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57. Oliver Cromwell.
"Have you been to the general?" said Mordaunt to D'Artagnan and Porthos; "you know he sent for you after the action."
"We want first to put our prisoners in a place of safety," replied D'Artagnan. "Do you know, sir, these gentlemen are each of them worth fifteen hundred pounds?"
"Oh, be assured," said Mordaunt, looking at them with an expression he vainly endeavoured to soften, "my soldiers will guard them, and guard them well, I promise you."
"I shall take better care of them myself," answered D'Artagnan; "besides, all they require is a good room, with sentinels, or their simple parole that they will not attempt escape. I will go and see about that, and then we shall have the honor of presenting ourselves to the general and receiving his commands for his eminence."
"You think of starting at once, then?" inquired Mordaunt.
"Our mission is ended, and there is nothing more to detain us now but the good pleasure of the great man to whom we were sent."
The young man bit his lips and whispered to his sergeant:
"You will follow these men and not lose sight of them; when you have discovered where they lodge, come and await me at the town gate."
The sergeant made a sign of comprehension.
Instead of following the knot of prisoners that were being taken into the town, Mordaunt turned his steps toward the rising ground from whence Cromwell had witnessed the battle and on which he had just had his tent pitched.
Cromwell had given orders that no one was to be allowed admission; but the sentinel, who knew that Mordaunt was one of the most confidential friends of the general, thought the order did not extend to the young man. Mordaunt, therefore, raised the canvas, and saw Cromwell seated before a table, his head buried in his hands, his back being turned.
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