About the Author
Chapter In Which The
     Narrator Introduces
     Himself and Will Kempe

Chapter In Which Pincus
      and Will Carouse

Chapter In Which Pincus
     Recounts The Death of
     Will Kempe

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Chapter In Which Pincus Recounts
The Death of Will Kempe

        How he starb in my arms, my Will Kempe, I'm telling now.

        Months already after our Nine Days Wonder dare-journey comic Morris dance to Norwich it was, which right after he went off on a carouse. I don't know where he went, both in and out from London for certain he went, to brothel stews and taverns and probably also with wenches he knew, lace-mutton kurveh whores he dallied filthy with, with that William Bee who I hired for our servant on the Nine Days Wonder he went to carouse, and I was left in London by myself alone to collect our wagers we won if I could, only I couldn't collect most, knaves didn't pay or I couldn't find them or they only promised to pay when they got monies, like I said.

        The some I did find and speak to mocked me and some cursed me as I was a Jew. “Go to, Jew!” they said, some. And “So like a Jew to ever seek money!” This and other curses some said me. “An' if it be a Jew dogs me, is not money all his speech?” one said me.

        So I hired myself the smallest room at a inn called King's Touch it was, named for how a king could cure you from scrofula with only a touch from his hand, which kings did before and also after Queen Bess's reign. And I lived spare, drank only whey for my morning draught to break my fast, and ate the plain dark bread only the poor English eat, and only drank small beer and church ales, like children drink. I would of drink water if I wasn't afraid most all the wells in London was fouled. This I did, lived spare, to not spend so much out from our common purse, our gelt monies what was left from what I brought selling schlock trinkets, points and garters and gloves and kissing comfits on our Norwich comic Morris dance dare-journey.

        So I couldn't do no business for money for us in London, and didn't know where my Will was until there came to my King's Touch hired smallest room where I lived spare a country lout, his name was Walter he said. I asked him his full name, but he wouldn't tell, maybe because he knew I was a Jew, and like some country yokels was afraid I could make a spell on him if I knew his full name, I don't know, except he wouldn't say except Walter he was called. This Walter came to me from the country, with a message to me to come to him from my Will Kempe.

        This country lout said to me, “Be you the Jew called Pinky, the friend of William Kempe who tells all in my village he is a great Fool 'pon the stage in this London?”

        To which I said, “I'm Pincus Perlmutter who's the impresario partner from my Will Kempe, who everyone in London knows is the greatest comic performance of dance and plays and antic jigs, who's also the most famous comic Morris dancer from ever in the realm, the most famous tummler comic maker from merriment and vitz gleeks and sallies, and I arrange his performance and keep his purse also! And you say you don't know from Will Kempe his name is famous over all from England's realm? And why is it you stink from ashes and smoke so bad, and your fustian's all shmutzig fouled dirty from ashes and soots?”

        To which he said, this country lout Walter, “For I burn charcoal from wood we cut in our forest, both my father and I, as how we earn our meats, an' for all your Master William Kempe so renowned you say, I never saw the playacting 'pon a stage, not here nor in my village, though I have seen the traveling mummers and jugglers and once a dog could do tricks of counting and ciphering that came on a market day once, but I know naught of the fame of any William Kempe, Jew, yet this William Kempe who abides now in my village did give me a coin to find you, and said you'd bestow me another its like, and feed me my dinner as well if I'd but say you where this William Kempe lies ill of something as makes him sweat and groan on a pallet in my poor village, a long stroll it was for me to come here to find you, Jew.”

        So then I knew where my Will was, and that he was sick of something, I didn't know what because this country lout Walter didn't know from sickness like a physician or a barber would. So I gave him a silver sixpence, which was the same as the coin my Will gave him to find me, which he showed me, this Walter, which is a half-shilling, which is a lot of monies to take a message even if you got to walk some country miles on foul roads to the city and find the person to give the message. This I gave him, from our common purse, a silver sixpence, and asked him how he found me in this big city of London.