'For my lord,' said John--it is odd enough, but certain people seem to have as great a pleasure in pronouncing titles as their owners have in wearing them--'this room, my lord, isn't at all the sort of place for your lordship, and I have to beg your lordship's pardon for keeping you here, my lord, one minute.'
With this address, John ushered them upstairs into the state apartment, which, like many other things of state, was cold and comfortless. Their own footsteps, reverberating through the spacious room, struck upon their hearing with a hollow sound; and its damp and chilly atmosphere was rendered doubly cheerless by contrast with the homely warmth they had deserted.
It was of no use, however, to propose a return to the place they had quitted, for the preparations went on so briskly that there was no time to stop them. John, with the tall candlesticks in his hands, bowed them up to the fireplace; Hugh, striding in with a lighted brand and pile of firewood, cast it down upon the hearth, and set it in a blaze; John Grueby (who had a great blue cockade in his hat, which he appeared to despise mightily) brought in the portmanteau he had carried on his horse, and placed it on the floor; and presently all three were busily engaged in drawing out the screen, laying the cloth, inspecting the beds, lighting fires in the bedrooms, expediting the supper, and making everything as cosy and as snug as might be, on so short a notice. In less than an hour's time, supper had been served, and ate, and cleared away; and Lord George and his secretary, with slippered feet, and legs stretched out before the fire, sat over some hot mulled wine together.
'So ends, my lord,' said Gashford, filling his glass with great complacency, 'the blessed work of a most blessed day.'
'And of a blessed yesterday,' said his lordship, raising his head.
'Ah!'--and here the secretary clasped his hands--'a blessed yesterday indeed! The Protestants of Suffolk are godly men and true. Though others of our countrymen have lost their way in darkness, even as we, my lord, did lose our road to-night, theirs is the light and glory.'
'Did I move them, Gashford ?' said Lord George.
'Move them, my lord! Move them! They cried to be led on against the Papists, they vowed a dreadful vengeance on their heads, they roared like men possessed--'
'But not by devils,' said his lord.
'By devils! my lord! By angels.'
'Yes--oh surely--by angels, no doubt,' said Lord George, thrusting his hands into his pockets, taking them out again to bite his nails, and looking uncomfortably at the fire. 'Of course by angels--eh Gashford?'
'You do not doubt it, my lord?' said the secretary.
'No--No,' returned his lord. 'No. Why should I? I suppose it would be decidedly irreligious to doubt it--wouldn't it, Gashford? Though there certainly were,' he added, without waiting for an answer, 'some plaguy ill-looking characters among them.'
'When you warmed,' said the secretary, looking sharply at the other's downcast eyes, which brightened slowly as he spoke; 'when you warmed into that noble outbreak; when you told them that you were never of the lukewarm or the timid tribe, and bade them take heed that they were prepared to follow one who would lead them on, though to the very death; when you spoke of a hundred and twenty thousand men across the Scottish border who would take their own redress at any time, if it were not conceded; when you cried "Perish the Pope and all his base adherents; the penal laws against them shall never be repealed while Englishmen have hearts and hands"--and waved your own and touched your sword; and when they cried "No Popery!" and you cried "No; not even if we wade in blood," and they threw up their hats and cried "Hurrah! not even if we wade in blood; No Popery! Lord George! Down with the Papists-- Vengeance on their heads:" when this was said and done, and a word from you, my lord, could raise or still the tumult--ah! then I felt what greatness was indeed, and thought, When was there ever power like this of Lord George Gordon's!'
'It's a great power.