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56. The Avenger.
They all four entered the tent; they had no plan ready -- they must think of one.
The king threw himself into an arm-chair. "I am lost," said he.
"No, sire," replied Athos. "You are only betrayed."
The king sighed deeply.
"Betrayed! yes betrayed by the Scotch, amongst whom I was born, whom I have always loved better than the English. Oh, traitors that ye are!"
"Sire," said Athos, "this is not a moment for recrimination, but a time to show yourself a king and a gentleman. Up, sire! up! for you have here at least three men who will not betray you. Ah! if we had been five!" murmured Athos, thinking of D'Artagnan and Porthos.
"What do you say?" inquired Charles, rising.
"I say, sire, that there is now but one way open. Lord Winter answers for his regiment, or at least very nearly so -- we will not split straws about words -- let him place himself at the head of his men, we will place ourselves at the side of your majesty, and we will mow a swath through Cromwell's army and reach Scotland."
"There is another method," said Aramis. "Let one of us put on the dress and mount the king's horse. Whilst they pursue him the king might escape."
"It is good advice," said Athos, "and if the king will do one of us the honor we shall be truly grateful to him."
"What do you think of this counsel, Winter?" asked the king, looking with admiration at these two men, whose chief idea seemed to be how they could take on their shoulders all the dangers that assailed him.
"I think the only chance of saving your majesty has just been proposed by Monsieur d'Herblay. I humbly entreat your majesty to choose quickly, for we have not an instant to lose."
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