The eighteenth of February in the Year of Our Lord, 1520 - 5 o'clock in the afternoon
My dearest and most loyal of companions, my diary. Tis been my most inconsiderate lack of thoughtfulness that I have not confided to thee in quite some time. The time is now to remedy this situation. I do possess many a thought and memory to relay to thee as much has happened since I last perused thy pages.
To begin, the Royal Court hath recently completed the annual autumnal Royal Progress to New Market Village with Their Majesties, King Henry VIII and Queen Katharine of Aragon and I feel most fortunate to have been included with such distinguished company. I had heard that the progress were a spectacle to behold and my imaginations me didst nay disappoint. I were present to attend to Her Majesty along with the following distinguished Ladies:
My dear sweet sister Anne Boleyn - a veteran of the progress
The Duchess Eleanor Faringdon - a most pious and fashion conscious of ladies
Lady Kathryn Farthington, or “Kitty” as she is known to her friends and cousin to the good and pious Duchess - I do wish I could place her upon my shelf as a doll - I do adore her!
Lady Elizabeth Seymour who is a veteran of the progress and a most delightful and charming companion - to know her be to love her.
Lady Marianne O’Best who were very suddenly and unexpectedly called home to her family seat in the north of England to attend to a serious family matter
And last but not least, a very pleasant surprise - a visitor to our fair Kingdom - the Duchess Arden McQuorquodale who was most unfortunately left behind after last year’s Progress when she didst imbibe a bit too much whiskey the night before the departure of her caravan back to Scotland in attendance to Her Majesty, Queen Margaret of Scotland and Sister to our Dear King Henry. A most charming and delightful lady to have in our midst and we didst take it upon ourselves to instruct her in the ways of being a proper lady-in-waiting. Always on the lookout for the occasional charity case at the behest of Her Majesty.
In all honesty, the season were full of all manner of surprises. We ladies were escorted about and often by a newly reformed band of King’s Men and their fearless leader Sir Thomas More. I understand that the unsavory behaviour of Lord Fitzroy the Duke of Richmond hath sent His Majesty into fits of rage and he were banished from attending the Royal Progress this year. Mayhap he shall return for future outings? In any event, our being escorted properly were a much enjoyed enhancement to our tenure in New Market. I do hope to enjoy the company of many of these noble gentlemen again in the future.
Sir William Paget, a gentleman of lofty stature and fellow francophone, were in attendance this year and we did oft reminisce of our time in France. Strangely enough, despite his sworn life-long mourning for his dearly departed wife Audrey, he didst develop an interest in our dear Duchess. I know not what became of it, however it were noticed they were quite smitten with each other. Stranger things hath occurred throughout history though none spring to mind at present.
Sir William Light of the House of Miller didst beguile us with his jovial ways yet again and I hath recently learned that he will be absent from the upcoming progress this fall. Tis a shame to be sure as he be quite the entertainer and quite beloved. He didst suffer a bit of an injury early on in the revelries. It doth seem that he and the Cardinal Ippolito de Medici were engaged in a bit of friendly sword play with shield and netting when his own blade, coupled with its momentum, were caught up in the net, ripped from his grip, flung into the air and didst cleave him clean in the middle of his forehead. Fortunately for him and for all of us it were but a flesh wound however profusely it didst bleed. He were immediately tended to by the apothecary and physician who didst, and I cringe to even write this, by design, secure his wound with thin metal staples to keep it closed whilst it did heal. He bore his pain like a man and were none the worse for the wear. I understand he were jovial throughout the entire procedure and the apothecary and physician were in stitches themselves so to speak. Oh dear that were punny and I do send myself into fits of laughter at times.
On to more excitement. It doth seem that Lucretia di Borgia hath been up to no good as she herself didst nay return to New Market this year. She hath been under suspicion of poisoning her spouse. In any event, tis a circumstantial matter I wish to be no part of.
I hath recently chartered a new school of etiquette of which I am immensely proud. I be the head mistress of the Mary Boleyn School of Charms and Graces for Young Maidens, Washer Women and the Occasional Charity Case. There is also a graduate program for those more advanced and select students, the Mary Boleyn School of Being Popular and Shagg.... OOPS!! I am ALWAYS saying that! SNAGGING the Great Monarchs of Europe. One can never be the preferred mistress to too many kings. The perks ARE to die for. Why my dear Francois Premiere didst bestow some rather tasty tidbits of jewelry upon me, not least of which is a gorgeous fleur-de-lis pendant set with precious stones. In any event, the school were a success, and I managed to graduate several of our ladies, who were of course in NO need of my help, well, all save for Bessie Seymour, and several of the village washer women who performed brilliantly. I think I may have a new found respect for the lower classes! And in addition, I were able to partially reform a sprightly Italian wench named Chianti di Vino who’s sisters deemed her a “slow” wit. I didst take her on as a special charity case, a pet project as it were, and she were beloved by all at the maypole demonstration.
Well, with all of the fervor over voyages to the New World, a most handsome visitor graced us with his presence this year. The stately and charming Hernando Cortez, an adventurer and explorer whom the ladies didst often swoon over. He doth have a peculiar habit of inquiring of gentlefolk if they do wish to see his ass, at which point he wouldst produce a small painting of the wretched creature he calls his “Little Burrito.” It doth sound like a name for a nice, spicy rolled Spanish sandwich if one doth inquire of me. Unfortunately he were charged with the daunting task of accompanying Her Majesty, Queen Juana of Spain, our own dear Queen’s sister of lesser faculties. Let us just say that never have I witnessed so many poor gentlemen being mistaken for a deceased husband in such an inappropriate way. I shall say no more of it for it didst cause considerable embarrassment to Her Highness.
What other gossip worthy of depositing within thy pages hath come our way? Well, not so much gossip as the strange occurrences that took place in New Market. And I daresay one shouldst check one’s drink before imbibing. But there were some rather peculiar goings on what with the fairies and goblins. Diary, I lie to thee not. They do exist! They are as real as the “perceived dream” that I had a year hence of being taken by these nymph like creatures. They didst swarm New Market and wreak mischief galore only to amuse themselves and causing harm to none. It didst send our poor Kitty in fits of conniption so oft that she were like to combust. They were apparently in danger of being destroyed by the beauty of the new garden that His Majesty didst commission for our dear Queen Kat, but that plan were thwarted and a wedding betwixt our dear and talented royal gardener Samuel Hawthorne and the fairy princess, Marigold didst occur. What be even stranger still is the wedding betwixt Lady Cecily Shrift and the goblin prince Cul de Sac. My apologies to the latter happy couple, but being married to a goblin seems a most unsavory lot in life even if he is royalty. But tis my own humble opinion and nothing more. All in all, a wonderful discovery when our fears had been abated.
My goodness how I have rambled on so with nary a mention of my dear sister Anne and the deplorable behaviour she didst demonstrate. I dare say she hath a bit of the daring adventurous type in her as she now believeth she shall one day become world famous as an actor. She hath even employed the services of one Bernard Fink as her agent of talents and doth use him to secure entertainment venues to showcase her perceived “talents”. Well, in order to appease her, I were goodly enough to suffer through a spoken rendition of “Hotel Caledonia” she performed for a poor unsuspecting gentleman on the boulevard whom she inadvertently chose to hear this piece of rubbish. She spake her monologue and then didst proceed to forget one of her lines. Well, I didst prompt her with it and she continued without incident. Oh how my ears ached and the blood dist rush to my cheeks and paint them crimson in sheer embarrassment. I cannot apologize enough for her. But, it doth be her ambition and who am I to discourage one so young from attaining her dreams? However, it be not that simple as this were not the only displays of her person and “talents” and if it were I wouldst have been quite happy with it. But no, SHE couldst not let it lie.
I didst begin to hear whisperings that Nan were involved in a sort of arms and combat demonstration with Angelique du Reubette du Reubette, the sister of the Marquis du Ruebette du Ruebette, the French Ambassador, but I were in too much disbelief to even consider its accuracy. Then imagine my horror at hearing this were being done in her bloomers, chemise and corset! THEN imagine the sheer and utter SHAME I felt when I didst discover this were nay a rumor but factual information!! Well, I marched myself as fast as my little legs couldst carry me in 20 pounds of velvet to the demonstration mound where lo and behold, not only were she there in all her exposed undergarmented glory, BUT she didst have lookers on to cheer for her!! I were mortified beyond mortal comprehension. Needless to say she were victorious in her demonstration and afters I were able to divert her attention away from her many admirers to admonish her for un-ladylike behaviour. She shot back that I were just jealous. I didst remind her that father wouldst be most displeased with her lack of prudeness and that I didst wish to speak with her in private. Well, she agreed to this and I told her I would be waiting for her to discuss this at a set time a place. Well, as I were waiting for her she unexpectedly came running up in such a flurry of squeals, laughter and excitement that I didst forget I were ever cross with her. She were joyous at being cast in the royal masque as the Goddess Isis. Well, in all honesty I were happy for my younger dear sister and I too were caught up in her bliss. It did not last long however. I must have said something that did not agree with her and the next thing I knew, she had pinned me to the ground by sitting upon my backside and twisting my poor ankle til I were in a fit of rage screaming at her to “get off, get off!” It all happened so quickly and such a display in front of so many people we were both quite embarrassed at our melee and didst quickly and discretely hurry ourselves to the pub to gather our wits, arguing all the way of course. I daresay I shouldst hope it nay happens again or I shall be forced to open a sealed container of whoop arse on her to teach her a lesson. What are big sisters for?
Diary, I see that the hour hath escaped me and the sun hath barely set, yet dinner shall be awaiting me at any moment. Adieu for now dear heart and I shall take out my frustrations in thy pages post haste again!
Until then, adieu, adieu and adieu, parting is such sweet sorrow. Hmmm, mayhaps I should write that down for posterity’s sake.