67:  Among Friends

A small portrait of GibToday I stepped out to the garden, where I saw two of my young friends, Harry and Moll.  (I believe Harry and Moll are named for my lord and his sister.  They also have a sister named Puss, but she was not there.)

They was raking leaves.  I joyed myself by leaping in the heaps they made.  Their father wore a sorry face, but he sayt nowt to discourage us. 

He knows full well I am our Earl’s cat and may do as I choose.

Then I walked to my sister’s barn.  Nero and Linkin were there, and we all sat snug in the straw.  Being private, we spake free.

Linkin sayt, “My mistress’ son, who was my master once, has writ from London.  The great rains of summer that spoiled the crops, and kept us ’neath our roofs, have alreadie made high the price of food in the citie.  When winter comes, many will hunger.”

“I knew it,” sayt my sister. “But we have good places here, and are safe from being ate.”

“Those who have no employment beg and steal,” sayt Linkin. “There is hatred of incomers, and some say they should be chased back to their own lands.  Meanwhile Her Majestie the Queen hides in one of her palaces, and dines with her wolvish friends.”

Queen Elizabeth's Palace at Richmond c1562 - Anton van den Wyngaerde
Queen Elizabeth’s Palace at Richmond c1562 by Anton van den Wyngaerde

Nero lamented (as he always do) the lot of sailors and soldiers who give service in Her Majestie’s wars, and are then cast into the gutter.  He sayt, “She boasts of their loves.  She should think on their lives.  Best that she were made away with.”

“Her physition [physician] hoped to poison her,” sayt Linkin.  “He was in the pay of the King of Spain.  He swore to his innocencie, but none believed him.  We may never know the truth of it.”

Head and shoulders picture of Sir Walter Ralegh, wearing a large pearl earring.
Sir Water Rawly, better known as Sir Walter Ralegh or Raleigh (c1554-1618)

Then Linkin told of Sir Water Rawly’s plans to seek a city of gold.  Many say it can be found by voyaging up a great river.

“Spanish lies,” sayt Nero.  “I’ve sought it myself, to no avail.”

“When was this?” arrkst Linkin.

After I was cast ashore on the coast of Darien,” sayt Nero, very smooth.

I watched the barn kits toying with some little rats that my sister or her grown daughter had given them.

I have no love for rats.  They are fierce, thieving villains, full of cunning.  A cat that knows not how to kill them may take hurt from their foul teeth.  And I hear tell they’ll snap new-birthed kitlings if their mother is not watchful.

But (it shames me to confess) I pitied those ratlings, who were too small to know what danger they were in.

Well, kits must learn their trade.  Had I not been took so young, and educated in my lord’s household, I too would have toyed with little rats and mice and thought nowt of it.

There are some who say that education should not be given to those who have neither the wit to contain it, nor the means to support it.  It makes them fit for nothing.  I’m thankful I have both wit and means. Else I might go hungry.

The kits begged a tale, so Nero told of travelling up a great river in search of gold.

As he sat on the side of the boat, a monstrous thing he’d taken for a floating log seized his tail in its great teeth.

The head of a crocodile.
Nero’s Water Monster

This water monster would have swallowed him entire, had he not struck it a blow on the nose.

My little niece sayt she longed to see the world.

“Best you stay safe in this barn,” I sayt.  “Else you’ll lose your tail, too.”

“But I’d have a tale to tell,” sayt she.

I fear she may grow to be more saucie than her mother.


Toutparmoi - Note from the EditorRoderigo Lopez (c1517-1594) has the unenviable distinction of being the only royal physician executed in England.  The chief agent of his downfall was Queen Elizabeth I’s reigning favourite, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex (1565-1601).

Dr Lopez was said to have incurred Essex’s enmity by telling “some secrecies, how he had cured him [Essex], and of what diseases, with some other things that did disparage his honour”.  However, this quote comes from the memoirs of Bishop Godfrey Goodman (b.1583), who is careful to say that he wasn’t an “eye or ear witness” to what he writes of in his book The Court of King James.  He probably heard the Essex gossip from a source he considered reliable, so it may be true.  Or it may not.

Neither Queen Elizabeth nor the aged and ailing Lord Burghley appear to have been convinced of Lopez’ guilt, but they did nothing to protect him. Dr Lopez was a Portuguese Jew; that would also have made him a target of suspicion, even though he conformed to the Church of England.

Sir Walter Ralegh/Raleigh (c1554-1618) – extraordinarily talented, and another of Elizabeth’s favourites – was determined to discover El Dorado, said to lie on the Orinoco.  The belief in its existence seems strange to us, but the riches from what are now modern Peru and Bolivia made a City of Gold more credible then.

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23 thoughts on “67:  Among Friends

  1. Chris White August 18, 2016 / 5:46 pm

    Certainly tough life at times for cats. Nero is quite a feline methinks.
    I so enjoy reading this moggy-bloggy. All the best. Kris.
    (Post about writing spaces coming up soon as I fell behind 😀🐈🐈 )

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi August 18, 2016 / 6:39 pm

      Nero is what used to be politely described as “very plausible.” Glad to hear the writing spaces post is still in the pipeline. I thought that perhaps you didn’t get enough photos.

      Like

      • Chris White August 18, 2016 / 8:08 pm

        I had a couple. I think most people are quite shy about showing their space.
        Plus, I expect most folk wouldn’t have seen the post in the first place. Quite understandable. All the best. Kris.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Quecoyote August 18, 2016 / 10:35 pm

    Hello, I’m also an animal lover and especially cats, soon will send photos of my last cat or I’ll put on the blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi August 19, 2016 / 5:28 am

      I think you should feature your last cat on your blog. I look forward to seeing the photos :-).

      Like

  3. Soul Gifts August 19, 2016 / 12:36 am

    I may have missed some of the adventures methinks. Will have to look back. I’ve had a touch of the winter wog for a few weeks. Almost back to normal. Interesting to see crocodiles enter the story here 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi August 19, 2016 / 5:11 am

      There’s been a wicked winter bug around – glad to hear you’re on the mend.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. dornahainds August 19, 2016 / 6:01 am

    Extraordinary as is thus writing, story-telling has become to be. I really do need a few days to catch up (sad to admit)…so much writing and reading easily distracts from this Wondorus take-out I shall fully return to its beginning and current telling. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Timi Townsend August 19, 2016 / 8:39 am

    I came down with two wicked winter bugs just in the past two weeks (of summer!): upper respiratory and stomach. Ugh! Luckily my four cats were here to take good care of me and to tell me stories. Ophelia’s tales are quite as good as, if not better than, Nero’s own! Although none of them, so far, feature a crocodile… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi August 19, 2016 / 11:00 am

      Bugs go international these days in no time at all. But it’s unfair to have them in summer. I’m sure Ophelia will think up a monster for her next tale!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Robyn Haynes August 20, 2016 / 4:42 pm

    I really enjoy your historical notes Denise, almost as much as Gib’s tales.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rachel McAlpine August 21, 2016 / 3:29 pm

    I love the way the cats’ world mirrors the rampant political plotting and scheming and conspiracies and gossip and sheer danger that was Britain at the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi August 21, 2016 / 6:22 pm

      Yes – it was a long way from the fantasy world of Good Queen Bess and Merrie England!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. April Munday August 24, 2016 / 10:31 pm

    I’m a bit worried that Gib has so many opportunities for privacy these days. Where is everyone else?

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi August 25, 2016 / 12:26 am

      Gib’s had a busy few months for an elderly cat, what with the play, his lord’s birthday, and the cats’ investigation into the Danvers’ whereabouts. Now his lord has returned to London he’s taking things easy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • April Munday August 25, 2016 / 12:58 am

        I’m glad it’s his choice. I’m a bit worried about what the other cats are up to. There seems to be a lot of intrigue in the realm and I’m hoping that the other cats aren’t inspired by it.

        Liked by 1 person

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