When his mother casually revealed that her family was distantly related to the Earls of Oxford, William stared at her in disbelief.
She’d never spoken of it before, and never had cause to mention it, but his incessant chattering about the players must have raised the association in her mind. William was thrilled to discover that his Arden family tree bore a fruitful connection to Elizabeth Trussel, wife of the 15th Earl of Oxford, and thus Lord Oxford’s grandmother. Certainly, that would improve his chances of having his apology accepted in light of the frightening turn of events inside the tent. All he had to do now was declare his kinship, impress His Lordship with his unrivaled talent and his fortune would be insured, thanks to the unbounded blessing his mother had bestowed on him with a few casual words.
William wrote a letter to his old schoolmate, Richard Field. Originally apprenticed to the London printer George Bishop, Richard now worked for Thomas Vautrollier, one of the city’s finest publishers. His life had vastly improved since leaving Stratford, and William hoped some of that success would rub off on him. The next day he said a hasty farewell to his wife Anne and promised to return home as soon as possible. He rode to London in the hope of finding a job in Vautrollier’s shop at the sign of the white greyhound near St. Paul’s.
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