“What will they do to my bones after I die? I don’t want them scattered in the churchyard. If they think I’m Shakespeare, they’ll dig me up to dance on my grave.”
“What’s he talking about?”
“I don’t know,” Mrs. Shaxper cried. “He’s not in his right mind.” “Fetch me my quills and paper, John. I’ll write my epitaph now.”
The scribe took up his pen and began writing. His eyes could barely focus on his work.
“‘Good friend for Jesus’ sake forebear’— that’ll scare ‘em off. No one will dig me up if I mention Jesus. ‘To dig the dust enclosed here.’ — if I describe my remains as dust, they won’t see any point in digging me up, will they? — ‘Blest be the man that spares these stones,’ - they’ll be rewarded for leaving my grave in one piece. ‘And curst be he that moves my bones.’”
Jonson and Drayton set the trunk down in the front room. Shaxper reached out his bony arms towards them.
“Ben! Michael! Please help me!” Shaxper cried. “I don’t want my bones thrown around the churchyard! Don’t let them desecrate my grave. I heard you talking about how they dug up Lord Oxford. If they think I’m the playwright, they’ll do the same to me. Please help me. You’ve got to tell my story.”
He waved the paper frantically in the air and suddenly began gasping for breath. He fell back onto the couch and his breathing became shallow until at last, it stopped.
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