Thus, long before they saw Charing Cross, Cicely came to hate this proud, avaricious and overbearing man, who hid a savage nature under a cloak of virtue, and whilst serving his own ends, mouthed great words about God and the King. Still, she who was schooled in adversity, learned to hide her heart, fearing to make an enemy of one who could ruin her, and forced Emlyn, much against her will, to do the same. Moreover, there were worse things than that since, being beautiful, some of his companions talked to her in a way she could not misunderstand, till at length Thomas Bolle, coming on one of them, thrashed him as he had never been thrashed before, after which there was trouble that was only appeased by a gift.
Yet on the whole things went well. No one molested the King’s Visitor or those with him, the autumn weather held fine, the baby boy kept his health, and the country through which they passed was new to her and full of interest.
At last one evening they rode from Barnet into the great city, which she thought a most marvellous place, who had never seen such a multitude of houses or of men running to and fro about their business up and down the narrow streets that at night were lit with lamps. Now there had been a great discussion where they were to lodge, Dr. Legh saying that he knew of a house suitable to them. But Emlyn would not hear of this place, where she was sure they would be robbed, for the wealth that they carried secretly in jewels bore heavily on her mind. Remembering a cousin of her mother’s of the name of Smith, a goldsmith, who till within a year or two before was alive and dwelling in Cheapside, she said that they would seek him out.
Thither then they rode, guided by one of the Visitor’s clerks, not he whom Bolle had beaten, but another, and at last, after some search, found a dingy house in a court and over it a sign on which were painted three balls and the name of Jacob Smith. Emlyn dismounted and, the door being open, entered, to be greeted by an old, white-bearded man with horn spectacles thrust up over his forehead and dark eyes like her own, since the same gypsy blood ran strong in both of them.
What passed between them Cicely did not hear, but presently the old man came out with Emlyn, and looked her and Bolle up and down sharply for a long while as though to take their measures. At length he said that he understood from his cousin, whom he now saw for the first time for over thirty years, that the two of them and their man desired lodgings, which, as he had empty rooms, he would be pleased to give them if they would pay the price.
Cicely asked how much this might be, and on his naming a sum, ten silver shillings a week for the three of them and their horses, that would be stabled close by, told Emlyn to pay him a pound on account. This he took, biting the gold to see that it was good, but bidding them in to inspect the rooms before he pouched it. They did so, and finding them clean and commodious if somewhat dark, closed the bargain with him, after which they dismissed the clerk to take their address to Dr. Legh, who had promised to advise them so soon as he could put their business forward.