Queen Puss is much offended.
I believe she finds her greatest pleasure in being offended, as some old women and men do.
Unlike old cats, who love an easie life.
Who now has offended her?
The most noble and heroick Earl of Essicks.
We love Essicks.
Linkin and Nero strove to outdo each other in giving newes of his victory at Cadiz.
Nero spake of our fleet’s voyage. It was most secret.
The ships’ masters had orders that they were forbid to open, unless they were separated from the fleet and must find their own way. But the winds and seas were favourable.
“They saw pretty fishes with wings,” sayt Linkin. “Who fly when they’re chased by greater fish hoping to eat them.”
Many wisht to hear more of these bird-fish.
“’Tis true some fish can fly,” sayt Nero, “but neither far nor high. When their wings are dry they return to the water.”
But he’d never eat of them, so could not tell of their savour. He sayt, “The fleet was near Cadiz in twenty days.”
“Their wings have little pleats,” sayt Linkin. “Like unto a gentlewoman’s fan.”
Nero sayt that the seas grew high and boisterous. No sudden landing could be made on shore.
“A dove flew to the Lord Admiral’s ship and sat upon the mainyard,” sayt Linkin. “A good omen.”
Later came another dove, that returned with the Lord Admiral to England. Linkin did not know if it made a good dinner for any cat aboard.
“The Spanish was unreadie,” sayt Nero. “They had few of their great ships of war there. Many merchant ships fled deep into the harbour. We gave fire and defeated the ships and galleys that stayed to protect them.
“Then our noble Essicks, with his soldiers and the Hollanders, sprang up the walls of Cadiz and took the town!”
“And a very fair town it is,” sayt Linkin.
“Was,” sayt Nero.
“I heared tell,” sayt Linkin, “that it was like unto a castle, with all houses built of stone. They have flat roofs, where cats may sit and take the sun. And few chimneys.”
“What, no hearths to warm us?” came a call.
“The houses,” sayt Nero, “are made in the Turkey style. For keeping cool.”
“There’s no glass in the windows of any house,” sayt Linkin. “The windows have iron gratings that a cat may slip through.”
“Even you?” arrkst Nero.
In truth, Linkin has grown fat of late.
Linkin feigned deafness. “The streets are narrow. We may go about from roof to roof. And the rooves are well-stocked with heavie stones, loose, for women to drop down on the heads of their enemies.”
“It were a town most apt for cats and fighting,” sayt Nero. “Once taken, we could have held it.”
“But Essicks was told no. So we burned it,” sayt Linkin. “Saving the churches and religious houses. We’re not savages.”
“Not in Spain, perchance,” came a whisper from the hedge. “But what of Ireland?”
Has an Irish cat come among us? How?
Linkin (deaf) continued, “Now Essicks must face the displeasure of that woman, whom I’ll not call Queen. I’ve no wish to insult our queen cats.”
“She’s weak and womanish,” sayt Nero.
“Womanish?” cried Linkin. “No. Were my mistress in her place, Cadiz would yet be ours. With the aid of the good Protestant Dutch, Essicks would be making Spain too hot for King Philip hisself. Never before have we dealt so great a blow to him.”
Never before have I seen Linkin so belligerent.
Nero sayt, “That woman is offended because Essicks brought her no great wealth. When Cadiz surrendered we treated folks well. How did the Spanish thank us? By burning the merchant ships. And their rich cargoes.”
My niece arrkst, “Then whence would come the money to make Spain too hot for Philip?”
Oh, my little skoller is a clever puss.
Linkin sayt, “There was a treasure fleet coming from the Indies. Essicks wished to take it. But no. The others could not agree. So now he’s returned to answer slanders from his enemies, while the Spanish make readie to come at us again. And we here, on this perilous coast, must make readie to receive them.”
What talk he hears from his fierce mistress. I’ve writ of her before, and how she saved our late friend the Mad Cat. I believe there’s nowt she’d like better than to stand upon a flat roof and drop stones on the heads of all who offend her.
The fleet for Cadiz consisted of 17 ships from the royal navy, 18 Dutch ships, and armed merchantmen and transport vessels – around 120-150 vessels in all. The army numbered over 6000. Some were new recruits, others were Dutch or English veterans, and up to 1000 were gentlemen volunteers, eager for action. It was a well-organised and successful strike against Spain.
The victors returned to recriminations and infighting. Essex had contravened Queen Elizabeth’s orders by storming Cadiz, and neglecting to take the merchant ships. She was furious about the loss of their cargoes, said to be worth (in Elizabethan money) over £3 million.
However, Essex may have been relying on others – e.g. Lord Howard (the Lord Admiral) and Sir Walter Ralegh – to secure them. Ralegh later said that Essex gave him no orders to do so.
After the sack of Cadiz, Essex wanted to take some ships to the Azores to intercept a treasure fleet on its way home. The Lord Admiral was prepared to agree to this, but Sir Walter Ralegh opposed it. A pity, because their cargoes would have made Elizabeth very happy indeed.
Despite her displeasure over her lack of profits from the expedition, the Earl of Essex became, and remained, a national hero.