The Shakespeare Stealer

by Gary Blackwood

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Please summarize Chapters 13-14 of The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood.

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Chapter 13: This chapter begins with Widge worrying about how he will be able to transcribe Hamlet without being caught in the act. On the following Sunday morning, Widge and Sander entertain Mr. Pope's orphans by telling them stories and giving them horseback rides.

They then attend church, and afterwards, Sander suggests that they visit St. Paul's Cathedral. He offers to pay for the Thames crossing. Upon arrival at the cathedral, Widge is stunned to see that the cathedral courtyard is packed with visitors and vendors' booths. Here, Sander also pays for him and Widge to go up the St. Paul Tower. At the top, the two can see the queen's London residence and the Tower prison.

After descending from the Tower, the two walk through the cathedral courtyard. Widge is surprised to see the works of Shakespeare on sale. The only work he does not see, of course, is Hamlet. While strolling through the courtyard, Widge suddenly sees Falconer. He panics and takes off with Sander calling after him. Feeling that he has little choice, Widge runs through the cathedral cemetery.

He keeps running until he comes to an unfamiliar street. Feeling lost, Widge keeps running. He has no idea where Southwark is or how he can get back to the Thames. A farmer gives Widge directions, but Widge gets lost again. This time, he finds himself in an unsavory section of London. The chapter ends with Widge being accosted by two youths who brandish daggers and demand the clothes on his back.

Chapter 14: The chapter begins with the youths giving Widge an ultimatum: either his ears or the clothes on his back. Meanwhile, someone answers that Widge will give up neither. Upon hearing the strange voice, Widge takes the opportunity to evade his tormentors. He takes off running but soon hears a voice calling after him. Upon turning around, he discovers that it is Julian.

For his part, Julian tells Widge that he grew up in this part of London, which everyone calls Alsatia. Curious, Widge asks Julian how he managed to escape the youths earlier. Julian answers that he has friends who will not hesitate to cut off the ears of anyone who dares to harm him. His answer does not comfort Widge, who feels ashamed that he is once again in someone else's debt.

Meanwhile, Julian pays for the crossing back across the Thames. He tells Widge to reimburse him when he gets paid. For his part, Widge is surprised that trial apprentices get paid during training. He marvels at the eagerness of apprentices like Julian, who proudly proclaims that he would work as an apprentice for free, if necessary.

Eventually, Widge returns to Mr. Pope's house. There, Sander asks him why he ran off. However, Widge is reluctant to confide in Sander. He decides to refrain from forming friendships that will need to be broken off later. Sander is hurt but chooses not to pressure Widge.

On Monday morning, Widge has a full day. He helps the other apprentices whitewash the Globe's roof thatch and then attends fencing exercises. Later, he attends a class on how to apply makeup for the stage. The class is taught by Richard, an apothecary's former apprentice.

Later, when the time comes for a practice performance, Widge is surprised to hear Sander being ordered to perform Nick's part. Widge is even more surprised when Mr. Heminges orders him to act as the play's prompter.

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In Chapter 13 Widge is settling into the life of a player goes to St Pauls’s with Sander. Widge is unused to friendship and is pleasantly baffled by Sander’s offer to pay for their Thames crossing and for the entrance to the tower. Widge is overwhelmed by the size of London.

He learns that it is possible to buy copies of Shakespeare’s plays, but not of course Hamlet. He sees Falconer in the crowd and flees in fear, running through the cathedral graveyard and finding himself lost in a rough area of the city. At the end of the chapter he is about to be mugged by two youths with daggers.

In chapter 14 he is saved from the attack by Julian, who explains that they are in Alsatia, the area of London where he grew up. Widge is again surprised by the loyalty of others and a little upset that he has needed to accept help. Widge is beginning to realise that there is more to life than the existence he has had so far, but he remains cynical –

Life was full enough of disappointments, without making more.

He struggles with the concept of friendship still-

Some part of me wondered how it would be to have a friend, and to be one.

The next day Widge is required to whitewash the theatre roof thatch and practice fencing and makeup. He is becoming more involved in the life of the theatre, although the fear that Falconer will catch him is never far away. He finds out that they are to play Hamlet that afternoon, and he is handed the precious play book and instructed to act as prompt.

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