WillIam Shakespeare

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    2 Stratford-upon-Avon
    2 艾汶河畔的斯特拉福镇
    It was a sunny day in October 1579 when I first met Will,just outside Stratford,near a big field of apple trees.I saw a boy up in one of the trees.He had red hair and looked about two years older than me.
    ‘What are you doing up there?’I called.
    ‘Just getting a few apples,’he said,smiling
    ‘Those are Farmer Nash's apples,I said,‘and he'll send his dogs after you if he sees you.’
    ‘Mr Nash has gone to market,’the boy said.‘Come on!They're good apples.’
    The next minute I was up the tree with him.But Will was wrong.Farmer Nash wasn't at the market,and a few minutes later we saw his angry red face above the wall on the far side of the field.
    Will and I ran like the wind and only stopped when we reached the river.We sat down to eat our apples.
    Will was fifteen,and lived in Henley Street,he told me.His father was John Shakespeare,and he had a sister,Joan,and two younger brothers,Gilbert and Richard.There was another sister who died,I learnt later.And the next year he had another brother,little Edmund—the baby of the family.
    ‘Now,what about you?’he asked.
    ‘There's only me and my sister,’I said.‘My parents are dead,and we live with my mother's brother:He's a shoe-maker in Ely Street and I work for him.What do you do?’
    ‘I go to Mr Jenkins' school in Church Street,’Will said.‘Every day,from seven o'clock until five o'clock.Not Sundays,of course.’
    I was sorry for him.‘Isn't is boring?’I asked.
    ‘Sometimes.Usually it's all right.’He lay back and put his hands behind his head.‘But we have to read and learn all these Latin writers.I want to read modern writers,and Eng-lish writers,like Geoffrey Chaucer.Can you read?’he asked.
    ‘Of course I can read!’I said.‘I went to school.’
    Will sat up and began to eat another apple.‘I want to be a writer,’he said.‘A poet.I want that more than anything in the world.’
    We were friends from that day,until the day he died.We met nearly every day,and he taught me a lot about books and poetry and writers.He always had his nose in a book.
    When Will left school,he worked for his father in Henley Street.John Shakespeare was a glove-maker,and he had other business too,like buying and selling sheep.But Will wasn't interested.
    ‘What are we going to do,Toby?’he said to me one day.‘We can't spend all our lives making shoes and gloves!’
    ‘Well,’I said,‘we could run away to sea and be sailors.Sail round the world,like Francis Drake.
    Drake sailed back to Plymouth in 1581,after his three-year journey round the world,but we were still in Stratford.We made lots of plans,but nothing ever came of them.
    Will was still reading a lot and he was already writing poems himself.He sometimes showed them to me,and I said they were very good.I didn't really know anything about poetry then,but he was my friend.
    Will was not happy with his writing.‘I've got so much to learn,Toby,’he said.‘So much to learn.’
    Poor Will.He had a lot to learn about women,too.One day in October 1582 he came to my house with a long face.
    ‘I'll never leave Stratford.’he said.
    ‘Why not?’I asked.‘We'll get away one day.You'll see.’
    ‘Perhaps you will,’he said,‘but I'm going to be married in a few weeks' time.To Anne Hathaway.’
    My mouth fell open and stayed open.‘Married!To Anne Hathaway?Is that the Hathaways over at Shottery?’
    ‘Yes,’Will said.I was working on some shoes on the table,and Will picked one up and looked at it.
    ‘Well,er,she's a fine girl,of course,’I said uncomfort-ably.‘But…but,Will,she's twenty-six and you're only eighteen!’
    ‘I know,’Will said.‘But I've got to marry her.’
    ‘Oh no!’I said.‘You mean,she's…’
    ‘That's right,’said Will.‘In about six months' time I'm going to be a father.’

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