140:  What Was They Thinking?

What was they thinking, to march so soon?

I arrkst Kettie, “Do they mean to take the Tower, instead of White-Hall?”

Kettie

Kettie did not know.

“I must away,” sayt I to Linkin.  “Else I’ll miss the action.”

Linkin sayt, “If you’re taken, you must say that you’re poor ignorant cats and never dealt in matters of state in all your lives.”

“I won’t be took,” swore Kettie.  “I’ll hide now.”  And he flew away home as swift as he’d brought his newes from the Lud-Gate.

I made haste towards Paws [St Paul’s].

There came men’s cries of, Murder! Murder! God Save the Queen!

A tall, square structure with four turrets.
The North Gate at Whitehall Palace.

For one mad moment I thought Scabface had slipped through the gate of White-Hall and assalted Queen Puss.

That were never in our plat.

But Scabface had oft spake of wishing to see the Queen risen from her bed with her hair about her face as Essex once did.  I feared he may have been so temerarious as to enter her bedchamber.

Then I saw one of Linkin’s fat law-cat friends.  He’d clawed his way up a tree and hung there looking fool.

This were not the day to make mock of him.

I arrkst, “Who’s been murdered?”

A large ginger catch perched precariously in a tree.
One of Linkin’s friends.

“None as yet,” he replied.  “Some say Sir Water Rawlie [Walter Ralegh] and his friends mean to kill Lord Essex.”

“Old newes,” sayt I.  “There was talk of murder last night, and Essex durst not leave his house.  But he has friends in the citie who promised him aid.”

“He’ll have need of them,” sayt this cat. “The Lud-Gate is shut fast behind him.  I would not be Essex for all the fishes in the river.”

I ran on, across the rooves to Cheap-Sight where Onix and I had watched Essex and my Earl going to the war two winters past.  A glorious spectacle.

Now they were leading their followers back the way they’d ridden that day.  Tower-wards.

Cheap-Sight Street was throng with people come from hearing sermons.  Some men and women called blessings on Essex.  Others sayt these were shameful doings on a Sunday.  Some men made haste to join him, and curious idlers trailed behind.    

Most stood wondering.

We cats were not slow.  Many had taken up positions whence they could see and hear all.

One cat sayt Essex sought the protection of the Lord Mayor and the other masters of our citie, but they were gone from the sermon at Paws before he came.

Another sayt Essex was bound for the house of the Sheriff who’d promised him men and arms.

I did not know that house.  When I came to the rooves of Gracious [Gracechurch] Street I was loathe to go further, lest I lose myself.

I rested awhile, listening to cries that the crown of England was sold to Spain, and all must defend the Queen, religion, and our liberty.

Then a fool cat came by and told me that wicked earls had entered the Sheriff’s house.  The cat whose place it was had saved herself by running out the back door.

“And what are their lordships doing?” arrkst I, hawtie.

“Lapping up beer,” came the reply.

That left me no wiser.

The cat sayt, “Rightly do some call Mr Secretarie [Sir Robert Cecil] a spyder.  He’s spun his web most cunning.  And they earls are in it.” 

Then he stretched hisself and arrkst, “Know you of any place to be had in Mr Secretarie’s household?”

I was thinking the same, but I called that cat a false knave and ran on.


Toutparmoi - Note from the EditorEssex seems to have been panicked – or deceived? – into entering the city that Sunday morning.  No wonder Tricks was confused.

But at least we know what Essex didn’t do, despite the oddly persistent legends.  He hadn’t commissioned the Saturday performance of Richard II at the Globe, he didn’t go to see it, and he wasn’t aiming to depose Queen Elizabeth.

However, arriving in the city with the expectation that he’d be supplied with men and arms wasn’t fit conduct for any day of the week.

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21 thoughts on “140:  What Was They Thinking?

  1. April Munday July 19, 2018 / 5:42 am

    Well, you don’t take men and arms with you when you’re just out on a stroll on a Sunday morning. Some people were obviously planning for violence, or the threat of it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • toutparmoi July 19, 2018 / 10:48 am

      Things just went from bad to worse, I’m afraid. Essex has really been and gone and done it now.

      Liked by 1 person

    • April Munday July 19, 2018 / 6:29 pm

      He has. He was a clever man; he must have known what he was doing from the start.

      Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi July 19, 2018 / 7:12 pm

      I’m finding it hard to reconcile the Essex acknowledged to be so courageous on the battlefield with the Essex so spooked by the rumours and messages of plots against his life. I do wonder about his mental health post-Ireland.

      Liked by 1 person

    • April Munday July 19, 2018 / 7:42 pm

      Well, that would explain him bursting into the queen’s bedroom.

      Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi July 19, 2018 / 8:32 pm

      It could; he had a physical and mental meltdown shortly after.
      Post rebellion it was said that before he raced home from Ireland with a few companions to talk to the Queen he spoke of returning with an army to confront his enemies. His stepfather Sir Christopher Blount and the Earl of Southampton said they’d talked him out of it.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Rachel McAlpine July 20, 2018 / 5:41 pm

    I’m enchanted by the ginger law-cat in the tree. I do hope we will meet him again and discover what he is thinking.

    Liked by 2 people

    • toutparmoi July 20, 2018 / 9:26 pm

      He’s certainly a handsome fellow, if a bit on the chubby side.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Robyn Haynes July 21, 2018 / 6:30 pm

      And a ‘fat cat’ at that! Isn’t that a term used in other contexts including the law?

      Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi July 22, 2018 / 12:48 am

      It’s a term often heard today, and I’ve never paused to think what it means exactly, even though I use it myself! Someone who is complacently comfortable in an influential position without ever seeming to have done much to earn it?
      This ginger fellow has at least managed to get himself up a tree.
      Tricks usually speaks disdainfully of Linkin’s well-fed friends from lawyers’ households, though they appear to be quite a savvy bunch.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Robyn Haynes July 22, 2018 / 8:23 am

      Your description is spot on except I would add: getting fat or making gains on the misery or at the expense of others. Perhaps that’s why Tricks is disdainful?

      Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi July 22, 2018 / 9:49 am

      I suspect Tricks is just being “catty” because they’re Linkin’s friends rather than hers. Not that she would want them as friends – she seems to prefer less conventional company.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. chattykerry July 26, 2018 / 5:00 am

    My neighbor has a fat law-cat that is identical to your orange. Somewhat inappropriately, she is called Teeny…

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi July 26, 2018 / 5:03 am

      Well, I suppose Teeny was little once upon a time…

      Liked by 1 person

    • chattykerry July 26, 2018 / 5:04 am

      LOL! She was once a teeny feral with a kitten but her new mama took them both in and fed them warm broth every night…

      Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi July 26, 2018 / 5:08 am

      Talk of Teeny reminds me I really need to lose some weight. But it’s winter here, and warm snacks at night are just the thing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • chattykerry July 26, 2018 / 11:22 am

      What’s my excuse? It is 100 degrees and I still feel the need for a wee snack (or two)…

      Liked by 1 person

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