Again the rest of the persons present intimated their agreement in opinion with the speaker.
'Well, gentlemen,' said Redgauntlet, 'it is not for me to oppose the opinion of every one; and I must do you the justice to say, that the king has, in the present instance, neglected a condition of your agreement which was laid before him in very distinct terms. The question now is, who is to acquaint him with the result of this conference; for I presume you would not wait on him in a body to make the proposal that he should dismiss a person from his family as the price of your allegiance.'
'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.'