The Plays of Wilkie Collins: A Digital Archive

home  archive  manuscripts  collins

others  project  links

The Red Vial
Papers of the Lord Chamberlain’s office
British Library Add MS 52976D, 46 ff.

The folios for each Act are numbered: 1-15, 1-15, 1-14 – some sheets are cut and pasted together, and there are cut down sheets.

[   ]  means bracketed in manuscript in box (possibly to be cut in performance?)
<  > means deleted word(s)
\  /  means inserted word(s)
? means uncertain word(s)
illeg. means illegible word(s)


1 added in another hand

2 added in another hand

3 a new page as the names of Karl (from George) and Minna (original name illeg.) are changed throughout the manuscript, along with that of Widow Bergmann – some pages are later versions as the names are correct; the manuscript has occasional stuck on sections

4 name altered from illeg.

5 <illeg. line deleted>

6  <I must beg you to remember, sir, that my position in the world was not always what it is now> <Although>

7 [if I were a worldy man.  But I am not a worldly man.]

8 [- they are my principles still -]

9 [Bye-the-bye, I am charged with my wife’s apologies. You know the delicacy of her health, and will therefore excuse her for not having come here with me.]

10 <appear to be in debt are rascals and cheats, are they>

11 ‘See next page’ – footnote on manuscript

12 name altered, and throughout

13 name altered, and throughout

14 name altered, and throughout

15 \all-important/

16 \by her pillow/

17 [wearied by no act of sacrifice, wasted by no lapse of time]

18 \Put on your bonnet and cloak, and come/

19 \fine frosty air/

20 \brisk/

21 [The good angel who helps and blesses us all.]

22 section stuck onto page

23 \how/

24 [Shall I make him talk on?]

25 \your master/

26 <the good angel> \my master/

27 \treacherous/ and \cunning/

28 <held tenderly>

29 \never/

30 <Two lines deleted.> \”If these poor wretches are to be cured at all, they are to be cured by kindness.”/

31 \a/

32 \with him/

33 peaceably?

34 \Nearer!/

35 \which I secretly keep/

36 <illeg.>

37 <illeg.> \never/ been wanted <ill.> \before today. It/

38 <illeg.>

39 <illeg.>

40 <Widow B. The temptation of a moment sometimes triumphs over the honesty of a life.
Roden. Not with my clerks – not with my honest, faithful clerks! [5 lines illeg.]>

41 <illeg.>

42 <illeg.>

43 feeling?

44 <illeg.> \away immediately./

45 <illeg.> \Mark/ that woman! <ill.> \Mark/

46 <illeg.>

47 <illeg.> \(To Minna.) Have you/

48 <illeg.>

49 you<r> ruin my <illeg.> \child for my fault!/

50 <illeg.>

51 <illeg.>

52 <weeks> \months/ for the marriage – Mr. Keller \has/ agreed

53 <large>

54 \and with books ranged on the upper shelf./

55 <seated> \standing/

56 <death>

57 <illeg.>

58 <illeg.> \when/ the <illeg.>

59 persona[lly] – manuscript torn

60 th[e] – manuscript torn

61 coverli[d] – manuscript torn

62 <illeg.>

63 <illeg.>

64 <2 lines illeg.> \(Draws the curtains – then advances/

65 dr[inks] – manuscript torn

66 All re[membrance of past kindness] – manuscript torn; line from Texas manuscript

67 Section above stuck over earlier draft that continues to ‘filled’

68 \the/

69 \mother’s/

70 \something/

71 <illeg. line deleted>

72 \see over/ written in margin

73 <illeg.>

74 <illeg.>

75 <illeg> \(Hans raises himself gently, and watches her from the top of the stove.)/

76 <illeg.>

77 <illeg.>

78 <illeg.> \drink?/

79 <illeg.>

80 <illeg.>

81 <illeg.> \tell/

82 <illeg.>

83 <illeg.>

84 <illeg.>

85 <illeg.>

86 <illeg.> \drink/,

87 <illeg.> \What’s this/

88 <illeg.>

89 <illeg.>

90 <illeg.>

91 <illeg.>

92 \my/ <illeg.>

93 know of\./ <except that you told me not to go there.>

94 <illeg. – two lines>

95 \vial/ <bottle>

96 \vial/ <bottle>

97 lemonade\./ <illeg.>

98 <illeg.>

99 \your/ <illeg.> master’s \drink?/ <lemonade>

100 <illeg.> \chiffonier/.

101 <illeg.>

102 \vial/ <bottle>

103 <illeg.>

104 <illeg.>

105 We <illeg.> \are/ not <illeg.>

106 <illeg.> \be/.

107 <illeg.>

108 \better/

109 <illeg.> \know my husband was a doctor, and you were once in a doctor’s shop yourself – Come and look at it - /

110 \vials/ <bottles>

111 \vial/ <bottle>

112 <illeg.>

113 <illeg.>

114 <illeg.> \On the right of the door, a bracket fixed against the wall. The Flat scene/

115 <illeg.>

116 \and/

117 <illeg.> No, I will \return/ <illeg.> to the door, and watch for the <illeg.> \procession of the Bearers, as it/

118 \from the Watchman’s Door,/

119 <illeg.>

120 <illeg.>

121 <illeg.> \round/

122 himself \./ <again.>

123 <again> again

124 <illeg.; 2 line speech by Schwartz cancelled.>

125 <illeg.>

126 <2 lines illeg.>

127  \and the end of the rope is fastened round his hand!/ <illeg.>

128 \heart sinks – my/

129  \Hans! Hans!/ <illeg.> What noise was that?
<illeg.> \Hans. We are locked/ <ill.> up!

130 <all> the rest dead \all down the passage!/ <illeg.>

131 <illeg.>
\Hans. She has drunk it. Now we shall see!/

132 <faint> \die/

133 \(A white ray of moonlight glimmers in at the end of the corridor. Hans sees it.) Hans. Ha! Look! The moon – the cold white moon that the mad watchman <illeg.> sings about. Father Schwartz, I’m a man again! I remember the mad watchman’s song. Listen! listen!/ - addition written on opposite verso

134  <Schwartz. (Chaunting drowsily in his sleep.) “The moon was shining white and cold – “
Hans. Ha! The mad watchman’s song! Father Schwartz, I’m a man again – I’m bright, inside and out, with drinkable gold! I remember the song. Listen! listen!> - cancelled on page

135 <title illeg.>

136 <illeg.> \terrified/

137 <illeg.>

138 <illeg.>

139 <illeg.>

140 \right/

141 \his/

142 <illeg.>

143 <R. (Faintly.) Hans!
Duntzer. He is alive! (Turning again to go out.) Help! A life saved in the Dead-House! – Help! help! (Exit, left. Schwartz follows.)>

144 <Enter, left, the surgeon of the dead-house, followed b y Schwartz, Duntzer, and two assistants. Duntzer hurries to Widow Bergmann, and raises her head. The surgeon goes to Rosenberg, and helps him. One of the assistants takes the lamp from the bracket, and opens the door of the Watchman’s Room. Hans, Rodenberg, and the surgeon enter it.)
Duntzer. She is recovering. <illeg.> Help me to put her in the chair. (Widow Bergmann is placed in the chair on the right.) Leave her quiet, till the surgeon sees her. (A knocking heard below, at the outer door.) What’s that? The window is open there. (Points through the doorway of Number Ten.) Ask who knocks.
           (Schwartz and the assistant enter the room. Schwartz calls, “Who’s there?”
            Keller’s voice answers, “Max Keller”.)
Duntzer. Mr. Keller! <illeg.> he has missed the lady at her own house, and has come here to seek for her. (Calling.) I will run down, Schwartz, and break the news to Mr. Keller.
                                                                                        (Exit. Right.)>

145 (<illeg.>\reviving/.)

146 <illeg.> \I know that this is the Dead-House; \\I see, yonder,// <illeg.> the passages where I lost myself in coming from the surgeon’s room/ - I did see him <illeg.> standing there! – Death itself has turned against me! <illeg.>

147 <illeg.>

148 <illeg.> \it/?

149 <illeg.>

150 <illeg.>

151 <illeg.>

152 <illeg.> (Approaching \as the [effect?] of the poison [grows?]/

153 \there is the door, with/

154 \Rodenberg and/

155 <illeg.>

156 <Mrs. Bergmann is ill.>

157 <takes the lamp and>

158 <illeg.> \The last! Oh, Hans! Hans!/

159 <enters> \opens the door of/ the middle room <illeg.>.

160 \(Starting, and looking round at Rodenberg.)/

161 \my faithful friend/

162 \Hark! The news of you waking to life again has flown through the city! The joy-bells, master, the joy-bells are ringing for your sake!/  - addition written on opposite verso

163 <Hark! The rapture of all the city has found a voice to welcome [you] master… \The joy-bells, master, the joy-bells are ringing for your sake!/…news of your waking to life again has flown among them like wildfire. Hundreds are waiting with torches to lead you home. Hundreds more have rushed off to the Belfry Tower to set the joy-bells ringing. > - cancelled on page

164 <(The first peal of the bells is heard in the distance. Cheering voices mingle with it.)
Hans. Hark! The joy of all the city has found a voice to welcome you!
Roden. (Beckonging Hans to his side.) And the love of a faithful friend sweetens the pleasure of hearing it!> - cancelled on page

165 <illeg.>

166 <illeg.>

167 <illeg.>

About Wilkie Collins | Wilkie Collins as a Playwright | The Wilkie Collins Society | Site Map

Richard Pearson and the Victorian Plays Project, 2013