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told thee Master Shakspeare did so much desire to see.”

66 How should I know that?” said the fellow sulkily; then drawing off his dog, returned to his chair. “ Follow me, and I will shew

you the


with a very absolute good will,” added the call-boy ; but before Master Francis had got but a few yards he turned round and enquired, “ Why said you not you were my friend ? He would not have dared serve thee so. But we must needs learn ere we get knowledge—so come on, and carefully.”. Master Francis found himself in a very dark place in which he could see neither to the rigit, nor to the left, nor yet straight on; and was directed solely by the voice of his companion, which ceased not a moment. “ Stick to the women, I pray you,” he continued, you

must needs be made a man of soon : but mind the thunder there!

At this injunction the youth was sadly puzzled.

“ If you have not the proper modesty, I will soon put you in the way of getting it—as I have said ; therefore hesitate not; for such another opportunity is not like to happen. Here, mind you your footing, or you cannot help falling upon the rain.”

Master Francis looked about, expecting to find

66 and

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a pool of water near him; but nothing of the kind did he see.

“ Now turn you sharp round the walls of Athens, and keep you on the left of Prospero's cell,” said the other.

Unable quite to comprehend his meaning, the youth made a turn as he was desired, found his feet caught-laid hold of he knew not what, that his elbow struck against, this gave way, and down he came on his face upon something that seemed like a heap of canvass—bringing over him a pile of the same kind.

“ There, now !” exclaimed the call-boy, in a tone of apparent vexation. 66 You have tumbled smack upon the sea, and brought down upon you the palace of Antioch.” Frightful as this announcement might seem, it did not mean any great mischief after all.

Master Francis soon extricated himself from the fallen scenery, and without any more mishaps was conducted by his guide to the chamber in which Master Shakspeare was waiting for him.



Man's life's a tragedy; his mother's womb
From which he enters is his tiring room ;
This spacious earth the theatre, and the stage
That country which he lives in ; Passions, Rage,
Folly, and Vice are actors: the first cry
The prologue to th' ensuing tragedy.
The former act consisteth in dumb shows;
The second, he to more perfection grows;
l' the third he is a man, and doth begin
To mature vice, and act the deeds of sin;
I'the fourth declines : i' the fifth diseases clog
And trouble him : then Death's his epilogue.


All the players were assembled in a large room of rather mean appearance, having little funiture, save settles, some few chairs, an old table, on which lay sundry tankards and drinking vessels, and a long mirror hung up against the wainscot. The players were dressed in character for the play of Henry the Fourth, the second part; and divers young noblemen and gentlemen were amongst them. Some were sitting-some standing in groups, and others walking up and down; going out and coming in at intervals; whilst a voice, evidently from its loudness, belonging to the “ Stentor" of the company, kept bawling from without as the play proceeded—“ Falstaff, on!” or “ Shallow and Silence, on!” or, “the Prince, on!” and then, others knowing that their turn would be next, got themselves ready to appear upon the stage. A merrier set there seemed not in all her majesty's dominions. It was evident that care had nought to do with such choice spirits—for the quick jest, and the harmless jibe went round, and the loud laughter followed with them all—nor did there seem to be any distinction of rank amongst them and their associates; or if such might be, it was without doubt in favour of the players, for they appeared wonderfully independent and careless of what they said.

Master Shakspeare stood in one corner of the room pointing out to Master Francis the different persons around them; and occasionally returning the friendly salutation of the young gallants who came thronging in, and looked as if they were mightily well pleased to have speech of him: but none could have received more satisfaction than did the modest youth at his side, for to him it was quite a new world. He, who had seen nothing of society save the customers and associates of the scrivener; now found himself among the most famous authors and players of the time; with a fair sprinkling of noble lords, distinguished knights,

and honourable gentlemen. He listened with exceeding attention to every word that was uttered by his gifted companion, and regarded each individual that his attention was drawn unto, with an interest scarcely possible to be conceived.

See you that most worshipful looking personage talking to Taylor and Condell ?” enquired Master Shakspeare of his visitor, pointing out a very smartly dressed gallant, evidently much older than he wished to appear.

6. He that weareth so fine a satin cloak, and hath such gay rosettes in his shoes.” Master Francis easily perceived who was meant. 6. That is Sir Narcissus Wrinkles. He hath as many lines in his face as you may find in a chart of the new world, wherewith Time hath written the sum total of his age, yet doth he imagine that he can find a way to disprove his arithmetic; and with a perriwig of the newest fashion, and a beard died to match-a very fustian voice prodigal in strange oaths—a leering look-a swaggering gait—and an infinite affectation of the air and apparelling of our youngest gallants, he seeketh to be thought as youthful as Ganymede, and as full of tricks as a kitten. See, now! he is telling his auditors some notable lie of the feats he did last week with the bottle, or the wonders performed yester eve at the Bordello; maghap he digresses into some famous adventure with the

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