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Fribbling report part 3

John Fribbling is a fictional character. Despite his non-existence, the characters and events that he describes are, to the best of our knowledge, true and accurate...

1586, London

To Sir Francis Walsingham,

Firstly sir, may I say that while I was very grateful for the gift, I find I do not care very much for potatoes. I had a devil of a job to get the thing in my pipe and an even bigger struggle getting it to burn, instead setting light to a good deal of my beard. After which I'd quite lost any enthusiasm. I think I shall stay clear of all that foreign muck and stick with my tobacco in future if you don't mind.

There have been some long faces around here of late, what with all the plots and executions and such. I tell them to cheer themselves up with a good old hanging, but they don't pay any attention. These old Catholics need to wake up and smell the martyrs if you ask me. Things is changing fast now, though I must say I don't care very much for the way these Puritans conduct themselves. Half of them look as though they've had the misfortune to accidentally impale themselves on the blunt end of a pitchfork, and the other half are really miserable.

I have recently become acquainted with a very nice young family man name of Bill Shakeshaft (common name this isn't it?) who was so taken by my rendering of a patriotic song that he insisted on stopping me mid verse and pressing a pint of Wizened Knee into my hand. After eleventeen drinks or so, and figuring him for an honest man and loyal to his Queen, I revealed my true identity and the details of my mission, and in particular my search for the whereabouts of young Mr. Shakespeare.

By happy circumstance my new friend had heard talk that Will had gone to London and was there working in the theatre as something like a runner, prompt boy or an ostler, tending to the horses of rich theatre goers.

Embankment London, circa 1900
Embankment London, circa 1900
Wasting no more time I sped North on a borrowed horse to investigate further.

After a journey of some four days (it should have taken three days but I'd forgotten that London was south, not north) I arrived in the Capital and began my search amongst the theatres, but could find no trace of the lad. To make matters worse my best doublet got dripped on by a bloody arm while I was walking through the city gates. Well at least I think it was an arm.

What a waste of time. Imagine me thinking that a Glover's son would have any interest in the theatre!

Anyway, I must go. I hear there's war in France and I want to put money on Henry to win.

Your most loyal and industrious spy

John Fribbling

PS: No seditious activity observed.

Fribbling Reports

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10


portrait not availableJohn Fribbling

Sir Francis Walsingham portraitSir Francis Walsingham


The River Thames, LondonShakespeare's London

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