The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 74

Montfort.

The watch upon the tower was thrown into confusion by the approach of
so large a party of armed men, so that, by the time they were in hailing
distance, the walls of the great structure were crowded with fighting
men.

Shandy rode ahead with a flag of truce, and when he was beneath the
castle walls Simon de Montfort called forth:

"Who be ye and what your mission? Peace or war?"

"It is Norman of Torn, come in peace, and in the service of a De
Montfort," replied Shandy. "He would enter with one companion, my Lord
Earl."

"Dares Norman of Torn enter the castle of Simon de Montfort--thinks he
that I keep a robbers' roost!" cried the fierce old warrior.

"Norman of Torn dares ride where he will in all England," boasted the
red giant. "Will you see him in peace, My Lord?"

"Let him enter," said De Montfort, "but no knavery, now, we are a
thousand men here, well armed and ready fighters."

Shandy returned to his master with the reply, and together, Norman of
Torn and Bertrade de Montfort clattered across the drawbridge beneath
the portcullis of the castle of the Earl of Leicester, brother-in-law of
Henry III of England.

The girl was still wrapped in the great cloak of her protector, for it
had been raining, so that she rode beneath the eyes of her father's men
without being recognized. In the courtyard, they were met by Simon de
Montfort, and his sons Henry and Simon.

The girl threw herself impetuously from her mount, and, flinging aside
the outlaw's cloak, rushed toward her astounded parent.

"What means this," cried De Montfort, "has the rascal offered you harm
or indignity?"

"You craven liar," cried Henry de Montfort, "but yesterday you swore
upon your honor that you did not hold my sister, and I, like a fool,
believed." And with his words, the young man flung himself upon Norman
of Torn with drawn sword.

Quicker than the eye could see, the sword of the visored knight flew
from its scabbard, and, with a single lightning-like move, sent the
blade of young De Montfort hurtling cross the courtyard; and then,
before either could take another step, Bertrade de Montfort had sprung
between them and placing a hand upon the breastplate of the outlaw,
stretched forth the other with palm out-turned toward her kinsmen as
though to protect Norman of Torn from further assault.

"Be he outlaw or devil," she cried, "he is a brave and courteous knight,
and he deserves from the hands of the De Montforts the best hospitality
they can give, and not cold steel and insults."

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