Annie and the Queen
It's been said that the Bard saw both sides of every issue. The truth is 'yes' and 'no'. The bard saw the different view points of all issues of the day and distilled them to the two most important one's so as not to confuse people.
This period was when people were just getting free of serfdom and being told that the only truth was the landowners belief. They could think and decide on their own for the first time and for the first time they were learning that there was more than one side to each issue. The Bard knew when writing the plays that few people could even conceive of the concept that there were perhaps more than two sides to each issue so it was simplified and kept to only two sides of options in the plays.
However, there is rarely just two sides to any issue. The bard saw four sides when were four. Above five sides it got pretty confusing to try to keep them all in the mind at one time. Above six forget it. I'm different in this life and get confused when an issue has about 9 sides.
[To be fair 400 years ago I could see more of the issues than I can today but they are more solidified. I'm technically better than I was 400 years ago when I was the Bard but I am not sure yet if I fall short of the Bard in the area of creativity.]
Were there any issues which had 6 sides in the 1500's? Absolutely. The conflicts in central Europe such as those with Austria, Germany, Prussia and France almost always had at least six sides and often up to a dozen! Their wars often included eight countries and everyone had a different 'truth'. Also, if you listened to any of the ambassadors from any one of those countries without listening to any others you would be convinced that they were completely in the right and everyone except their treaty partners were in the wrong.
However, where everyone else would wring their hands over in frustration the bard saw as nothing more than a challenge or exercise to try to understand and hold all the aspects at once in her mind even though she knew it was futile as it was dynamic and would all change in a week!.
The Bard just wanted to increase understanding and never seal it off by judging others. You find few things are finalized or stated emphatically in the plays. The plays themselves were just snapshots or recordings of the middle of the Bards thinking process.
The bard tried to leave everything open ended in the plays so that everyone could make up their own mind or belief. Learning is fun that way because you are never wrong if you keep that attitude. That way you always win and can never lose.
If you read my memories of these two meetings with Queen Elizabeth then you will see exactly what I mean about the thinking process of the Bard.
[What am I saying? I still use the same process in this life. I always think the same way pretty much.]
Oh, everyone knew that Queen Elizabeth was a witch. And she scared everyone half to death.
This is the picture that reminds me of her the most.
If you ever had the opportunity to experience the royal entourage in the 1500's it was something beyond any ballet you could imagine. She could turn to leave and a person was already there to take her staff and another two to pick up her train and it intermeshed perfectly and was an exquisite show. The strange part was that she had turned to leave without so much as a snap of her fingers and the entourage was perfectly cued. Every movement was perfect.
There was a Catholic Bishop or Cardinal who came to England try to convince Queen Elizabeth, who was the head of the Church of England, to convert to Catholicism. He saw this scene and all he could say as they lead him off in shock was 'I can't even get an acolyte to come up with a candle when I yell at him.' Leaving the city of London he was in awe of this witch that headed the church of England and never bothered her again.
A general came from over 1000 miles away to speak in very quiet conversation with Queen Elizabeth. Before her throne he referenced an obscure 10 year old document to establish certain rights his country had to involve itself in the New World (possibly Canada) and two minutes later a document magically appeared and was handed to the Queen who then stopped the general while she read the treaty aloud.
She said 'except for this clause you are absolutely right in your assumption. This clause gives your particular country no rights there at all' and she offered to allow him to read the English copy of the document which he had just referred to in passing only two minutes earlier* before (but he knew all too well what was in it).
The documents were said to sometimes appear out of thin air. Also, she caught the trick which he was trying put over on her and her children, the English people. However, she was a diplomat (though a politician first) so knowing that he understood that she understood completely and that there was no mistaking her understanding of what he was trying to pull off, she would talk about his wife and his children to let him out of the ordeal of being reamed out by a woman. Then in a little while she would say 'Oh the tide' and offer the man a royal escort as protection back to his ship before the people found out about his attempt to defraud our Queen mother and them. Then he wisely sailed home on the next tide, never to return to England under threat of attack by rogues from which he might die.
So I came to the Queens attention the first time when I was still with my husband and perhaps for what I did with the dukes horses, I organized the whole process to high efficiency. (Actually it was before this**) However I was scared to death, absolutely horrified for my heads sake. She held my hand before I could bow and that made me suspicious and then she seated me in a French chair of medium to low quality that my husband would never sell or ship. We talked some time and I left not being the wiser but I was no fool and was dumb around this woman as women should be until they are accepted by the woman that has more power than they have.
The next time was different. We were going to get the third degree by the Queen.
Everyone in England knew that the only woman that could think in all of England was the queen. It was silly for anyone to believe other wise.
Men knew emphatically that the problem had little to do with being female as such, but with the size of a woman's breasts. They knew that the human body's resources have certain limitations and that the circulation system of the typical female is insufficient to provide enough nutritive support for both brains and large breasts. Hence the larger the breasts the less circulation was available for the brain of those women and men to be fair treated them as stupid beasts.
This was back in the 1500's but it is almost the same today. If you are not large breasted then try wearing lots of padding for one day. If you have enough padding you can ask a man how to sign your own name and he will help you. For the bard It was the perfect disguise. As my breast were so huge that I had endured the nicknames the 'Chest from Westchester' and 'Two tonne Annie' it was impossible for any men to think that I could possibly be the bard. In fact it was the opposite, I could have been in the middle of writing a play and caught by the authorities with a half finished play in one hand, a pen in the other and ink spots all over my arms. They would come in and stare at my breasts, then glance at the half finished play in my hand, then stare back at my breast and ask me where the man was who had written the play (so they could arrest him). It was like that in the 1500's London but it hasn't changed a whole lot since then has it?
The queen knew otherwise. The queen knew that women could think and that having large breasts did not impede the thought process in the least. The proof was that I had this meeting with the queen and within two minutes she knew that I was the bard. I swear it. Two minutes only. [Looking back at it from a vantage point four centuries after the fact I realize that she must have known before then.]
The gist was this. Something having to do with our theater turned out to be involved in some murders of Queens guards. Every one in the theater was pulled in and they arrested us all.
I think I was the first one questioned separate from the others and I was brought in first from the hall and was told to sit in a chair. These were of the highest quality, there had been a great improvement in England's resources apparently. They were incredible. We merchants had never even run across this kind of workmanship. I felt groves on the back sides and underneath and felt along them for the end but they did not abut, they disappeared into the next piece of wood. It was so smooth a transition that I could barely feel where the pieces joined. England was now a wealthy nation, not like before.
Queen Elizabeth came in and I got up and went and bowed and scraped and then she had me sit down. Soon she asked me my name, it being a few years since our first meeting. She knew right away who I was and more so who I wasn't. She then said 'We were afraid of your husband,' (We owned the fastest shipping service in England, the Fedex/DHL of the 1500's.)
The queen of England afraid of my husband? I could hardly believe it. Why would she be. I was determined to rescue my departed husbands name and maybe his soul. The queen was the head of the church of England so I didn't know if she could put him in hell but I rescued him just the same by saying 'Oh no, that couldn't be as his foolishness brought on disasters that never relented Then continuing: 'I mean if it wasn't for me he would have failed..er..far...sooner.' Oh, what had I done? Taken his place in her mind as her enemy? I had told her that I was the shipping company, not my husband and that information alone told her that I was the bard. (If you were poor and faced disasters it wasn't necessarily God's punishment for anything that you had done wrong. It was said that it might be that God was testing your faith like Job by sending you disasters. Then eventually those would go away and as with Job good times would come afterwards as a reward for passing the test. When good times would not come it was a different matter. Anyway, it was always the mans fault (karma). Read the story of Job in the Bible. This is how those of the 1500's dealt with unemployment and financial loss. Now we blame the government.)
Elizabeth said: 'We had faster ships which carried no cargo but only messages yet we got them to ports after your ships got in, yet yours were filled with cargo? Have you ever thought someone was a witch and had the magic (I am totally terrified at this point and I know I am going to die) that could make ships jump leagues at a time?'
She was saying I was a witch! And the church was her church. Did she even need a trial to take my head off? She looked right into my head. She looked up under my eyes from only inches away. I was breathing too fast now and I wanted to pass out but for all I tried I couldn't.
[Even intelligence in certain ways can be seen in patterns of the iris. It's called iridology but this was a teaching that the Queen rarely shared with others, even in her court. However, I did not know what she was doing at the time. I thought she must have the power to look right inside my brain and see my thoughts or my soul and I was terrified even more.]
Then she said: 'you can tell a bit about a persons skills and smarts by the patterns in their iris' but she didn't fool me, I knew she was really looking into my soul for a witch.
I said in my defense. 'Fill a ship with cargo that can be moved around inside to offset the wind and it can go faster, especially when pointing high into the wind. So high in fact that we could go through certain straits without even tacking once and that would cut our time in half. Move the weight backwards and get the ship on it's side and you can sometimes make the ship plane right across the top of the water instead of through it like your ships. You can go almost twice as fast when that happens. If you simply have the fore end weighted so the fore end is deeper in the water than the stern by 1/4 foot, the boat will sail about one third slower. Since we doubled the pay to hire your best captains away from your navy...'
Oh no, I had messed up again! I was realizing the fact that England's navy did not often carry cargo that could be shifted to change the weight distribution and I got mixed up in the confusion of trying to think of several things at once and told her that we had stolen her best captains. Damn, we had spent so much time and effort to make it look like the captains always came to us of their own accord too.
I had just recovered my head from the queen and convinced her I wasn't a witch and then I gave it back to her by committing some possibly treasonous act because I had hired her captains away. Now I knew that my head was going to come off within the week for certain.
I did not dare add that I was the expert, the best in Europe at packing cargo.
'With three ships you and 'your husband' could have brought down England!' She said yelled! This was while she was looking at a painting on the wall that recorded the very recent defeat of the Spanish Armada. It was a picture of the English ships attacking at Calais. The solvents from the paint I can still smell 400 years later so it must have been in 1588-9.
She meant by helping the Spanish in some way we could have destroyed England and I did not know what or how she meant it. We had worked around the Spanish and avoided them like the plagues that they gave us. They had brought us syphilis from the new world and typhus and variations of plagues from all the tropics places they visited. But betrayal we would never have committed.
She said emphatically and hence true: 'We had men on all your ships, child.' And that put a stop to this line of thinking for awhile and because I think she meant the captains. At least I was not going to get beheaded for stealing them from her.
However, Queen Elizabeth was in front of me and that witch was looking at me with most curious eyes I had ever seen but they were not mean by a long shot.
The questions were worded in a way that I could not understand them at first. Actually I was never certain of the questions. Like she said 'Crumpets'.
Did she mean she wanted me to serve her crumpets from the tray or did I want a crumpet? Did I feel so special that she should serve me or even have her servant serve me because they were half elevated and I had just finished working my way down from being an aristocrat to being a low commoner who hung out with actors (which left nobody lower than me). Even prostitutes were more respected than tradesmen.)
You can't ask a Queen what she meant because she was the queen! You can't ever question the queen, ever. So you have to guess and it is between five answers and there is one answer that you try to keep from telling her but you get confused and that is the one that is inside your mind at the time so in the confusion you tell her the wrong one. Then you want to go backwards in time but time doesn't work that way.
I said: 'No thank you, could I get you one?' Perfectly answered and then I was ready for the next half question. It was going to be a more difficult one this time I knew but I was eager. I should have considered something else instead. Like keeping my head on my shoulders. Any thing short of dying on the spot was better then eagerly waiting for the next question but I had never faced this word thing that she was doing to me and it was a puzzle as to what she would say next. It skipped my mind that the payoff was zero and it could cost me my head if I messed up once.
'Are there marionettes....there?'
Did she think we had marionettes on our stage...she knew our stage had only actors and marionettes were not allowed. It was fully professional and not a front for pickpockets like with many of the puppeteers. They would often have the puppet throw some water at the audience and three pickpockets would work in the excitement and confusion.'
Or since I took care of children maybe she thought we had some marionettes for children or maybe she knew of an illegal marionette troop in front of the theater or was she questioning our honesty and seeing if we had been involved with some dishonest people perhaps?
Oh my God! She knows my mind but how? I sometimes see the obstinate actors as marionettes. It's not an affront, marionettes are delicate and they are a luxury. You must work with them and never against them or they will get knotted up and then you have to work more gently with them. I sometimes thought of some actors as marionettes but it was mostly to keep me from getting angry with them. But in truth I was never on the stage directing, it was only in the back of my head...but shit how did she know this? This troubled me immensely
A witch she is, I know that now!
She was trying to break the ice that was all. My suspicious mind was perhaps too clear and I thought her visions were of the same clarity as mine.
Then she had to give me something of hers, a secret possibly. If a woman wants other women to be friends then it's only when she gives without reservation that she gains a friend.
Wow, maybe I was wrong and she was asking me if the actors were like marionettes to me and not actually telling me I felt that way towards them.
'Child do you want to see a marionette, a monstrous marionette?' She asked.
'Yes', I said I mean how do you say no thank you to that question? In fact you can never say no to the queen of England.
She clapped once and in came her personal servant and she dropped her hands besides her and between us. Her scarf was in one hand and it covered all but two inches of two fingers of the other hand which was held downward in a way that only from where I sat were her fingers visible except to the servant and he saw them from the front. She twisted the two fingers and he went over and started to get a blanket and picked it up and she moved the fingers and he froze in mid step and almost fell over sideways. She moved the two fingers twice more and he dropped the blanket where he stood and then two more moves of the fingers and he rushed for a stick and then held it in front of him while he looked around for the bird that he needed to chase out of the room but it never existed except by the motion of her two fingers. She did something else and he twisted completely around twice in the middle of the floor and then froze, she clicked her finger across each other and then he made a perfect bow and left backwards closing the door behind him bam and it was over.
I could not control my body at all. I almost peed as I slid down in the chair howling with laughter. It was the funniest thing I had ever seen in my life. Yes, I almost peed in the queens chair and in front of her! Ok, I might have peed just a little.***
'And he can also act.' The Queen added. It's well known that Queen Elizabeth had her own personal acting troop and that is how she trained her servants to do the magic that held all the aristocracy of Europe in awe of her powers. That was the secret I needed to consider her my great friend and she was from that second on for the rest of our lives and then some.
Since England was a seagoing nation she and her playmates had learned semaphore as children. She just used it later on in her big plays at the palace to impress the foreign dignitaries. We thought we had something with our plays. Hers was a production that was huge by comparison and it was world wide and it had a 45 year run. That sign, All the world is a stage' was our tribute to her.
From then on any information that come to us from Spain went right to her via a servant until three quarters of what England knew of Spain secrets was from us.**** And it had to become a play . The issue wasn't to be the exposure of the foreknowledge but much more than that. The Maelstrom' was a name that stood for that storm that sank the Spanish fleet for a long time because it sounded so malevolent but it didn't just have the ring to it to be the name of a play. I wonder as I left the castle a bit more elevated a commoner than before what I could call the new play. Something that was original, something that wasn't a sure giveaway but also it needed the human emotional aspect that the word 'malevolent' included.
*She had copies made of all documents and had a set near or inside an alcove. She would have up to a hundred or more hidden in the room based on the days visitors and their history. They would appear out of thin air from all over the room. Treaties took ten minutes to retrieve. They were signaled for and then rushed over by a boy (no horses) who ran and then walked the last block to the castle to give it to a woman a few hundred feet from the castle and she put it in a basket and just walked it inside the back door where she gave to an official.
**This event with the horses was what the play The Merry Wives of Windsor was in part based on. I found out that she kept a record on me from an early age. Starting at age of about 5 when she found out that another 'woman' in England could speak languages other than English and had the tumerity to learn to read and write as well. If you are interested in this part of that life then, please first read about it. Many people feel it gives the best understanding for the basis of the plays.
***OK, I peed but we were waiting in the halls for a long time and I was full. (That's never happened before or since except with one woman who was told she was going to be executed. But she had too fantastic of an imagination and it wasn't actually told to her. She invented it in her mind but she was a great writer. So both these people were me and the release of stress when I realized I was not going to be executed combined with the humor of the marionette show doubly caused me to pee on the Queen's new furniture. When we laugh it is often caused by the release of stress.)
When people laugh at a joke made by an important person such as Queen Elizabeth the laughing is often caused by the release they feel when they realize the important person wants them to feel relaxed by telling them a joke. A little conversation just went through my head. One person says to the other. 'Joe just laughs at all the bosses jokes whether they are funny or not'. Other person: 'It might mean his position is very tenuous and he is just relieved he is not being fired with every word from the mouth of the boss'.)
****After the Armada's defeat the Spanish government killed anyone who could possibly have been a spy. The Spanish Inquisitors knew exactly how to first get every last bit information and how to tell which was the truth and which were lies to get them to stop the tortures. Queen Elizabeth's entire network was smashed and even the dogs were killed (they were taking messages, coated in wax and swallowed. At least that was the rumor but it may have just been an English practical joke/ploy to give the Spanish something to do.). Nobody told anything to the English either since the Spanish turned every one they could lay their hands on into a spy. If your work brought you to London from the countryside and you had a brother in Flanders Spanish agents would hold a knife to his throat to get you to work for them. They got real nasty to prove that God was on their side. You could sell information safely at the Globe theater or arrange for it to be sold. The spies got confused because everything usually ended up in the plays and people gave information often just to see it on the stage later on. However officially Elizabeth (at first at least) shunned us but that was because of the Church of England. The Globe was directly competing for what little spare money the peasants had and guess who won out more often than not.)
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