The Plays of Wilkie Collins: A Digital Archive



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Notes

The Lighthouse, Berg 1
These annotations compare the Berg text with the licensed performance text in the Lord Chamberlain's collection, British Library Add MS 52967H, ff. 1-28. See elsewhere for the full text of the British Library version (British Library LC).

Extracts are published with the kind permission of
Ms Faith Clarke
and
The British Library

1.  The opening scene is in the hand of Wilkie Collins; the remainder of Berg 1 is in the hand of an amanuensis or copyist.

2.  Berg 1 omits the Prologue song (written by Charles Dickens) as well as the later song included in British Library LC (see n. 32)
. British Library LC indicates a need for an initial stage representation of the exterior of the Eddystone Lighthouse, which then rises to reveal the interior scene. This may well have been part of the Tavistock House production but then dropped from the prompt developed for the Olympic Theatre (Berg 1).

Prologue
Unseen Speaker – Curtain Down – dark

A story of those rocks where doom’d ships come –
To cast their wreck’d [sic] upon the steps of Home
Where solitary men the long year through
The wind their music and the brine their view –
Warn mariners to shun the Beacon Light.
A story of these rocks is here tonight.
Eddystone lighthouse – [exterior view discovered]
                        In its ancient form
Ere he who built it, wished for the great storm
The shiver’d it to nothing – once again
Behold out gleaming on the angry main!
Within it are three men: to these repair
In our frail bark of fancy, swift as air!
They are but shadows – as the rower grim
Took none but shadows in his boat with him
So be ye shades, and for a little space
The real world a dream without a trace.
Return is easy – It will have ye back
Too soon, to the old, beaten, dusty track –
For but an hour forget it.  Billows rise
Blow winds – fall rain – be black ye midnight skies,
And you who watch the Light – arise! arise!

                  Exterior view rises and discovers
                                 the Scene.


3. Throughout Berg 1, stage directions are expanded, added or clarified, that are not present in British Library LC. Berg 1 is presumably a later text used in the first production, but it only occasionally alters the spoken dialogue of British Library LC.

4. A small cancelled portion of text is illegible.

5. Cancelled text reads '<Today?>'; text in British Library LC.

6. '(snaps his fingers)'; British Library LC reads '[snapping his fingers]'

7. Berg 1 inserts above line '\the fog has come down on us again./'; not in British Library LC.

8. 'Sit down on my chair'; British Library LC reads, 'Sit down on the chest.'

9. Cancelled text reads '<It is nearest the fire.>'; text in British Library LC.

10. 'for the boat,'; not in British Library LC.

11. 'Jacob is an honest man in his way,'; British Library LC reads, 'He's an honest fellow in his way,'

12. 'married and that'; British Library LC reads, 'married - that'

13. 'spirit'; British Library LC reads, 'ghost'

14.
'spirit'; British Library LC reads, 'ghost'

15. 'I remember'; British Library LC reads, 'Yes. I remember - '

16. '
But not for long. You hadn’t been gone a day before I had someone come to keep me company.'; British Library LC reads, 'But you hadn't been gone a day, before I had someone to keep me company.'

17. 'Sit down again! and hear me out.'; not in British Library LC.

18. 'very quickly.'; British Library LC reads, 'very quick.'

19. 'There! There!'; not in British Library LC.

20. 'Oh!'; British Library LC reads, 'Oh, Heavens!'

21. 'and I followed him,'; British Library LC reads, 'and I went after him,'

22. 'the mists and the fogs'; British Library LC reads 'the fogs and the mists'

23. 'when'; British Library LC reads 'that'

24. '(calling from above.)'; British Library LC reads '(without).'

25. 'dear dear Martin'; British Library LC reads, 'dear Martin'

26. 'Oh!'; British Library LC reads, 'Ah!'

27. 'I was listening, Phoebe - I was indeed.'; British Library LC reads, 'I was listening - Phoebe, I was, indeed!'

28. Berg 1 omits sentence from British Library LC: 'For days before I had been so weak and broken down with anxiety and fright about you that I wasn't fit to bear much.'

29. Berg 1 omits part of sentence from British Library LC, ' - seeing the white raging surf always the same - morning, noon and night.'; 'Asking Furley' begins the next sentence in British Library LC, but is run together with the previous one in Berg 1: 'would blow forever, asking Furley...'.

30. 'window!'; British Library LC reads, 'windows.'

31. 'Ha ha ha!'; British Library LC reads, 'Ah ha - ha ha!'

32. Berg 1 omits the following section including Phoebe's song from British Library LC; British Library LC continues,

Martin – drink! Phoebe you don’t look half happy enough – jump up, lass, and sing us a song.  Sing, Phoebe, or I shall never get them to wait long enough for their third course.

Phoebe.  Sing, Master Furley.

Jacob.  Sing, darling.  Aye, why not?

Phoebe.  What song shall I sing, father?

Jacob.  Sing my favourite song – the Song of the Wreck.  It’s a song of a kind heart under a poor coat – and that’s the sweetest singing bird in a cage I know.  Sing the Song of the Wreck, my dear.

                                     Song.  Phoebe.

1
The wind blew high – the waters saved
A ship drove on the land
A hundred human creatures saved
Kneeled down upon the sand.
Three-score were drown’d – three score were thrown
Upon the black rocks wild
And thus among them left alone
They found one helpless child

2
A seaman rough, to shipwreck bred
Stood out from all the rest
And gently laid the lonely head
Upon his honest breast,
And travelling over the desert wide
It was a solemn joy
To see them ever side by side
The seaman and the boy.

3
In famine, sickness, hunger, thirst
The two were still but one
Until the seamen drooped the first
And felt his labours done.
Then to a trusty friend he spoke
Across the desert wide
O take this poor boy for my sake
And kissed the child, and died.

Phoebe.  Martin doesn’t hear me, father.  He doesn’t mind the story.

Jacob.  He listens, pet.  How can he love you and not listen?  Go on – finish it.

4
Toiling along in weary plight
Through heavy jungle mire
These two came later every night
To warm them at the fire.
Until the Captain said one day
O, seaman good and kind
To save thyself, now come away
And leave the boy behind.

5
The child was slumb’ring near the blaze
O, Captain, let him rest
Until it sinks, when his own ways
Shall teach us what is best.
They watch’d the whiten’d, ashy heap
They touch’d the child in vain
They did not leave him there asleep
He never woke again.


33. '...Martin; he won't notice me now!'; British Library LC reads, '...Martin. He never so much as looked at me while I was singing.'

34. 'though'; British Library LC reads, 'tho' '

35. In British Library LC, Furley has exited with the light keepers who go to signal the approach of the ship using the gong. Furley and light keepers then re-enter here. However, in Berg 1, Furley is not described as exiting with the keepers and so is given as re-entering here erroneously.

36. 'of Falmouth'; not in British Library LC.

37. 'told her all my secrets.'; British Library LC reads, 'told her my secrets.'

38. 'Am I right?'; not in British Library LC.

39. '"No" - "Yes - "nothing"!'; not in British Library LC.

40. 'She speak to him!'; British Library LC reads, 'Speak to him!'.

41. 'What other person?' [second time]; not in British Library LC.

42. Berg 1 omits passage from British Library LC: 'Aaron. I don’t remember getting out of bed, or sitting there.
Martin. You don’t? – '

43. Berg 1 omits passage from British Library LC; British Library LC continues: 'Out with it!  What do you suspect me of? – you talked about blood just now – Is it murder? – Ha! ha! you’re a dutiful son! You honor [sic] your father’s grey hairs – ha! ha! ha! Ten years ago I should have doubled my fist and knocked you down for looking at me like that – now, I’m old and fit for nothing but to laugh at you. Ha! ha! ha! Damn your suspicious looks!'

44. Berg 1 omits sentence from British Library LC: 'What story book have you been reading that in?'

45. Berg 1 omits passage from British Library LC: 'You were not in your right senses yesterday! You were so weak with hunger yesterday, that you wandered in your mind - !'

46. 'Judas-face'; British Library LC reads, 'Judas looking face'

47. 'If all this dreadful story is really a dream - '; British Library LC reads, 'If all this dread story is only a dream - '

48. 'yesterday about Lady Grace is true or false?'; British Library LC reads 'yesterday, when you spoke of Lady Grace, is true or false?'

49. 'Save us!'; British Library LC reads 'Lord save us!'

50. Berg 1 omits passage from British Library LC: 'Spare me! Spare me! Remember how I was tempted when I denied my words - ! Remember that the shame of my guilt was exposed before my son! Oh, it is hard to hold to the truth – when the truth makes a man despised by how own child.'

51. 'that saved me has saved you also - '; British Library LC reads, 'that saved me has saved you also - '

52. 'shorter and darker than your father'; British Library LC reads, 'taller and darker than your father'

53. 'and that we had been chased'; British Library LC reads, 'that we had been chased'

54. 'I was so happy.'; British Library LC reads, 'I was too happy.'

55. 'all the whole world doubted you'; British Library LC reads, 'all the world doubted you'

56. 'Martin. Dear Phoebe!'; not in British Library LC.

57. 'The boat is waiting for us'; British Library LC reads, 'The boat's waiting for us'

58.
'the boat that takes me back to my poor Peasant neighbours, who love me: the boat that takes you to your son’s marriage.'; British Library LC reads, the boat that takes me back to my poor Peasant neighbours, who love me: the boat that takes you to your son’s marriage.'

59. 'Great attribute of Him in whom we live'; British Library LC reads, 'Great attribute of Him in whom we live'


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