The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 85

a large volume
with romance, war, intrigue, treachery, bravery and death.

Toward noon one day, in the midst of a beautiful valley of Essex, they
came upon a party of ten knights escorting two young women. The meeting
was at a turn in the road, so that the two parties were upon each other
before the ten knights had an opportunity to escape with their fair
wards.

"What the devil be this," cried one of the knights, as the main body of
the outlaw horde came into view, "the King's army or one of his foreign
legions?"

"It be Norman of Torn and his fighting men," replied the outlaw.

The faces of the knights blanched, for they were ten against a thousand,
and there were two women with them.

"Who be ye?" said the outlaw.

"I am Richard de Tany of Essex," said the oldest knight, he who
had first spoken, "and these be my daughter and her friend, Mary de
Stutevill. We are upon our way from London to my castle. What would you
of us? Name your price, if it can be paid with honor, it shall be paid;
only let us go our way in peace. We cannot hope to resist the Devil of
Torn, for we be but ten lances. If ye must have blood, at least let the
women go unharmed."

"My Lady Mary is an old friend," said the outlaw. "I called at her
father's home but little more than a year since. We are neighbors, and
the lady can tell you that women are safer at the hands of Norman of
Torn than they might be in the King's palace."

"Right he is," spoke up Lady Mary, "Norman of Torn accorded my mother,
my sister, and myself the utmost respect; though I cannot say as much
for his treatment of my father," she added, half smiling.

"I have no quarrel with you, Richard de Tany," said Norman of Torn.
"Ride on."

The next day, a young man hailed the watch upon the walls of the castle
of Richard de Tany, telling him to bear word to Joan de Tany that Roger
de Conde, a friend of her guest Lady Mary de Stutevill, was without.

In a few moments, the great drawbridge sank slowly into place and Norman
of Torn trotted into the courtyard.

He was escorted to an apartment where Mary de Stutevill and Joan de Tany
were waiting to receive him. Mary de Stutevill greeted him as an old
friend, and the daughter of de Tany was no less cordial in welcoming her
friend's friend to the hospitality of her

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