“Did you get lost?” The Doctor greeted me when I entered the room.
“Elizabethan England?” I asked in reply.
“Right.” He headed for the door. “You look lovely by the way.” With that he tossed the end of his over-long scarf over his shoulder and stepped out into the bright sunlight of Olde London. I decided to leave my cloak behind, looping it over the railing before I followed him. I shut the door behind me and turned to see the Doctor shading his eyes and looking around.
“Globe Theatre over there,” he pointed. “Hamlet tonight, the premier showing. London Bridge right there, still in the process of falling down. It’s the year 1602 and the Queen is nowhere in sight.” I thought I heard him heave a sigh of relief. He turned quickly to me and took my hand.
“Shakespeare? Or the Queen?” I thought for a moment.
“Shakespeare,” I said, smiling. He nodded and started off down the street, leading me by the hand. I was happy to let the Doctor lead, my gaze was turned upward, looking at the architecture of the old buildings, and the people who leaned out of their windows to beat rugs, empty chamber pots, or call down to passers-by. A large woman bedecked in gaudy jewelry called down to the pair of us for palm readings. Enticed I opened my mouth to suggest we try it out, but the Doctor’s sharp “no” prevented me from following through. After that I was just content to look around until we reached the Globe. A man walked around the corner, nearly barreling into us, but the Doctor moved aside, pulling me with him, just in time.
“Don’t forgetproject!The Queen will be here for the premier! Oh, and don’t be afraid to be pompous, you are a prince!” The man said to an actor not far away. The Doctor turned to greet him.
“Shakespeare! Good to see you!”
The man, Shakespeare, spun around.
“No, no, please, no autographs, you can’t have yourself sketched with me andpleasedon’t ask where I get my ideas from. I’m very busy, so get-on.”
“No, Shakespeare,” the Doctor stepped forward, away from me. “It’s me, the Doctor, remember, I helped you with the Carrionites, not long ago.”
Recognition dawned on Shakespeare’s face.
“Oh, I didn’t recognize you for a moment, you’ve changed since I last saw you,” he said.
“I know. And you… are you going bald?”
Shakespeare reached up to rub his head.
“Well, my head still hurts from time-to-time.”
“Have you been wearing that ruff I gave you? I mean that neck brace.”
“Not often, it looks ridiculous.”
“Will, you have to wear it, it’ll help your head.”
“Alright, you’re the doctor, Doctor.”
I watched the conversation, entranced. It was Shakespeare! In the flesh! This was almost as great as meeting the Queen! However I couldn’t help but notice that the Doctor kept pushing me behind him, whenever I tried to move forward, as if he was hiding me. Eventually I gave up and just stood, arms crossed, listening. They kept talking about the Carrionite creatures and some girl named Martha so I walked away in search of something more interesting. I made my way into the Globe where rehearsals were being held for Hamlet.
“To be or not to be, that is the question: whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer- oh hello pretty lady!” The actor playing Hamlet stopped mid-phrase to greet me. I started.
“Oh, I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to interrupt your rehearsal.” I said, blushing. ‘Hamlet’ jumped off the stage and bowed low to me. I raised my hands in an effort to stop him, but he insisted.
“My lady,” He said. “I’m sorry to disappoint you, but the performance isn’t until this evening.”
“I know, I’m just looking around while my friend talks to Shakesp—”
“Allison!” The Doctor called, cutting through my words. “Allison!” He sounded worried.
“Here!” I called. He ran into the room.
“Oh, good.” He sighed. Shakespeare followed him in. “Oh no!” Suddenly the doctor flung his scarf around my neck and plopped the hat onto my head.
“Doctor, you’re going to mess up my hair!” I took off the hat and ran a hand trough my strawberry curls.
“Hey nonny non—” Shakespeare started to say, but the Doctor’s hand clamped over his mouth.
“Will.” He admonished, with an exasperated sigh. “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t flirt with my companions.”
“But Doctor, how can I not? When you travel with such pretty ladies.” Shakespeare removed the hand from his mouth and proceeded to spout poetic lines. I rolled my eyes and turned to the Doctor.
“Can we go see the Queen now?” I asked.