159:  First Find the Knave

My rebel days had accustomed me to the hatching of great plots, so I was not troubled when I encountered doubts and delays in our hunt for Snakes-Purr.

Snakes-Purr, better known as William Shakespeare.

Picker sayt, “When next we go on progress, we’ll find the knave.”

That would be after winter’s end, but I offered thanks.

“Mean you to cross the river?” arrkst Luvvie.

Picker and Stealer narrowed their eyes and folded their paws most peaceable.  Then one sayt, “No.”

Luvvie grew bold.  He did not know those sly sisters as well as I did.

He sayt, “But Snakes-Purr lodges over the water.  He and his fellows are at the Glob.”

Stealer sayt, “You went over the bridge and made your way to the Glob, but you didn’t bide there.”

“I came hither to tell you where the knave might be found,” sayt Luvvie.  “And I sought a place among the better sort.  No harm in that.”

“Then might not Snakes-Purr also seek a place among the better sort?” arrkst Picker.  “We hear tell he calls hisself a gentleman.”

“Perchance you know more of his doings than you’ve told us,” Stealer sayt.

“No,” sayt Luvvie.

“Then keep your fool thoughts to yourself, and do not question us.”

Thus we agreed that Picker and Stealer would seek Snakes-Purr in the citie.  They seemed so sure of finding him, I arrkst myself if it were they who knew more than they’d told.

Next, we passed some time in thinking on how we could punish him.  Viz:

Mark him for the felon he was.  Bite him in the paw.  But, as Picker and Stealer sayt, were they to hide in some corner of his chamber he were more like to use a stick to thrust them out and then strive to kill them with it.

Drown him.  Discover when the men from the Glob were like to give a play at White-Hall, and employ Scabface to attack him on the river stairs so that he fell into the water.   But how would Scabface know him if he were not marked?  And would not the other players pull him out?

“Why trouble ourselves with one knave?” arrkst Luvvie.  “Why not spite them all?”

“How?” I arrkst.

The Globe Theatre on the south bank of the Thames
The Globe.

“What little roof the Glob has is made of straw,” sayt he. “And you have a fine plumed tail.  Cross the river, find one who sells roast nuts, dip your tail in his fire, then run to the Glob and set its roof a-flame.”

Picker and Stealer gave Luvvie blasterous looks.

To keep all cool, I sayt, “That’s a jest worthy of my old friend Nero.  He once gave out a verse on how he lost his tail a-firing of some Spanish ships.”

Then Luvvie sayt we should wait for Snakes-Purr to come to us!

“Why would he do that?” I arrkst.

“His friends own the playhouse here in Black-Fryes.  One came by this summer past.  I knowed him by his voice.  And where he goes, sure, Snakes-Purr will follow.”

“Why did you not tell us this in summer?” I arrkst.

“I did but go to make a survey of our playhouse,” sayt Luvvie.  “It were of no great matter that another player from my old company was there.”

I kept my patience.  I sayt, “Perhaps you should leave finding Snakes-Purr to us, and continue looking for a better place than the one you have in my household.”

“But I know Snakes-Purr’s voice,” sayt Luvvie.  “I have heard him speak.”

“Of villainy?” I arrkst.

“Of money,” sayt Luvvie.  “Do poets ever speak of owt else?”

A drawing of a grey and white tabby cat racing along with an incendiary device which looks like a rocket pack strapped to its back.
An incendiary cat.  The Globe did burn down, but not until 1613.
Cats were not responsible.

Toutparmoi - Note from the EditorI fear Tricks may have as much difficulty finding Shakespeare as his numerous biographers have done. 

His whereabouts in 1601 are unknown, though he does seem to have been living in Southwark on the south bank of the Thames in 1596/97, a couple of years before the Globe was built there.

In Southwark Shakespeare was – along with Francis Langley, proprietor of the Swan theatre, Dorothy Soer and Anne Lee – the subject of a writ of attachment (something like a restraining order)There’s some discussion of it here on The Shakespeare Blog.   I’m not surprised Picker and Stealer were wary of being cornered by him.

The voice Luvvie recognised in the vicinity of the Blackfriars theatre was probably that of actor Richard Burbage.  In June 1601 he and his brother Cuthbert bought a tenement adjacent to it.  The theatre itself was leased out to a company of child actors, but the Burbages – principal shareholders of the Globe – hadn’t given up hope of their adult company being able to use it.