You and I decide to wander around Cambridge in 1609, the year that George Herbert entered Trinity College and came to the attention of King James.
Indy Beagle, upon hearing of our journey, decides to go with us.
We wander first into The Eagle and the Child, a pub in Cambridge that William Shakespeare was known to haunt. The locals call it The Bird and Baby. It stands opposite the oldest building in Cambridgeshire, the Saxon church tower of St Bene’t’s church which dates from around 1025. A tavern has stood here since 1353, famous for selling beer “for three gallons a penny”.
I ask the bartender if he knows a young man by the name of George Herbert. Without looking up, he shakes his head “no.”
Behind me, I hear Indy say, “Can we buy you a pint?”
Shakespeare is sitting alone at a table scattered with ink-stained papers.
“Sit,” says Shakespeare, as he pours wine from a jug into three wooden cups. The cups slosh a little as he slides them across the table. He looks down at the papers. “This new play I am writing is shit.”
Indy leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Cymbeline.”
“It began as a tragedy but a comedy now emerges. Coming hard on the heels of Julius Caesar, Hamlet and King Lear, the audience won’t know what to think.” He takes the pile of papers off the table and drops them onto the floor beside him. Holding high the empty jug, he shouts, “We’ll have no more of this rancid red! My friends insist on the good Italian!”
The Italian red was definitely better; so good in fact that Indy and I do not remember leaving the pub.
Do you remember what happened?
Each week, we feature a new end-of-the-story written by a member of the Rabbit Hole Tribe. Today, Demara Morrow tells us what happened next.
The Italian Red was definitely better than whatever the House Red was (“vile piss but a far sight better than the beer” bemoans the great poet).