Mr. Redgauntlet, however, did not, or would not, see any such marks of depression of spirit amongst his coadjutors, but met them with cheerful countenance, and a warm greeting of welcome. 'Happy to meet you here, my lord,' he said, bowing low to a slender young man. 'I trust you come with the pledges of your noble father, of B--, and all that loyal house.--Sir Richard, what news in the west? I am told you had two hundred men on foot to have joined when the fatal retreat from Derby was commenced. When the White Standard is again displayed, it shall not be turned back so easily, either by the force of its enemies, or the falsehood of its friends.--Doctor Grumball, I bow to the representative of Oxford, the mother of learning and loyalty.-- Pengwinion, you Cornish chough, has this good wind blown you north?--Ah, my brave Cambro-Britons, when was Wales last in the race of honour?'
Such and such-like compliments he dealt around, which were in general answered by silent bows; but when he saluted one of his own countrymen by the name of MacKellar, and greeted Maxwell of Summertrees by that of Pate-in-Peril, the latter replied, 'that if Pate were not a fool, he would be Pate-in-Safety;' and the former, a thin old gentle-man, in tarnished embroidery, said bluntly, 'Aye, troth, Redgauntlet, I am here just like yourself; I have little to lose--they that took my land the last time, may take my life this; and that is all I care about it.'
The English gentlemen, who were still in possession of their paternal estates, looked doubtfully on each other, and there was something whispered among them of the fox which had lost his tail.
Redgauntlet hastened to address them. 'I think, my lords and gentlemen,' he said, 'that I can account for something like sadness which has crept upon an assembly gathered together for so noble a purpose. Our numbers seem, when thus assembled, too small and inconsiderable to shake the firm-seated usurpation of a half-century. But do not count us by what we are in thew and muscle, but by what our summons can do among our countrymen. In this small party are those who have power to raise battalions, and those who have wealth to pay them. And do not believe our friends who are absent are cold or indifferent to the cause. Let us once light the signal, and it will be hailed by all who retain love for the Stuart, and by all--a more numerous body--who hate the Elector. Here I have letters from'--
Sir Richard Glendale interrupted the speaker. 'We all confide, Redgauntlet, in your valour and skill--we admire your perseverance; and probably nothing short of your strenuous exertions, and the emulation awakened by your noble and disinterested conduct, could have brought so many of us, the scattered remnant of a disheartened party, to meet together once again in solemn consultation; for I take it, gentlemen,' he said, looking round, 'this is only a consultation.'
'Nothing more,' said the young lord.
'Nothing more,' said Doctor Grumball, shaking his large academical peruke.
And, 'Only a consultation,' was echoed by the others.