all manly sports. He was telling Meriem stories of London and Paris,
of balls and banquets, of the wonderful women and their wonderful
gowns, of the pleasures and pastimes of the rich and powerful. The
Hon. Morison was a past master in the art of insidious boasting. His
egotism was never flagrant or tiresome--he was never crude in it, for
crudeness was a plebeianism that the Hon. Morison studiously avoided,
yet the impression derived by a listener to the Hon. Morison was one
that was not at all calculated to detract from the glory of the house
of Baynes, or from that of its representative.
Meriem was entranced. His tales were like fairy stories to this little
jungle maid. The Hon. Morison loomed large and wonderful and
magnificent in her mind's eye. He fascinated her, and when he drew
closer to her after a short silence and took her hand she thrilled as
one might thrill beneath the touch of a deity--a thrill of exaltation
not unmixed with fear.
He bent his lips close to her ear.
"Meriem!" he whispered. "My little Meriem! May I hope to have the
right to call you 'my little Meriem'?"
The girl turned wide eyes upward to his face; but it was in shadow.
She trembled but she did not draw away. The man put an arm about her
and drew her closer.
"I love you!" he whispered.
She did not reply. She did not know what to say. She knew nothing of
love. She had never given it a thought; but she did know that it was
very nice to be loved, whatever it meant. It was nice to have people
kind to one. She had known so little of kindness or affection.
"Tell me," he said, "that you return my love."
His lips came steadily closer to hers. They had almost touched when a
vision of Korak sprang like a miracle before her eyes. She saw Korak's
face close to hers, she felt his lips hot against hers, and then for
the first time in her life she guessed what love meant. She drew away,
"I am not sure," she said, "that I love you. Let us wait. There is
plenty of time. I am too young to marry yet, and I am not sure that I
should be happy in London or Paris--they rather frighten me."
How easily and naturally she had connected his avowal of love with the
idea of marriage! The Hon.
In the retelling of it, I have left out most of the history.Page 11
There was a commotion at one side of the room, the arras parted, and Eleanor, Queen of England, staggered toward the throne, tears streaming down her pale cheeks.Page 34
Once in the open, they turned upon him, but he sprang into their midst with his seething blade, and it was as though they faced four men rather than one, so quickly did he parry a thrust here and return a cut there.Page 43
As his glance rested upon this woman, whom fate had destined to alter the entire course of his life, Norman of Torn saw that she was beautiful, and that she was of that class against whom he had preyed for years with his band of outlaw cut-throats.Page 53
Father Claude returned the look with calm level gaze.Page 54
I have been absent for several days.Page 57
" "How knowest thou she rides out tomorrow for her father's castle?" asked Peter of Colfax.Page 61
The room was empty.Page 63
The old woman kept watch over her during the night and until late the following afternoon, when Peter of Colfax summoned his prisoner before him once more.Page 65
The good priest waits without, what be your answer now?" "The same as it has been these past two days," she.Page 67
" Norman of Torn made no reply, his thoughts were in wild confusion, and it was with difficulty that he hid the fierce anxiety of his heart or his rage against the perpetrators of this dastardly act which tore his whole being.Page 81
Again, farewell.Page 82
" "And under which standard does My Lord Norman expect to fight?" asked Father Claude.Page 83
"Then promise me, that with the old man of Torn alone, thou wilt come hither when I bidst thee and meet Simon de Montfort, and abide by his decision should my surmises concerning thee be correct.Page 86
father's castle.Page 113
As the horde of Torn approached their Derby stronghold, their young leader turned the command over to Red Shandy and dismounted at the door of Father Claude's cottage.Page 128
" Slowly, the palsied limbs of the great coward bore him tottering to the center of the room, where gradually a little clear space had been made; the men of the party forming a circle, in the center of which stood Peter of Colfax and Norman of Torn.Page 130
Cold and hard, he looked with no love upon the man he still called "my son.Page 138
For in her eyes was that wondrous light he had seen there on that other day in the far castle of Leicester.Page 143
Norman of Torn came out of his corner to meet his new-found enemy, and there, in the apartment of the Queen of England in the castle of Battel, was fought such a duel as no man there had ever seen before, nor is it credible that its like was ever fought before or since.