Before we assume that pleasuring friends was a discourse limited to intimates

Before we assume that pleasuring friends was a

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and sustaining boundaries. Before we assume that ‘‘pleasuring’’ friends was a discourse limited to intimates, it is important to see how it might be more congruent with the material practices of ‘‘neighbourliness’’ than at fi rst appears: the rhetorical elaboration, rather than serving as a transparent index of intimacy, could just as well serve to do part of the cultural work needed to sustain and reproduce ‘‘neighbourliness’’ as a viable social formation. The Elizabethan contexts of use for the ‘‘pleas- ures’’ style will be discussed further in relation to merchant discourse and Shakespeare’s plays in chapter . Day’s chapters on request-making also o ff er sample scripts for negoti- ating vertical relations, especially relations between suitors and noble- men, clients and patrons. The section on commendatory letters focuses on requests for the preferment of a third party. This kind of verbal action on the behalf of another is standard business fare in Elizabethan court circles, as Frank Whigham has demonstrated in his analysis of suitors’ letters in the Letter Book of Sir Christopher Hatton and as Day’s moderate ranking of the face threat involved in pressing for the prefer- ment of a servant, friend, or relative also suggests. ³⁸ Day’s examples make us privy to the di ff erent in ections obtaining depending upon whether the message ascends or descends the social scale, and this relative positioning of commendatory acts is something Whigham’s analysis does not take explicitly into account. Though Day explains that ‘‘petitory’’ letters go under too great a title of ‘‘humilitie or submission’’ to apply to noblemen and superiors, ‘‘commendatory’’ letters both ascend and descend the social scale. For an inferior to press for the preferment of another, then, was a normal circumstance, and the in ections of such a request, according to Day, might sound like this: . . . And thus much by your pardon and allowance dare I assure unto you, if it may please you in credit of my simple knowledge and opinion to imploy him,  Eloquent relations in letters
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you shal fi nd that besides he is by parentage discended from such, as of whome I knowe your Lordship will verie well accompt of, hee is also learned, discreete, sober, wise, and moderate in all this actions, of great secrecie and most assured trust, governed in all companies accordinglie: fi nallie, a man so meete, and to this present turne so apt and necessarie, as I cannot easilie imagine howe you may be served better. Pleaseth your L. the rather for the great good will I beare him, and humble duetie I owe unto you, to accepte, imploie, and accompt of him, I nothing doubt but your L. having by such means given credit to my choice, shall fi nde him such, as for whose good service, you shall have further occasion to thinke well of mee for him . . . (  ) The rhetorical strategies for mitigating the speech-act risk in this letter follow a familiar pattern for humility and deference: the writer makes
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