25: This Place

Gib against a background of yellow flowers.It happened as I foretold.  I was brought hither by my lady Moll, who set forth with her husband.

I heared tell that they would journey to the manor where I was born, and live in the house there.

Loathe as I was to leave my sweet friend Smokie, I was cheered by the thought that I might see my sister.  Oh, I did pray she was still in this world, and had kept her place in the stable.

So when I and my basket was put in my crate, and onto a cart with the two little dogs (as happened before), I did not complain overmuch.

The weather was fair and the road firm.  We made good speed, and came to this place to rest ourselves.  The dogs ran to see the house where my lady Moll and her husband would pass the night, but I was lodged in the stable with the horses and took my supper there.

After I had rested, I had a mind to ease myself (I did not wish to soil the straw in my crate) and to see the house also.  I tried the lid of my crate.  It yielded a little, and I guessed that it was not tied tight.

With much effort I loosed the lid enough to climb out, and stepped into the yard to take the scents.  Some were most pleasant.  I arrkst myself if I had come to this place before, mayhap on my last voyage or with my young lord when I was a kitling.

I walked until I saw the towers of the gatehouse before me, but did not call for admittance.  Instead, I made a general survey from without, and found the house right statelie.  Though not, I think, so big as the house we had come from.

A Stone Wall with TreesThen I went into the garden and leapt onto the wall to look over.  I saw two young she-cats (not yet grown to be queens) frolicking in a meadow.

But (can you credit it?) when they saw me watching, one called, “Hello, sweet-heart,” and the other, “Give us a sniff.”  Then they ran off very merry, believing theirselves to be wittie.

I never been spoke to in that wise in all my days.

Smokie taught me a word or two for such lewd chits that he learned in his shop, so I followed them to tell them what I thought of their strumpetry.

They went into a wood where they gave me the slip.  Then what do I hear but a man and his dog, so I ran up a tree for safety.  And there I passed the night most peaceable, with nowt but owls for companie.

When morning came I saw I was a long way from the house, but I followed the smell of the smoke from its chimneys, and so returned to the yard.

I could not find our carts.

I went to the stable.  Our horses were not there.  Nowt but my crate remained.

I ran out again and looked toward the house, but I knew that all were gone.  They had left me.

I arrkst the horses who dwelt in that stable, “What place is this?”

“Say now,” one sayt.  “What place is this?”

“Nay,” sayt another.  “It is the place.”

“Yea,” sayt all.  “It is the place.”

I am accustomed to the ways of horses, so had patience.  I sayt, most civil, “Friends, I know it is the place, but what place is it?  Do it have a name?”

“Nay,” sayt all.  “It is the place.”

So I left the lackwits where they stood, and followed my nose to the kitchen.

An old map, showing The Place (Place House) and surrounds.
This Place: Place House (lower right) and surrounds, Titchfield. C.1610

Toutparmoi - Editor's Note.Gib’s first recorded journey is in 15: We Go Our WaysThat was from Itchel Manor in Hampshire (“the manor where I was born”) to Cowdray House in Sussex.  His second journey seems to have brought him back to Hampshire.

Thomas Wriothesley, by Hans Holbein. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Thomas Wriothesley, by Hans Holbein c.1497-1543.  Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gib may have been too hard on the horses.  If we take their word for it, he’s been left at Place House (or The Place).  Formerly Titchfield Abbey, it was acquired in 1537 by Thomas Wriothesley, later 1st Earl of Southampton (and grandfather to Gib’s young Earl).  He converted the Abbey into an impressive house by the early 1540s.

There’s more about both Abbey and House here on the English Heritage website, including a picture of what the House may have looked like when Gib walked around the exterior, making his “survey”.  However, I’m not aware of historical evidence that any of Shakespeare’s plays was first performed there, as the website suggests.

Let’s hope Gib can cast some light on the matter. 

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11 thoughts on “25: This Place

  1. Robyn Haynes October 9, 2015 / 8:40 am

    Oh dear! I feel anxious for poor Gib being left behind.
    The Heritage website proved interesting and helped me picture the scene.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi October 14, 2015 / 12:19 pm

      One thing about the drawing of Place House at the bottom of the Heritage web page puzzled me – it didn’t show the location of the kitchen garden, which would have been large.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Robyn Haynes October 14, 2015 / 8:47 pm

        They were there in the reconstruction drawing of the abbey in the 14th C – to the left of the picture there are rows. Could they be vegetables or vines? So why not in the later reconstruction? A mystery.

        Liked by 1 person

        • toutparmoi October 15, 2015 / 1:03 am

          Yes – and in the Abbey drawing there’s an extension on the NW corner by the gardens that has a chimney, so I thought that must be the Abbey kitchen. Yet in the House drawing, the extension with chimneys is on the NE corner. I recall reading somewhere that Thomas Wriothesley wanted to move the kitchen into part of the Abbey’s church (a “condition of sale” was that the church itself must be demolished) but he was advised against it because that would mean the kitchen would be alongside his private pleasure garden.

          Unfortunately, Gib’s no help on the location of the kitchen or its garden – he simply follows his nose!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Claremary P. Sweeney October 14, 2015 / 8:19 am

    How could they leave Gib behind? ZuZu is terribly distraught. This happened to her once and she is very empathetic.Roxie is a bit more blasé because Gib looks so much like ZuZu whom she would love to leave behind somewhere. The historic piece on Titchfield is truly appreciated

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi October 14, 2015 / 12:11 pm

      Considering the size of Gib’s houses and the mobility of the Elizabethan aristocracy, I’m surprised he didn’t get lost or left somewhere sooner! BTW, there’s a couple of links to pictures and historical info about Gib’s previous home (Cowdray House) in the comments section under the Bright Days post.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. jmnowak October 15, 2015 / 2:36 am

    A bright-eyed kitling most empathic, I must say. But, being left doesn’t seem to have fazed him…he’s an adventurous one, with all the previous moves, and has an interesting life! Now, I arrkst you (my late step-brother’s most favourite word), I did not know that it was a medieval word!

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi October 15, 2015 / 2:50 am

      I don’t think “arrkst” was a medieval word, but it’s how Gib spells “asked” and I like it so much I don’t change it. (Your late stepbrother sounds like a kindred spirit.)

      Plus I think cats do tend to arrks, rather than ask. Particularly when they’re thinking about food.

      Liked by 2 people

      • jmnowak October 15, 2015 / 2:55 am

        Yes, cats and arrksing, I bet they have that searching look in their eyes when doing so, just like John did!

        Liked by 1 person

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