The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 63

word of
what hath transpired shall ever pass my lips. But let me go, 'tis all
I ask, and it is useless to detain me for I cannot give what you would
have. I do not love you, nor ever can I."

Her first words had caused the red of humiliation to mottle his already
ruby visage to a semblance of purple, and now, as he attempted to rise
with dignity, he was still further covered with confusion by the fact
that his huge stomach made it necessary for him to go upon all fours
before he could rise, so that he got up much after the manner of a cow,
raising his stern high in air in a most ludicrous fashion. As he gained
his feet he saw the girl turn her head from him to hide the laughter on
her face.

"Return to thy chamber," he thundered. "I will give thee until tomorrow
to decide whether thou wilt accept Peter of Colfax as thy husband, or
take another position in his household which will bar thee for all time
from the society of thy kind."

The girl turned toward him, the laugh still playing on her lips.

"I will be wife to no buffoon; to no clumsy old clown; to no debauched,
degraded parody of a man. And as for thy other rash threat, thou hast
not the guts to put thy wishes into deeds, thou craven coward, for well
ye know that Simon de Montfort would cut out thy foul heart with his own
hand if he ever suspected thou wert guilty of speaking of such to me,
his daughter." And Bertrade de Montfort swept from the great hall, and
mounted to her tower chamber in the ancient Saxon stronghold of Colfax.

The old woman kept watch over her during the night and until late the
following afternoon, when Peter of Colfax summoned his prisoner before
him once more. So terribly had the old hag played upon the girl's fears
that she felt fully certain that the Baron was quite equal to his dire
threat, and so she had again been casting about for some means of escape
or delay.

The room in which she was imprisoned was in the west tower of the
castle, fully a hundred feet above the moat, which the single embrasure
overlooked. There was, therefore, no avenue of escape in this direction.
The solitary door was furnished with huge oaken bars, and itself
composed of mighty planks of the same wood, cross barred with iron.

If she could but get the old woman out, thought Bertrade, she

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