Let my orange stockings be dyed

This snippet is a charming insight into the intimacy and domesticity between man and wife in early modern London. Edward Alleyn (1566 -1626), actor and major figure in Elizabethan theatre, writes home to his wife Joan for news while touring the provinces with the Lord Strange’s Men. His nickname for Joan is Mouse.

Mouse, you send me no news of anything. You should send of your domestic matters, such things as happen at home, as how your distilled water proves this or that or any other thing you will… and jug, I pray you, let my orange tawny stockings of wool be dyed a good black against home I come to wear them in the winter. You send me no word of your garden but next time you will remember this, in any case, that all the bed which was parsley in the month of September, you should sow with spinach for then is the time. I would do so myself but we shall not come home ’til All Hallows tide, so farewell sweet Mouse.

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3 Comments

  • December 11, 2009 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    Mouse was busy trying to sell the family horse, and replies that she is indeed attending to the spinach like a good wife.

    Thank you very much for your kind comments, Antoin. It is good to know you find the fragments & snippets interesting.

  • December 11, 2009 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    I have recently found this blog and read all your posts at once. I want to thank you for giving us such a great time of reading these marvelous fragments! Looking forward for next posts, please don’t quit blogging.

  • December 10, 2009 - 9:49 pm | Permalink

    As you say, charming.

    I really hope for Edward’s sake that Mouse wasn’t playing with another cat when she should have been tending the parsley and spinach, and dying stockings.

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