Shaxper returned home to his wife bearing a wealth of determination and a purse full of savings. With an obstinate mixture of guilt and respect, he had come to deliver his hard-earned wages to Anne in person, rather than send them home in a tightly wrapped and coldly worded farewell letter.
It was the least he could do to spare her feelings, he thought, for he had no intention of staying in his accidental marriage any longer. He was impatient to get back to London but he didn’t want to seem cruel, so he lingered to say a proper goodbye to his children. Three year-old Susanna might miss him, he thought, for she was old enough now to sit on his lap and bury her face in his chest. He was sure that his colicky twins Hamnet and Judith didn’t care who he was or where he was. Still, he swore to return to them as soon as he was financially secure, and they were old enough to care who he was, and to understand how he had improved their lives by allying himself with his theatrical kinsman, Lord Oxford.
He promised to send Anne money regularly. He had expected her to be grateful for this boon, and for the reassurance by his presence that he wasn’t simply staying on in London and abandoning her and the children completely.
But Anne refused to make his departure an easy one. She wept in the doorway with the twins in her arms and pleaded with him not to go.
“I’ll be back before you know it, I swear,” he called over his shoulder “And I’ll return to you with a small fortune, I promise.”
“How can you leave me like this, William?” Anne cried. “What will the neighbors say?”
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