The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 9

old man
that he had not used it after all, since mature reflection had convinced
him of the folly of his contemplated adventure, especially in one whose
youth was past, and in whose joints the night damp of the Thames might
find lodgement for rheumatism.

"Ha, Sir Jules," laughed the old gardener, "Virtue and Vice be twin
sisters who come running to do the bidding of the same father, Desire.
Were there no desire there would be no virtue, and because one man
desires what another does not, who shall say whether the child of his
desire be vice or virtue? Or on the other hand if my friend desires his
own wife and if that be virtue, then if I also desire his wife, is not
that likewise virtue, since we desire the same thing? But if to obtain
our desire it be necessary to expose our joints to the Thames' fog, then
it were virtue to remain at home."

"Right you sound, old mole," said De Vac, smiling, "would that I might
learn to reason by your wondrous logic; methinks it might stand me in
good stead before I be much older."

"The best sword arm in all Christendom needs no other logic than the
sword, I should think," said Brus, returning to his work.

That afternoon, De Vac stood in a window of the armory looking out
upon the beautiful garden which spread before him to the river wall two
hundred yards away. In the foreground were box-bordered walks, smooth,
sleek lawns, and formal beds of gorgeous flowering plants, while here
and there marble statues of wood nymph and satyr gleamed, sparkling in
the brilliant sunlight, or, half shaded by an overhanging bush, took
on a semblance of life from the riotous play of light and shadow as the
leaves above them moved to and fro in the faint breeze. Farther in the
distance, the river wall was hidden by more closely massed bushes, and
the formal, geometric precision of the nearer view was relieved by a
background of vine-colored bowers, and a profusion of small trees and
flowering shrubs arranged in studied disorder.

Through this seeming jungle ran tortuous paths, and the carved stone
benches of the open garden gave place to rustic seats, and swings
suspended from the branches of fruit trees.

Toward this enchanting spot slowly were walking the Lady Maud and her
little charge, Prince Richard; all ignorant of the malicious watcher in
the window behind them.

A great peacock strutted proudly across the walk before them, and, as
Richard ran, childlike, after it, Lady Maud hastened on to the little
postern

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