فصل 07

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فصل 07

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متن انگلیسی فصل

CHAPTER SEVEN

A Dangerous Meeting

The next morning Colonel Sapt came into my room at the palace. He was carrying a letter for me. He looked at the writing on the envelope before he gave me the letter.

‘From a woman, I think,’ he said with a smile. ‘I wonder who it is?’

At first I thought the letter was from Princess Flavia. I opened it excitedly and began to read.

‘Your Majesty,

I have important news for the King. Come to the old house in New Avenue tonight. Do not come with anyone else. Antoinette De Mauban’

I handed the letter to the Colonel. He read it quickly.

‘You can’t go.’ he decided. ‘Antoinette De Mauban is a friend of the Duke’s. They want to catch you alone and kill you.’

‘I must go,’ I argued. ‘She says she has important news. Perhaps she wants to help us.’

‘I forbid it,’ the Colonel said angrily. ‘The Duke’s men will kill you if you go to this meeting tonight.’

‘I’m going,’ I announced firmly. ‘If you try to stop me, I’ll go straight back to England!’

Colonel Sapt looked at me in surprise. He was beginning to understand me. We Rassendylls can be very stubborn!

‘All right,’ he agreed at last, ‘you can go if you want to - but I’m going with you, Mr. Rassendyll!’

The Colonel and I left the palace very secretly that night. We were both carrying pistols in our pockets. We went to the old house in New Avenue and I left Colonel Sapt at the gate. I entered the grounds of the house, and saw someone in the summerhouse.

I walked across the garden to the summerhouse. Antoinette De Mauban turned to greet me when I entered. She was very pale and nervous.

‘You’re in danger, Mr. Rassendyll,’ she told me quickly. ‘Michael forced me to write that letter to you. I didn’t want to do it. His men will be here in a few minutes. They want to kill you. Then they’re going to say the King is dead. They’ll arrest all your friends, and Michael will be the new King. You must escape from here. Go quickly!’

I did not move.

‘Why are you telling me this?’ I asked her. ‘Michael’s your friend, isn’t he?’

She looked at me unhappily.

‘I love him,’ she said sadly. ‘But I know he’ll marry Princess Flavia if he becomes King. That’s why I’m helping you, Mr. Rassendyll.’

Suddenly I heard a noise outside in the garden. I turned towards the door of the summerhouse and locked it. I could see three men standing outside in the garden - three of theSix! One of them began speaking softly in English. It was the Duke’s man, Detchard.

‘We just want to talk,’ he said. ‘We’ve come from Duke Michael. He wants to make you an offer, Mr. Rassendyll.’

‘What kind of an offer?’ I asked.

‘The Duke wants you out of the country,’ the man said. ‘He’ll give you fifty thousand pounds if you leave Ruritania.’

Antoinette De Mauban moved close to me. She put her hand on my arm.

‘Don’t trust them,’ she whispered urgently.

I moved very quietly away from the door of the summerhouse. I picked up a small tea table.

‘All right,’ I called. ‘I’m coming out now.’

I held the tea table in front of me and ran out of the summerhouse into the garden. I pushed two of the Duke’s men onto the ground as I ran past them. Then I heard Detchard shouting. He fired a pistol at me, but it missed. I turned and fired my pistol. He gave a cry of pain. I continued running.

Colonel Sapt was waiting for me when I reached the road.

‘What happened?’ he asked. ‘I thought you were dead when I heard the shooting.’

We went back to the palace. When we arrived, I told him everything that had happened in the summerhouse.

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