The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 77

"How many men be ye,
Roger de Conde? With raised visor, you could pass in the King's court
for the King's son; and in manner, and form, and swordsmanship, and your
visor lowered, you might easily be hanged for Norman of Torn."

"And which would it please ye most that I be?" he laughed.

"Neither," she answered, "I be satisfied with my friend, Roger de

"So ye like not the Devil of Torn?" he asked.

"He has done me a great service, and I be under monstrous obligations
to him, but he be, nathless, the Outlaw of Torn and I the daughter of an
earl and a king's sister."

"A most unbridgeable gulf indeed," commented Roger de Conde, drily. "Not
even gratitude could lead a king's niece to receive Norman of Torn on a
footing of equality."

"He has my friendship, always," said the girl, "but I doubt me if Norman
of Torn be the man to impose upon it."

"One can never tell," said Roger de Conde, "what manner of fool a man
may be. When a man's head be filled with a pretty face, what room be
there for reason?"

"Soon thou wilt be a courtier, if thou keep long at this turning of
pretty compliments," said the girl coldly; "and I like not courtiers,
nor their empty, hypocritical chatter."

The man laughed.

"If I turned a compliment, I did not know it," he said. "What I think, I
say. It may not be a courtly speech or it may. I know nothing of courts
and care less, but be it man or maid to whom I speak, I say what is in
my mind or I say nothing. I did not, in so many words, say that you are
beautiful, but I think it nevertheless, and ye cannot be angry with
my poor eyes if they deceive me into believing that no fairer woman
breathes the air of England. Nor can you chide my sinful brain that it
gladly believes what mine eyes tell it. No, you may not be angry so long
as I do not tell you all this."

Bertrade de Montfort did not know how to answer so ridiculous a
sophistry; and, truth to tell, she was more than pleased to hear from
the lips of Roger de Conde what bored her on the tongues of other men.

De Conde was the guest of the Earl of Leicester for several days, and
before his visit was terminated, the young man had so won his way into
the good graces of the family that they were loath to see him leave.


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