[MARGARET PASTON TO JOHN PASTON]1|
RYT wurchipful hwsbond, I recomawnd me to ʒu, and prey ʒw to gete som
crosse bowis, and wyndacs2 to bynd them with, and quarrels;3 for ʒour hwsis her ben so low that ther may non man schet owt with no long bowe, thow we hadde never so moche nede.
I sopose ʒe xuld have seche thyngs of Ser Jon Fastolf, if ʒe wold send to hym; and also I wold ʒe xuld gete ij. or iij. schort pelleaxis to kepe with doris, and als many jakkys, and ye may.
Partryche4 and his felaschep arn sor aferyd that ʒe wold entren aʒen up on them, and they have made grete ordynaw[n]ce with inne the hwse, as it is told me. They have made barris to barre the dorys crosse weyse, and they have made wykets on every quarter of the hwse to schote owte atte, bothe with bowys and with hand gunnys; and the holys that ben made forr hand gunnys, they ben scarse kne hey fro the plawncher [floor] and of soche holis ben made fyve. There can non man schete owt at them with no hand bowys.
Purry felle in felaschepe with Willyum Hasard at Querles, and told hym that he wold com and drynk with Partryche and with hym, and he seyd he xuld ben welcome, and after none he went thedder for to aspye qhat they dedyn, and qhat felachep they hadde with them; and qhan he com thedder, the dors were fast sperid [fastened], and there wer non folks with hem but Maryoth, and Capron and hys wyf, and Querles wyf, a[n]d another man in ablac (?) ʒede sum qhate haltyng, I sopose be his words that it was Norfolk of Gemyngham; and the seyd Purry aspyde alle this forseyd thyngs. And Marioth and his felaschep had meche grette langage that xall ben told ʒw qhen ʒe kom hom.
I pray ʒw that ʒe wyl vowche save to don bye for me j. li. [I lb.] of almands and j. li. of sugyr, and that ʒe wille do byen sume frese to maken of ʒour child is gwnys; ʒe xall have best chepe and best choyse of Hayis wyf, as it is told me. And that ʒe wyld bye a ʒerd of brode clothe of blac for an hode fore me of xliiijd or iiijs a ʒerd, for ther is nether gode cloth ner god fryse in this twn. As for the child is gwnys, and I have them, I wel do hem maken.
The Trynyte have ʒw in his keping, and send ʒw gode spede i[n] alle ʒour materis.
1 [From Fenn, iii. 314.] 'The direction of this curious letter,' says Fenn, 'is obliterated, but it is plainly from Margaret Paston to her husband; and the paper is likewise so completely filled with writing, that she has not even either subscribed or dated it, but by the mentioning of Sir John Fastolf it must have been written before 1459.' It appears to us most probably to belong to the year 1449, when Paston was making preparations to re-enter Gresham, which he actually did in October of that year.
2 Windacs are what we now call grappling irons, with which the bow-string is drawn home.—F.
3 Properly quarreaux. They were square pyramids of iron shot out of crossbows.—Grose's Milit. Antiq. i. 149.
4 John Partrich, one of Lord Molyns's retainers.
Gairdner, James, ed. The Paston Letters. Vol II.
London: Chatto & Windus, 1904. 101-102.
MODERNIZATION OF THE SAME
by A. Jokinen
Right worshipful husband, I recommend me to you, and pray you to get some crossbows and
windlasses to bind them with, and crossbow bolts; for your houses here are so low that there may no man shoot out with a longbow, though we had never so much need.
I suppose you should have such things from Sir John Fastolf, if you would send to him [to ask]; and also I would you should get two or three short poleaxes to keep indoors, and as many [padded] jackets, if you may.
Partrich and his company are very afraid that you would enter again upon them, and they have made much preparation within the house, as I've been told. They have made bars to bar the doors crosswise, and they have made wickets on every quarter of the house to shoot out of, both with bows and with handguns: and the holes that have been made for handguns, they are scarcely knee-high from the floor, and five such holes have been made. There can no man shoot out of them with any hand-bows.
Purry fell in company with William Hasard at Quarles', and he told them that he wished to come and drink with Partrich and with them, and he said he would be welcome; and after noon he went thither for to espy what they had done, and what company they had with them; and when he came thither, the doors were shut tight, and there were no people with them but Marioth, and Capron and his wife, and Quarles' wife, and another man in black [mourning garb] who walked somewhat haltingly; I suppose by his words that it was Norfolk of Gimmingham. And the said Purry espied all these aforesaid things. And Marioth and his company had much great conversation that shall be told you when you come home.
I pray you that you will promise to buy for me 1 lb. of almonds and 1 lb. of sugar, and that you will buy some frieze to make your children's gowns; you shall have the cheapest price and best choice from Hays' wife, as I've been told. And that you will buy a yard of broadcloth of black for a hood for me, of 44d or 4s a yard, for there is neither good cloth nor good frieze in this town. As for the children's gowns, if I have them, I will have them made.
The Trinity have you in his keeping, and send you good speed in all your matters.