The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 84

south, the gibbet shall have its own, and a Plantagenet dog shall
taste the fruits of his own tyranny," then glancing up and realizing
that Spizo, the Spaniard, had been a listener, the old man, scowling,
cried:

"What said I, sirrah? What didst hear?"

"Naught, My Lord; thou didst but mutter incoherently," replied the
Spaniard.

The old man eyed him closely.

"An did I more, Spizo, thou heardst naught but muttering, remember."

"Yes, My Lord."

An hour later, the old man of Torn dismounted before the cottage of
Father Claude and entered.

"I am honored," said the priest, rising.

"Priest," cried the old man, coming immediately to the point, "Norman
of Torn tells me that thou wish him and me and Leicester to meet here. I
know not what thy purpose may be, but for the boy's sake, carry not out
thy design as yet. I may not tell thee my reasons, but it be best that
this meeting take place after we return from the south."

The old man had never spoken so fairly to Father Claude before, and so
the latter was quite deceived and promised to let the matter rest until
later.

A few days after, in the summer of 1263, Norman of Torn rode at the head
of his army of outlaws through the county of Essex, down toward London
town. One thousand fighting men there were, with squires and other
servants, and five hundred sumpter beasts to transport their tents and
other impedimenta, and bring back the loot.

But a small force of ailing men-at-arms, and servants had been left to
guard the castle of Torn under the able direction of Peter the Hermit.

At the column's head rode Norman of Torn and the little grim, gray,
old man; and behind them, nine companies of knights, followed by the
catapult detachment; then came the sumpter beasts. Horsan the Dane, with
his company, formed the rear guard. Three hundred yards in advance of
the column rode ten men to guard against surprise and ambuscades.

The pennons, and the banners and the bugles; and the loud rattling of
sword, and lance and armor and iron-shod hoof carried to the eye and ear
ample assurance that this great cavalcade of iron men was bent upon no
peaceful mission.

All his captains rode today with Norman of Torn. Beside those whom
we have met, there was Don Piedro Castro y Pensilo of Spain; Baron
of Cobarth of Germany, and Sir John Mandecote of England. Like their
leader, each of these fierce warriors carried a great price upon his
head, and the story of the life of any one would fill

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