My lord cut off his screech and rose from the table, softening his look and bowing his head.
The fool tutor that disdained my coat bowed very low and began, “Your lordship, I did but –”. And sayt no more, because my lord cut in swift, “Step on my poor cat’s tail.”
My lord made his eyes very round, which is a sign of innocencie in children.
I, having thrust my coat beneath the table, made mine very narrow, which is a sign of innocencie in cats.
“My lord, I have done this, and wished to put some colour to it,” sayt my little lord, showing the Earl the first picture he made.
The Earl sayt nowt. He looked to one of his gentlemen for aid.
Whereat my lord sayt, very sweet, “My lady mother always permits me to colour my drawing.”
The Earl’s face coloured itself. I mean, it went from yellow to black to white.
I saw his gentlemen trade looks.
Then the Earl sayt, in a voice as scrumpled as my coat, “I will not have that vile woman spoke of in my house.”
The gentleman the Earl had looked to whispered something in his ear, and the Earl recovered hisself enough to say, “Son, you have sat at your books too long. It is time for you to ride.”
My lord smirked at our fool tutor, then followed his father from the room.
Once all were gone, I fetched my coat from beneath the table. I took a pen, and thrust it in the inkhorn.
With great effort, I do confess, I scratched below the drawing “Tout par Moy.” Which means, I hope, in the tongue of the Conker (though I know him not), “All for me.”
A glorious day.
Item: I made the Earl’s akwayntance (more of him later).
Item: I saw my little lord practise sutiltie [subtlety] instead of yowling.
Item: I learnt that there be two sorts of marks. The mark you make by raising your tail, and the mark you scratch with a pen. Though I think the former has more power to it.
Item: I learnt that there be two sorts of coats. The coat that covers you, and the coat that is drawn. To have the latter is a greater distinction than being born in a stable.
And I arrkst myself where I might learn more of my little lord’s mother, she that the Earl calls a vile woman.
I bethought me of the kitchen where all go to gather newes, though last time I went there I had a sharp lesson.
A man came from the buttery with a little knife.
I had seen that man in the stable many a time. He always spake fair words to the horses and to us cats. I feared him not.
You may guess what happened next.
Then the man sayt, “I’d gladly trade mine for a life as soft as the one you lead. I pray you, little Gib, don’t give me unkind looks.”
The cook laughed and set me down, and I made off as quick as my trembling legs did allow, vowing never to return.
But so great was my desire for newes that day, it was to the kitchen I ran.