7 April, in the year of our Lord 2021
After dinner came a knock at the door, where was a short figure who could do with losing a few pounds, splendidly arrayed in a full length medievall frock, flowing headscarf held in place by a circular coronette, and a —
‘Never mind all of that — ’ cried he, pushing me aside and plungeing headlong into my kitchen, ‘ — suffice it that I am Eleanor of Aquitaine!’
Inside, it was clear that he was possessed of an enormose fright, for he paced backwards and forwards, biting his knuckles and ringing his hands, overfretting and hiperventillating.
‘Whatever is the matter?’ cried I, startled by his distressed demeanour.
‘Oh, I do not know where to start, Mr. Pipers! They have raided my shop! The Constabulery! Before I have had time to lay carpets or put up curtanes!’
‘I am sure they will forgive a little disorder,’ say I. ‘But what on earth hath led to such a disturbance?’
‘There were three of them, rough and coarse, who answered to a tidy fellow in a waistcoat who said he was permitted to search the premices!’
‘They have taken everything! It was all in my boxes, waiting to be unpacked! What am I to do? What is to happen to my business?’
‘Well, this is a crisis and no mistake! But of all they have took, they have not took you,’ say I. ‘So you must seat yourselfe, for I am sure you have been wronged.’
‘But you hear of such things! They searched the loft and the cellar and the yard…the things left by Mr. MacSporran!’
‘Well, there perhaps is your answer,’ say I. ‘For only the other day was my attencion drawn to news on the front page of the gazette.’
He sat forlorn and sniffled, twisting his headscarf in his fingers.
‘I have done nothing in my life to transgress the law, Mr. Poppies — nothing!’
‘I am sure. Now, straighten your crown and blow your nose. No! Not on that! What would Eleanor say? Here, use my tea towel.’
‘Oh, you are so kind. I did not know to whom to turn. I will end my days in the Tower as Queen Anne Bollyne!’
‘Which would be a fitting end to an illustrious career,’ say I, kindly. ‘But all will be well, I am certain. The miscreant in this is MacSporran, of that I am sure. In the meanwhile, you must sit tight and await events. I presume you have a change of clothes?’
He nodded miserably and wiped his eyes.
‘They have left me one of my outfits, though I fear it will be insufficient for the cold and wintry wind.’
‘What outfit is that?’
‘Pocahontas.’ At which gazed he at his feet and sniffed.
‘Well,’ say I, after we have had an infusion of tea and his despair is amealiorated, ‘take heart, for I do not doubt that all will become clear and your innocence restored. I shall lend you an overcoat and a rug. For now, we must get you back to Plantagenetland.’
And so with a rug and some warmer robes departed he, though my mind ill at ease for the sorriness of his tale.
At supper, having determined to pass another day without alquohole, settled with a pasty of venison, some Anchoves and a tankard of violet cordiall, but reflected on a good Deed done for the day so topped up with rum; thus prepared, looked foreward to a quiet night in front of the magick screen. With fork poised, however, came a peremptory knock at the door.
‘Pocahontas will have found it too cold,’ thought I to myselfe, opening it. But it was not at all what I expected, and for the second time that day I was swept aside in a headlong rush to enter my kitchen!
‘What is this!’ cried I, as three of them, rough and coarse, set about the kitchen, its drawers and cupboards, shelves and surfices.
‘Mr. Samuel Pepys?’
‘Yes?’ said I, swivelling back to my open door. There stood a shorter, tidier fellow, in woollen jacket and matching waistcoat, who waved in front of my eyes some token that I had no time to take in.
‘Constable Arnott, A.C. XII. I have a warrant to search this property!’ Then barged he past too. ‘You, the sitting room!’ he cried to his men. ‘You, upstairs!’
There followed the greatest kerfuffle I ever heard in my entire life. And as my house turned upside down and inside out, this last spun round to me and declared:
‘Samuel Pepys, you do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something you later rely on in Court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.’