82:  Making Readie for a Fight

Lavender flowersMy niece and I were taking the sun in my lord’s garden when Nero crept in with newes that his captain was gone from this world.

“My master was ever a friend to cats,” sayt he.  “Certes, the Queen Cat of Heaven will let him slip through her door.  And grant him a place near her fire, and the leavings from her table.”

Nero sayt that the time of his master’s life was four score years.

“How many winters is that?” arrkst my niece.

“More than four cats can number on their claws,” sayt I.

“How many winters have you seen?” Nero arrkst me.

“I’ve forgot,” sayt I, knowing where such talk with Nero leads.  “But many more than our friend Linkin has.  He was a young cat when I came hither.”

Nero is suttle.  He took my meaning.

Linkin brought hot newes to our Field.

A well-dressed Elizabethan man, holding a walking-stick in his right hand.
Sir Walter Ralegh/Raleigh c1598. Via Wikimedia Commons.  The scene behind his right shoulder represents Cadiz.

“My mistress’ son came from London on a visit,” sayt he.  “They spake together when there was none to hear but me.  The most noble and heroick Earl of Essicks has hatcht a plan.  Sir Rabbit [Robert Cecil] and Sir Water Rawly [Walter Ralegh] love it.”

“That’s an unholesome trinity,” sayt Nero.  “How long can they stay friends?”

Linkin sayt, “Our blow at Spain shall be the best we ever struck.  Queen Puss may not like it, but she’s agreed it.  Essicks will take only choice men with him.  Not the rogues and vagabonds that ’tis the custom to send oversea because they disturb our peace here.

“First, Essicks will destroy the King of Spain’s ships where they lie at Furrol [Ferrol].  Then he’ll take a Spanish port, like to Cadiz, and hold it for Queen Puss.  There our fleet may safely lodge, and hinder all ships from entering Spanish ports.  Yes, and take their King’s treasure ships too.”

“What newes of our own Earl?” called some.

I sayt, “Our Earl will have command of a fine ship called the Garland.”  (I believe this ship is named in mine honour, for I wore a garland once.)

A small wreath of ivy, lying on a gravel path.
Gib’s Garland.

Then I spake large.  I sayt,  “When my lord last came hither he begged me to join the expedition so I could make a true account of it.”

Nero gave me evil looks.

“But I pleaded my age,” sayt I, “as I hear the Lord Admiral did.”

“Or perchance,” sayt Nero, “others pleaded the Lord Admiral’s age for him.”

“The Earl of Essicks is to have command of all,” sayt Linkin. “On land and sea.”

“Folly,” sayt Nero.  “What knows Essicks of the sea?  I do not doubt his courage, but he’s a soldier, not a mariner.”

“Sir Water Rawly and Lord Thoms Howit [Thomas Howard] go as Admirals,” sayt Linkin.  “But who would trust a Howit?”

“Lord Thoms Howit knows his trade,” sayt Nero.  “And he knows the length of his foot [i.e. what’s what].  Unlike some I could name.”

A man dressed in expensive white doublet and hose and wearing the long red robe of a Knight of the Garter
Lord Thomas Howard (1561-1626), by an unknown artist c1598. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Then Nero walked off, slow and statelie.  I was weary and wished to take a drink, so also came away.

Linkin was ever a Nose-All-Knows-All.  But it come to me that now I grow old and Nero melancollie, Linkin seeks to rule our Field.

We shall see.

Toutparmoi - Note from the EditorA few quick points:

If you’re wondering how the Earl of Southampton (age 23) came to have command of a warship, I assume his command was strategic and military.  The Garland’s captain was John Troughton.  I suspect that experienced sea captains must have found it wearing to have eager young noblemen with them, but they would never have complained.

Admiral Lord Thomas Howard (1561-1626) was a son of the 4th Duke of Norfolk who was executed in 1572.  However, he was well-regarded by Queen Elizabeth.  He owed the start of his naval career to his cousin the Lord Admiral (Charles Howard, Lord Howard of Effingham), but by the time of this venture he was a veteran of several battles including the seeing-off of the 1588 Armada, and the 1596 capture of Cadiz.

Perhaps the Lord Admiral himself was glad to stay at home.  He’d just turned 60 and, despite the recriminations after Cadiz over his failure to attack the Spanish treasure fleet, was enjoying Queen Elizabeth’s goodwill.  He’d been happily married for nearly 35 years to one of her most trusted and longest-serving ladies, Kate Carey (c1546-1603).  Besides, he bred spaniels.  A far more pleasurable pastime than trying to manage both the Earl of Essex and Sir Walter Ralegh.


24 thoughts on “82:  Making Readie for a Fight

  1. April Munday January 25, 2017 / 8:21 pm

    I suspect the idea of having military men “in charge” of naval battles was a hangover from earlier times. In the fourteenth century, at least, there was little difference between a battle at sea and a battle on land, except that the ground moved. The sailors were responsible for getting the ship to the enemy, then the archers, if you were English, or crossbowmen, everyone else, started firing. When they were close enough the men with spears and swords would engage one another.

    Let’s hope the young earl acquits himself well.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Soul Gifts January 25, 2017 / 11:20 pm

    He is so irritatingly self absorbed, isn’t he !!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Soul Gifts January 26, 2017 / 10:19 am

      Miaow! You’re right – I forgot for a moment 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    • lindak42 April 2, 2017 / 6:36 pm

      Aren’t they all? They keep their humans under the royal paw.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. colonialist January 26, 2017 / 9:51 am

    I can imagine the frustration of the seamen when confronted by something like, ‘You should point the ship straight at where we’re going instead of zig-zagging towards it.’

    Liked by 2 people

    • toutparmoi January 26, 2017 / 11:02 am

      I suspect seasickness may soon have taken the would-be experts down a peg.


    • colonialist January 26, 2017 / 9:07 pm

      A lovely thought! Mal de mer reduces cockiness remarkably quickly.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. dornahainds January 26, 2017 / 10:43 am

    Another savvy addition to an already Marvelous story. 🌹🌹🌹

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Robyn Haynes January 28, 2017 / 7:17 pm

    I did wonder about the youthful young Earl of Southampton’s posting above more experienced mariners but age seemed less important than breeding or connections. Interesting that Gib thought the ship was named for him – a very elevated sense of the importance of cats?
    Great pictures Denise. What an impediment all those layered garments must have been.

    Liked by 2 people

    • toutparmoi January 28, 2017 / 8:08 pm

      Both gentlemen look very grand; day-to-day they would have dressed more simply. Though even at sea they’d have needed to wear clothes that showed their status. Sir Walter’s suit looks like it was sewn with pearls! Lord Thomas Howard is wearing the robes of a Knight of the Garter; this painting must have been done to mark the occasion. The elaborate gowns and jewels Elizabeth wears for her portraits always amaze me – the outfits must have weighed almost as much as she did!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Robyn Haynes January 28, 2017 / 8:22 pm

      Yes the weight alone would have been daunting. But what about the smell? Not an easy think to launder???

      Liked by 2 people

    • toutparmoi January 29, 2017 / 5:56 am

      Not something Elizabeth and her courtiers would have had to worry about. Between themselves and the elaborate outerwear they wore a layer of easily laundered linen. I guess that once the outerwear got marks on it, the expensive trimmings would have been removed and the garments “recycled” in some way. Workers in “the wardrobe” must have got some good perks.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Robyn Haynes January 29, 2017 / 6:22 am

      I like hearing about the practicalities of Elizabethan life. Can’t imagine how uncomfortable those clothes must have been just the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Timi Townsend January 31, 2017 / 4:41 am

    Denise, I have somehow gotten disconnected from the emails announcing your posts! I wondered why you hadn’t come back from your break yet! And it turns out that you have indeed come back! Now I have MUCH catching up to do. But first: welcome back to both you and Gib and all! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Moony February 2, 2017 / 2:32 am

    I’m curious about the rogues and vagabonds ‘whose custom it is to send oversea’. Makes the Australian colonists spring to mind. The Old English is very entertaining to read and so delightfully quaint 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi February 2, 2017 / 5:38 pm

      Thanks! I hadn’t thought about a connection with the transportation of minor criminals before. Elizabethan England didn’t have a standing army to send on overseas service, so relied on volunteers.
      Plus, rogues and vagabonds could be rounded up and sent off to fight. The Earl of Essex didn’t think much of them as soldiers, so he’d decided to take trained men from the local militias whose job it was to defend the country against invasion.
      In the next century, they started exporting minor criminals to their new colonies – America and maybe the West Indies, but I’d have to check.


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