The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 99

of Torn.

Presently they reached the bottom of the stairway, and Joan de Tany
led him, gropingly, across what seemed, from their echoing footsteps, a
large chamber. The air was chill and dank, smelling of mold, and no
ray of light penetrated this subterranean vault, and no sound broke the
stillness.

"This be the castle's crypt," whispered Joan; "and they do say that
strange happenings occur here in the still watches of the night, and
that when the castle sleeps, the castle's dead rise from their coffins
and shake their dry bones.

"Sh! What was that?" as a rustling noise broke upon their ears close
upon their right; and then there came a distinct moan, and Joan de Tany
fled to the refuge of Norman of Torn's arms.

"There is nothing to fear, Joan," reassured Norman of Torn. "Dead men
wield not swords, nor do they move, or moan. The wind, I think, and rats
are our only companions here."

"I am afraid," she whispered. "If you can make a light, I am sure
you will find an old lamp here in the crypt, and then will it be less
fearsome. As a child I visited this castle often, and in search of
adventure, we passed through these corridors an hundred times, but
always by day and with lights."

Norman of Torn did as she bid, and finding the lamp, lighted it. The
chamber was quite empty save for the coffins in their niches, and some
effigies in marble set at intervals about the walls.

"Not such a fearsome place after all," he said, laughing lightly.

"No place would seem fearsome now," she answered simply, "were there a
light to show me that the brave face of Roger de Conde were by my side."

"Hush, child," replied the outlaw. "You know not what you say. When you
know me better, you will be sorry for your words, for Roger de Conde is
not what you think him. So say no more of praise until we be out of this
hole, and you safe in your father's halls."

The fright of the noises in the dark chamber had but served to again
bring the girl's face close to his so that he felt her hot, sweet breath
upon his cheek, and thus another link was forged to bind him to her.

With the aid of the lamp, they made more rapid progress, and in a few
moments, reached a low door at the end of the arched passageway.

"This is the doorway which opens upon the ravine below the castle. We
have passed beneath the walls and the

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