'I have never broken the seal of any letter committed to my charge,' said Alan; 'not from fear of those to whom such letter might be addressed, but from respect to myself.'
'That is well worded,' said Redgauntlet; 'and yet, young Mr. Counsellor, I doubt whether your delicacy prevented your reading my letter, or listening to the contents as read by some other person after it was opened.'
'I certainly did hear the contents read over,' said Fairford; 'and they were such as to surprise me a good deal.'
'Now that,' said Redgauntlet, 'I hold to be pretty much the same, IN FORO CONSCIENTIAE, as if you had broken the seal yourself. I shall hold myself excused from entering upon further discourse with a messenger so faithless; and you may thank yourself if your journey has been fruitless.'
'Stay, sir,' said Fairford; 'and know that I became acquainted with the contents of the paper without my consent--I may even say, against my will; for Mr. Buonaventure'--
'Who?' demanded Redgauntlet, in a wild and alarmed manner--'WHOM was it you named?'
'Father Buonaventure,' said Alan,--'a Catholic priest, as I apprehend, whom I saw at the Misses Arthuret's house, called Fairladies.'
'Misses Arthuret!--Fairladies!--A Catholic priest!--Father Buonaventure!' said Redgauntlet, repeating the words of Alan with astonishment.--'Is it possible that human rashness can reach such a point of infatuation? Tell me the truth, I conjure you, sir. I have the deepest interest to know whether this is more than an idle legend, picked up from hearsay about the country. You are a lawyer, and know the risk incurred by the Catholic clergy, whom the discharge of their duty sends to these bloody shores.'