The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 86

father's castle.

"Are all your old friends and neighbors come after you to Essex," cried
Joan de Tany, laughingly, addressing Mary. "Today it is Roger de
Conde, yesterday it was the Outlaw of Torn. Methinks Derby will soon be
depopulated unless you return quickly to your home."

"I rather think it be for news of another that we owe this visit from
Roger de Conde," said Mary, smiling. "For I have heard tales, and I
see a great ring upon the gentleman's hand--a ring which I have seen
before."

Norman of Torn made no attempt to deny the reason for his visit, but
asked bluntly if she heard aught of Bertrade de Montfort.

"Thrice within the year have I received missives from her," replied
Mary. "In the first two she spoke only of Roger de Conde, wondering why
he did not come to France after her; but in the last she mentions not
his name, but speaks of her approaching marriage with Prince Philip."

Both girls were watching the countenance of Roger de Conde narrowly,
but no sign of the sorrow which filled his heart showed itself upon his
face.

"I guess it be better so," he said quietly. "The daughter of a De
Montfort could scarcely be happy with a nameless adventurer," he added,
a little bitterly.

"You wrong her, my friend," said Mary de Stutevill. "She loved you and,
unless I know not the friend of my childhood as well as I know myself,
she loves you yet; but Bertrade de Montfort is a proud woman and what
can you expect when she hears no word from you for a year? Thought
you that she would seek you out and implore you to rescue her from the
alliance her father has made for her?"

"You do not understand," he answered, "and I may not tell you; but I ask
that you believe me when I say that it was for her own peace of mind,
for her own happiness, that I did not follow her to France. But, let us
talk of other things. The sorrow is mine and I would not force it upon
others. I cared only to know that she is well, and, I hope, happy. It
will never be given to me to make her or any other woman so. I would
that I had never come into her life, but I did not know what I was
doing; and the spell of her beauty and goodness was strong upon me, so
that I was weak and could not resist what I had never known before in
all my life--love."

"You

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