THE LORD CHAMBERLAIN. 169
gether without precedent. It would be to make sport of statecraft," said the lord chamberlain.
" Perhaps you are right, my lord," answered the king with more meaning than he intended should be manifest while to his growing joy he felt new life and power throbbing in heart and brain. " So this morning we shall read no farther. I am indeed ill able for business of such weight."
"Will your majesty please sign your royal name here?" said the lord chamberlain, preferring the request as a matter of course, and approaching with the feather end of the pen pointed to a spot where was a great red seal.
" Not to-day, my lord," replied the king.
" It is of the greatest importance, your majesty," softly insisted the other.
" I descried no such importance in it," said the king.
"Your majesty heard but a part."
" And I can hear no more to-day."
" I trust your majesty has ground enough, in a case of necessity like the present, to sign upon the representation of his loyal subject and chamberlain ?—Or shall I call the lord chancellor ? " he added, rising.
"There is no need. I have the very highest opinion of • your judgment, my lord," answered the king ; "—that is, with respect to means: we might differ as to ends."
The lord chamberlain made yet further attempts at