Horatio had remained as a guest at Elsinore. He was reading in his apartment when there was a knock on the door. A servant told him that there were some men wanting to see him.
‘Who are they?’ he said.
‘Sailors, sir,’ said the servant. ‘They say they have some letters for you.’
‘Bring them in.’
He didn’t know who in the world would be writing to him, unless it was Hamlet.
The sailors came in. ‘God bless you, sir,’ the one holding the letters said.
‘And you too,’ said Horatio.
The man laughed. ‘He will, too, sir, if it pleases him,’ he said. ‘Here’s a letter for you, sir, from the ambassador who was on his way to England, if you’re Horatio, as I believe you are.’
Horatio opened the letter and read: Horatio, when you’ve read this, give these fellows passage to the king: they have letters for him. Before we had been at sea for two days we were pursued by some very effective pirates. Finding ourselves too slow we were forced to defend ourselves. I managed to board their ship in the confusion and soon after that our ship got clear of them so I was their only prisoner. They treated me well but they knew what they were doing because I have to do them a favour. Make sure the king gets the letters I have sent and come to me as fast as you would go if you were trying to escape death. I have things to tell you that are going to make you speechless, although words could never express the substance of this matter. These good sailors will bring you to me. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are on their way to England. I have much to tell you about them. Farewell. Your friend, Hamlet.
Horatio nodded. ‘Come with me. I’ll take you to deliver your letters. Do it as fast as you can so you can conduct me to the one from whom you brought them.’