Friar Lawrence was humming. It was all working out well. Friar John would have delivered the letter to Romeo by now. It would be dark in a few hours and the whole business would soon be brought to a joyful conclusion. And here was Friar John now, just back from Mantua, making his way across the hillside. Brother John waved and when he came near enough he called out a greeting.
‘Welcome, welcome, ‘ said Friar Lawrence. ‘Welcome from Mantua. What did Romeo say? Or if he wrote to me give me his letter.’
‘I haven’t been yet, I’m afraid,’ said Friar John, smiling. ‘One of our friars was visiting the sick here in Verona and some officials came to find him because they thought he’d caught some disease, and when they saw me with him they locked us both up in quarantine. I’ve just got out, and I’m on my way to Mantua now.’
‘Oh well, never mind,’ said Friar Lawrence, ‘As long as my letter got there. Who took it then?’
Friar John rummaged among the folds of his habit and took out a crumpled letter.
‘No-one,’ he said. ‘Here it is. I couldn’t get anyone to deliver it. They were too scared of catching something.’
‘Oh hell!’ said Friar Lawrence. ‘If only you had known It was the most important letter. God, that’s done it. Friar John, go and get a crow-bar and bring it straight to me. ‘Run!.’
Friar Lawrence watched his friend as he hurried off. He’d have to go to the tomb on his own. Juliet was due to wake up in three hours’ time. She would be angry that Romeo hadn’t been told about it. But never mind he would write again and keep her in his chapel until Romeo came. It was a horrifying thought: Juliet waking up, a living corpse in a vault full of dead people.