Scene 22 (INTERIOR AT FONTHILL SPLENDENS. THE CRUMPLING OF VELLUM PLANS BEING LAID OUT) WYATT:Well, the main feature I suggest could be the Great Tower, a narrow pile rearing itself upwards to some 300 feet upon a fairly narrow base. On its first floor this would contain a room of unusual proportions, 130 feet high but with a width of only 30. BECKFORD:Divine dimensions! Speak on, Wyatt. WYATT:Then a withdrawing room, patterned with yellow, and a vaulted gallery ... BECKFORD:And beyond that, do I see in the plan a hall of great extent? WYATT:Yes. Of very great extent. Your dining room table here, you see, will be some fifty feet long. BECKFORD:(LOOKING) A Purple Room, its ceiling webbed with white vaulting ... (TURNS PAGE) And from the outside ... WYATT:From the outside, it will seem like some abbey from the middle ages. GREGORIO:Abbey - this is good. BECKFORD:But an abbey undesecrated by Henry VIII, still carrying on its saintly offices in the wild countryside! Where does this stand in relation to Fonthill Splendens? WYATT:Well, Sir, if I may point out through the window, I had envisaged it up on that craggy area of considerable height, up beyond the woods. GREGORIO:A long way to walk. BECKFORD:No, Gregorio, excellent. We'll have to build a special drive. GREGORIO:Drive? BECKFORD:Drive - Carreterra - Road. Or maybe ascend by many hundreds of steps. And from how far, O Wyatt, will this great tower of such exceptional height be able to be seen? WYATT:I have given some thought to this. My computations show, Sir, its sublime shape will dominate the landscape for many scores of miles around. GREGORIO:Dominate. Good. A high tower. An Abbey. This is good! This is very good! Scene 23 (FONTHILL ABBEY. BRING IN THE DIN OF HAMMERING, STONE CARVING, BUILDING ACTIVITY ON AN ENORMOUS SCALE) (TAKE DOWN THE DIN OF BUILDING BEHIND THE FOLLOWING AND HOLD) BECKFORD:Oh, the din of it, Gregorio, the dust, the stir! And the work continues at night by the light of fires and torches on our high tower. GREGORIO:Very good, Senyor, it is excellent, Senyor. BECKFORD:The country around too. To protect it I shall build a high wall enclosing thousands of acres. No longer the desecration of horses and hounds! No fox hunting! We shall tame and befriend the birds and the hares - and the foxes! Not gun, nor arrow, nor net will be found here. And as for people, nesting in the shrubberies there will be traps and spring guns that snap legs off as neatly as Pinchback's patent snuffers snuff candles. (SWELL BUILDING SOUNDS) Scene 24 (EXTERIOR FONTHILL ABBEY) (TAKE DOWN DIN OF BUILDING UNDER FOLLOWING. BOTH MEN HAVE TO SHOUT TO MAKE THEMSELVES HEARD) WYATT:The only problem is, Sir, as fast as new sections are built, unfortunately you have acquired the habit of having them thrown down and new ones devised! BECKFORD:What matter, Wyatt? I am paying! WYATT:Very good, Sir! BECKFORD:What's more, I am providing employment for hundreds of people at a time of great distress. WYATT:Yes, Sir. Very good, Sir! (SWELL AND FADE BUILDING NOISES) Scene 25 (optional) (AT FONTHILL SPLENDENS) BECKFORD:Still believing that our household is too small, among the staff I have now raised the strength to three chefs. That way one of them can sometimes have a day off. GREGORIO:This is good. BECKFORD:Then I've engaged a new confectioner and as for footmen I wish to raise the number to ten to wait at our table. Guests: we may shortly be welcoming Dr Erhardt, the Strasbourg physician, and the Abbé Dennis Macquin, formerly Professor of Rhetorick and Belles Lettres of Meaux. GREGORIO:Of course. BECKFORD:(URGENTLY, IN A WHISPER) And, my dear Gregorio. On your next trip to London to buy precious things also, if at all possible, go to see an angel called Saunders, a tightrope walker at the Circus Royal, and the certain captivator of every bugger's soul! Seek him out, Gregorio, and sound him out! GREGORIO:Excellent! I will be very active. BECKFORD:Not too active! Also, for God's sake, be careful - risk nothing. Make yourself his friend but not a suggestion of anything else at this point - nothing suspicious. GREGORIO:Of course I will not be suspicious. I will be sincere and offer sincere friendship. BECKFORD:Remember me. Remember the costly prize he carries about his person that could be ours. But also remember this cursed country in which, for our extreme misfortune, we live. (WITH A CERTAIN RELISH) Hanging is not a pleasant death. GREGORIO:(INGENUOUSLY BUT WITH A TOUCH OF MISCHIEF) But they won't hang me. I shall explain I am only doing it for you. BECKFORD:Hm. Anyway, he is a jackass after our own heart! If he will not come on his own, the way to do it may be to inspire his divine mother to bring this divine person with his divine treasure here. GREGORIO:And when they come ... BECKFORD:Then we will become all sugar, I the most paternal of all fathers! You as brother. Do see what you can achieve. GREGORIO:Would it not be possible to look not so far afield? There is one of the forester's boys, Billy - BECKFORD:Gregorio, your taste! None of the estate boys are in the least promising, especially not Billy. There is not one cherub here but would lead my friend to entire despair. GREGORIO:Your friend? Oh yes, your friend. BECKFORD:My friend cannot exist on agates, china and crystal only. Needs some nutriment more substantial to his needs. Right now, be gone, and God speed. And, till you return, my friend shall have no spirit for anything. My friend will be but a wretched old thing, sighing, looking round, slobbering, etc., but sighing, looking round and slobbering in vain. On your return he will perchance stand up and show more interest in things. GREGORIO:Good! Excellent. This will be very very good! Scene 26 (Very optional) (ECHOEY CHURCH INTERIOR) PARSON STILL:It is not only the regiments of dwarfs of which we are told and the wild and savage animals he befriends for his own uses. There is, also, a certain foreign person who goes by the title of Chevalier, a foreign title, I think. This person above all is a most dangerous influence on this neighbourhood and it must surely be the hope of all God-fearing persons here that he should go back to the place from which he comes! (SERMON ENDS) In the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, Amen. Hymn 247. (CONGREGATION RISES, ORGAN BEGINS. LOSE UNDER WHAT FOLLOWS:) Scene 27 (Very optional) (INTERIOR AT FONTHILL ABBEY) BECKFORD:My dear Gregorio is not a proper chevalier? Of course he is. Chevalier of the order of Christ, a very special title. I arranged it myself, bestowed by the Portuguese King in person. And, as for being a dangerous influence - how many dwarfs does he believe we have here? GREGORIO:It may be because we call the one we've got so many names - Perro, Pierrot, Nanibus. BECKFORD:That's because we love him so much. Anyway, come outside with me, Gregorio. Because ... (AS THEY GO OUTSIDE THE ECHOEY ACOUSTIC DIES AWAY AND WE MIX INTO OUTSIDE SOUNDS WITH NO SOUNDS OF BUILDING) Scene 27B (EXTERIOR AT FONTHILL ABBEY) BECKFORD:I thought so. The works have gone strangely silent. (WITH MOUNTING ANNOYANCE) Where is Wyatt? What putrid inn, what stinking tavern or pox-ridden brothel hides his hoary and glutinous limbs? Please go after him! One can't trust him in the slightest thing. GREGORIO:No. Oh, no. BECKFORD:Every day brings proof of his negligent apathy. Even those pinnacles up there have had to be propped up with wooden spars! GREGORIO:They look alright. BECKFORD:They look ghastly. This place is a tomb. How pleasant it would be to go south again. Gregorio! GREGORIO:Yes, Senyor! BECKFORD:How pleasant it would be to go back to Portugal again. GREGORIO:Oh yes, Sir! (REST OF THIS SCENE VERY OPTIONAL) BECKFORD:A withdrawal with a copious detachment of young circus artistes gathered together by you, the Boy of Boys, will be the best course to take. Let us get a whole troupe to emigrate! What a levee en masse! My friend will like that. If my friend were at his last gasp he would rise for that one! Gazing around with an attentive stance so ready to do obeisance to such a large bevvy of followers. Scene 28 (A HINT OF THE DELIRIUM THEME. MIX INTO COLLAPSE OF A TOWER, NOT THE MAIN TOWER) (TRAMPING ABOUT IN RUBBLE. EXTERIOR) WYATT:It is quite incorrect to blame me, Sir! BECKFORD:Incorrect? Who then, pray, should I blame for the collapse of the turret? WYATT:Not my fault. BECKFORD:Whose then? I've been up there too. It was clear to me it was run up with wattle and daub and rubble. Just about anything that lay to hand. Not proper stone construction at all. WYATT:What you refer to is 'Compo Cement'. It is newly invented and is everlasting. BECKFORD:Everlasting! Dung and excrement for cement I wouldn't wonder. And why the flag at its top? A flag was not part of my specifications. WYATT:You pushed us beyond endurance! Gangs of men working day and night! You required speed - it was your orders, Sir! BECKFORD:The tower never anchored to its base; it appeared all right. No one troubled about it. Except the dear Chevalier. WYATT:I am not dismayed by this calamity. We shall rise again, more gloriously than ever! BECKFORD:Yes, provided you, the sublime Wyatt, will graciously deign to bestow a little more attention upon practical details! WYATT:I tell you what. I will, as a special mark of esteem, within a week divert five hundred men here from the works I have in train for His Majesty at Windsor Castle. Scene 29 (Optional) (INTERIOR AT FONTHILL ABBEY. EVENING WITH FIRE) BECKFORD:(SIGHS) The basilica is a mad and diabolical undertaking! We have managed to use more masonry on shoring it up than they consumed for the Hanging Gardens of Babylon! GREGORIO:It is not comfortable. It is very fine as a church or abbey, my dear. But as a place to live - the halls are dank and dark and the draughts are painful. Could we not go on living in the old house? BECKFORD:The old house must go. Who wants Palladian splendours now we are in the Gothic age! GREGORIO:I'd sooner live there than here, however beautiful and Gothic. BECKFORD:Never! GREGORIO:Please, it is very good as an abbey, but as a home - Scene 29B (optional) (AT FONTHILL ABBEY) BECKFORD:(THE WINDS ARE BLOWING ROUND THE ABBEY) Oh, the horrible din of winds. I can't sleep! The whole night - I've hardly slept a half hour in succession! What are these sounds? Of sobs and lamentations, cannon shots, bomb explosions, and all the delights of the battles of Borodino and Waterloo! Howl, you winds - (A BROADER ROAR) Like that auto-da-fé of that November a hundred years ago, mixture of fireworks and flames from burning folk, torments below, above ground dancing. Blow on winds! Fill the air full of leaves! branches! and peacocks! Make it even more terrific and raging. Tell them in the morning the walls in the Fountain Court to be rebuilt in stone, rather than compo-cement on wood, Wyatt's favourite materials. What else to be done? Night falls again. Yesterday the great tower swayed so much that at three in the morning I thought that everything was coming down! The dwarf awoke with a terrific "Goddam!", flew down the staircase and ran for safety. Where? In the closet? Worse! In the coalhole? No, worse. In the cesspool? No, worse! Then where? In the dog's litter! What a fresh and delightful appearance he had this morning! (LOSE WINDS) All around us the forests! The dense dark woods weary me. Why no fauns, or gay frolicsome clowns or satyres making sport? Bearing about their persons ... No matter. Fate has brought us here. Fate and a certain predilection of mine. Others drink to forget their sorrows. I do not drink. I build. Scene 30 (Optional) (LARGE INTERIOR AT FONTHILL ABBEY. DISTANT BUILDING WORK) WYATT:Oh no, Sir. BECKFORD:Fiddlesticks! It was to have been finished by now! WYATT:Oh no, Sir. No. BECKFORD:Yes. It was so agreed. It was to have been finished while I was away. And I see little progress. WYATT:Progress has been made! Not only above the ground. Also below the earth and now hence unseen, a building of this magnitude needs uniquely large foundations. Down to bedrock itself. Once or twice I thought we were digging right through to Hades! BECKFORD:Even such as has been built above ground is inappropriate. What is that balustrade? I never authorised it! (IF DESIRED THEY CAN NOW GO UP A TURRET STAIRCASE TO REACH THE BALUSTRADE, WHILE TALKING) WYATT:Yes, that is an addition of mine. Merely to protect yourself and others from falling into the abyss! There is a drop of thirty feet! BECKFORD:(GRUNT) I never authorised it! WYATT:(BECKFORD GRUNTS IN BACKGROUND) What are you doing, Sir? No! Don't pull at it! Some final touches have not been ... There's furniture underneath! (BECKFORD'S FINAL EXERTION AND THE WHOLE BALUSTRADE GOES CRASHING DOWN, ECHOING. BOTH ARE RATHER ASTONISHED AT WHAT HAS HAPPENED) WYATT:Sir, can I ask you something? BECKFORD:Now seems as good a time as any. WYATT:When Fonthill Abbey is finished, don't destroy Fonthill Splendens. BECKFORD:Tut, who wants Palladian horrors when all the world is dreaming Gothic! Scene 30B (optional) PINDAR:It was in December that myself, Lord Nelson, and Lord and Lady Hamilton, were invited by Mr William Beckford to enjoy a few days of repose at Fonthill Abbey, his country seat in Wiltshire, uncontaminated, he said, by the sight and prattle of drawing room parasites. It was his intention to throw open the Abbey to our public gaze, for the first time. We were met at the entrance to the park. (BELOW THIS FIND THEIR CARRIAGE WHEELS AND THE ENTHUSIASTIC BRAYING OF THE BAND OF THE FONTHILL VOLUNTEERS PLAYING RULE BRITANNIA) PINDAR:The cortege, which apart from those mentioned included Benjamin West, the painter, Wyatt, the architect, and Mme Banti, the soprano, was met by the Fonthill Volunteers and their band, and we were accompanied up to the old house. (OUTSIDE FONTHILL SPLENDENS, THE MARCH ENDS. FIREWORKS. ENTHUSIASTIC CRIES) PINDAR:A feu de joie was let off. And the volunteers were inspected. A not uncommonly smart body of men! BANDMASTER:Band of the Fonthill Volunteers! Quick march! (ANOTHER MARCH AND THE CARRIAGES CONTINUE. FADE UNDER:) PINDAR:We then continued up to the Abbey, driven through the demesne between two lines of the volunteers, armed with flambeaux! (THE ROLL OF TIMPANI) EMMA:What is that thunderous sound? BECKFORD:Well, it is effective is it not? It is the continued roll of drums placed at different distances in the hills! EMMA:Ingenious, very. PINDAR:Flambeaux, torches, and many thousand lamps, were distributed on the sides of the road among the woods; whilst bands of music and files of soldiers were stationed in different places to greet and charm the company ... EMMA:Oh, what pleasure to hear the sounds of distant, near, and varied instruments. NELSON:Yes, with their reverberations among the woods and dells! PINDAR:We passed through a long winding umbrageous avenue. And then; arrived outside the Abbey ... (OUTSIDE THE ABBEY. A SALVO OF CANON. A SOLEMN FANFARE) BANDMASTER:Band; Stand at ease! (THE CREAKING OPEN OF THE GREAT DOORS) PINDAR:The huge doors swung open. Opened, with great ease, by a dwarf in costly clothing. We entered and (THEY SIT DOWN), sat down at a long table occupying nearly the whole length of the room to a superb dinner served in one line of enormous dishes in the substantial costume of the ancient abbeys. ALL:(FOOD BEING SERVED AND EXCLAMATIONS OF PLEASURE) PINDAR:Unmixed with the refinements of modern cooking ... Dinner being ended, the company moved upstairs. (STEPS ON THE STONE STAIRCASE) The staircase was lighted by certain mysterious living figures, at different intervals, dressed in hooded gowns, and standing (CRACKLING WAX) with large wax torches in their hands ... As we entered the gallery - (MORE SOLEMN MUSIC STRIKES UP, A DIFFERENT BAND) more solemn music struck the ear from some invisible quarter ... a collation was presented, consisting of various sorts of confectionery in golden baskets. (FANFARE) ALL:(EXCLAMATIONS) NELSON:And what is this? SERVANT:It is, Sir, spiced wine ... NELSON:Such treasure of wrought plate, cups, vases, and ewers of - solid gold! BECKFORD:Now, an especial pleasure ... Lady Hamilton will dance. BENJAMIN:(QUIETLY CYNICAL) Once again! (MUSIC AND LADY HAMILTON DANCES AN 'ATTITUDE') BECKFORD:Her subject - Agripina. BENJAMIN:Once again! A LADY:What is she carrying? NELSON:Well, of course, the ashes of Germanicus are in that urn. PINDAR:She seems uncommonly pleased with herself! BENJAMIN:In some ways not so much an Agripina as - a Cleopatra! BECKFORD:Shhh! (THE 'ATTITUDE' FINISHES) BENJAMIN:Bravo! OTHERS:Hear, hear! (APPLAUSE) PINDAR:On leaving this strange nocturnal scene of vast buildings and extensive forest all seemed as if waking from a dream, or just freed from the influence of some magnificent ... Scene 30C (optional) BECKFORD:Gentlemen, would you not agree that it is high time I were permitted to acquire a title? You will surely acknowledge that a man who, by infinitely rare genealogical coincidences, is without exception descended from all the Barons - yes, all - who signed Magna Carta and whose issue still exists will not be out of place in our House of Lords! Scene 31 (optional) (OVERLAY MONTAGE OF NEWSPAPER VOICES - TWO VOICES MAY ALTERNATE. THEY SHOULD OVERLAP) NEWSHEET 1:Something magnificent is taking place, so it is said, amid the hills of Wiltshire ... NEWSHEET 2:The reputation of Fonthill Abbey has begun to spread ... NEWSHEET 1:Incomplete as yet, nonetheless Fonthill's vast halls have overwhelmed the minds of those few who have been lucky enough to gain admittance. That object which to many is valued above all others is a stupendous tower, higher indeed than any for several counties. NEWSHEET 2:It is, it must be confessed, extraordinary. The place is filled with an illuminated atmosphere of its own. The towering windows and the walls whereon the sunbeams fall gorgeously, glow with a mosaic of the most brilliantly tinted light; crimsoned light which struggles through the richly latticed doors, and the glimmering perspective of the golden arches. NEWSHEET 3:It is a desert of magnificence, a glittering waste of laborious idleness, a cathedral turned into a toyshop, an immense museum of everything that is most curious and most costly, and at the same time most worthless. The stranger is even permitted to touch baubles of dazzling and exquisite nicety of execution, but there is a label on every article that says "This is mine". Scene 32 (INTERIOR AT FONTHILL ABBEY) (BECKFORD FROM NOW ON IN HIS 60s. GREGORIO EARLY 50s) BECKFORD:(CROSSLY) Since the esteemed Chevalier has only now seen fit to join us, I shall have to ask you to repeat, Mr White. GREGORIO:Sorry, Senyor. (THEN MORE INTIMATELY) Sorry. BECKFORD:(TOUCHED, IN AN EMOTIONAL OUTBURST) You will be looked after, Gregorio! Never fear I will ever desert you! GREGORIO:(SURPRISED) Well, thank you. But - BECKFORD:Now, Mr White, can you repeat again, more slowly? GREGORIO:What is this? Please? BECKFORD:Oh yes, I think you remember Mr White? WHITE:How do you do, Chevalier. GREGORIO:Of course I remember Mr White. You replaced Mr Wilding. BECKFORD:Mr White has come to share with me certain perceptions about - continue please, Mr White. WHITE:Well, as I was explaining, in this case it is not one but many factors. BECKFORD:(SNARLS CROSSLY AT HIS LONG WINDEDNESS) WHITE:There have been hurricanes and earthquakes with loss of thousands of slaves. The loss of many plantations through lawsuits. Loss of vessels and collapse of banks. The cost of a male negro had risen inordinately even before the abolition in 1807. Now, of course, they can't be obtained. The English duty on imported Jamaican Muscovado has been rising. Much of Jamaica's soil has become infertile through overproduction. And there is now strong competition from the ceded French colonies and from Cuba, Brazil, Demerera, and the Orient, all of whom still have virgin soil. Your income, as you know, comes from sugar, rum and logwood. This year Jamaican sugar is being marketed in this country below the cost of production. Your income has in fact been diminishing very rapidly since about 1800. Therefore now your income ... GREGORIO:What? BECKFORD:Yes, that's what you'd got to. WHITE:Your income does not really exist any more at all. GREGORIO:(WHISTLES IN DREAD) WHITE:In addition, your annual costs are high. Fonthill Abbey is mortgaged for thousands. And you are hugely overdrawn on your West India sugar account. There is the building works still ongoing here at Fonthill ... Mr Wildman was, I believe, continuing to counsel prudence before he passed on ... GREGORIO:This is bad news indeed. BECKFORD:Yes. GREGORIO:But we have lived most frugally! We scarcely eat or drink these days! And we shiver by grates with little coal. WHITE:Although I know how difficult it may be for your goodself to contemplate this, there is only really one way out - to secure an income - Fonthill and its estate must be sold. Even that assumes that we can find a buyer. GREGORIO:I'm sorry. (BRIGHTENS) But then we can go and live somewhere warm and comfortable! BECKFORD:Silence, Gregorio. Silence, Gregorio. Silence, Gregorio! (VERY BRIEF MUSIC TO DENOTE PASSING OF TIME) WHITE:I am delighted to say we have now had an offer for the whole estate. A very reasonable offer, in fact. From a Mr Farquhar. He is a merchant who has made a fortune from selling, er, gunpowder, to the East India Company. BECKFORD:(WITH APPALLING MEMORIES OF HIS NOUVEAU RICHE FATHER WELLING UP) Gunpowder! Scene 33 (BEDROOM IN CITY OF BATH. SOFT SNORING OF BECKFORD. DRAWING OF BED CURTAINS. RUSTLE OF BEDCLOTHES) GREGORIO:Senor William! Senor! Senor! Wake up! Wake up! My dear! BECKFORD:(NOW ABOUT 65. WAKENING) What is it? GREGORIO:It is an urgent message - from Mr Hayter, the master builder! BECKFORD:Master builder, what master builder? GREGORIO:Of Fonthill Abbey! BECKFORD:What does he want with me? Let him seek its rightful owner, I have long since sold it to Mr Farquhar - are you dreaming? GREGORIO:But the man is dying! BECKFORD:What does he want me to do, administer the last rites? GREGORIO:He has something to tell you - he says it is most urgent! He needs to tell you something before ... BECKFORD:All right. Is it about the Abbey? Get a horse ready. I will go to his deathbed. But I will not canter. Scene 34 (ANOTHER BEDROOM, MUCH HUMBLER) BECKFORD:I know that. MASTER BUILDER:I was the master of works under Mr Wyatt. BECKFORD:I know that. MASTER BUILDER:I was in charge of more than five hundred men. BECKFORD:I know that! Tell me something that I don't know now. MASTER BUILDER:I must tell you, Sir - that the foundations of - of - BECKFORD:Of the Abbey? MASTER BUILDER:Yes, the foundations of the great tower at Fonthill Abbey - BECKFORD:What, man? MASTER BUILDER:The great tower. I was master of works - BECKFORD:I know that! MASTER BUILDER:The foundations - you were away for nine months, sir. BECKFORD:(BEGINNING TO DAWN ON HIM) Yes ...? MASTER BUILDER:You paid for the foundations. They were specified. But - BECKFORD:Aha! MASTER BUILDER:They were never laid. The great tower rests on bare earth. It has no foundations. Sir, it was a fraud. The tower could fall at any time. None of those who helped with the construction will now go to within half a mile of it. It's surprising it's stood - so - long ... it is dangerous. BECKFORD:Dangerous! Mr Farquhar must be told at once! Scene 35 (INTERIOR AT FONTHILL ABBEY. TWO OLD MEN TRYING TO COMMUNICATE) BECKFORD:And so, Mr Farquhar - it could fall at any time. FARQUHAR:What? Speak up, please. BECKFORD:(SHOUTING) It could fall at any time! FARQUHAR:Oh! I'm grateful for the information, Mr Beckford. Most grateful. But it seems firm enough, firm enough. Tall and firm. I reckon it'll last out my time. Scene 36 (INTERIOR AT FONTHILL ABBEY. ECHOEY SOUNDS OF CRACKING IN THE MASONRY) SERVANT:I hear sounds from the tower, Sir. I fear all is not well! FARQUHAR:What did you say? SERVANT:(SHOUTING) Cracking sounds from the tower, Sir! FARQUHAR:All is not well? SERVANT:Permit me to wheel you outside! FARQUHAR:Why? SERVANT:I fear for your safety! FARQUHAR:Oh, all right, all right! (SWELL SOUNDS OF CRACKING, AND CROSSFADE TO:) Scene 37 (EXTERIOR FONTHILL ABBEY. OUTDOOR BACKGROUND SOUNDS WITH DISTANT CRACKING) FARQUHAR:Well, it looks just the same as ever, firm enough. Is that a crack across its face? Up high? No, that's illusion. Firm as a rock! It always did look rather insubstantial. That is part of its beauty, I'm told. Wheel me in, you forgot to bring my rug. I'm cold! SERVANT:Then at least to the West wing, Sir, away from the Great Tower! (MUSIC CREEPS IN: THE DELIRIUM-MOTIF. IT ADDS TO THE CLIMAX OF THE TOWER FALLING, AND THEN CONTINUES LOW UNDERNEATH THE FOLLOWING SHORT SCENE. WE HEAR THE TOWER FIRST SLOWLY, THEN THUNDEROUSLY, FALL. IN THE MIDST OF THIS:) SERVANT:Look out! (AFTERMATH. SOUND OF SERVANT APPROACHING, BREATHING HEAVILY, CLAMBERING OVER RUBBLE) SERVANT:(APPROACHING) You all right, Sir? FARQUHAR:What? What did you say? SERVANT:(SHOUTING) Are you all right, Sir! FARQUHAR:Fine, fine! SERVANT:I was blown the length of St Michael's Gallery. FARQUHAR:What has happened? SERVANT II:(IN THE DISTANCE) Fonthill Abbey has fallen. SERVANT III:(DISTANT) The Great Tower at Fonthill has fallen. FARQUHAR:St Michael's Gallery? You blown down St Michael's Gallery? How can that be true? (WE HEAR SERVANT III APPROACHING ACROSS THE RUBBLE) SERVANT II:Send for help! (SERVANT IV IS APPROACHING) SERVANT III:What help can help us now? SERVANT IV:Sir, the Great Western Hall and the whole of the Octagon Chamber is gone! It's just a heap of stones. FARQUHAR:Hmm. The place always was too large. (SWELL MUSIC, THE DELIRIUM THEME) SERVANT V:(A STRONG WILTSHIRE ACCENT) That tower could never have stood. It was built too tall. And that William Beckford, what was he up to? Whyever did he have to build that tower so high in the first place? (MUSIC) YOUNG BECKFORD:(OR POSSIBLY EVEN LITTLE BECKFORD) Like the low murmer of the secret stream That through the alders winds its shaded way My suppliant voice is heard - O do not deem That on vain toys I throw my hours away. THE END
Jeremy Sandford FanClub Archives
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