The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 96

he jerked his blade from the fellow's throat, Norman of
Torn felt a firm, warm hand slipped into his from behind, and his sword
swung with a resounding blow against the lamp.

As darkness enveloped the chamber, Joan de Tany led him through
the little door, which he immediately closed and bolted as she had
instructed.

"This way," she whispered, again slipping her hand into his and, in
silence, she led him through several dim chambers, and finally stopped
before a blank wall in a great oak-panelled room.

Here the girl felt with swift fingers the edge of the molding. More
and more rapidly she moved as the sound of hurrying footsteps resounded
through the castle.

"What is wrong?" asked Norman of Torn, noticing her increasing
perturbation.

"Mon Dieu!" she cried. "Can I be wrong! Surely this is the room. Oh, my
friend, that I should have brought you to all this by my willfulness and
vanity; and now when I might save you, my wits leave me and I forget the
way."

"Do not worry about me," laughed the Devil of Torn. "Methought that it
was I who was trying to save you, and may heaven forgive me else,
for surely, that be my only excuse for running away from a handful of
swords. I could not take chances when thou wert at stake, Joan," he
added more gravely.

The sound of pursuit was now quite close, in fact the reflection from
flickering torches could be seen in nearby chambers.

At last the girl, with a little cry of "stupid," seized De Conde and
rushed him to the far side of the room.

"Here it is," she whispered joyously, "here it has been all the time."
Running her fingers along the molding until she found a little hidden
spring, she pushed it, and one of the great panels swung slowly in,
revealing the yawning mouth of a black opening behind.

Quickly the girl entered, pulling De Conde after her, and as the panel
swung quietly into place, the Earl of Buckingham with a dozen men
entered the apartment.

"The devil take them," cried De Fulm. "Where can they have gone? Surely
we were right behind them."

"It is passing strange, My Lord," replied one of the men. "Let us try
the floor above, and the towers; for of a surety they have not come this
way." And the party retraced its steps, leaving the apartment empty.

Behind the panel, the girl stood shrinking close to De Conde, her hand
still in his.

"Where now?" he asked. "Or do we stay hidden here like frightened chicks
until the war is over and

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