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, Sandee Reed tells us what happened next.
Recognizing that we may have poured one too many glasses of the Italian wine, it was determined that one of us should call for a coach, a current day Uber.
It was definitely not me who was procuring the ride! Shakespeare surveyed the crowd for a driver to hire.
A giggle escaped as I eyed my landing, mid back seat of the Uber…thinking that it was a good ride home for a Goober like me.
”. . . . A savage clamour! Well may I get aboard! This is the chase: I am gone forever,” marbled Shakespeare as he rounded the vehicle.
I climbed inside the coach and parried: “And whether we shall meet again I know not. Therefore our everlasting farewell take: For ever, and for ever, farewell, [trustees]! If we do meet again, why, we shall smile; If not, why then, this parting was well made.” Said I as I tripped, ankle deep in a gutter filled with yesterday’s business.
I dimly recall sloshing back and forth as the driver, now Shakespeare himself, took corners but for the most part, the roads between were straight. Thought I, my core must look like the inside of a wooden bowl of wine as the wine rose up and down…swirling.
As the cab slowed and ultimately stopped in front of a house on my street, I don’t quite remember the house or even arriving on the street. Ahh..the return to suburbia and 2021. “Adieu! I have too grieved a heart to take a tedious leave.”
I worked the keypad on the garage door, only to find that someone had changed the combination. It was only after several attempts…eyeball to keypad and arm’s length plus a smidge away….that I realized…wrong keypad.
Wrong keypad, wrong house….and I remember seeing Indy laughing with Shakespeare, the Goober Uber driver. He was laughing hard enough that his sword fell out of the sheath.
Tis true, disarmed. My journey complete. Time travelled and returned.