mr. marlowe, meet william shakespeare

 

Sir Thomas Walsingham always found it a challenge to try to deceive his young ward, Christopher Marlowe.

“Who is that in the garden?” Marlowe asked.

Thomas grinned brightly. This was not going to be easy. “An inspiring, young thespian by the name of Will Shakespeare.”

“The guy who holds horses for the gentry while they’re in watching the plays?”

Shakespeare, who occasionally did appear on stage, was better known at that time for the horse-sitting job he did more frequently.

“Please, Christopher, he’s had three stage walk-ons. Three.”

Marlowe could always smell trouble. “What do you want with him?”

“He’s … well …” Thomas began. “He’s about to offer his two new plays to the Rose Theatre.”

“What plays? He doesn’t write plays.”

Thomas’s reply was straightforward, “As You Like It and Macbeth.”

“Have you taken leave of your senses, Thomas? My plays?” Marlowe was turning purple and showing the veins in his forehead.

Walsingham quietly seated Christopher directly in front of him, his hands firmly on both of Marlowe’s shoulders. “You told me you wanted a way to get them staged now that everyone thinks you’re dead.”

“Let someone else take credit for my work. Macbeth?” Christopher fumed and tried to stand
up. “Oh, no. No -- NO -- NO!”

Thomas pushed him down into the seat again. “Then stop writing because they’ll never be performed.”

Christopher was livid. “This thing with Shakespeare would never work. At the theatre he’s known as ‘Horsy Will the Pony Man.’ He’s never written anything.”

“That’s it exactly. He has no works for others to compare to your writing … or to make people suspect those might be your plays. He’s an unknown and will certainly stay that way – just one more insignificant author who’s writing for one of the many theatres of London.”

Sir Thomas smiled innocently. He knew he had the perfect argument. “Really, Christopher. Who’s ever going to remember a name like ‘William Shakespeare’?”