36:  Discontentments

The face of a brown horse with a white blaze.Yes.  Dumpishness has come upon me.

Today I walked to the stable, and greeted the horses with “What newes?” For horses go hither and yon, and hear much that you may coax them into telling.  If you have patience.

“Say now,” one arrkst me. “Do we know when your friends will next meet at the Cats’ Field?”

“When the moon is fat and the night fair,” I answered. “Unless we are summoned to hear hot newes.”

“Do we know when a fat moon may be?” arrkst another.

“Nay,” sayt the first, “we do not know.”

The other sayt, “Then how may we know what befell that poor cat whose ship was set afire?”

“Yea,” sayt a third. “From one great moon to the next is a long time to be swimming.”

They was talking of Nero’s tale of the Spanish Main.  Some fool cat has told it to them.

And they believed Nero and his friends were even now in the sea, making for the shore of Darien [Panama].

A portrait of a dappled cat, white and blue-grey.
Gib, the young Earl of Southampton’s Cat.  And Poet.

I never knowed horses that could be so easily gulled.

“Now hear me,” sayt I.  “That cat did not drown.  He’s here now.”

“Where?” they arrkst.

“In his master’s house, about his business.”

“Say now, how know we that?”

I did not endeavour to explain.  Instead, I offered them a different tale.

“Nay,” they sayt.  “We have but room enough in our heads for one.”

“That I can believe.”

“Yea,” they answered.  “All fear for that poor cat.  And we know that if he does not drown he may be ate.”

I arrkst if they knew of the hero cats Purrsa and Purrsie, or Teasel Puss.

After more talk, too tedious to recount here, they wished to know if those cats were like to drown or be ate too.

Portrait of a black cat - Nero
Sea Cat Nero, the Rival Poet.

How is it the horses know Nero’s tale but none of mine?

Have the stable cats been so carried away by the prideful sail of Nero’s great verse that he is all they can speak of?

No, because Nero told the first part of his newest tale plain.  (Certes, he was so hot to leap up after Linkin the Law Cat gave newes, he had not time to prepare his rhyme.)

Then do they love his unquenchable spirit?  A spirit well-fuelled, I might add, by the spirits his old captain and his pot-companions [drinking buddies] consume by night.

Then it come to me that Nero hisself had been by.  And for why?

To advance his reputation at the expense of mine.

First he creeps about the stable.  Soon he will approach the house.  He desires my place as the young Earl’s poet.

Portrait of William Cecil, Lord Burghley
Lord Purrlie, better known as Lord Burghley

How glad I am that my young lord is kept beneath Lord Purrlie’s heavy paws and safe at college in Cambridge.  Nero cannot woo him there.

But why has my young lord not sent for me?  I may avenge myself by making his family the matter of my next tale.

The wicked cats here will not complain if I spread slander.

And I’ll punish Nero by keeping away from our next Field Day.  If pressed to go I’ll say I am in pain.  I can learn the finish of his tale from my sister or the kitchen cat.  (If I so choose.)

I set my mark against the stable walls.  A little here, a little there.

That will serve to warn all cats who come by.  And I care not what the stable cats may think.


Toutparmoi - Note from the Editor

A painting of the Holy Family with their cat.
The Holy Family, by Jan Cornelisz Vermeyen c1504-1559. Held in the Kunsthistorisches Museum.

Cats are contrary.  Sorry as I am to leave Gib in such an ill-humour, this is the last of his journal for the year.

Your humble editor is taking a break, and will be back in January.

Have a Happy Christmas!

 

P.S. The cat in the bottom right of this picture could be another example of what the spy cat Master Grey referred to as hedging bets.

 

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29 thoughts on “36:  Discontentments

  1. jmnowak December 23, 2015 / 4:23 pm

    Arr, ’tis a dumpish mood I’m a feelin’ too…must be the Midwinter’s coldness and darkness that steers me wrong. Perchance a visit to another sailing catt, named Bailey (baileyboatcat.com) could put things aright on that score! Much merriment there, and he has plenty of fayre tails to tell to bolster the spirit. He even enjoys the kind found in a bottle named after him, too!

    Merry Christmas, toutparmoi. Thy tales of Gib have kept me much amused throughout this year. Your task has been well appreciated. ‘Til next year, all the best. 😀

    Liked by 4 people

    • toutparmoi December 23, 2015 / 9:44 pm

      Aye, lass, perchance it’s the approach of winter that’s unsettling our poor Gib. Even though, by the standards of most Elizabethan cats (and people too) he leads an extraordinarily comfortable life. I’ve visited Bailey’s blog a few times – so good to see a modern Sea Cat! Though I didn’t know he was fond of taking a festive drink.

      Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi December 23, 2015 / 9:36 pm

      The same to you, Roshen. I hope to read your short stories over the Christmas break.

      Liked by 1 person

      • roshendalal December 25, 2015 / 5:26 pm

        I’ve had some good comments on the stories–hope you like them. Will be putting together more and meanwhile looking for an agent for my first novel.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Robyn Haynes December 23, 2015 / 4:42 pm

    Merry Christmas to you! I fear Gib is a little jealous. I’m sorry he has such a poor view of the intellect of horses.

    Liked by 2 people

    • toutparmoi December 23, 2015 / 9:33 pm

      Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you too, Robyn. I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts in 2016.
      Poor Gib has his off days when nothing seems to please him. And even though his relationship with Nero is cordial, no cat likes having rivals.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. April Munday December 24, 2015 / 1:11 am

    Merry Christmas. I’m looking forward to more of Gib’s writings next year.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rachel McAlpine December 24, 2015 / 4:26 pm

    I’m glad to see Gib is in full territorial mode. Is there anything we can do to help? I’d hate him to be ousted by the dread Nero.

    Liked by 2 people

    • toutparmoi December 24, 2015 / 4:47 pm

      I’m not even sure that Nero has any plans of that nature. Time will tell. I suspect Gib’s just having one of his unloved and under-appreciated moments. He takes great pride in being cat-and-poet to an Earl, but he hasn’t seen his Earl for 6 years. That’s a long time in the life of a cat.

      Liked by 1 person

      • toutparmoi December 25, 2015 / 8:48 am

        I can imagine the feline Nero coming up with a line like “What an artist dies in me.” Though the other cats maintain that this Nero’s real name is Blackie. (See the Sea Cat’s Tale)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Janice Wald December 25, 2015 / 7:54 am

    Hi,
    I met you on Richard Schulte’s site. I wanted to come over and say “hi”. Like you, I am also a history nerd. I actually make a living telling people interesting stories about the past. I teach ancient and medieval world history.
    I started blogging by writing about history, but I had trouble finding an audience. You seem to have quite an engaged community. Congratulations. Nice to meet you.
    Janice

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi December 25, 2015 / 8:29 am

      Good to hear from you, Janice. I love Richard’s photos. But if you saw my dark remarks about Wellington’s “summer” on his blog, I have to say I can’t complain today. It looks like we’re in for all-day sun and only mild breezes. Have you also checked out April Munday’s blog? She’s a novelist who does some great posts about aspects of medieval history.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. chattykerry December 30, 2015 / 4:31 am

    Your post has brightened my day, somewhat. Festive Greetings from the New World.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Soul Gifts December 30, 2015 / 7:13 pm

    Fascinating – came across your comment in fifty words post about cats. Glad I came to look Meow 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi December 30, 2015 / 10:19 pm

      Ah, I remember your joke about the black dog. Nick’s 50 word stories are gems.

      Liked by 1 person

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