A Gentleman Player

A Gentleman Player
His Adventures on a Secret Mission for Queen Elizabeth

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A Gentleman Player by Robert Neilson Stephens

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1899

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A Gentleman Player
His Adventures on a Secret Mission for Queen Elizabeth

By

4
(2 Reviews)
A thrilling historical romance... a well-told tale of mingled romance and history. The reader will join in the flight and thrills with the excitement of the dangers and adventures that befall the fugitives.

Book Excerpt

re he reviewed it, and his own failure to rebuke it properly, the more wrathful he inwardly became. His anger served as a relief from the agitation he had formerly undergone. So deeply buried was he in his new feelings, that he heeded not the progress of affairs on the stage; and thus he was startled when he felt his arm caught by Shakespeare, who was pointing to the entrance, and saying:

"What ails thee, Harry? They wait for thee on the stage."

Roused as from sleep, and seeing that Burbage and the others had indeed gone forth from the tiring-room, Hal ran to the entrance and out upon the stage, his mind in a whirl, taking his place before King Claudius with such abruptness that Burbage, surprised from his mood of melancholy self-absorption, sent him a sharp glance of reproof. This but increased his abashment, and he stared up at the placard that proclaimed the stage to be a room in the palace at Elsinore, in a kind of panic. The audience moved and murmured, restlessly, during the king's long sp

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I was amazed at the author's eloquent use of Shakesperian English. He wrote with the flavor and much of the clause and sentence structure of the 17th Century while still keeping it very readable and enjoyable for "modern" readers. The story moves along nicely, even with the archaic asides. Although Stephen's probably gained his fluency in this vernacular from his experience as a theater critic, it's almost as though her were a time traveler to the 19th Century.
Young heir cheated of his fortune wanders into London, is taken in by Will S and offered chance to act.

But wait—there's more! Queen Liz confidentially offers him a dangerous secret mission which he is foolish enough to accept. Romance, adventure, several brushes with death result.

Good bit of surprising historical detail and insight into the plays. Is it realistic? Each must decide for himself.
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