19) This next signature candidate is found on the first page of Hamlet in the folio (Page 152 of the Tragedies) where it begins with another question of identity. The character Barnardo, a sentinel at Ellsinore castle, is relieving his fellow sentinel “Francisco”. As in a couple of earlier examples our thoughts are primed with a name like Francis in a context of uncertain identity. Francisco responds to Barnado and there is this exchange:
Bar. Who’s there?Fran. Nay answer me: Stand & unfold your selfe.
Bar. Long live the King.
Fran. You come most carefully upon your houre.
It struck me that the term “unfold” is the inverse of the one Bacon himself used when discussing encryption in his Bi-literarie Alphabet: “It containeth the highest degree of Cypher, which is to signifie omnia per omnia, yet so as the writing infolding, may beare a quintuple proportion to the writing infolded; no other condition or restriction whatsoever is required.” This is found on page 265 of 1640 The Advancement of Learning.
Now, the word “unfold” is used elsewhere by Shakespeare to mean “disclose” and here it would mean the same. But it can have an extra meaning, as Bacon himself would be likely to use, and then “unfold your self” can mean “decipher (literally) your identity”. Again, the variation of the name of Francis (in “Francisco”) at this important point in the text, with a question of identity, and a demand to reveal oneself using cipher terminology that Bacon has used, then followed closely by a phrase with one of the numerical counts for a Bacon signature, does seem to be an unlikely coincidence. This is the only scene in the play with Francisco in it. The name of Francis, or a variation on it, is only slightly used by Shakespeare and the few times that it is used there seem to be hidden signatures connected with it. Incidentally, the Friedmans also used the term ‘unfold’ in their book. On page 261 they write “What this meant, in all probability, was that in any given case the sense of the message as it unfolded itself would dictate whether a letter should be assigned …”
In this case we have “Fran” and then a letter count of 33, which can allude to “Francis Bacon”. This line is the only one in this column (I didn’t check the second column) with a letter count of 33. This is similar to the ‘Knight 33’ found several times in the “Sir France is bee Con” candidate as well as others with leading meaningful words or names in front of a line with a letter count of 33.
We can further the suspicion if we refer to non-cipher evidence connecting Bacon to this play. He’s the only authorship candidate known to have read the play’s main source from the Norse tale by Saxo Grammaticus. This source was not printed in English until 1608, after the known date of the play. Here’s more on this topic. Bacon, of course, could easily have read the French version, while the actor from Stratford would not be able to, nor likely have it read to him by another:
There are also numerous language and legal idea parallels of the play related to Bacon’s writings which increase the probability of this being an intentionally coded signature.
Next we’ll focus on some unusual likelihoods regarding paging.