The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 78

denied the society of such as these throughout his entire life,
yet it seemed that he fell as naturally into the ways of their kind as
though he had always been among them. His starved soul, groping through
the darkness of the empty past, yearned toward the feasting and the
light of friendship, and urged him to turn his back upon the old life,
and remain ever with these people, for Simon de Montfort had offered the
young man a position of trust and honor in his retinue.

"Why refused you the offer of my father?" said Bertrade to him as he
was come to bid her farewell. "Simon de Montfort is as great a man in
England as the King himself, and your future were assured did you attach
your self to his person. But what am I saying! Did Roger de Conde not
wish to be elsewhere, he had accepted and, as he did not accept, it is
proof positive that he does not wish to bide among the De Montforts."

"I would give my soul to the devil," said Norman of Torn, "would it buy
me the right to remain ever at the feet of Bertrade Montfort."

He raised her hand to his lips in farewell as he started to speak,
but something--was it an almost imperceptible pressure of her little
fingers, a quickening of her breath or a swaying of her body toward
him?--caused him to pause and raise his eyes to hers.

For an instant they stood thus, the eyes of the man sinking deep into
the eyes of the maid, and then hers closed and with a little sigh that
was half gasp, she swayed toward him, and the Devil of Torn folded the
King's niece in his mighty arms and his lips placed the seal of a great
love upon those that were upturned to him.

The touch of those pure lips brought the man to himself.

"Ah, Bertrade, my Bertrade," he cried, "what is this thing that I have
done! Forgive me, and let the greatness and the purity of my love for
you plead in extenuation of my act."

She looked up into his face in surprise, and then placing her strong
white hands upon his shoulders, she whispered:

"See, Roger, I am not angry. It is not wrong that we love; tell me it is
not, Roger."

"You must not say that you love me, Bertrade. I am a coward, a craven
poltroon; but, God, how I love you."

"But," said the girl, "I do love--"

"Stop," he cried, "not yet, not yet. Do not

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