Lord Oxford’s secret service to the state had also ended. The incessant and harrowing demands for his history plays and the gallant speeches that had inspired audiences in the days of war had passed. While the provocative histories were less often produced in the public playhouses to avoid inflaming audiences against the new King (whom many considered to be a foreign usurper) Shaxper made sure that the more popular comedies were regularly shown. Over the years, Lord Oxford had watched the keen entrepreneur grow into the role of Shake-speare. He still supplied him with plays, now that writing was no longer a matter of life and death.
And just the other day, King James had requested Lord Oxford’s notable talent as a translator in assisting with a new English version of the Bible.
Lord Oxford sighed deeply, and considered the one thing about his life that he would ask God to change, if such an editing miracle were possible. He would show more mercy and less arrogance towards his first wife Anne, the silent victim of unimaginable cruelty.
A servant knocked on the door and timidly poked his head into the room.
“Master Shaxper has arrived, my lord,” he announced. “He says to tell you that he regrets his lateness and wonders if you still wish to see him.”
“Of course I wish to see him,” Oxford said, infuriated by the impostor’s need to send this grandiloquent announcement through one of the servants. “Tell him to come in. We’ve got lots of work ahead of us.”
The man nodded, and within seconds Shaxper appeared with his secretarial portfolio, blustering as if he’d gone to great lengths to attend this meeting.
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