39) This next cipher candidate is found in the second column of page 47 of the Comedies in the play The Merry Wives of Windsor. In the scene we have a French doctor named Dr. Caius who is waiting to meet the character Evans for a duel in their quest to win the hand of Anne Page. But they, Caius and Evans, had been sent to different locations and so Caius has been waiting a while when four other characters show up and greet him. One of them, the “Host” has a speech that includes the line “Is he dead, my Francisco?” Commentators suggest that he uses “Francisco” as a substitute for “Frenchman”. In any case we have a variation of the name “Francis”.
Then a few speeches later we read Dr. Caius saying “sixe or seven, two tree howres…” which is interpreted as “six or seven, two, three hours…” His French accent leads him to pronounce ‘three’ as ‘tree’. Supposedly, Shakespeare, or the printer, forgot to put a comma between ‘two’ and ‘three’. But from the Baconian cipher theory point of view the “two tree” represents “two threes” and so we have the numbers 67 and 33 suggested along with the name of Francis.
The hypothesis that there is no cipher would have us believe that Caius was either a very poor judge of elapsed time and believed that he had been waiting anywhere from two to seven hours. Or it could be argued that he tended to exaggerate many things and so began with six or seven hours, but then maybe he thought that was too big of an exaggeration and reduced it to two or three hours of waiting. Since he tends to boast it’s likely that he meant to exaggerate. But then why reduce his exaggeration by such a large number of hours?
On the other hand the cipher hypothesis has less difficulty. The number 67 couldn’t be displayed as sixty seven hours, but “six or seven” can suggest the two digit number. The “two tree” or “two three” likewise could not be displayed as “three three” as that would be meaningless. And there is no need to assume an error here on the part of either Shakespeare or the printer to explain the missing comma. Finally, the usage of the name ‘Francisco’ is explained as a priming for alertness to a hidden cipher of Bacon’s signature.
And like the earlier discussion of page 53 and “hang hog is latten for bacon” the 1602 quarto of this play did not use the name “Francisco”. Instead it used the name of “francoyes”. Nor did it have any mention of “sixe or seven, two tree howers”. For some reason the author saw it fit to make these specific changes in a rewriting of the play.
The phrase of “sixe or seven” is used in at least one other place in the Folio. It can be found also on page 66 of the Comedies in the second half of the second column. You might recall that the following page of ‘67’ was associated with the cipher candidate “Mine were the verie Cipher of a Function”.