The Plays of Wilkie Collins: A Digital Archive

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The Frozen Deep

Corrected Prompt Copy (British Library C.61.a.10)


1 Like many of Collins' plays, The Frozen Deep (1866) was printed for circulation amongst the theatre company. It was then revised in accordance with alterations presumably made during rehearsal. The copy here is therefore designated a 'Prompt copy'. Several copies of the revised play are extant, all corrected in precisely the same way and in the same hand. 'Clean' copies of the printed text are also preserved and provide the version that has been made available to date. The text here differs in that it includes all of the later revisions. The Notes enable the reader to see what Collins deleted and added prior to the first performance.

2 <The sum and substance of his opinion is this—that Clara’s case, which is a mystery to us, is a mystery to him.

ROSE. Has he been all this time talking to you, and has it only ended in that?

LUCY. He has been all this time making me talk to him. After he had seen Clara, and had sent her away to her own room, h>[H]

3 <her>\Clara's/

4 \among ignorant superstitious people/

5 <and that the ignorant people about her had filled her mind with the superstitions which are still respected as truths in the wild north - especially the superstition about the Second Sight.>

6 <We know,” he said, “ that certain disordered conditions of the brain and the nervous system produce results as extraordinary as any that you have described and there our knowledge ends.>

7 \But he added/

8 <I can give you instructions for preserving her general health; and I can>

9 \All I can do is to/

10 <some change in her life>

11 \the effect of change on her./

12 <I can give you this advice and do no more.” Those were the doctor’s last words, as I think, of a very honest and a very sensible man.>

13 <I entirely agree with him about the necessity for a change in Clara’s life.>

14  \The effect of change on her? Just what I advised!/

<ROSE. Surely you might induce her to confide it you? She will do things for you that she will do for neither of us.
LUCY. I will try to win her confidence, if I can find the opportunity.>

16 <The stage begins to darken.>

17  <back of the stage becomes invisible in the darkness.>

18 \stage begins to darken/

19 \The back of the stage becomes at the same moment invisible in the darkness./

20 <Lights! Lights!>

21 \Where are/ Rose! \and/ Caroline!

22 \Good God!/

23 <ROSE and MRS. STEVENTON enter hurriedly, and group themselves, with LUCY, round CLARA, at one extremity of the stage. At the same moment, the>

24 \The

25 <are represented>

26 \appear/

27 <After a moment, the light is seen to fade slowly downward over the scene of the iceberg, leaving the back of the stage once more in darkness. The light over CLARA vanishes the next instant. At the moment when the whole stage is again obscured, CLARA’S hands are seem to wave to and fro as if seeking mechanically for some support. A faint cry escapes her, and she sinks into LUCY’S arms.>

28 \The figure of Wardour, at the same moment, points the gun at Frank. As he raises the gun, a faint cry escapes Clara, and she sinks into Lucy's arms./

29 <shakes her head.) No? You have seen it already?>

\makes a sign in the affirmative.[)]/

31 \(
Exit Lucy, left.[)]/

32  <LUCY (Aside to CRAYFORD) You must, William, you must!>

33 \(Repeating the question)/

34 <LUCY (eagerly interposing.) You see Clara, it is just as I said it was. There is hope that the missing men may have reached the fur settlements, and that we shall hear of them yet. Try to forget the rest, and to take comfort in that. And for the present, as a favour to me, let us change the subject.>

35 CLARA. <Yes - > \L/et us

36 <(to LUCY).>\(aside.)/

37 <
LUCY. (to CRAYFORD) William! You started when she spoke of the iceberg.>

<Any man alive must have started knowing what I know. I myself questioned our comrades>

\She is making me believe her, in spite of myself! I was the man who questioned them/

40 <Call me weak, superstitious - what you will.>

41 \(Enter Lucy, left, attempting to speak to Crayford.)/

42 <and supports him, resting WARDOUR’S head on his shoulder>

43 <(Supporting Wardour)>

44 <
His voice dies away, and his head sinks on CRAYFORD’S breast.>

45 <me up! I must go to him!>

46 <as he lies supported by CRAYFORD>

47 <The boat is pushed ashore, and the crew appear outside on the beach.>

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Richard Pearson and the Victorian Plays Project, 2013