Jan.29, 2024 – The Diaries – Hello, I’m Robert Matthews

Jan.1, 1530

I have arrived in London again on business, again after a long and uncomfortable journey by carriage.

The city is little changed in two months. The streets are still filthy and filled with miserable people with next to nothing.

Living out in the country on a large farm does have its advantages.

I am living in a fine lodging of modest fittings and size. I am used to that. I stay here on most of my visits. My landlady is pleasant enough and has little idea of who I really am. I like that as it gives me some freedom that I don’t have at home. I am more than I appear to be. I am 25 years old.

Our family has deep roots in England but we came from southern France near the coast, generations ago. Our name has changed over time and no one living would remember that our longest family history is in France and among the aristocracy.

My father has many strong connections to the King, for good or ill. It is a good thing at the moment but who knows what may arrive on my doorstep in the future. I am here for two reasons, or so says my father.

I am to promote our vast agricultural offerings and to find a suitable wife. In that vain, my father, through his many connections has managed an invitation for me to go to Hampton Court to see what the young ladies of the city are like.

It is said that those buildings are the grandest and most modern of the day. I am a country boy and have little interest in such things but it might be an interesting site to see.

As for the young women there, I am prepared for the worst. I have heard the tales of these awful women and hope that they are not true. It will be a wasted journey if they are not the most beautiful creatures on earth.

I have my own sensibilities when it comes to the fairer sex and am no stranger to them. I find them interesting, puzzling and dangerous all at the same time. They do however, make life worth living.

Mary Stuart – Jan. 12, 1530

I am heading to Hampton Court again, in a few days. it takes hours to get here and it was cold this morning. The fires were stoked early but it takes forever to warm our large place. I have several layers of clothing on and I am still cold. I am always cold.

I am of average size and girth. Some say that I am pretty in my own way. That isn’t much of a complement, but I will have to work with what I have at hand. This can be a tedious effort with little to show for all of the time needed to prepare.

I find the sport of tennis interesting but I dare not try it. I am of a quiet nature and any physical activity covers me in a dampness and oder that offends even myself.

My clothing is not suited to it and I refuse to buy new items that will not serve me in other circumstances.

The large crowds on the grounds are interesting and there seem to be many young men about.

My clothing seems to still be in stye which was a worry to some. I couldn’t careless. I have no illusions about my future. I haven’t a clue as to what might happen and understand that I have little control over it. That bodes well for the purposes of my family. I will be agreeable as long as possible. That is all that I can promise.

I find the view across the river a fine one and the ships going over it make for a scene changing by the moment.

The large sails, colorful flags and pennants sailing past me and my female friends are a nice change from the verdant green, colorful flowers and silence that surround me at home. My mother is occupied with a good deal of things here at the moment and I am free of her for hours at a time. It is a pleasant change.

The city can be a drab and noisy place at times, but near the river and here in the gardens life seems abundant and tranquil. It is a fantasy of course, but a pleasant one.

I have little interest in this game of love that my family has set me on. I am 22 and I have a long full life ahead of me even if I never marry.

Marriage seems a bit of a surrender of sorts to me at the moment. I have the world at my feet as my father is well connected to the king and is quite rich. I like being rich and having all that I might want, but the city reminds me that I am one of the lucky ones.

I have married friends of course. Some are happy and some are not.

Happiness is for those of the lower class who have no desire to better themselves and find happiness easily. It is a contradiction, I know, but it is a fact.

The sun coming up makes them happy as they are sure that they are still alive for one more day, at least. They have simple needs and wants.

A rich person worries about loosing his or her fortune at all times while the poor have simpler matters to contend with.

I see both men and women betting on the outcome of the games here and I am fascinated by their foolishness. Money is always hard to come by and these people toss it around like so many old rags.

How might a person change the lives of these urchins that dwell here in London?

Happiness will be harder for me to find, than most others, I think.

I worry not about wealth. I worry most about my fellow man.


Come and look at the first chapters of my novels here on my site.

“The Adventures of the Smith Family” is an English ovel set a few hundred years past this time. It id full of action and romance.

“Sailing Away” is the follow up novel.