“‘Two, my Lord!’ I answered; ’there’s no fellow to that pearl in the whole world,’ though it is true that as I said the words, the setting of its twin, that was pinned to my inner shirt, pricked me sorely, as if in anger. Then I took it up again, and for the second time began to bow myself out.
“‘Jacob,’ he said, ’you are an old friend, and I’ll stretch my duty for you. Leave the pearl—his Grace needs that L1000 so sorely that I must keep it against my will,’ and he put out his hand to take it, only to find that I had covered it with my own.
“’First the writing, then its price, my Lord. Here is a memorandum of it set out fair, to save you trouble, if it pleases you to sign.’
“He read it through, then, taking a pen, scored out the clause as regards acquittal of the witchcraft, which, he said, must be looked into by the King in person or by his officers, but all the rest he signed, undertaking to hand over the proper deeds under the great seal and royal hand upon payment of L1000. Being able to do no better, I said that would serve, and left him your pearl, he promising, on his part, to move his Majesty to receive you, which I doubt not he will do quickly for the sake of the L1000. Have I done well?”
“Indeed, yes,” exclaimed Cicely. “Who else could have done half so well——?”
As the words left her lips there came a loud knocking at the door of the house, and Jacob ran down to open it. Presently he returned with a messenger in a splendid coat, who bowed to Cicely and asked if she were the Lady Harflete. On her replying that such was her name, he said that he bore to her the command of his Grace the King to attend upon him at three o’clock of that afternoon at his Palace of Whitehall, together with Emlyn Stower and Thomas Bolle, there to make answer to his Majesty concerning a certain charge of witchcraft that had been laid against her and them, which summons she would neglect at her peril.
“Sir, I will be there,” answered Cicely; “but tell me, do I come as a prisoner?”
“Nay,” replied the herald, “since Master Jacob Smith, in whom his Grace has trust, has consented to be answerable for you.”
“And for the L1000,” muttered Jacob, as, with many salutations, he showed the royal messenger to the door, not neglecting to thrust a gold piece into his hand that he waved behind him in farewell.
THE DEVIL AT COURT
It was half-past two of the clock when Cicely, who carried her boy in her arms, accompanied by Emlyn, Thomas Bolle and Jacob Smith, found herself in the great courtyard of the Palace of Whitehall. The place was full of people waiting there upon one business or another, through whom messengers and armed men thrust their way continually, crying, “Way! In the King’s name, way!” So great was the press, indeed, that for some time even Jacob could command no attention, till at length he caught sight of the herald who had visited his house in the morning, and beckoned to him.