The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 6

where, by a little
postern gate, she admitted a certain officer of the Guards to whom the
Queen had forbidden the privilege of the court.

There, in a secluded bower, the two lovers whispered their hopes and
plans, unmindful of the royal charge playing neglected among the flowers
and shrubbery of the garden.

Toward the middle of July De Vac had his plans well laid. He had managed
to coax old Brus, the gardener, into letting him have the key to the
little postern gate on the plea that he wished to indulge in a midnight
escapade, hinting broadly of a fair lady who was to be the partner of
his adventure, and, what was more to the point with Brus, at the same
time slipping a couple of golden zecchins into the gardener's palm.

Brus, like the other palace servants, considered De Vac a loyal retainer
of the house of Plantagenet. Whatever else of mischief De Vac might be
up to, Brus was quite sure that in so far as the King was concerned, the
key to the postern gate was as safe in De Vac's hands as though Henry
himself had it.

The old fellow wondered a little that the morose old master of fence
should, at his time in life, indulge in frivolous escapades more
befitting the younger sprigs of gentility, but, then, what concern was
it of his? Did he not have enough to think about to keep the gardens
so that his royal master and mistress might find pleasure in the shaded
walks, the well-kept sward, and the gorgeous beds of foliage plants and
blooming flowers which he set with such wondrous precision in the formal
garden?

Further, two gold zecchins were not often come by so easily as this;
and if the dear Lord Jesus saw fit, in his infinite wisdom, to take this
means of rewarding his poor servant, it ill became such a worm as he to
ignore the divine favor. So Brus took the gold zecchins and De Vac the
key, and the little prince played happily among the flowers of his royal
father's garden, and all were satisfied; which was as it should have
been.

That night, De Vac took the key to a locksmith on the far side of
London; one who could not possibly know him or recognize the key
as belonging to the palace. Here he had a duplicate made, waiting
impatiently while the old man fashioned it with the crude instruments of
his time.

From this little shop, De Vac threaded his way through the dirty lanes
and alleys of ancient London, lighted at

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