Yet I believe I have strayed from the paths of righteousness only because I fell among wicked cats here. So the fault is not mine alone.
Item: I spake slander against my young Earl. I made of him what men and women call a past-it [bastard] when I sayt that his father did not put him in his mother’s belly.
Though, now I think on it, among cats this is not counted slander. We care nowt for marrying, so our kits do not have fathers. We are governed by our mothers, and the queen cats who hearked my tale did but marvel at how many fat moons a woman must endure to bring forth a single kit.
But why spake I in this wise of my lord?
I was offended that he never sent for me to join him. And it misliked me to hear my sister speak of him as our Earl, though what she sayt is true. Many here do call him our Earl. He was but one hour mine. (I know not what an hour is, but I believe it to be a lesser time than two winters. Unless you are in hopes of your supper, and then it is forever.)
Item: I told of the wickedness of women, of which there is much to be read in books. Yet the Countess and Lady Moll were ever kind to me.
I blame the Queen for my wild words. She offended me. She came into my house, and made a very hell of it. I hid myself because the bloodie woman likes killing, and I feared she might kill me. But, unlike my sister, I had not wit enough to conceal myself in a tree.
And so I did not see my lord, nor he me.
I was offended, too, when I learnt that my lord would seek a place in the Queen’s household.
I do not blame my lord. I fear he may have no choice in the matter. For he, like me, has been removed from one house to another, whether or not he wished it. First by his maggot-brained father. Then by Lord Purrlie [Burghley]. All this is the Queen’s fault.
She loves to get her claws on Earls, and keep them close. If they’re cunning they’ll do nowt to vex her. Otherwise she’ll have them imprisoned, or make her mark on the paper that says their heads must be struck off.
I pray my lord may prove too suttle for her.
If she comes here again, I also will prove suttle. I’ll trip her on the stairs and hope she breaks her bloodie neck.
And now I have quieted my conscience with good thoughts, I’ll prepare a new tale. All have begged me for another before winter comes.
But first I shall go about the house and make some marks of my own to fresh the place. And after I’ve taken a drink from the fountain in the court I’ll fresh the garden and the walks where many strangers have left their stinking marks behind the bushes.
Then I shall find me more paper, ink and a new pen and set down a tale. I have in mind a romance that slanders none. Oh, that will put my art to the test.