This Side of Purgatory:
Ghostly Fathers and the
Recusant Legacy in Hamlet
by John Freeman
University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, Michigan
HAMLET: Hic et ubique? Then we'll shift our ground.
Come hither, gentlemen,
And lay your hands again upon my sword.
Swear by my sword
Never to speak of this that you have heard.
GHOST: "Beneath" Swear by his sword.
HAMLET: Well said, old mole, canst work i' th' earth so fast?
A worthy pioner!
I was hardly tucked away when the pursuivants broke down the door and burst in. They fanned out through the house, making a great racket. The first thing they did was to shut up the mistress of the house in her own room with her daughters, then they locked up the Catholic servants in different places in the same part of the house. This done, they took possession of the place (it was a large house) and began to search everywhere, even lifting up the tiles of the roof to expose underneath them and using candles in the dark comers. When they found nothing, they started knocking down suspicious-looking places. They measured the walls with long rods and if the measurements did not tally they pulled down the section that they could not account for. They tapped every wall and floor for hollow spots; and on sounding anything hollow they smashed it in.
Fr. John Gerard, S.J., The Autobiography of a Hunted Priest (1952, 85–86)