The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 73

together in terror and apprehension, fully
expecting a summary and horrible death.

When Norman of Torn had assured himself that no human power could now
save the doomed pile, he ordered that the march be taken up, and the
warriors filed down the roadway behind their leader and Bertrade de
Montfort, leaving their erstwhile prisoners sorely puzzled but unharmed
and free.

As they looked back, they saw the heavens red with the great flames
that sprang high above the lofty towers. Immense volumes of dense smoke
rolled southward across the sky line. Occasionally it would clear away
from the burning castle for an instant to show the black walls pierced
by their hundreds of embrasures, each lit up by the red of the raging
fire within. It was a gorgeous, impressive spectacle, but one so common
in those fierce, wild days, that none thought it worthy of more than a
passing backward glance.

Varied emotions filled the breasts of the several riders who wended
their slow way down the mud-slippery road. Norman of Torn was both
elated and sad. Elated that he had been in time to save this girl
who awakened such strange emotions in his breast; sad that he was a
loathesome thing in her eyes. But that it was pure happiness just to be
near her, sufficed him for the time; of the morrow, what use to think!
The little, grim, gray, old man of Torn nursed the spleen he did not
dare vent openly, and cursed the chance that had sent Henry de Montfort
to Torn to search for his sister; while the followers of the outlaw
swore quietly over the vagary which had brought them on this long ride
without either fighting or loot.

Bertrade de Montfort was but filled with wonder that she should owe her
life and honor to this fierce, wild cut-throat who had sworn especial
hatred against her family, because of its relationship to the house of
Plantagenet. She could not fathom it, and yet, he seemed fair spoken
for so rough a man; she wondered what manner of countenance might lie
beneath that barred visor.

Once the outlaw took his cloak from its fastenings at his saddle's
cantel and threw it about the shoulders of the girl, for the night air
was chilly, and again he dismounted and led her palfrey around a bad
place in the road, lest the beast might slip and fall.

She thanked him in her courtly manner for these services, but beyond
that, no word passed between them, and they came, in silence, about
midday within sight of the castle of Simon de

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