93:  I Take Up My Pen Again

A miniature portrait of a black, white and orange cat against a background of flames.It was ever the way of little kitlings to believe that their mother knows all things.

Yet when they are of an age to creep out of their lodgings and jet it about the streets – why, then their poor mother knows nothing.

No, not even how those same young cats came to be in this world.

And so I think it befits me to do as my uncle did, and set down a true account of my life thus far.

My pretty kits will find it instructive, and learn what evils may befall them if they stray from the ways of the righteous.

Quill Pen

Fine words.  And fit ones for a skoller such as I.  For should not she-skollers write seriously of sober matters? But, having writ these words, I laid my pen aside.

Here’s the rub.  I could think of nowt else to say.

I never trod the paths of righteousness until I grew too old to tread any path save the one that leads from our yard to my supper and thence to my hearth.

There I spend my time dreaming of the days when I kept wild company, and flew fire-hot across the rooves of this town in search of mischief.  I see no need to feign penitence, as some do when they write of their younger selves.

I shall therefore keep my account well-hid from the eyes of my kits.

Though, now I think on it, few ever learnt to read, and they that did lack the wit to read anything save a lewd ballad left lying in Paws Yard, or a libel they found in the gutter.

How is it that kits can be as fool as their sires even though they never knew them?

To begin.  I was born, as all know, in the country.  My mother was a barn queen, and her brother was in the service of the Earl of Southampton.  It was my uncle who found me a place in the Earl’s household and taught me my letters.  He took delight in my skollership.

Once my uncle was gone from this world I wished to do as our Earl had done, and set forth on my travels.

First, I had business to effect.  My uncle had made bequests to his friends: Nero, an ancient sea cat turned poet, and Linkin, who fancied hisself a lawyer.

I was plain in my dealings with them.

A black cat seated before a painting of Venice.
Nero dreams of Venice.

I told Nero, “My uncle left you a swan’s quill.  He sayt it need not be a cut one, because you cannot write.  So best you wait until the swans molt.  I’ll find you a fit one before I leave this place to further my education.”

“I hope to quit this place myself, come summer,” sayt Nero.  “I’m of a mind to see Fence [Venice] once more.”

“Have you found a ship to carry you?” I arrkst.

“I shall make enquiries when my master and I are next in Portsmouth,” sayt he, very grand.

No invitation for me to accompany him.

Let him find his own quill, thought I, and went next to Linkin’s house.  My uncle had willed that I give Linkin a rat of my own killing, and I meant to ask when he wished to receive it.

Linkin sayt, “If you’ve come to know how Mr Secretary and our Earl fare on their ambassage to France, you must wait till I give it out at our next assembly.”

He took pride in being first with the London talk.  He heard it from his mistress, whose son had it from Mr Secretary hisself.  Or paid one of Mr Secretary’s servants for it, more like.

Sayt I, “I came to give you thanks for your help to my uncle in the making of his last Will and Testament.  I am the executor – .”

Linkin cut in quick.  “ExecuTRICKS,” he sayt, hawtie.  “That’s Latin for a she-executor.”

He narrowed his eyes and looked right pleased with hisself.

I out-hawtied him.  I continued, “ And I marvel that my poor uncle had to step out for your advice on so chill a day.  Why came you not to him?  He the Cat of our Earl’s Bedchamber, and you but the bedfellow of a puritan shrew.”

“My mistress oped our door to him,” sayt Linkin. “He sat at my hearth.”

“Worse,” sayt I.  “For I believe my uncle took cold on his walk home, and died of it.”

“It was his choice to come to me,” sayt Linkin.  “How could I know that visit were his last?”

“Ignorance is no defense,” sayt I.  “The fault is yours.”

“I arrkst no fee from him,” lied Linkin, bristling.

“Scant consolation.”  I stalked off slow and stately, rejoycing that my mother’s wit and my uncle’s learning were so well met in me.  Tricks by name and tricksie by nature.

Let him catch his own rat, thought I.

But after I heard Linkin’s newes at the Cats’ Field, I had to change my tune.


Editor's Note. Small image of a quill pen.Like her uncle, Gib’s niece – or Tricks, as she seems to have started calling herself – doesn’t add dates or place names to her writing.

This was obviously written some years after Sir Robert Cecil’s visit to France in early 1598, when the English were concerned that Henri IV would make peace with Spain and disadvantage England.  Tricks’ casual reference to Paws Yard, i.e. St Paul’s churchyard where many booksellers had their stalls, indicates that she’s in London.

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33 thoughts on “93:  I Take Up My Pen Again

  1. Monica Graff June 28, 2017 / 11:21 pm

    Ah! Nice to meet Tricks! I look forward to reading what she gets up to in her stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi June 29, 2017 / 12:48 am

      Her writing’s easier to decipher than her uncle’s was, but I fear her moral perspective may fall well short of his.

      Like

  2. April Munday June 28, 2017 / 11:36 pm

    I can’t stop smiling. I’m so glad that Gib’s niece is back and I suspect that Tricks is a name which will suit her well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dornahainds June 29, 2017 / 1:53 am

    Such a Marvelous return and Great Bew Beginning. 😎😎🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹

    Liked by 1 person

  4. colonialist June 29, 2017 / 8:20 am

    Not too good at dishing out bequests, is she? One is eager to learn what news Linkin has to offer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi June 29, 2017 / 10:21 am

      Something calculated to make him look important, I’m sure.

      Like

  5. Toni June 29, 2017 / 11:43 am

    So good to see you back. You and the kits have been missed x

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi June 29, 2017 / 12:47 pm

      I’ve got a lot of catching up to do on other people’s blogs!

      Like

  6. Mick Canning June 29, 2017 / 8:27 pm

    Ah, good to see you back. There is clearly something about Tricks – she has spirit!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rachel McAlpine July 3, 2017 / 4:39 pm

    Nicely done! I’m looking forward to (Execu)Tricks’s uncensored account of her life so far. I’m glad her impersonation of a moral instructor fell flat. But good luck with keeping it private… I like the miniature, most distinguished.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi July 4, 2017 / 9:31 am

      Tricks is a cat of many colours. Though quite how she managed to have her portrait painted by Nicholas Hilliard or one of his imitators is a mystery.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Rachel McAlpine July 4, 2017 / 12:00 pm

      No doubt she will skite about this in due course.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The Amused Onlooker July 3, 2017 / 11:59 pm

    You’re back! I’m so glad. Good to know that Gib’s niece is carrying on the writing. I wonder how and why she’s in London.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Plum's Rae July 4, 2017 / 5:55 am

    Good day. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m called Plum, a most unfortunate name given my girth but what can one do? My human was reading your post and I was looking over her shoulder – well, someone has to – and I really enjoyed the read. So much better than the scifi and stuff I usually have to put up with. So, we’ll done you. I look forward to more of the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi July 4, 2017 / 10:08 am

      Welcome, Plum! It’s always a delight to meet a literate cat. I fear that modern inventions such as radio and television have led to shrinking levels of feline literacy, and a corresponding spread in girth.

      Like

  10. Plum Rae July 4, 2017 / 5:57 am

    Of course that should be Plum Rae … damn autocorrect …

    Liked by 1 person

  11. evylyncervantes2019 July 7, 2017 / 4:43 am

    ur cat is soooo cute

    Liked by 1 person

  12. brendakane2013 July 22, 2017 / 2:49 am

    So glad to see your post! Very encouraging to read as the adventures continue.

    “There I spend my time dreaming of the days when I kept wild company, and flew fire-hot across the rooves of this town in search of mischief.  I see no need to feign penitence, as some do when they write of their younger selves.”

    Precious!

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi August 20, 2017 / 8:16 pm

      Her late uncle would be proud of her, I’m sure.

      Like

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