“Least of all,” he said, “would I trust those of my own household. I know your cousin for a Catholic, Mr. Mallock, but you will forgive me for saying that it is from Catholics that we have to fear the most. I do not mean by that that Mr. Jermyn is not excellent and sincere; for I know nothing of him except what you have told me yourself. But zeal without discretion is a very firebrand; and prudence without zeal may become something very like cowardice; and either of these two things may injure the Catholic cause irreparably in the days that are coming. St. Peter’s was the one, and Judas’, I take it, was the other; for I hold Judas to have been by far the greater coward of the two.”
* * * * *
When I came out into the passage with him, I kneeled down and asked his blessing; for I knew that this was of a truth a man of God.
It was a little after noon next day that first we saw the Norman church upon the hill, and then the roofs of Hare Street.
I had been astonished at the badness of the roads from London, coming as I had from Rome, where paved ways go out in every direction. We came out by Bishopsgate, by the Ware road, and arrived at Waltham Cross a little before sunset, riding through heavy dust that had hardly been laid at all by the recent rains. We rode armed, with four servants, besides my Cousin Dorothy’s maid, for fear of the highwaymen who had robbed a coach only last week between Ware and London. My Cousin Dorothy rode a white mare named Jenny which mightily became her. We lay at the Four Swans at Waltham Cross, and went out before supper to see the Cross which was erected where Queen Eleanor’s body had lain—of which the last was at Charing Cross—and I was astonished that the Puritans had not more mutilated it. The beds were pretty comfortable, and the ale excellent, so that once more my Cousin Tom drank too much of it. And so, early in the morning we took horse again, and rode through Puckeridge, where we left for the first time the road by which the King went to Newmarket, when he went through Royston; and we found the track very bad thenceforward. My Cousin Tom carried with him, though for no purpose except for show, a map by John Ogilby which shows all the way from London to King’s Lynn, very ingeniously, and which was made after the Restoration to encourage road traffic again; but it was pleasant for me to look at it from time to time and see what progress we made towards Hormead Magna which is the parish in which Hare Street lies.