out for me. Others, like
thyself, have stood in my path, yet today I am here, but where are they?
Dost understand me, priest?" And the old man leaned far across the table
so that his eyes, burning with an insane fire of venom, blazed but a few
inches from those of the priest.

Father Claude returned the look with calm level gaze.

"I understand," he said, and, rising, left the castle.

Shortly after he had reached his cottage, a loud knock sounded at the
door, which immediately swung open without waiting the formality of
permission. Father Claude looked up to see the tall figure of Norman of
Torn, and his face lighted with a pleased smile of

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