The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 64

could
barricade herself within and thus delay, at least, her impending fate
in the hope that succor might come from some source. But her most subtle
wiles proved ineffectual in ridding her, even for a moment, of her harpy
jailer; and now that the final summons had come, she was beside herself
for a lack of means to thwart her captor.

Her dagger had been taken from her, but one hung from the girdle of the
old woman and this Bertrade determined to have.

Feigning trouble with the buckle of her own girdle, she called upon the
old woman to aid her, and as the hag bent her head close to the girl's
body to see what was wrong with the girdle clasp, Bertrade reached
quickly to her side and snatched the weapon from its sheath. Quickly
she sprang back from the old woman who, with a cry of anger and alarm,
rushed upon her.

"Back!" cried the girl. "Stand back, old hag, or thou shalt feel the
length of thine own blade."

The woman hesitated and then fell to cursing and blaspheming in a most
horrible manner, at the same time calling for help.

Bertrade backed to the door, commanding the old woman to remain where
she was, on pain of death, and quickly dropped the mighty bars into
place. Scarcely had the last great bolt been slipped than Peter of
Colfax, with a dozen servants and men-at-arms, were pounding loudly upon
the outside.

"What's wrong within, Coll," cried the Baron.

"The wench has wrested my dagger from me and is murdering me," shrieked
the old woman.

"An' that I will truly do, Peter of Colfax," spoke Bertrade, "if you do
not immediately send for my friends to conduct me from thy castle, for
I will not step my foot from this room until I know that mine own people
stand without."

Peter of Colfax pled and threatened, commanded and coaxed, but all in
vain. So passed the afternoon, and as darkness settled upon the castle
the Baron desisted from his attempts, intending to starve his prisoner
out.

Within the little room, Bertrade de Montfort sat upon a bench guarding
her prisoner, from whom she did not dare move her eyes for a single
second. All that long night she sat thus, and when morning dawned, it
found her position unchanged, her tired eyes still fixed upon the hag.

Early in the morning, Peter of Colfax resumed his endeavors to persuade
her to come out; he even admitted defeat and promised her safe conduct
to her father's castle, but Bertrade de Montfort was not one to be
fooled by his

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