'I think Mr. Redgauntlet should make the explanation, said Lord --. 'As he has, doubtless, done justice to our remonstrances by communicating them to the king, no one can, with such propriety and force, state the natural and inevitable consequence of their being neglected.'
'Now, I think,' said Redgauntlet, 'that those who make the objection should state it, for I am confident the king will hardly believe, on less authority than that of the heir of the loyal House of B--, that he is the first to seek an evasion of his pledge to join him.'
'An evasion, sir!' repeated Lord --, fiercely, 'I have borne too much from you already, and this I will not endure. Favour me with your company to the downs.'
Redgauntlet laughed scornfully, and was about to follow the fiery young man, when Sir Richard again interposed. 'Are we to exhibit,' he said, 'the last symptoms of the dissolution of our party, by turning our swords against each other? Be patient, Lord --; in such conferences as this, much must pass unquestioned which might brook challenge elsewhere. There is a privilege of party as of parliament--men cannot, in emergency, stand upon picking phrases. Gentlemen, if you will extend your confidence in me so far, I will wait upon his Majesty, and I hope my Lord -- and Mr. Redgauntlet will accompany me. I trust the explanation of this unpleasant matter will prove entirely satisfactory, and that we shall find ourselves at liberty to render our homage to our sovereign without reserve, when I for one will be the first to peril all in his just quarrel.'
Redgauntlet at once stepped forward. 'My lord,' he said, 'if my zeal made me say anything in the slightest degree offensive, I wish it unsaid, and ask your pardon. A gentleman can do no more.'
'I could not have asked Mr. Redgauntlet to do so much,' said the young nobleman, willingly accepting the hand which Redgauntlet offered. 'I know no man living from whom I could take so much reproof without a sense of degradation as from himself.'
'Let me then hope, my lord, that you will go with Sir Richard and me to the presence. Your warm blood will heat our zeal--our colder resolves will temper yours.
The young lord smiled, and shook his head. 'Alas! Mr. Redgauntlet,' he said, 'I am ashamed to say, that in zeal you surpass us all. But I will not refuse this mission, provided you will permit Sir Arthur, your nephew, also to accompany us.'