162:  I Am Undone

A close-up of the nose and squinting eyes of Gib's niece - a blacl, white, and orange cat.The fault was mine.  Well accustomed to danger abroad, I was careless of my safetie at home.

As spring came on, the mistress made ready to return to the countrie.  When a carrier came to take her bed and boxes, I fled to the garden of Essex House.

I saw Scabface on the wall.  He told me that poor Lady Essex was now allowed to lodge there with her kits and her old mother.

I prayed that were true. and that I might join her.  I watched Essex House as close as I’d done when I first sought entry there.

Then Onix came in search of me.  He told me Linkin was gone from this world.

That set me about.  ’Tis true I never loved Linkin as I loved my mother and my uncle.  At times we had bickerings, but he gave me good advices and he was the last of my old friends. 

Onix sayt, “I saw his obsekwies [obsequies].  Two of your master’s kits digged a fine hole, and when they went into the house I had a mind to make a survey of it.

“Then Luvvie came forth.  He told me your yard and house were now his, and I might not enter without he say so.  I sayt that no upstart incomer could tell me where I may and may not go in Black-Fryes.”

(Onix had turned bold after our doings at Essex House.  He thought hisself a hero.  Other cats thought he was, too.)

Onix sayt, “Luvvie swore he spake in jest.  Then he sprang into the hole and cried:

Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead,
Till of the flat a mountain you have made.

“He leapt out right quick lest any take him at his word, and arrkst me how I liked his speech.  Sure, he’s mad.”

“He’s a player,” sayt I.  “He can’t cleanse his arse without seeking applauds.”

Head and shoulders portrait of a ginger and white cat.
Linkin (c1585-1602).

“Then,” continued Onix, “I saw the master hisself bring Linkin forth and set him in the hole.  The kits covered him with earth while the old mistress applied her kerchief to her eyes.  Last night Linkin’s friends came dropping by to mark his grave.  Luvvie watched all from a window, but durst not say them nay.”

“Did you see Picker and Stealer?” I arrkst.

“Not I,” sayt Onix.  “But Luvvie sayt they’d enkwired for you.”

Thus was I undone.  It shames me still to think on it, so I’ll be brief.

I returned to our yard, and found Linkin’s grave.

Luvvie came forth and I arrkst him, “What newes from Picker and Stealer?  Is Snakes-Purr found?”

“Best you seek them at Paws [St Paul’s],” sayt he, puffed-up and prideful.  “This yard and house are mine.”

I told him not to talk so fool.  “You’re not at the Glob now,” sayt I, and turned to go.

He struck me a blow on my tail and fled into the house.  I flew after him.

Too late I heared the mistress cry, “Ah, there she is!”

Doors banged.  A maidservant seized me.  I had wit enuff not to struggle.  I guessed Luvvie was lurking prick-eared in some corner.

I was conveyed to a chamber that had no chimney.  The next day I was thrust into the basket Linkin and I had entered the citie in.

I did not blame Onix for my capture.  He’s a truthful cat.  I guessed Luvvie had lied to him about seeing Picker and Stealer.

“This one’s fearless,” the mistress was saying of me.  She told the new mistress the tale, famous in our household, of finding me in her herb basket on the way to London.  And then of how I smelled of gun smoke after the day of trouble.

Luvvie came creeping by as I waited to be set on the horse that was to carry me.  He peeked into the basket and sayt most sweet, “Are you joyed to be going to the countrie?”

“I am,” sayt I, cool.  “’Tis time I returned.  When Queen Puss dies, my Earl will be set free.  Place House at Titchfield must be cleared of vermins.  ’Twere no fit place for you.  My stout kits will take revenge on Snakes-Purr.  Their sire is but a mouse-babe compared to them.”

(I knowed Luvvie had not forgot the beating Scabface gave him.)

“Remember,” I sayt, “y’are sworn to give what aid you can to bring Snakes-Purr down.  Or ’twill be the worse for you.  Believe me.”

I could see he did.  I almost believed myself.

Toutparmoi - Note from the EditorAnd there, in the spring of 1602, Tricks’ memoirs end.  Poor Tricks.  Outsmarted by an ambitious actor who knew that if the mistress couldn’t find Tricks he’d be taken to the country instead.

Eventually she must have assumed her uncle Gib’s old position as Keeper of the Book-Chamber at Place House.  This would explain why her memoirs survived along with Gib’s “little books”.

I still have a few papers left to transcribe, but fear they may be forgeries.  Why?  Well, the writing is very like that of Tricks, but she was dismissive of her kittens’ levels of literacy.

And as I’ve said before, I can’t be the only person to have deciphered these papers.  They could well have passed through the hands of an unscrupulous researcher in the late 18th or early 19th century when people became increasingly curious about the lives of famous writers.  In the absence of information about Shakespeare, William Henry Ireland and John Payne Collier created their own.  They’re unlikely to have been the only forgers around.

On the other hand, the remaining papers may well reveal more about Shakespeare.  As Gib used to say: We shall see.

I’m taking a break from posting, but I’ll catch up on my blog reading and check out a few new blogs.  Have a Happy Xmas and New Year!


36 thoughts on “162:  I Am Undone

  1. April Munday December 20, 2018 / 6:38 am

    I fear that I am undone too. I shall miss Tricks as I miss Gib. I look forward to the forgeries, though.

    Have you come across the John Shakespeare novels of Rory Clements? I came across the second book in the series in the library yesterday and borrowed it because it mentions Sir Robert on the back. He asks Shakespeare to spy on Essex for him.

    Have a great Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi December 20, 2018 / 12:49 pm

      Thanks, April. I’ll check our library to see if they have the Clements books – I hadn’t heard of them.

      Enjoy your Christmas.


  2. leggypeggy December 20, 2018 / 9:33 am

    Indeed, ‘we shall see’. Happy Christmas. May the New Year bring joy and prosperity.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Catwoods December 20, 2018 / 2:42 pm

    I’m going to miss Tricks! I still miss Gib too. Have a wonderful time during the holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rachel McAlpine December 20, 2018 / 6:56 pm

    Perfect timing. Tricks tricked into rural exile. Some of us going for a rural holiday. Others just taking a break from blogging. I hope your Christmas break is delightful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi December 21, 2018 / 8:35 am

      Yours too, Rachel. And if you’re taking a rural holiday, I’m sure you’ll have as many exciting anecdotes to entertain the locals with as Tricks does.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Mick Canning December 20, 2018 / 9:30 pm

    I trust we shall at least learn some truths from the newe papers.

    Enjoy thy revels!

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi December 21, 2018 / 8:43 am

      And a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, Larry.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. chattykerry December 21, 2018 / 6:56 am

    I have so much to catch up with in my absence. Alas, Linkin is no more just like Katniss. Have a wonderful festive season, Denise. K x

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi December 21, 2018 / 9:06 am

      I thought of your recent loss while I was writing this post, Kerry. All the best, and I’m looking forward to catching up with you again in the New Year.

      Liked by 1 person

    • chattykerry December 21, 2018 / 9:39 am

      ❤ I am just about to post a Christmas letter. My spirits are better because I have an appointment with a neurologist on the 26th.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Claudio LeChat December 21, 2018 / 9:25 am

    In some ways I am relieved that Tricks is leaving all that city stuff and nonsense behind. The citie is for young folks. My mistress has visited Tichfield (or what remains of it) and it doesn’t sound like such a bad place to live out one’s dotage. However, I have a hunch that the tale has not yet endeth. Look forward to tales of more machinations. Thanks for the entertaining and erudite writings. Makes for a rollicking good read for an indoor cat.

    Liked by 2 people

    • toutparmoi December 21, 2018 / 10:27 am

      Thanks, Claudio. Despite Tricks’ presentation of herself as permanently youthful (a la Queen Bess), I’ve just counted on my claws and worked out that she’s seen eight winters. Definitely middle-aged.
      Despite her taste for adventure, she never struck me as being as well-equipped for city life as Picker and Stealer, the deplorable Luvvie, or even Linkin, who spent his formative months as a scholar at Lincoln’s Inn.

      Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi January 10, 2019 / 9:48 pm

      Thanks, and a belated Happy New Year to you. I’m hoping to catch up on your blog very soon.


  8. Claudio LeChat December 21, 2018 / 10:34 am

    Well of course, we all like to think of ourselves as “permanently youthful”, don’t we? And speaking of Linkin, I shall miss his wise ways and words. A fine upstanding cat indeed. May he be forever young and wise in Cat Heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Christine Valentor December 23, 2018 / 6:47 pm

    Aww sorry to hear of Linkin. As for Tricks, I think she will do well back in the country, the city did not really suit her.

    Have a Merry Christmas and fantastic New Year 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi December 23, 2018 / 7:12 pm

      And the same to you, Christine.

      As for Tricks? Well, you can take the cat out of the barn, but…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Val December 26, 2018 / 3:15 am

    Sorry about Linkin… (who I hope isn’t related to a cat that you may have lost yourself?) and the end of the ‘official’ memoirs… Myself, I’m holding out for the writings of mice underfloor.

    Happy Christmas and I hope the new year brings you all you want.

    Liked by 2 people

    • toutparmoi December 28, 2018 / 7:29 am

      All best wishes for the coming year to you too, Val.
      Linkin is no relation to any cat companion I’ve had (as far as I know). I’ll miss him, but as they say, he had a good innings.

      As for the literary mice underfloor? That’s a fascinating possibility. They’d have no need to find cut quills as the cats did. They could dip the tips of their tails into the inkwell and use them as pens.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Val December 28, 2018 / 12:24 pm

      Or paint with their whiskers!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. dornahainds December 26, 2018 / 8:31 am

    Such Sadness fills my heart with Tricks’ passing. 🥀

    Alas, Life goes and therefore, I look forward to tomorrow’s promise of five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes. 😎🥀 (Love Rent) 🥀😎

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi December 28, 2018 / 7:07 am

      No need to be sad about Tricks – I’m sure she’ll enjoy her ‘retirement’ in the country. I will miss Linkin though – he was a very knowledgeable cat, even he was a bit too full of his own importance.

      The compliments of the season to you! I hope to spend some time browsing your blog soon.


  12. colonialist January 9, 2019 / 9:06 am

    Belated Compliments of the Season!

    Oh, no! Linkin gone from this world, and Tricks from the action!

    But mayhap the ‘forgeries’ have more verity than ‘twould seem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi February 11, 2019 / 8:36 pm

      I do hope the forgeries aren’t, if you take my meaning. Sorry for the belated reply – I’ve just realised I missed several comments!


  13. mitchteemley January 10, 2019 / 1:28 am

    Wishing you a belated Happy Christmas and New Year, Denise! Can’t wait to find not only who but, in fact, what species the real Shakespeare was!

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi February 11, 2019 / 8:39 pm

      Let’s hope all will be revealed. I haven’t been ignoring you – I’ve just realised I missed a few comments. I blame the heatwave we’ve been having here.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Robyn Haynes February 2, 2019 / 2:22 pm

    I will miss Tricks too. And all the other characters. I look forward to more posts even if their veracity is dubious.

    I loved the line: “He can’t cleanse his arse without seeking applauds.” I can think of others to whom this would apply.

    Liked by 1 person

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