Hamlet dusted off his hands. It was safely packed away. And now…He heard voices calling his name. Who was that? They were coming towards him now, running through the long passageway.
‘What have you done with the dead body, my lord?’ said Rosencrantz.
‘Combined it with the dust that it’s related to.’
‘Tell us where it is so that we can take it to the chapel,’ said Rosencrantz.
‘Don’t believe it,’ said Hamlet.
‘That I can keep your secrets and not my own. Anyway, to be interrogated by a sponge! What rejoinder should the son of a king make?’
‘Do you take me for a sponge, my lord?’ said Rosencrantz.
‘Yes, sir, soaking up the king’s face, his rewards, his offices. But such functionaries give the king the best service in the end: like an ape, he keeps them in the corner of his jaw, first mouthed and finally swallowed. When he needs what you’ve found out it’s just a matter of squeezing you….’ Hamlet made the motion of squeezing a sponge: ‘……. and sponge, you will be dry again.’
Rosencrantz shook his head slowly. ‘I don’t understand you, my lord.’
‘I’m glad about that,’ said Hamlet. ‘A knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.’
Rosencrantz’s patience abandoned him. ‘My lord, you must tell us where the body is, and go with us to the king.’
‘The body is with the king, but the king is not with the body. The king is a thing…’
‘A thing, my lord!’ exclaimed Guildenstern.
‘Of nothing,’ said Hamlet. ‘Take me to him.’
As they set off back Hamlet pretended to be riding a horse. ‘Hide fox, and tallyho!’ he shouted.