91: Last Will & Testament

A miniature painting of Gib, the Earl's cat. Gib is white with blue-grey dapples, and green eyes - enhanced by the green background of the painting.It come to me that I should write my will.

My late uncle told me many winters past that we cats do not have such wills.

I believed him.  When I was young I thought that there was little he did not know.  But he did not know his letters.

So now I think he spake of common cats.  Not an Earl’s cat and poet.    

I stepped out to seek advice from Linkin our law cat.  A long walk on a dull day, but the chill air bore sweet tastes of spring.

Then, after I had rested and warmed myself, I writ as follows.

I, Gib alias Bevis of this household, being weak in body but of perfect memory for which I offer thanks, do make this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following. Viz.

First I commend my soul unto the Queen Cat of Heaven and my body unto I care not where, save it were great pitie if it be cast upon the dunghill or cut up for eel bait.

Item:  I bequeath unto my loving niece the pens I have put by.  And all my little books wherein I have writ the true relation of my life, my tales, my sonnets, and my play.  And my basket with the cushion thereunto appertaining.

Item:  I bequeath unto my fellow poet Nero alias Blackie Sea-Cat a swan’s quill to remember me.  He cannot write, so it need not be a cut one.

Item:  I bequeath unto the Right Honourable my Lord of Southampton all the ribands, ear-strings and jewels I have took from his chamber and hid in divers places.

My aforesayt niece is to see all is done as I have writ.

And she is to give unto Linkin Law-Cat for his fee a rat of her own killing that he may offer his mistress and win prayse thereby.

Writ this day by me, Gib.

Witness hereof:  Our Kitchen Cat her mark.

I gave the paper to my niece and arrkst her to make a fair copie while I rested.

“Willingly,” sayt she.

I believe I have been a good cat, though when I was a kitling I was much given to impudencie and worse.

I tormented my little lord (before he was an Earl).  I hid myself beneath his bed and leapt out to grip him by the ankle with my sharp claws as he clamb in.  I made him yowl, and took joy in it.

And when I lay abed with him I would prick mine ears and show my head against the light from our window.  He (seeing little by night, as I well knew) feared a horned devil had come from hell to carry off his soul.  He was too affrighted to yowl.  He could scarce draw breath.

But I know he has forgiven me.

16th century window panes.This morning he sent for a dish of water, and set it down beside me with his own hands.

I took a drink, but I have not broke my fast.

I was birthed in the old Earl’s stable about this time of year.  I should like to take the sounds and scents of a stable again.  And to think upon my dear sister, and my friend Smokie who had employment in a shop where horses are shod.

My niece, scrit-scratching with her pen, sayt that walking out would make my joynts to ake.  I would do better to bide here in my basket by the fire.  And that when the stable cats saw me they were like to beg a tale.

I told her that they could have one, but it will be short.

They are good cats, and always most respective.

When I say I wish to be private, they will not trouble me.

Toutparmoi - Note from the EditorThis is the last piece of writing Gib did.  He had probably reached the age of 18, remarkable for his time.

If Gib’s niece also made an inventory of his belongings to accompany the fair copy of his will, it hasn’t survived.  A pity, because an inventory might have given the number of his literary works.  There were almost certainly more than I’ve seen.


52 thoughts on “91: Last Will & Testament

  1. cadburycat March 29, 2017 / 10:44 pm

    This is heartbreaking as I am probably going to have to let my 20 year old boy go.

    Liked by 3 people

    • toutparmoi March 29, 2017 / 10:57 pm

      Oh, that is sad news. He’s shared so much of your life, and holds so many of your memories for you.


  2. Claudio LeChat March 29, 2017 / 10:50 pm

    Alas and alack. Fare thee well my friend. May you rest in peace. You lived a rich and fulsome life, which enriched the lives of us followers. I trust that your good niece will continue on with the story and fly the flag for us cats everywhere. Gratefully yours, Claudio Le Chat.

    Liked by 2 people

    • toutparmoi March 30, 2017 / 8:18 am

      It’s the end of Gib’s writings, but I still have a few papers written in his niece’s hand – or should I say foot? And I’m sure his feline friends will want to celebrate his life at the Cats’ Field when next they meet.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Rachel McAlpine March 31, 2017 / 10:12 am

      Oh please do share his niece’s scratchings! Even as I burst with laughter I could hardly bear that this tragic post would be the last we hear from Gib. At least hold out the promise of a new feline journalist/journaler.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Val March 30, 2017 / 2:17 am

    Gib, oh dear. Maybe you’ll live to miaow another day? I hope so.

    Liked by 2 people

    • toutparmoi March 30, 2017 / 8:45 am

      He leaves a literate niece behind him, but I fear she may prove to be a very different sort of cat…

      Liked by 2 people

    • toutparmoi March 30, 2017 / 8:33 am

      He deserves a plaque at Place House/Titchfield Abbey.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. dornahainds March 30, 2017 / 2:29 am

    Aye! Not my Gib. He was such a Great and Young fellow. 🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi March 30, 2017 / 8:25 am

      Gib’s earl has so much storm and stress ahead of him he’s sure to have wished he’d stayed quietly at home to mourn the loss of his cat.


  5. dave ply March 30, 2017 / 6:59 am

    Gib made good use of his 9 lives, too bad he didn’t have a 10th.

    Liked by 2 people

    • toutparmoi March 30, 2017 / 8:21 am

      Well, he does have a niece, but I fear she’s a very different cat from her uncle…

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Toni March 30, 2017 / 9:00 am

    Farewell Gib. You will be missed but remembered fondly and always xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wade March 30, 2017 / 9:16 am

    Ah Gib… Ye will be missed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi March 30, 2017 / 1:23 pm

      Gib’s worst case scenario. But I’m sure none of the Earl’s servants or tenants would have dared.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Robyn Haynes March 30, 2017 / 3:55 pm

    Oh my lord! I feel so sad, but better for having read Gib’s memoirs. How I will miss this cat of letters: ‘A long walk on a dull day, but the chill air bore sweet tastes of spring.’ Will Gib’s niece continue the legacy?

    Liked by 3 people

    • toutparmoi March 30, 2017 / 5:06 pm

      Gib’s niece doesn’t seem as literary as he was, and she wouldn’t have had so much free time. But she sounds like a confident writer, so I hope the remaining papers will keep us informed of the Earl’s doings.

      Liked by 2 people

    • toutparmoi March 31, 2017 / 7:55 am

      I fear so – though I hope to take another short break soon, to observe proper mourning for Gib.

      Liked by 2 people

    • toutparmoi March 31, 2017 / 8:14 pm

      Gib would be shocked by that. Only commoners ate eel.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Chris White March 31, 2017 / 12:02 am

    What a lovely thoughtful cat. I would dearly like one of those pens.🐱

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi March 31, 2017 / 11:38 am

      First catch your swan…


    • The Amused Onlooker March 31, 2017 / 8:20 pm

      I feel Nero does not have much longer in this world, either. I always thought Nero was older than Gib. Maybe his sea-faring has made him hardy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi March 31, 2017 / 8:23 pm

      Nero has always been very secretive about his age, but I think he’s only a year or two younger than Gib.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. mitchteemley April 7, 2017 / 2:43 am

    Just finished reading up to date. I miss Gib already!! Well done, Tout (may I call you Denise?).

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi April 7, 2017 / 8:55 am

      You may, Mitch. I’m missing Gib too!


  11. Soul Gifts April 11, 2017 / 2:19 pm

    Love the will – he’s bequeathing his stolen goods back to the victim! I must remember to ask my lawyer if he too, would like to be paid in rats 🙂 Seems fitting somehow


    • Soul Gifts April 12, 2017 / 1:01 pm

      Of course! Now why didn’t I think of that!!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Claremary P. Sweeney July 11, 2017 / 8:30 am

    Denise, I am quite sad and have no intention of telling Roxie that Gib has passed on. She is in a foul mood as it is because she was not invited to the book launch party. (And the fact that the book is not about her has made living in the house almost intolerable.) But back to Gib. I am going to miss him and love the kind thoughtfulness of his Last Will. Rest in Peace, Good and Faithful Cat,

    Liked by 1 person

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