76:  Of Lady Moll, and a Dog Collar

Gib, looking large-eyed and self important.I wisht to know why my lady Moll has been troubled of late.

I heard nowt from the common folks who serve me and keep this house for my lord.

So I hied me to Linkin’s house, because the London lawyer who was once his master oft visits and brings gossips’ talk.

Linkin was in the yard with Nero.  They was rejoicing in the victory of our heroick Earl of Essicks.  He has sacked the port of Cadiz!

I’ll tell more of this when next I write my diurnal.

A black and white photograph of a portrait of a young woman in a dark gown with striped sleeves.
Lady Moll – Mary Arundell, wife of Thomas Arundell and sister to the Earl of Southampton.

First, I’ll set down what I learnt of the sorrows of my lady Moll.

Linkin sayt, “Your lady Mary’s husband Thoms [Thomas] is a Catlick clown.”

He told me Thoms lacked employment.  So his father gave him money and horses that he might aid the holy roaming [roman] Emperor in his fight against the Turks.

Queen Puss [Bess] permitted Thoms to go, even though she loves the Turks and will do nowt against them.

Nero sayt, “I too love the Turks.  A nation most civil to cats.”

The portrait show a solidly-built bearded nan with the long Habsburg chin.
Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II (1552-1612) – a portrail by Joseph Heintz the Elder, via Wikimedia Commons.

Thoms fought well in Hungrie [Hungary], and proved his valour.  The Emperor honoured him by making him an Earl.

Then Thoms sayt he would come home.

So his father writ to old Lord Purrlie’s wittie [clever] boy who has a good place in Her Majestie’s household. 

Thoms’ father begged that he be offered a position in the Queen’s service to keep him oversea.

He sayt the reason Thoms wisht to return was because his wife arrkst him to.

Thoms’ father feared some would say that his son lacked the courage for more fighting, or that he’d gone to the wars onlie to gull his father out of all his horses and eleven hundred pounds.

A thin-faced, bearded man in darl clothes, with papers and an official red, embroidered, dispatch bag beside him.
Old Lord Purrlie’s clever boy, better known as Sir Robert Cecil (1563-1612). This portrait is probably a copy of one by John de Critz the Elder. Via Wikimedia Commons.

But Thoms took ship for home, and was shipwracked.  “He lost all he had with him,” sayt Linkin.  “Horses, clothes, and money.”

“Had he a tail, he’d have lost that too,” added Nero.

“True,” sayt Linkin.  “He come ashore with nowt but a cold he caught in the sea.”

“Doubtless,” sayt Nero, “to the joy of his loving Dad.”

“And to the joy of his loving Queen,” sayt Linkin.  “She was much offended that he’d presumed to accept an honour from the Emperor.  As she has sayt before: My dogs wear my collars.”

Queen Puss sent Thoms to prison.  And writ to the Emperor to reprove him, but she spake of shepherds and their sheep.  Not of her dogs and his collars.

Lord Purrlie told Thoms that none can serve two masters.  And that it’s the custom in our country for stranger [foreign] Earls to be granted, in courtesie, a higher place than our own Earls.  Thoms being but a gentleman, that’s not fitting.

We cats know well how to serve more than one master or mistress.  But on the matter of place, I believe old Purrlie spake true.  I would not like to see Thoms sat higher than our Earl.

Nor would I wish to see another cat in a higher place than mine.

Next, some folk sayt that Thoms has been consorting with the Spanish and other wicked folks.  Which he denied, protesting his loyalty and the friendship he believes the Emperor has for Her Majestie.

“The Earl of Essicks examined Thoms,” sayt Linkin.  “Justly so, for then our fleet was making ready for Spain.  Essicks arrkst what informations about the Queen’s navy he gave them.  But Thoms denied all.  Now he’s banished from the court.”

I know ’tis wicked to take pleasure in the misfortunes of others.  And I do believe that Thoms loves the collar of an Earl Imperial as I love a good gravy.

But the tale of his woes made us merrie.

Then Linkin sayt that Thoms’ fool father has offered lodgings to Thoms and all his family, save his wife.  Her, his father will not have in his house.

Poor Lady Moll.  ’Tis a sorry thing to have no place in a household, as we cats know.

A face and shoulders made up of an array of fruits and vegetables.
Rudolf II was an enthusiastic patron of the arts.  This is a picture of him as Vertumnus, a Roman god of the seasons.  By Guiseppe Arcimboldo (c.1526-1593). Via Wikimedia Commons.

Toutparmoi - Note from the EditorMoll/Mary’s husband Thomas Arundell (c.1560-1639) was probably too overtly Catholic to find favour with Queen Elizabeth.

Mary and he appear to have lived in various of the young Earl’s properties, e.g. Itchel Manor in Hampshire, and Southampton House in London where his father Sir Matthew Arundell described him disapprovingly as “solitary and studious”.

In 1595 Thomas was permitted to join Rudolf II’s campaign against “the Turks”.  Click on this link and scroll down to the map to see the size of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century.

Queen Elizabeth herself maintained amiable diplomatic relations with “the Turks”, potential allies against Spain and a lucrative trading partner for England.

The saying “My dogs wear my collars” is believed to relate to Sir Nicholas Clifford, who accepted an honour from Henri IV of France as a reward for military service.  Another of Elizabeth’s courtiers, Sir Anthony Sherley/Shirley, did the same.  Elizabeth’s problem was that acceptance of these honours meant an oath of loyalty to Henri.

In vain did Thomas Arundell protest that being created an Earl Imperial (a Count of the Holy Roman Empire) involved no oath.  His letters to Sir Robert Cecil are preserved in the Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Marquis of Salisbury (“the Cecil papers”) Vol VI, available on line.

Mary also wrote to Sir Robert, asking him to intercede with her father-in-law on her behalf.  She attributes Sir Matthew’s refusal to let her live in his house, Wardour Castle, to “some unkindness that passed between us at my last being there…” and asks Sir Robert to “…assure him that I will not behave myself otherwise towards him than as shall become a kind and respective daughter-in-law…”

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31 thoughts on “76:  Of Lady Moll, and a Dog Collar

  1. Timi Townsend October 20, 2016 / 10:54 am

    A Question from an Ignoramus: what Cat’s Portrait appears at the top of this Entrie?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Timi Townsend October 20, 2016 / 10:56 am

      Oh, never Minde, indeede! I do See that it is a Portrait of His Gibship, Himselfe! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. larrypaulbrown October 20, 2016 / 10:56 am

    I am amazed by the research efforts you must be putting into this writing. And, as we know of course, the feline perspective is most interesting. So good ole Shakespeare enjoyed a little diversity?

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi October 20, 2016 / 11:25 am

      True, I do have to put a fair amount of time into figuring out exactly who and what those little feline gossips are talking about! And as for Shakespeare? I’m now convinced that he stole and rewrote some of Gib’s work.

      Liked by 3 people

    • larrypaulbrown October 20, 2016 / 11:35 am

      Well, thanks to you, Gib shall be vindicated and as for Shakespeare….never did like him in high school English Lit. and maybe it was for good reason.

      Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi October 20, 2016 / 11:39 am

      As Gib would say, you know well how to nose out a knave.

      Liked by 1 person

    • larrypaulbrown October 20, 2016 / 11:46 am

      Such a sense of humor coming from an Elizabethan sourpuss. Oops, sorry Gib.

      Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi October 25, 2016 / 12:12 pm

      It was Gib’s play that finally convinced me. Clearly a forerunner to Hamlet. He didn’t record many speeches from it – at least not in the papers I have. However, his initial hope of seeing it in print may have meant he wrote out a fair copy that was later lost. Or stolen.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Val October 20, 2016 / 1:13 pm

    “A nation most civil to cats.” That made me smile. I now visualize Turkey full of people bearing saucers of milk! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi October 20, 2016 / 1:28 pm

      Nero is what my grandmother used to refer to (darkly) as “very plausible”.

      Liked by 2 people

    • roshendalal October 30, 2016 / 3:01 pm

      Thank you, fascinating! No I doubt if most kings/queens would like to be painted that way!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. April Munday October 20, 2016 / 8:24 pm

    Poor Lady Moll. No wonder Gib is upset. I wonder what she can have done to upset her father-in-law so.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi October 20, 2016 / 8:47 pm

      I’d love to know. It seems that words had been exchanged, but about what?

      Liked by 1 person

    • April Munday October 20, 2016 / 9:00 pm

      Unless she had already produced an heir, it seems a bit short-sighted on everyone’s part. It doesn’t look as if Thoms stuck up for her, even though he said he returned on her request.

      Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi October 20, 2016 / 9:34 pm

      Moll and Thoms had 3 children – two sons and then a daughter. The first son was born in 1586; I don’t know about the next two, but all three could well have been born by 1595 or 96 when Sir Matthew grew hostile to Moll. Perhaps she took after her mother, who doesn’t seem to have been one to curb her tongue if she thought something needed to be said. I also wonder if Thoms was intimidated by his father. But obedience was expected of children, even middle-aged ones. (Thoms was about 36.)

      Interesting that Thoms, Moll et al didn’t decamp to one of the Southampton properties where they’d lived before. Perhaps Gib’s lord was less than welcoming?

      Liked by 2 people

    • April Munday October 20, 2016 / 10:16 pm

      Perhaps he or she had also managed to upset the young earl. Or, if he was still out of favour with the queen, perhaps the young earl didn’t want to risk upsetting her.

      Liked by 2 people

    • toutparmoi October 20, 2016 / 10:49 pm

      Yes! It’s possible that the young Earl didn’t want to seem too friendly with Thoms just then, particularly as the Earl of Essex had recently given him a grilling. But it all seems a long way from the “broad” talk at Wardour Castle that lead to John Harington’s water-closet, and the lively time a year or two later at Titchfield when Moll and Thoms (and their cook) were party to the escape of the Danvers brothers.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. kidsofthe50sand60s October 22, 2016 / 2:22 am

    Beautifully written as always and lovely illustrations. I always love to read the historical detail at the end. A lot of work goes into your writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Robyn Haynes October 24, 2016 / 3:52 pm

    The portraits in this post are wonderful Denise. But most wonderful is the one of Rudolf II as Vertumnus, a Roman god of the seasons.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Robyn Haynes October 24, 2016 / 4:57 pm

      Some commercial company used this idea in an ad. I think this must have been the inspiration.

      Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi October 24, 2016 / 5:11 pm

      Yes, indeed! I remember first seeing prints of Arcimboldo’s art in the 1970s, when it was enjoying one of its spells of popularity. It looked extraordinarily modern, and I saw a few ads and magazine illustrations that looked like they’d been inspired by it. Arcimboldo did a number of remarkable paintings in this style – there’s a link to an article about him and a short video showing some more of his work earlier in the comments thread.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Robyn Haynes October 24, 2016 / 7:12 pm

      I’ll follow him up. I love the interesting things I find in blog land, especially on your blog.

      Liked by 2 people

    • toutparmoi October 25, 2016 / 7:11 am

      There’s just so many interesting blogs out there, written from such a variety of perspectives. I’m sorry I don’t have the time to read more of them.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Robyn Haynes October 25, 2016 / 8:11 am

      That’s it. We do have to be selective. But it’s just like choosing friends I think. The ones that resonate with us, align with our world views or challenge us to be better than we are.

      Liked by 2 people

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