The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 87

could not well be blamed," said Joan de Tany, generously. "Bertrade
de Montfort is all and even more than you have said; it be a benediction
simply to have known her."

As she spoke, Norman of Torn looked upon her critically for the first
time, and he saw that Joan de Tany was beautiful, and that when she
spoke, her face lighted with a hundred little changing expressions of
intelligence and character that cast a spell of fascination about her.
Yes, Joan de Tany was good to look upon, and Norman of Torn carried
a wounded heart in his breast that longed for surcease from its
sufferings--for a healing balm upon its hurts and bruises.

And so it came to pass that, for many days, the Outlaw of Torn was a
daily visitor at the castle of Richard de Tany, and the acquaintance
between the man and the two girls ripened into a deep friendship, and
with one of them, it threatened even more.

Norman of Torn, in his ignorance of the ways of women, saw only
friendship in the little acts of Joan de Tany. His life had been a hard
and lonely one. The only ray of brilliant and warming sunshine that had
entered it had been his love for Bertrade de Montfort and hers for him.

His every thought was loyal to the woman whom he knew was not for him,
but he longed for the companionship of his own kind and so welcomed the
friendship of such as Joan de Tany and her fair guest. He did not dream
that either looked upon him with any warmer sentiment than the sweet
friendliness which was as new to him as love--how could he mark the line
between or foresee the terrible price of his ignorance!

Mary de Stutevill saw and she thought the man but fickle and shallow
in matters of the heart--many there were, she knew, who were thus. She
might have warned him had she known the truth, but instead, she let
things drift except for a single word of warning to Joan de Tany.

"Be careful of thy heart, Joan," she said, "lest it be getting away from
thee into the keeping of one who seems to love no less quickly than he
forgets."

The daughter of De Tany flushed.

"I am quite capable of safeguarding my own heart, Mary de Stutevill,"
she replied warmly. "If thou covet this man thyself, why, but say so. Do
not think though that, because thy heart glows in his presence, mine is
equally susceptible."

It was Mary's turn now to show offense, and

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