He began by saying that he spoke "as representing all the tenants, "--but he was interrupted.
"Na," came a shrill voice from half-way down the table. "Yell except me, James Moore. I'd as lief be represented by Judas!"
There were cries of "Hold ye gab, little mon!" and the squire's voice, "That'll do, Mr. M'Adam!"
The little man restrained his tongue, but his eyes gleamed like a ferret's; and the Master continued his speech.
He spoke briefly and to the point, in short phrases. And all the while M'Adam kept up a low-voiced, running commentary. At length he could control himself no longer. Half rising from his chair, he leant forward with hot face and burning eyes, and cried: "Sit doon, James Moore! Hoo daur ye stan' there like an honest man, ye whitewashed sepulchre? Sit doon, I say, or' '--threateningly--" wad ye hae me come to ye?"
At that the Dalesmen laughed uproariously, and even the Master's grim face relaxed. But the squire's voice rang out sharp and stern.
"Keep silence and sit down, Mr. M'Adam! D'you hear me, sir? If I have to speak to you again it will be to order you to leave the room."
The little man obeyed, sullen and vengeful, like a beaten cat.