23: Bright Days

My lady Moll, her mother the Countess, and her ladyship’s old father are at their house in the town.  And I hear tell that they will see my young lord.  But I am not displeased to be here.

Grey cat is enjoying natureI have Smokie for company, and I never had so fair a friend.

I’ve attended many milkings with him.  The first time I kept back, but after the young mistress had filled her pail she was most loving to me.

She arrkst me whence I came, and stroked my head.

Now I go near like Smokie do.  Oh, how we curl our tongues about, first to catch the squirts of milk the young mistress offers us and then to lick our whiskers.

An English Longhorn Cow sitting in grass.
Cows are not Poetick

I also arrkst Smokie’s friend the cow if she would like to hear a tale wherein a lady loved a bull, and tricked him so she bore a calf-boy.

(I thought I could tell her that part onlie, and leave out the matter of the young cats.)

But all this cow sayt was:  Bulls may be fool, but they not so verie fool.

And Smokie sayt that cows are not poetick.

A Blue Cat. On grass.Another of our pastimes is to take the sun in Smokie’s garden, where he keeps watch for thieving birds and mice whilst I devise a new tale.

One day not long since, Smokie was mopish.  He sayt he had been with his mistress in the garden, where she was pulling out little plants.

He saw some remaining, so he (meaning no harm, he sought only to help) followed her along the row, attacking them.

But his mistress looked back and cried:  What, all my little seedlings gone?  Every one?  And she waxed wroth, calling him a bad cat.  So he ran off and left her to her labours.

“She’ll get no more help from me,” sayt Smokie.  “She may kiss mine arse.”  (He learns such strong talk in the smith’s shop.)

Gib's House, (i.e. Cowdray House) from an 18th century painting by John Keyse Sherwin that shows the two front towers of the gatehouse.
Gib’s House, (i.e. Cowdray House) from an 18th century painting by John Keyse Sherwin that shows the front towers of the gatehouse.

To cheer him I offered to show him my house.  We went in by the gate and up into a tower where we looked through the windows and saw the world.

We also saw the keeper come out from his tower where he was drinking with his friends, and make his mark against a wall.  (Now that the great folks and their servants are away they who keep this house are idle, and invite their idle friends here.)

Smokie thought the towers were the house, but I sayt no, this be but the gatehouse.  I ran down to greet the keeper, and he oped the second gate for us.  We went into the great court [courtyard].

That brinded cat I fought was there, but durst not say a word.  Smokie took a drink from the fountain, not because he thirsted, but to show the brinded rascal he may do so if chooses.  And he marvelled to see the house stand all around the court and us.

What a day that was!   We chased each other round the Hall and up the stairs.  We climbed the cloths that hang from the walls.  Smokie sayt their stitching gives our claws good purchase.  The wall cloths in his house are but painted.

I led him to the kitchen and was shamed that none offered us refreshment, but Smokie did not remark it.

He was too mazed by my house.  When I told him he had not seen one quarter of it, he sayt it was a verie palace, and he’d never hoped to enter so great a house in all his life.

Then he went home with no thoughts of revenge.  He sayt he forgave his mistress her hard words to him, as she would forgive him his error. 

And I am so happy in this place I do marvel that ever it misliked me.

The Courtyard - looking west towards the two rear towers of the gatehouse.
The Courtyard – looking west towards the rear of the gatehouse.  This image and the one beside it are from “Cowdray:  The History of a Great English House” by Mrs Charles Roundell, 1884. (Internet Archive)
The Hall at Cowdray House
The Hall at Cowdray House
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7 thoughts on “23: Bright Days

  1. Rachel McAlpine September 25, 2015 / 9:35 am

    I must leave my Mark. Which is a non-verbal communication. So I need say nothing else.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Unfurling September 25, 2015 / 11:08 am

    Such adventures for the young Smokie! I love the pictures of Cowdray House.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. mitchteemley November 25, 2015 / 11:11 am

    I shall waste no more time telling tales to cows. Thanks, Gib!

    Like

    • toutparmoi November 25, 2015 / 9:08 pm

      Sing to them instead. I hear they’re fond of musick.

      Like

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