A screen play
by Lee Robertson copyright 2014
1. INT TWICKENHAM RUGBY STADIUM DAY
The present day. The county finals. Cornwall versus Gloucester.
A 15 year old boy (HAWKER) is watching the game with a school friend (THOMAS), the Cornish crowd of thousands is in full song:
A good sword and a trusty hand!
A merry heart and true!
King James’s men shall understand
What Cornishmen can do.
And have they fixed the where and when?
And shall Trelawney die?
Here’s twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!
The boy is shouting into his friend’s ear through the singing.
This song was written by a relative of mine.
I am related to the poet who wrote the words.
What was his name?
Never heard of him.
2. INT- TWICKENHAM RAILWAY STATION- DAY
The two boys are walking through the crowds smiling AND OCCASIONALLY SINGING, Cornwall has won the finals. They are heading toward a busy train. The Song of the Western Men, is echoing around the train station.
And when we come to London Wall
A pleasant sight to view,
Come forth! come forth ye cowards all,
Here’s men as good as you!
Trelawny he’s in keep and hold,
Trelawny he may die;
But heres twenty thousand Cornish bold,
Will know the reason why!
Because he was, you know, the usual- dressed weird, saw crazy things, he was a poet and a mystic, lived nearly all his life as a vicar in some godforsaken village at the end of Cornwall, mad as a hatter.
3. EXT- COUNTRY TRACK NR MORWENSTOW- DAY
TITLE: EASTER 1817
THE BOY (HAWKER)is now dressed in period clothes of the early 1800’s He is sat between two older ladies, (AUNT ELIZABETH, AUNT MARY), dressed in black in a carriage bouncing through the countryside of North Cornwall.
Robert, I will say this once only, and I expect it to be remembered. You are the son of a man of the cloth. In many peoples eyes a Gentleman, without much capital, but still, a man to be respected. Your incessant wayward behaviour will cause him pain if these stories reach from here to his vicarage. Please Robert, no more of these shenanigans. We are resting in Morwenstow this Easter week, respect that we should show the poor of this parish the correct christian attitude.
Of course ma’am.
And please Robert, no more mixing with the poor it would be too painful.
The carriage slows and draws to a halt. (EXT MORWENSTOW HOLIDAY HOME) A ruddy faced (FARMER CORNISH) opens the door.
Welcome ladies, and the young HAWKER too, How we have all looked forward to your visit. We’ll have no tying up of the village here my boy. I hear you used up all of Stratton town’s string, and no lane was un-trapped. You had people passing along and pitched on their noses without ‘zackly knowing why.
Please do not worry too much Farmer Cornish, We have spoken to the lad. He assures us his practical jokes are a thing of the past, not so Robert?.
Yes sir, have no fear. If it pleases my Aunts, I would be most happy to escape to the woods and cliffs before supper.
Go then boy, and be back before the sunset.
4. EXT- SMALL HOUSE MORWENSTOW- DAWN
HAWKER is creeping through the farm of the local doctor, with his friend from Stratton, THOMAS ACLAND. (The same boy in the opening sequence).They can hear SNORES through the upper windows. HAWKER creeps into A STABLE and up to a white horse. He cuts the mane and tail short. Then taking a paint brush and pot from his RUCK-SACK he paints black zebra stripes up and down the horse. He takes some rags and swaddles his head with them. he creeps under the UPPER window, THOMAS hammers on the door with his fist.
Dr Jones! Dr Jones! Come quick sir, tiz The Lady Acland, ‘er baby sir, she is ‘avin it too early. Quick sir, you is needed right away sir.
DR JONES sticks his head through the window. He is a young gentleman doctor
Right away Boy, hurry back to the House and inform his Lordship I’ll be there directly.
They silently cross the road to the woodland and wait.
DR JONES comes rushing down the stairs, and out of the door. He races to the stable.
POV OUTSIDE STABLE
DR JONES (bellowing VO)
What in damnation has happened here? If this is some kind of jest I will seek ye out!
He eventually comes out of the stable with the painted horse saddled, he mounts and rushes off down the lane, and across the fields.
HAWKER & THOMAS are in the bushes laughing.
The fields are busy with many villagers at the first cut of hay.
The villagers stop their work as the strange sight canters pass, and then laughter erupts among the workers.
5. EXT- COOMBE VALLEY WOODLAND TO OPEN FIELDS AND CLIFFS TO STANBURY MOUTH
HAWKER is wandering through Coombe Valley, with a book of poetry in his hands. He walks over the cliffs occasionally stopping to read a passage. As he begins a climb down to the small strand of Stanbury Mouth he sees a poor man between the boulders, He could be collecting shellfish. HAWKER is silent on his approach, occasionally hiding between rocks and gorse.
When he is inches away he calls loudly.
Morning there Sir!
The MAN jumps up from his work with a wild look. He is stripping a corpse of valuables, he has the body at his feet, in terrible condition, with much of the clothing stripped off and the limbs scraped and bloody, one arm missing.
Oh tis thee, young HAWKER the Divil, would the gentilman be out looking for fruit o’ the sea?
HAWKER looks on aghast. He cannot speak. He has the feeling that someone else is with them, and he starts at a vision of the sailors ghost watching over the mans shoulder.
What is the correct action here, on finding a corpse?
Why we search ‘is pockets…
Surely we must get them to the Church?
The Curate tells us he’ll have no pagan on sacred land. It’ll be garn on the next tide,dont ye fret.
We cannot leave him, we must do something for this hideous mess.
And have him fall apart on us before the top of the cliff?
HAWKER turns and runs gagging, climbing the steep grassy slopes in a hurry, dropping his book to flutter in the wind and light rain. He runs to escape the horrors, and on passing through a steep wooded Coombe, a strong wind and hail follow him. He sees it as Demons following him through the trees.
HAWKER (under his breath as he runs)
Lord God, I entreat you, save me from the demon, it will be the end of my tricks…. This once Lord, please rescue me, I implore you.
6. INT- MORWENSTOW HOLIDAY HOME- DAY
He returns to his holiday cottage with his Aunts. They are sewing. He arrives at the door sweating and white.
First Aunt: Robert, what ever is the matter?
HAWKER says nothing. The two women look at each other.
There was a body washed up at Stanbury Mouth.
And that is why the sea-shore is no place for young Gentlemen. We prefer to stay in our own company, the gardens here are delightful.
Yes, they are, excuse me…
HAWKER is still in shock, and he turns to leave the room.
And Robert, we have heard strange news from Kilkhampton that young Doctor Jones has ridden a Zebra on a fools errand to the Acland Estate.
The ladies giggle. HAWKER is stopped in his tracks.
Of course the Doctor very nearly had a fit. Some of the local men have mentioned your name Robert. We are sure it is idle prattle, but perhaps you should stop such insolence before you are unjustly blamed. Evidently Doctor Jones is threatening violent repercussions on the unfortunate fool who caused him such embarassment.
Yes, yes of course, I think I will go and read. I do feel for the Doctor, Perhaps I will see him after the Service Tomorrow.
HAWKER returns to his room, and stares out of the window at the rain and wind. He kneels by the fireplace with his Bible.
There are tears on his cheeks.
7. INT- MORWENSTOW CHURCH- DAY
The Easter service.
HAWKER is on the male side of the church with his friend THOMAS Acland, THOMAS is trying to be lighthearted. HAWKER is distracted. An older woman is looking at the boys from across the Aisle, she is with her sisters, directly in front of HAWKERs aunts. THOMAS realises she is staring at them. He nudges HAWKER who looks at her, she raises an eyebrow. He scowls back.
Is it you or I Hawker?
Hush THOMAS, we are in Church, and Jones is behind.
THOMAS looks askance at the ladies and smiles. he is bemused with his friends piety.
Doctor Jones is staring at the two bows from his Pew further back
The Reverend begins the service.
Dear God we pray that wrecks do not happen, but if it be thy will that they do, then pray let them be to the benefit of Thy poor people of this parish.
THOMAS, can you believe the brute?
The congregation leave the church. HAWKER & THOMAS among them.
He tells the parish to leave the corpses of sailors to the Lord and the tide, his reasons are that he’ll have no heathen on church land. His cruelty is infuriating, it makes my blood boil. Those poor souls, cut to ribbons, and left to the rooks.
Worry not so much Robbie, come, it is a holiday, let us away.
The three ladies from the cliffs and church are standing outside the church gate, smiling at the boys. As they pass through the Lych gate they see Dr. Jones.
Hawker! You Boy, I want a word… Was it you outside my house yestermorn? I think it was, let me see your face. Yes you swine, you intolerable fool. You think it a joke to cause me, a gentleman such embarassment? Well here, here’s a joke, feel the sting of Sycamore. What sport, what humour!
Dr Jones begins beating HAWKER with a walking stick. The congregation are delighted to see a Gentleman lose his temper, and a boy beaten for sport. HAWKER is trying to escape his punishment but some of the farmers push him back to the cruel blows of the stick. The three women look aghast, one of them, CHARLOTTE steps in.
Stop this, in the name of God, We are outside a church, and in Holy Week. Stop it Dr Jones. Dr Jones…
HAWKER breaks free, and runs. His friend THOMAS begins to run after him calling his name but HAWKER is already far ahead.
The scene ends with THOMAS returning and talking to the three ladies, DR JONES leaves alone.
8. EXT- DUCKPOOL- DAY
HAWKER is at a natural sea pool, removing his clothes. He stands in sunlight on the rock, allowing the warmth to envelop and cleanse him.
Above, on the grassy fields atop the cliffs, the three sisters are walking and stop to watch him.
He sees them, but is unbothered by their stares, and dives into the sea.
When he next looks up they are walking away.
9. EXT- MILLOOK, FISHING HUT- DAY
TITLE- JUNE 1821
Millook. A fishing hut on the shoreline, among great cliffs. HAWKER is sitting in the sunshine nearby, reading and smoking a pipe.
THOMAS is walking down the path to the hut, he calls from a distance.
HAWKER waves and continues reading.
THOMAS (on arriving):
So Robbie, you’ve turned to a wrecker.
Ah no, old man. Study, Study. I am at Oxford for the moment. Studying on one hand Greece [he lifts the book], and the other [pointing to the sea and hut] Ancient Britain.
I am taught much by a Mr. Cory who lives nearby, the way of the Pilchard, the sea and the season. Here do ye see the cask at sea?
He is pointing far out to sea where a bobbing item can just be seen in the water.
Cory saw it off Bude this morning. He told me it will land at Black Rock, an hour before the full tide. He’ll bring it here for nightfall. Could be butter from the Valiant, or wine from a spanish Barque wrecked at the Doom Bar on Friday.
I was wondering Robbie if you care for some company tomorrow night? A tenant of Father’s a Mr I’ans, from Efford at Bude is holding a party, do ye remember the ladies from that Easter in Morwenstow? Evidently they have plenty of younger friends, also some music and dancing, eh eh!
Oh I think not Thom. I feel I am not able to dress so well these days. My Aunt is now no longer able to support me, being at Oxford is expensive, and as you know:
I love the Ocean! from a very child,
it has been to me as a nursing breast,
Cherishing wild fancies-
I was wont to rest
gazing upon it when the breeze was wild…
Thankyou, Robbie, thankyou, I know it already, you gave us this work years ago. Of course there will be many there who love poetry also. Father says there is possibility of another poet- Lord Tennyson arriving.
Ah then maybe THOMAS, maybe… In fact I have a little ditty I have written about this place. ‘Mawgan of Melhuach’ Would you hear it?
Yes of course dear friend, recite on,
Twas a fierce night when old Mawgan died,
Men shuddered to hear the rolling tide:
The Wreckers fled from the awful shore,
They had heard strange voices amid the roar…
10. INT- EFFORD MANOR BUDE- NIGHT
HAWKER is in a drawing room. He is dressed slightly differently from the others who are in their finery, although he is clean and tidy, he appears somewhat nautical. He is reciting to a group of partygoers including CHARLOTTE and her sister ANN
HAWKER (continuing above poem)
Out with the boat there someone cried,-
“will he never come? we shall lose the tide:
His berth is trim and his cabin stored,
He’s a weary long time coming on board.
CHARLOTTE (to her sister ANN)
He’s grown into a fine man, and a poet too.
Darling sister, surely you are not interested in a poor, strange boy: see how nervous he is.
The old man struggled upon the bed:
He knew the words that the voices said;
Wildly he shrieked as his eyes grew dim,
He was dead! He was dead when I buried him.”
CHARLOTTE: I would say he is most interesting, his mind is deep, and his eyes have beauty, let us help him with this evening.
Hark yet again to the devilish roar,
He was nimbler once with a ship on shore;
Come! Come! old man, ‘tis a vain delay,
We must make the offing by break of day.”
Hard was the struggle, but at last,
with a stormy pang old Mawgan passed,
And away, away, beneath their sight,
Gleamed the red sail at pitch of night.
There is enthusiastic clapping from CHARLOTTE and her sisters. that makes some of the others clap stronger than they might otherwise.
A small circle congregate around him.
Gilbert Mawgan was a noted wrecker from the shore at Millook, or The Vale of The Lark. Among other crimes it is said that he once buried the captain of a vessel, whom he found exhausted on the strand alive!
Mr Hawker, Mr Hawker, Thankyou for your wonderful recital, it is enough for many of us to dream strangely tonight! Please I wonder if you would care meet someone I have often talked of you about.
HAWKER (looking about)
Lord Tennyson, he is here?
No, no sir, He is not here. I mean you to meet my sister, ANN. She is a lover of literature like yourself..
He sees THOMAS, who is smiling at him, lifting his shoulders and mouthing ‘I lied’
HAWKER is in another room talking at a small table with ANN, an older sister to CHARLOTTE, he is earnestly attempting to hold her attention, which is wandering to other men in the room.
HAWKER: So the law says that if a boat is left with no living soul, then the holder of the land is the rightful owner, for this reason does murder and wrecking abound. There is too much death in this wild land, and I…I’m sorry I don’t mean offence, of course it’s indelicate of me…
ANN: Oh no I don’t mind- Oh look it’s William Sherm of Stowe, I must see him, he is to grand tour, are you acquainted? One moment..
HAWKER watches her go to the man, and chat, she points at HAWKER, smiles and waves at him. HAWKER smiles back, and feels ridiculous. He drinks some wine.
The end of the party, everyone has left except THOMAS and HAWKER, some servants are cleaning.
They are sitting in the room where HAWKER and ANN sat, smoking their pipes.
Nearly dawn Robbie, will you be travelling back to your Melhuach?
Directly, Sir, Directly, Pray tell a foolish young man what he thinks of the I’an sisters, and especially Ann?
Methinks Sir, that you are not as foolish as ye may think. Every girl, although not young has a small fortune. I think you may find your artistic future may be assured with the right actions.
Yes, yes, though the beauty is all a poor fellow like me might get close to.
Mr Hawker, You have been brought up a Gentleman. I suggest you act like one, moneyed or not.
11 EXT- EFFORD MANOR- DAY
TITLE: August 1821
Charlotte, Charlotte, where are you, incredible news!
Yes sister, what is it?
The Hawker man, he came to visit me, and asked the strangest question. He would like to walk with me, he says he would like to ‘Woo’ Me. Methinks he has an idea for marriage!
Really, how wonderful. I don’t know what to say. How do you feel?
Like I can’t wait to tell the others, he’s so strange. I am at a picnic with the Sherms this afternoon, it will be a talking point! What a peculiar man he is.
What did you say to him?
That I was flattered of course, He didn’t even look me in the eye, and then he said he was walking to Duck Pool, and would I come?
I bet he would have asked me to swim naked with him!
Ann, I beg you, mention this not at your pick nick.
Why ever not?
Because I like him, I do not find him so ‘peculiar’, he has a good heart, and a quick wit. Perhaps I shall drive out to Duckpool myself
He has no money Charlotte, and he dresses apart. Although he is entertaining and well liked hereabouts, think you not he may be after our fortune?
I am nearly an old maid Ann. Father will soon be gone. I have waited for release from his love a decade or more. I deserve a life now. Hawker is becoming a fine man, and if you cannot see the good Christian in him, I do. Pray Ann, let me live, and do not let the age gap between us become conversation at your pick nicks.
No, of course Charlotte, forgive me, I realised not your feelings, and will not interfere, I hope you find him, before he undresses!
Your care for a sister is noted, thankyou Ann, and enjoy your day with the Sherms.
11. EXT- PADSTOW HARBOUR- MAYDAY FESTIVITIES- DAY
TITLE: May Day 1824 Padstow
HAWKER and CHARLOTTE are recently married. They are walking arm in arm through the streets of Padstow on ‘Obby ‘Oss day. They are waved at by several of the CROWD who obviously know them.
Well we seem to be liked more here than at the wedding!
Hush, Robert. We are liked, forgive my sisters, they are impetuous and perhaps even a little jealous. My family have grown to love you in their own way. You will see. Come let us enjoy the festivities.
They walk through the crowds, The Old ‘Obby ‘Oss, a black stylised horse is dancing through the streets, people are singing the start of May song. HAWKER joins in.
Surely you don’t condone this ancient witchcraft Robert? I hear that this is a pagan ritual, without the slightest trace of Godliness.
Have no fear CHARLOTTE, this is a hymn to the coming warmth, a time to celebrate the passing of winter. Indeed it is as ancient as time, but so too is God, and even if he were not in the song so long ago, then he is now. Look how the maidens smile.
It seems so sexual.
I must agree it does stir the loins somewhat… Perhaps we should rest on our way home somewhere, and enjoy the spring air?
Please Robert, I may blush if you carry on, let us see what the fayreground has to offer.
When are we to go up to Oxford?
I have arranged for transport on the next coach leaving Lanson. Methink it be Friday.
They have walked out of the town to a large field with tents and attractions. They come to the outskirts of a large crowd. and push through, a MAN is collecting money in a hat. HAWKER throws some coins in. When they get to the front they see that a bull is being baited. two dogs are snapping and biting at a bull tethered by one hock. HAWKER is disgusted, he can hear the noise of demons. He takes the MAN’s hat and scatters the coins at the CROWD, hurting several. He rushes between the dogs scattering them.
Stop, stop, what civilization is this?
CHARLOTTE is attempting to pull him away, the crowd are becoming a mob against HAWKER. He sees them as one demon. The dogs are trying to reach the bull’s tongue, HAWKER hallucinates that the tongue of the bull is the tongue of the crowd lashing him with hatred. The crowd is half involved with the end of the sport where the bulls last strength is spent in protecting its mouth- a bellowing blood smeared gash- and shouting at HAWKER. He is eventually thrown out. His hat is off and his face is scratched. The crowd return to the ‘sport’. CHARLOTTE helps HAWKER stand,he is shaking.
Come now Robert, you must not allow yourself to be so sensitive.
It is so wrong, Charlotte, for all my love of this place there is such wrong. For all it’s beauty we have this- Evil.
Do you remember that Easter day when I was attacked by Dr Jones? That day will stay with me a long time. That day I realised what has to be done. God had need of me, and I have been in his employ ever since, I know the people need me. There is a way that we can live again in community.
12 INT- HAWKER’S ROOMS, MAGDALEN COLLEGE, OXFORD, DAY
TITLE: Oxford 1826 Hawkers rooms, Magdalen College.
With ANN, CHARLOTTE, the other sister and an undergraduate (FRANCIS). HAWKER is dressed extravagantly with fine gloves and shirt. The women are in a slight state of undress. They are having a champagne breakfast and appear to have been up all night.
They are playing a game. FRANCIS is blindfolded, and he must find his way around a course laid out in the room. The three onlookers are standing at each corner. He crosses a table before ‘meeting’ HAWKER where he feels his face.
And to the first turn- Hawker’s Corner I would say from the cut of the collar, and the curls are his no doubt of that.
FRANCIS moves on across the carpet and past a desk to ANN. Where he feels down her body to cup her breasts and pinch her nipples.
It must be Ann, such firmness, and at her age!
ANN pushes him away towards her sisters. He reaches CHARLOTTE, and feels the back of her dress.
Careful please, my Man.
and onto the final furlong for it must be Charlotte.
He turns abrubtly and wanders erratically towards the third sister.
You can see! You can see!
He is cutting off her escape, and falls onto her, they drop to a chaise Longe. She is laughing hysterically as he gropes her.
Stop now (Laughing). Your turn has ended my boy, fallen at the final fence! Come, more champagne, we have fruit juice, food is sent for.
It is later in the afternoon. The five are laying together on many cushions and rugs in one corner of the room. Only CHARLOTTE and HAWKER are awake
You know this is no way for a Parson to behave.
Charlotte my love, this is frivolity. We all need some fun in our lives. Here we are many miles from our true home and soon to return. Care not for what others think.
They say you have three wives.
Our only judge should be The Lord, not idle prattle. Our love has surpassed so much bickering- They have said I took you for your money. They say in Kernow that we rode up to Oxford on a single horse. They say my ‘Song of the Western Man’, is a folk song from centuries ago.
Darling, you must stop that rumour, it is a fine verse. It may be worth some money.
Not to worry Charlotte, How can I sell it? I gave it to the newspapers, now it is out I have no control.
But you must have, they think it an ancient tune. Recover it Robert, then you can publish it yourself.
I have no time, I will write more. We are not in need of money are we?
No not yet, Robert, but we should be a little more frugal than this I think.
Good then we will, I feel that it will not be so long before we are living at home where many of the people have so little to eat, it would not seemly to act as we do then. Do ye know I have heard that potatoes are all that some of the poorest are eating this year, that and a little tea to drink.
We will be ready soon my dear, I long to return to our Western Shore. But for now,we should be happy, brave, and carefree.
13. EXT- BOSCASTLE HIGH STREET- DAY
TITLE: Boscastle 1828
What a lovely spot for a holiday Robert. I have worried about you so much these last months. Why hide yourself in your cabin so much?
I have not been hiding my dear, but preparing. Soon I will take on my work. The woodland hut I have built is sorely needed. I have quietly written, read and meditated. Like Nectan and Morwenna before me, a still mind is needed before all.
What of Nectan and Morwenna? those old saints! Always stuck in the past you, what relevance can they have to this modern world?
Why everything my dear. Look how the ancients wrought such mysticism on the Land, here did Merlin entrance his King, just over yonder is Nectan’s Kieve, where the great knights were baptised into the faith. This little port has the memories of wonderful deeds and faith filled men.
The people still touch their ancient souls, their forefathers spirits inhabit all this land. If you look carefully you may just see them.
I think I see our friend there, is that not Francis?
They walk towards FRANCIS who is sitting on a wall in front of a small store eating an apple.
Hail fellows, So glad we meet. HAWKER, as soon as I received your note you were to be here, I dropped everything and took the Coach. What an incredible place, What scenery.
So my man, you made it. Welcome to the land of great histories. Charlotte, let us tarry awhile, I told Francis we should be holidaying here, and he has deigned to join us, though I fear he may be too far removed from the spires and faith of Oxford.
So lovely to see you again Francis, we are on a little walk around the harbour, will you join us?
Robert has been explaining to me the importance of the old faith, the Celtic church and the mystic saints.
Blah Charlotte, those dark days are gone for ever, Now this is the 1820’s, the age of learning. The country is undergoing tumultous change. We are amidst radical new ways of thinking, in art, technologies, science, industry, agriculture, everyway -and consequently in faith. Many of our peers are discussing how the Church, and the faith can move with the times..
Blah to you Francis, the people have a faith that is unchanged since the beginning of time. It is buried in their being, it is given to them by their forefathers, an unconscious act of love through the generations.
Perhaps but for example,even today we are changing our opinion of the beginning of time, we have proof that animals existed long before our supposition of the creation, We are discussing the meaning of Genesis and have already discounted that the day of the creation was just over four thousand years before Christ
NO Francis, all your science and understanding will never understand the people. Being a Cleric is not about facts, it is about your love for folk.You must understand their lives. Watch the world and feel the truth through quiet contemplation. Guide them in their tribulations and trials according to our understanding. And not write papers picking at every loophole and quandary in the Bible.
Robert, I have angered you, please forgive me, as one student to another I was merely attempting a discourse.
Fear not Francis, you know Robert’s way. He is well meaning but will not back down if feels the truth.
Look around you Francis, this world is unchanged. I can see that mans father behind him. I can see the long ago funeral of a dead child walking down this street. That is faith, not the never ending arguments of ecclesiastics.
Are you speaking in alliteration Robert?
Alliteration!Here I will show you your science, your methodology, your confounded modernism, come a modern experiment in an ancient mystical port.
They walk down the high street, turn into a quiet side street, and then enter a dirty farm yard. It is a pig farm and there are many pigs behind the rough fence.
Robert, please are you sure, not more foolery?
This is scientific proof, no more, I suggest you walk down the high street if you wish to see the peoples true faith. You too Francis, Look on your modern Britain
FRANCIS and CHARLOTTE leave HAWKER, and hurry down the High St
I fear we are in for adventure Francis-
They hear a shouting coming from the street above. Women and men are running and shrieking down the steep hill.
Witchcraft! The pegs uptown have a- rebelled.
And they’ve a -be and huv let won- another out and they be all a-gwain to sea, huz-a-muz bang!
They be wantin to kill, they been mazed, by a witch!
The folk of Boscastle begin running for the sea. Behind them FRANCIS and CHARLOTTE see HAWKER walking pleasantly and smiling. CHARLOTTE is trying not to laugh. They walk together by the harbour. A pig runs by chasing a man.
Hawker, in this instance I give you the argument. Your hypothesis was well thought out and your experiment a good logical question. I would say however, that if you are asked to publish your findings that you refrain from mentioning your visions of ghosts. It might be held against your otherwise impeccably logical mind.
I have no need of their logic. Do not all find me strange sir? though that has never stopped me, as much as it hurts me deeply. The world is becoming a sceptic, we talk of the Holy Ghost but we laugh at poor peoples superstition. The world around is a stage, still your disbelief francis in order to understand the whole.
14. INT WHITSTONE MANOR
TITLE: Whitstone November 1835
The I’an family Home.
CHARLOTTE is running through the house, calling HAWKER, she runs down the path to the woods. She swings through branches, and holds her skirt above the mud. She reaches a small wooden hut, like a log cabin. some yards away she sees HAWKER kneeling in the mud, a low fallen branch in front of him where he rests his hands, there is a light rain that slides down his wrists, and up his cuff. He is wearing a heavy brown cassock.
She speaks quietly. He remains praying. Eventually he rises, and approaches her smiling.
Robert, a letter, arrived directly from the Bishop.
HAWKER goes to her and holds her wrists. His face is a little pale and damp from the rain.
I have been praying.
But you are cold dear.
So let me read what the Good Lord has in store for us.
He takes the letter and breaks the seal.
I knew it, it’s what we always wanted.
What Robert, what?
Morwenstow- He has given us Morwenstow. Give thanks to The Lord.
But Morwenstow? When was there last a Parson there? Is it not the last place for us? There is no society, or indeed hardly a congregation.
Charlotte, it is the perfect place. It needs so much work. It is Godless, full of trickery, wreckers, smugglers and dissenters. We will have our work cut out my dear, but I can’t wait to start.
The bishop has written that the Sherm family have a small cottage for us. We can live there until we build a vicarage.
If there were ever a day that Morwenna needed help it is now. She came from Ireland you know my dear, With her dear brother Nectan she crossed the Severn sea in 565. Nectan settled in the silence of Welcombe, Morwenna drifted further south, climbed from the sea and built a church among the forbidding cliffs. Apart they dedicated their lives to God and are remembered for their piety more than a millenia since. We have great history to complete.
15. EXT to INT- SMALL COTTAGE- MORWENSTOW
TITLE: Morwenstow New Years Eve 1836
It is a dark night, snow is swirling in the wind. HAWKER and CHARLOTTE are in a small cottage. There is a small cold fire in the grate.
It’s so cold Robert. We could be at a lovely party you know. We have invites from Stowe, Hartland Abbey, and Clovelly, and since Sir Thomas has taken over the house he has invited you many times.
I am sorry, Charlotte. But this is a new life now. I need to be different. The people need a priest for these parts and these times. They need stability and strength. That is me. I feel as though I were born for it.
I am going to walk awhile. Tomorrow will be the first service by a Morwenstow priest for a hundred years, it is to be an important day.
16. EXT MORWENSTOW CLIFFS- NIGHT
HAWKER walks out to the cliffs, there is a scudding light from quickly moving cloud in front of the half moon. HAWKER is dressed in sea boots, and heavy coat.
He follows the path down to the coombe, and the thin beach below the cliffs. He can hear the small sound of a cowbell, and as he comes out of the trees he sees a man (JOHN CANN) leading cattle. the cattle are aligned nose to tail with lanterns strung between them.
Stop man! Who goes there and what in Gods name are you up to?
Why sir, it is John Cann, nothing untoward, just leading my cattle home, tis a wet and cold night for cattle left out.
Are you set for Murder, man?
Oh no Sir, oh you think the lights are to attract ships, as if they were swing of boats at harbour. Oh no sir. Not me, though we are in the midst of a cold winter, and babes are dying in the houses as we speak. Oh no Sir, just bringing in the Cattle for Mr Cornish. That’s all sir no offence… Is that you Mr Hawker, I’m so sorry sir, thought you were a king’s Rider. It’s been a while since, some ten years no? Times are hard now. We are pulled by the landowners, really sir we have nothing this winter, Many are starving.
Whether or not you are starving, I tell you this: I will not see a crime commited in this parish. Murder is murder and I will see you hanged before long my man. Now take you home, and take heed of my word.
Hawker- You are well known in this Parish, think ye not that we do not remember you as a boy. You would do well to remember that this is a lawless place, we have little but what the tide brings us. A minister of the church would best be serving us in the churchyard.
You have little time left Sir, I know your family, and trust me when I say that if a ship wrecks this night then you will be swinging in the gibbet at Red Post, and never reach the churchyard you talk of.
Perhaps sir, perhaps, for now I will return the cattle, and hope you never thought I was doing anything untoward. Goodnight Sir.
Goodnight Cann. I’ll see you at church.
17 EXT and INT MORWENSTOW CHURCH- DAY
HAWKER is standing at the churchyard Lych gate with CHARLOTTE. There are bells ringing for morning service.
Well my dear, it looks like that is all the congregation for our first day. I think I will begin, wish me luck
In the church HAWKER begins the service, except for the bell ringer and the warden there are only five or so faces in the church, DR JONES is standing in a pew alone, his arms crossed.
As HAWKER is leading the congregation in prayer he sees a woman standing in the rear of the Church. It is St MORWENNA dressed in 5th century clothing, she smiles at HAWKER and moves into the shadows.
Outside the church, HAWKER is standing at the door to say goodbye to his parishioners. The congregation are walking past.
DR JONES leaves first,
Dr Jones, one moment-
DR JONES attempts to walk past.
I will not stop and speak Mr HAWKER, The Church has reached it’s final ignominity for me, I will not come back. Look what it has come to, giving an important post to a boy, with nothing for himself but a rich older woman to mollycoddle him.
There is a better way, where the elders are chosen for their piety. I will place my faith with Wesley, that is way of life which is truly Christian and equal, not this joke of a Church that has long since had it’s day.
HAWKER tries to stop him, but he walks on.
JOHN CANN passes with his wife, his eyes cast down.
Good morning Mr Cann, glad to see you in church.
Is this Mrs Cann?
Cann is forced to stop.
Yes sir, Marion sir.
Hello there Marion, I would be pleased for you to meet my wife Charlotte.
Marion curtsies a little. Many of the congregation are looking on.
I see that many of the folk hereabouts are not at church today Marion, do you have any idea why that would be my dear?
Marion is shy and cannot speak.
I am sure many are tired sir. There is little food left, all those at Coombe cannot get out for the river is in flood at Ford, many reasons sir. We have heard that the chapel be popular too sir.
I see ‘The Chapel’ is popular. This is the church, there is one church. Dissenters will know the truth when they are cast down. Thankyou John.
HAWKER and CHARLOTTE wait for the next couple. Who also attempt to pass.
Mr Cornish is it? Mrs Cornish- This is my wife, Charlotte from Whitstone. We are glad to see you, how is your farm keeping?
Fine sir, though the last years potato harvest was not as good as we have hoped. We are still comfortable of course but some of the men have little to eat after a days work.
And what are they living on?
Why ‘taties n’ tay’ sir, little else- Corn is most expensive since the war. I hear West Mill has hardly turned since November.
Thankyou sir. I will have a question for you in the week. May I call on you?
Of Course Mr HAWKER, we would be delighted, though no tricks I hope!
Methinks we have seen the end of the Young HAWKER, Mr Cornish, no tricks I assure you.
Cut to the empty Churchyard. HAWKER and CHARLOTTE have finished their conversations with the congregation.
Robert, this is hard. They see us wrong, you are the boy still who played among them, and I am a woman nearly old enough to be your mother.
Hush now Charlotte, perhaps not easy, but true- I have a feeling we are doing God’s work properly. Come I wish to show where the house will be built. It is not far- See how the sheep rest in the the hollow? It’s a fine spot for a house. Sheltered, yet a magnificient view, and a short walk to church. We will begin forthwith. Also I must write to the king, a new bridge must be built at Coombe. We shall pay for half, the King the other. And next week at Church the farmers will dig deep for their faith. They must support the poor.
Sometimes Robert I think we live on the thinnest of margins between madness and sensibility. I believe you will receive money from the king, and you will build us the vicarage. Your faith is a wondrous thing. But to be practical we are spending my inheritance at a formidable rate.
The lord will provide Charlotte. I have a stipend of one pound a day. That will be enough for our modest means.
18. INT MORWENSTOW CHURCH
HAWKER is busying himself in the church getting ready for evensong. JOHN CANN is walking down the aisle, dressed in a smock, a hat is in his hand.
Sir, could I have a word? The other night sir, with the cattle. I am most sorry to have been caught in that way, but I know it were wrong, and would like to make amends. It is due to the winter sir, it is one of the worst on record, and we are all in hardship. I did go to the coast in order to tempt a ship to shore, not that I had tried it before or will again. I thought not for the souls on board, only of the treasures that we may have collected. I have told Marion and she thought it a good thing to admit my sins to you. I ask if I can do anything in remcompense.
Well John, I will think on that, I see that you are not the monster I first saw that fateful night. Let us see what Morwenna is in need of, I think a clean in here for a start, the herbs on the floor are old and damp, and the Altar is covered in match-ends.
I will be needing some help, and there will be a need for a Churchwarden. It seems that we are thin on the ground hereabouts for laymen, let alone congregation.
Allow me this Chance Mr HAWKER, and I will be forever in your service.
Well it is early days yet John, let us see how you persevere, before you are ‘ever in my service’.
19. EXT MORWENSTOW FIELD TO SEMI DERELICT SMALL HOLDING
HAWKER is climbing a hill in the wind and rain, heading toward a hovel of a home with a little garden and a wisp of smoke swirling from the chimney. Across the door is a blanket. He knocks on the outside. A thin faced MAN with a club foot answers the door.
What is it you want?
I have not seen you or your family in church. I have heard there is much hardship, and wished to see how you all are.
I am the new Parson, Robert Stephen Hawker.
Well not so good sir, we are starving, and Mary is sick, but we ask for nothing from the church, and will not give to it. Church has never helped us in any way.
How is the baby? My wife says that last she saw Mary she was close to childbirth.
HAWKER turns suddenly to a low woodshed, the ghost of St Morwenna is standing outside it, staring intently at HAWKER.
Mary lost the babe early sir. some three weeks back, a mis carriage.
I am so sorry, please, let me see Mary.
The man calls for his wife, she appears from behind the curtain. She looks terrible, thin of face and gray, and she has been crying.
Hello Mary, I hear you lost the baby, when was that?
The man is signalling to his wife holding up three fingers.
Parson, it was three weeks ago.
Oh, so terrible. My wife saw you though, more recently than that. She was walking near here just twelve days ago, and she reported to me that you were heavy with child.
No sir, it can’t have been me.
Where is the child Mary?
I burnt it sir, it were half formed and had no eyes.
Mary holds tight to the curtain, she looks as if she might fall.
Excuse me sir.
She backs away.
Stay Mary, he wishes to speak to you.
Leave her be, she is distraught. Show me the remains, even from the fire there will be bones.
There are none sir, all went. Honestly sir, perhaps it was someone else, sometimes Mary was visited by Ellie, she is with child.
I am becoming strained, there is deceit. Mrs HAWKER saw Mary a few days ago, I would say Mary gave birth, live or stillborn. In the name of God you will give me the truth. Where is the babe?
We are so weak sir, we could not continue. Mary gave birth but it would never have survived. It were nearly stillborn, and Mary were so tired,The two of them would have passed away before the end of the week, I had to do something. Help us sir I beg you.
Where is the babe?
I helped it to pass on sir. It was yesterday. I haven’t had time to bury it sir. It is in the woodshed. I hope you can understand. It was too much for us.
Get Mary ready. I shall go to the woodshed. You two will have to answer to a higher authority than me, and I fear the great Authority of all. We will leave together.
How did you kill the child?
With my hands, sir- I strangled it, ‘twas the best I could do for us.
The man is enacting the strangulation with his hands
Mary, Mary, can you hear me, you will have to ready yourself. We are leaving together.
20. EXT MORWENSTOW CHURCHYARD- DAY
HAWKER is in his churchyard, a small coffin at his feet. JOHN CANN is nereby with a spade. CHARLOTTE looks on. A robin hops around the nearby bushes watching, we hear it’s song at the end of each sentence of HAWKERS poem.
They whom God loves die young;
They see no evil days;
No falsehood taints their tongue
No wickedness their ways.
Baptized and so made sure
To win their safe abode
What could we pray for more?
They die and are with God
So be it John, we’ll have her covered over now. Will you take a slate and carve a name?
Did you see the Angel watching? The babe is safe. at the close of every sentence came a still small sound like an infants laugh. A cry of innocent gladness- Ubi Aves, ibi Angeli? Was it the bird, or the angel?
My Husband, what is to happen to the parents?
That is not in our hands now, but I would say they will be tried at Bodmin, and no doubt the hangman will have a pair of ropes for the gallows. Come CHARLOTTE, do not be too distressed, that is my own problem not yours. Think of the child, he will join the little pixies, and be always a part of these fields and Coombes
21. EXT MORWENSTOW SMALL GROCERY STORE- DAY
HAWKER is climbing the hill to the STORE, he is wearing, outlandish garb, sea boots, smock, and a pink Greek clergymans Hat. Passers by stop and stare a little. He enters the shop and calls for the Shopkeeper (TILLEY).
Good Day Man.
TILLEY Passon Hawker, Good day to you! Tilley Sir, from Lanson, though be here for five years since Michaelmas
Indeed, and I see you not at church, are you too busy on the Sabbath?
Oh no sir, I frequent the Wesleyan Chapel.
A dissenter! Well I hope you enjoy life now sir, for it will be painful in the hereafter.
No sir, I don’t wish to upset you but..
Never mind Tilley, I am being lighthearted. I have come here for provisions, not your soul. I wish to make a regular purchase of fine tea, coffee, and Latakia tobacco. Once a month, the best you can obtain. Now also do you sell Corn?
Yes sir. I can order Souchong from Mr Twining, I hear Costa Rica is exporting a fine bean this year, and Corn, well sir, yes I can obtain Corn in any quantity.
Good, I have a list here, if any of these persons wish to buy Corn I want you to sell it at half price. I will make up the difference. Here is £10 to be getting on with. If more is needed you know where to find me. I will be making a collection for the poor of this parish on Sunday, of course the church makes no distinction if a dissenter gives alms.
No Sir, Yes sir, I mean, it will be done, sir. Thankyou.
As they leave HAWKER sees CORNISH walking nearby.
Cornish! Good to see you- I was hoping to see you sooner, but I have been a little busy. How is Mrs Cornish?
Fine sir, fine, we are well, A beautiful day, and perhaps the start of spring. We are hoping to have a little evening at home for my birthday this Saturday, we will have plenty of sustenance. A fine beast is butchered already for us.
Why thankyou for the offer, but I have a most trying day on Saturday, and will probably have to stay in Bodmin.
I wondered if I might count on your charity, for I am trying to relieve some of the pressure on the poor of this district who are in desperate times?
Well I would sir, of course though times are hard also for myself. You know as well as I that many of the Yeoman farmers have had to give up much of their comfort.
Indeed, though your Birthday parties are the talk of the parish for the richness of their repast. I am told you hold a yearly trencherman prize for the largest meal eaten in an hour?
Have not you yourself managed a three and a half pound of beef, three penny loaves and a half gallon of ale?
Indeed! and would eat a sweet too-
Come then Mr Cornish I ask for you and the other landowners to help me keep the poorest of all from the workhouse. A little more for the church on Sunday would be most appreciated.
Right you are Sir, we will see about that. Though methinks it is against the rights of a farmer. Has my family in a hundred years ever asked for alms? I think not. We work and are rewarded.
22. INT MORWENSTOW CHURCH- DAY
HAWKER is giving a sermon. there are a few more people in the pews, including Tilley and his family.
And so the meaning of the good samaritan is about the gift of alms. there are many in this parish who are living close to the edge of mans limit. Before we lose some of our people for the slow death of the workhouse. I would ask for a little more in these times on the Church Plate.
Among the congregation there are murmurs of dissent. some of the FARMERS who are sitting with their WIVES are smiling, and looking comfortable in their Sunday clothes. HAWKER can see them and it puts him off his speech. One farmer looks to another and whispers.
HAWKER: The question is this, will they who receive rent for their land offer a small part in Alms for those in need?
There is some movement and noise from the congregation. Amid coughing from the FARMERS the word “NO” can be clearly heard
HAWKER: All rise, Hymn number 288.
While the congregation are singing HAWKER places himself behind the rood screen, a wooden carved screen that makes viewing of the Altar and priests area of the church difficult to see.
He lies on his back with his arms outstretched. When the hymn finishes he begins the exorcism rites in Latin. He punctuates the Latin with the names of the farmers who are unwilling to pay alms.
E Xorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus, omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio infernalis adversarii, omnis legio, OMNIS AGRICOLAE, omnis congregatio et secta diabolica, in nomine et virtute Domini Nostri Jesu + Christi, eradicare et effugare a Dei Ecclesia, ab animabus ad imaginem Dei conditis ac pretioso divini Agni sanguine redemptis + . Non ultra audeas, serpens CORNISH callidissime, serpens BRIMACOMBE, callidissime, decipere humanum genus, Dei Ecclesiam persequi, ac Dei electos excutere et cribrare sicut triticum + . Imperat tibi Deus altissimus + , cui in magna tua superbia te similem haberi adhuc præsumis; qui omnes homines vult salvos fieri et ad agnitionem veritaris venire. Imperat tibi Deus Pater + ; imperat tibi Deus Filius + ; imperat tibi Deus Spiritus Sanctus + . Imperat tibi majestas Christi, æternum Dei Verbum, caro factum + , qui pro salute generis nostri tua invidia perditi, humiliavit semetipsum facfus hobediens usque ad mortem; qui Ecclesiam suam ædificavit supra firmam petram, et portas inferi adversus eam nunquam esse prævalituras edixit, cum ea ipse permansurus omnibus diebus usque ad consummationem sæculi. Imperat tibi sacramentum Crucis + , omniumque christianæ fidei Mysteriorum virtus +. Imperat tibi excelsa Dei Genitrix Virgo Maria + , quæ superbissimum caput tuum a primo instanti immaculatæ suæ conceptionis in sua humilitate contrivit. Imperat tibi fides sanctorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli, et ceterorum Apostolorum + . Imperat tibi Martyrum sanguis, ac pia Sanctorum et Sanctarum omnium intercessio +.
At first the farmers do not realise he is using their names as it is hidden in the latin, until he begins pausing and enunciating their names clearly.
Slowly the farmers rise with their families and leave the church.
23. EXT MORWENSTOW CHURCH- DAY
Outside the church at the end of the service. CHARLOTTE is with HAWKER as they say goodbye to the last of the congregation.
Was that wise my dear? Are we not looking to increase the congregation?
My love, I am, they will be back and with a little more money in their pockets this time. Come let us see what is happening with our home. I have another plan I need to discuss with you. I wish to build a school, for all the children. A place of peace and learning for the innocents. We may even tempt some away from their dissenting parents.
24. EXT POV from Trees at CROSSTOWN to THE VICARAGE and SUNSET over cliffs
TITLE: The New Vicarage 1839
ZOOM TO UPSTAIRS LIGHTED ROOM
25. INT HAWKERS STUDY- THE VICARAGE- NIGHT
HAWKER is smoking a pipe and writing with a swan quill. CHARLOTTE comes to the door.
Robert, you will never guess, Your old friend THOMAS is here.
Come in, come in, Sir THOMAS so very glad to see you.
Robbie, it’s been awhile.
Indeed, come sit down. Charlotte send in Mary with some claret would you. Now sir, let us see. Happily married, three children. The years have been kind.
Thankyou Robbie, and to you as well, your fine parsonage is coming along, The Kings Bridge at Ford is a testament to your courage, and the first school in the area will be ready for the coming school year. Your fund raising is making news across the county, so much so that I have come tonight with a cheque for you to help with your school.
Why thank you Sir Thomas, I hope my letter of last week was not too presumptious of me.
Not at all, I am happy to help the children in whatever way I can, but I must say that I am not here solely for a social call. More of a lesson in economics. Many of the landowners in Devon and Cornwall are worried about your sermons, and have asked me to help you understand some of the new methods in commerce and economic science.
And how I love science, pray continue Sir Thomas.
Well the problem is in giving aid to the workers. I spoke with Lord Radnor, and he has also had difficulties. If we give help to the workers then we are setting up an impossible system. The system that works is where we offer a sum that a worker will take. In that way we work out a price for our goods in consideration of that cost. This then becomes a fair price, and is universally acknowledged. In this way we are useful to God, our country and our fellow man. By fiddling with the equation you create inequality, which is manifested in an even worse scenario for the workers outside your system, meaning mine. Now you have suggested that we give alms to some of the lowliest paid of our men. They have naturally reached this level by their status at birth and their natural intelligence. Robbie, what I am saying is that we should not try and play God with economics.
Thank-you Sir Thomas. I think I will ask you to leave now. your logic is good, and your reasoning well thought out. Unfortunately these are people. It is a Christian fundamental to help our fellow man. Some of my parishioners do not have food enough for their children. They are forced to live as abominations, murderers, child-killers, wreckers, all because they have nothing in life but potatoes. There is much to do here. Help me and I will be grateful, but never ask me to side with the absent landowner who takes rent of £400 per annum, and cannot give a few shillings back to help his starving fellow man.
Sir Thomas, I am afraid I am losing my temper. The work here is so hard I am not so sure sometimes if my mind does not become unbalanced. I thankyou for your contribution to the school. but now pray leave. I am upset.
THOMAS: Of course, Robert. Please take more care of yourself, perhaps you could visit us soon at home for a few days.
HAWKER: Not this year I fear, sir. there is so much to do.
Sir THOMAS leaves the room, and whispers to CHARLOTTE, who shakes her head. She closes the door on HAWKER.
HAWKER sits at his desk and opens a drawer, he pulls out a slim pipe with a large bowl, places a little tobacco in, and rolls a little piece of opium between his shaking fingers. He places the opium in the bowl, and takes a light from the fire. He draws deeply and sits back in his chair.
THERE IS A SHIFT IN THE PARALLAX OF THE ROOM- POV HAWKER, TO AROUND THE ROOM- WE SEE HAWKER TILT HIS HEAD, ZOOM TO THE DOOR SLOWLY OPENING
The ghost of St MORWENNA opens the door and moves towards him. she is dressed in clothing of the 5th century.
Morwenna, you godly soul, I thankyou for your visit. I fear that your parish is in a terrible state. Apologies for my weaknesses, I knew you would come
Robert, Robert, the oceans are rising, the wind is a tempest-
Morwenna turns into CHARLOTTE. She is rubbing his temples, as he lays back in his chair his pipe in his hand.
26. VICARAGE CLIFFS MORWENSTOW-DAY
TITLE: 1842 THE CALEDONIAN
The villagers are lined up along the Cliff, silently witnessing The Caledonian, a medium size sailing ship valiantly battling against the strong wind from the North West. Huge waves crash on the shore. HAWKER is striding into the wind and joins the villagers. He stands next to John, holding his hat.
How long has it been John?
I have been here since daybreak. She has tacked tight all morning but is making no ground. I see her on Sharpnose afore the hour
Where is the lifeboat from Bude?
They won’t come out, We sent a lad directly on your order sir. He returned an hour ago.
Bude Lifeboat- I expect they’re all dissenters. And Clovelly?
He left immediately for Clovelly on a fresh horse. Though I fear they also will struggle, Clovelly has no shelter on a Norwester. Look they are attempting to launch a boat sir.
They watch the ship offshore. It is being washed over with waves, and it’s sails are in tatters. There are several men in the rigging waving at the Villagers on the cliffs. The Villagers only stare.
Get some men and some Rope John, perhaps we can get to the shoreline.
I am unsure Sir, the tide still has awhile to come. It will be two hours before we can reach from the path.
Hang the path John, get rope we will climb down from here.
HAWKER begins climbing down the cliff, holding onto gorse and stunted plants in the wind and rain. The rest of the peoples look on. The Ship is launching a small row boat. Seas are rushing over both boat and ship. They see a woman being helped to the boat who is screaming and fighting. two other men get in the boat. As they attempt to cast off a wave passes completely over the ship and drags the boat towards shore. The men are desperately trying to get their oars in the water when another wave rolls under the boat, it lifts the boat upto the vertical plane where one of the men falls out. The woman attempts to gather the other oar, but already they are on the rocks. The next wave lifts the boat and rushes it directly onto a rock. It splits the wood, and the man falls out. The woman is left on the fast sinking boat, gripping the sides, nothing can be seen of the others. She disappears with the next wave.
The people of Morwenstow stare impassively from the cliff.
HAWKER has been joined by JOHN CANN, and one of the FARMERS. They are slowly reaching the bottom of the cliff.
Men are now jumping from the Ship and trying to reach the shoreline, where HAWKER is waiting, none make it. We see one man high in the rigging about to jump. He counts the waves and then leaps. He swims furiously for the shore, sometimes disappearing for long moments. He is washed over some boulders, and is about to be dragged from the shoreline by the backwash when JOHN CANN leaps into the torrent held by a rope from HAWKER. JOHN CANN Grabs the man. HAWKER and the FARMER drag them both over several rocks awash with water until they reach the base of the cliff.
The man and JOHN CANN are both choking and out of breath. The man starts laughing hysterically. Both him and JOHN CANN have bloody scrapes.
HAWKER looks on, his face pale, determined and shocked.
27. EXT- THE SHORELINE-CALMER WINDS AND SEA-DAT
It is the next day. HAWKER is on the shoreline at low tide. JOHN CANN and several men are combing the rocks for bodies. They have several in a pile including the woman. With the bodies is the Figurehead of the ship, The Caledonian, a woman with sword and shield.
The wreck is completely derelict, and is still being smashed by the seas offshore.
I want every gobbet found. There is plenty of Gin in the basket if you can’t stomach it.
Put all the limbs here in the bag. From the survivor I am told there were sixteen souls. We have found twelve. I will pay a pound for every sailor we get to the churchyard.
Wrecking is a crime. I will see no man commit thievery so watch yourselves. A man survived so there are no laws of man or God in your favour.
JOHN CANN is holding a pink and grey stringy piece of meat.
Lord have mercy, it is a heart John, a mans heart. Wrenched no doubt from his body, and endeavouring to be buried in a Christian manner. All things are manifested to me as a message.
28. INT THE VICARAGE- DINING ROOM-DAY
HAWKER and CHARLOTTE are sitting with the survivor EDWARD Le Dain of Jersey. They are drinking tea.
So Mr Edward Le Dain, do you have a sweetheart in Jersey?
I have now Madam, Last night I realised how I truly love the girl I once spoke of as a friend.
Do ye know what they say hereabouts about survivors Edward?
‘Save a stranger from the sea, and he’ll turn your enemy’.
Well have no fear of that Mr Hawker
A barbarous lot at times, Me thinks that little ditty is an excuse for the wreckers amongst us to plunder.
Your piece of coast is often referred to as West Barbary, and one of the foulest shores known. All sailors fear the Bristol route. Maybe I will send an item of Jersey softness to temper it a little.
That you have survived, young man, has also saved me. You owe me nothing. Indeed your bravery in the seas is enough to spur me on to save more souls from the tempest. It is a gift you know not that you give me.
29. EXT- MORWENSTOW CHURCHYARD-SUNSET
HAWKER is in the churchyard. He is surrounded by the village. They have fixed the figurehead of The Caledonian in the ground. There are several freshly dug mounds around it.
We laid them in their lowly rest,
The strangers of a distant shore;
We smoothed the green turf on their breast,
Mid baffled Oceans’s angry roar;
And their the relique of the storm,
We fixed fair scotland’s figured form
From now on good people, we must do more for the seamen washed to these cliffs. This statue of Caledonia will act as headstone for all sailors found on this shore. The Duchy will pay five shillings for remains of a soul, I shall pay five shillings more. Let us never again have the day when corpses remain on the shore pecked by carrion for want of a christian burial.
But what if they not be Christian sir?
Then we will let God, and St Peter decide.
And what about Dissenters sir? I see a few here today- will you allow them a space in the Churchyard?
I’ll happily bury a dissenter here- I’ll be happy to bury all of ‘em!
30. INT. THE VICARAGE- NIGHT
HAWKER is in his new living room, it is sumptuously decorated. A fire is burning brightly in the hearth. He has a bottle of wine with him and CHARLOTTE is making embroidery. HAWKER is dressed in red slippers with silver spangles, and a blue dressing gown laced with gold braid, and a vividly coloured Biretta loaded with sequins.
Are you happy now CHARLOTTE? are you comfortable?
Of course my dear, you have built a wonderful home for us. I think I am getting used to the deprivations of the country here, but I have friends, we are part of a wonderful society. Your work seems to inspire you. Now that the home is finished perhaps you could devote more time to your poetry.
And you my love, are you happy?
I am in parts, but also I am most unhappy, some times my nerves feel exceedingly raw. It is almost impossible to take my mind away from some of the more unhappy aspects of life. I worry for the Dissenters, I also need to see more of the people of Welcombe, across the valley. Although they are not so hungry for potatoes, I fear they are more hungry for God.
Try not to worry too much dear, Me thinks perhaps your relaxation with the opium pipe could lead you to nervousness.
No charlotte, it enables me to see more clearly over all, and is a remarkable aid to writing.
But sometimes you depart from me for hours.
Those hours can be days in my mind, and also just minutes. Please do not think it is causing me pain, it is to the contrary.
I am speaking the truth Robert, perhaps you can digest my words.
Perhaps you should try it, in this way you would understand my reasons for the use.
Whom have you told of my use of the opium?
I see few people these days, and so in who would I confide?
Sir Thomas has been attacking me recently. It is affecting me. The landowners are against me, they have thoughts I am an agitator for change.
Robert Stephen Hawker, a man for change. I think you may be using too much of your pipe dear. Sir Thomas has known you a long time, please make up your differences, I’m sure he is much regretting your last meeting.
Never, I have seen his letter to The Times. There are many of his kind who fear a rising from the people. That I can assure you will never happen here. I have told the teacher at the new school to be careful to not fill the Children with too much knowledge. We are wishing to save souls not upset the status quo.
So tell his Lordship, I’m sure he would be most pleased to hear from you.
I told him when he was here my mind, I will not soften my message.
There is a knock at the door.
Sir, I have a note that a corpse has been seen at Marsland.
Heavens not another. My nerves can barely take it.
Please my darling, leave it for the morrow.
I cannot, I am away.
31. INT THE VICARAGE- NIGHT
We see CHARLOTTE staring out of the window.
HAWKER enters the room looking distraught. He throws off his heavy sea coat, and drops to the fire.
John aided me. We carried him from Marsland to the Church gate, Marion is preparing him. He’s a christian, he has a cross tattooed on his chest. He was naked. Someone has stripped him. Several rings have been removed from his fingers.
32.EXT THE VICARAGE -SUNSET
HAWKER is saddling his horse, Carrow. He is wearing his sea boots, fishermans sweater in blue, and a claret long coat. The sweater has an embroidered red mark on the chest. There is a pencil hanging from his coat, along with a collection of brass seals with religious symbols. (Solomons Pentangle, fish etc.)
HAWKER gallops across the fields to the north. He drops into the woods behind Marsland. A wind rushes through the trees. The face of terror is moving through the trees. HAWKER pushes Carrow on:
Carrow, tis Satan, fear ye not, we have the Lord on our side. Ride on Carrow
He slows Carrow to cross the stream, leaves are flying around them in the sudden wind.
Come Carrow, on, look not at the face of evil
HAWKER dares a glimpse behind him, wind, trees and leaves swing into the shape of eyes and a long face.
Up Carrow, Up.
They climb the steep coombe up to Welcombe. The wind drops as they reach the edge of the woods, and come out into open fields and the dying light of the setting sun, Down below the wind is still roaring through the trees.
HAWKER pushes on until he reaches the Blue Fox. A small building in a collection of nearly derelict farm buildings. There are lights shining through small windows, it is a shortwhile after sunset, that time when the sky is deep blue.
As he ties up Carrow at the gate he can hear shouting and singing.
He walks in the door.
33. INT- THE BLUE FOX PUB, WELCOMBE, NIGHT
A man (JOHN HOWARD)is dancing naked in the bar, onlookers are laughing and clapping. An onlooker is playing a squeezebox. The bar is low and dark, rushes are strewn on the floor. Women are sitting on mens laps. It is busy and smoky.
Get on Passon. Don’t see you much round here, leastways in the evening, Will ye drink with us?
I’ll not drink a drop tonight, I have come to see Mr Howard.
He points to the dancer, who slowly stops his movements, and crosses quickly to his breaches.
John Howard, with who’s money are you drinking tonight?
The musician stops his playing.
Have you been to Marsland? Have you found the body of a poor sailor, a christian soul from Coruna Spain? Have you stripped him naked as your own self? Have you stole the wedding ring of his own wife, still expecting him home this week? Is that your spilt beer or his spilt hard work?
John Howard your drunkeness offends me. As I found your victim so have I found you- Naked. As for your neighbours, let them know where their beer has been bought, from the salty pockets of a hard working sailor. We bury him at Morwenstow tomorrow, be there- I expect to find you a sober man, full of contrition and ready to work hard for this community.
As for you his neighbours, be steady if you feel for violence. Mr Howard is no worse than many of you. Let him leave now and return to his home a chastened man. I want to see no more of this desecration of humanity.
I will preach this Sunday at Welcombe church, be sure you are all there for me. I will stop all such wrecking on this coast. Mr Howard is lucky to not be charged with murder. Now drink on men, enjoy the good life. Tis May and summer is a-commin in.
HAWKER looks around him, but John Howard has left. He nods to the remaining drinkers and landlord, and leaves.
34. EARLY MORNING SPRING SUNSHINE EXT WIDEANGLE WELCOMBE CHURCH
TITLE: WELCOMBE CHURCH
Several parishioners are in the distance walking across fields holding flowers towards the church.
35. INT- WELCOMBE CHURCH- DAY
The church is decorated with fresh flowers of spring. It is early. HAWKER is standing with JOHN CANN at the font.
John, We will leave the North Door open today. ‘tis an important baptism. These people have lived in this parish for centuries.
How many of the childs forefathers will have felt the water of Nectan’s well in this font over the last millenia?
He swirls his hand around the font, made long ago for the Celtic church. HAWKER can see many ghost faces around them as they stand at the font.
Bring some fresh water from Nectan’s well please John.
The folk walk in, and HAWKER prepares to begin the service.
Can we close the door Father? The wind is a-rushin in?
Leave the door, the devil will leave through it.
As he begins the service a large mastiff walks through the North Door.
Who is the owner?
‘Tis Achille belongs to Agnes, daughter of Sir Thomas Acland, tis always a- wander.
Leave him be Mrs Mills, there were animals in the Ark. Sit ye down Achille and follow the service. If ye see the Devil you may chase him out.
The dog sits down near the front pew, and watches HAWKER intently. HAWKER goes on with the service. As he baptises the child, all the ghosts of the childs family close around the font.
36. INT- THE VICARAGE-
TITLE 1855 August
There is a knock at the door of the Parsonage. CHARLOTTE is in the hall organising the house with MARION.
Sir Thomas, hello, it has been too many years.
Good day, Charlotte, you have a fine specimen of a beast in your garden.
Sir THOMAS is pointing to a Jersey cow, dressed in ribbons and tethered on the lawn
Yes Sir Thomas, It arrived today, a gift from Jersey. The survivor of the Caledonian sends one a year. I am surprised you did not meet Robin and Marion, the deer he has tamed, they are often hereabouts.
Life here becomes more eccentric every year Charlotte.
We rarely see you in society, my wife often asks for you, we should endeavour to stay closer, we have known each other for many years.
You are right sir, but we are happy here in our own way. Robert has much work to do, and I have resigned myself to help him. I had thought you and he had argued.
Indeed we did, but I have attempted some reconciliation. I am pulled in so many ways. It is not so easy being in Politics in these everchanging days, and Robert will sometimes be blind to that.
Robert is certainly not blind, though I am sure he sees life differently to us. His sense of time includes all of history. Perhaps you should see him. He is now building a hut on the cliffs, follow down to the south, you will probably hear him working.
37. EXT VICARAGE CLIFFS- DAY
Sir THOMAS Acland walks over the cliffs and down a short embankment.
HAWKER is building his hut on the cliffs, he has large nails and several ships wooden pieces brough up from the cliffs. His hair is much longer and he wears his eccentric yellow Greek hat. He has on Sea boots, and is wearing a large leather apron. Pencils are hanging from ribbons tied to his sweater.
Sir THOMAS: HAWKER! every year you become wilder, is not your beautiful home not enough for the son of Morwenna, that 5th Century hermit, that you build a hermitage for yourself?
Ah Sir Thomas, very glad to see you, think not to apologise for your behaviour those years back.
Never- though I am much pleased to see you, pray tell me what you do?
I am building myself a hideaway. A place to watch the shipping. If a craft founders I may be able to help.
I think you will more likely be writing your poetry.
Well perhaps, I have a new one will you hear it? THOMAS
Later, later, let us sit down in your hut. I have something to ask you.
Come then, perhaps we can share a pipe.
They close into the little hut and look out over the seas.
HAWKER: Here sir, a little of the best Latakia, and also a grain of the poppy, fresh from Turkey.
They light up.
Well Sir my wife has been talking of you and I thought I should come and tell you what some of the gentlefolk around here are saying. I am told you are becoming increasingly eccentric. Have you been inviting animals to the church, and wandering around in strange attire?
Oh Friend why am I asking you this? My Wife is a tattle, what does it matter.
You are becoming famous though, I hear that you are an attraction to the new influx of visitors. They even sell cards of you in Bude, and a ridiculous portrait it is too.
They do come Sir THOMAS I must admit, and an irritation it is too, The strange thing is they seem to believe anything I tell them. Ah there goes a Morwenstow bee.
They can here a buzzing in the air. it is a noise that is heightened by their drug intake.
If you look closely the bees around these parts carry small pebbles.
Indeed sir, whatever for?
On account of the strong winds around the cliffs, they hold them as a ballast, to keep them on the straight and true.
The colours of the interior of the hut begin swirling, and the sea takes on a brilliant sheen. Sir THOMAS begins laughing, slowly at first then reching a massive baritone where he is joined by HAWKER.
The straight and true!
They eventually stop laughing. and continue to sit in the hut as a brilliant sunset begins. They are silent, and peaceful. Eventually HAWKER starts reciting in a rich voice.
Why does thou wait and watch the gloomy shore,
Where the rocks darken and the surges roar,-
While down the steep the foamy cataract raves,
and rolls dissolved among the wilderness of waves?
Lift up thine eyes along the distant tide,
Where the glad waters glisten as they glide:
The ocean plains! how beautiful they be-
Lo heaven itself comes down to sojourn on the sea!
Ah no! for thought’s like mine- too softly bright-
That scene is touched with all too gentle light;
Fair visions haunt those waves- sweet dreams arise-
And billows bathed in glory bound to meet the skies!
Gloom, gloom! for me the mountain bathed in cloud,
The shore of tempests when the storm is loud,
Where wild winds rush, and broken waters roll,
And all is dark and stern, like my own wintry soul!
What have I, silvery scene, to do with thee?
Mirror of heaven! thou glad and glorious sea,
Thou dost mock thy wave worn wanderer’s gaze
With that smooth prophecy of far off lovelier days!
And you, kind friend, are you so troubled?
Thou shalt remember the days of darkness: for they are many.
Come friend, away, it is getting late, let us find CHARLOTTE. You can finish your ancient hut another day.
They walk back to the house arm in arm.
You live too much alone friend. Please Robbie come and visit me occasionally-
Perhaps we should Thom. One day soon I promise you.
38. EXT -THE VICARAGE- DAY
HAWKER is feeding the birds, many are flying down to pick from his hands.
Hello to you Jacky, here yar Tommy, come don’t be scared Robin, you can join in.
JOHN CANN comes running down to the gate.
Mr HAWKER, A wreck, off Bude. The Bencoolen is foundering behind the breakwater on the low tide. Neither of the Bude clergy are in attendance. Sir THOMAS has called for you.
Charlotte, I ride for Bude. I very much doubt I shall be back for supper. Get the women to ready the Lych-Gate house. There may be bodies.
He takes a saddle from JOHN CANN, and runs for the field calling for Carrow, who turns at his voice and approaches.
39. EXT VICARAGE CLIFFS- DAY
HAWKER rides for Bude along the cliff top at a gallop.
40. EXT. SUMMERLEAZE BEACH- BUDE- DAY
All of Bude is looking down from the cliffs, A large ship can be seen in the fog stuck to rocks on the low tide of Summerleaze beach. Some men are attempting to set up Capt Manby’s Rocket. Sir THOMAS is standing nearby.
HAWKER! Thank the lord. They are attempting this new contraption of Captain Manbys, They are to fire a rope over to the Bencoolen.
Where is the lifeboat? It has only just been sent for, as I arrived I was told it was coming, and now I realise they are pinning alll their hopes on this: Come on Men, what is holding you up.
We have not used it before sir, and we have lost the instructions.
Come on now, you must aim it higher, it will never reach.
No sir, it says for this distance it should be 9 degrees.
He lights a fuse and stands back. the cannon fires out a solid brass winged contraption that whips out rope from between Sir THOMAS’ feet.
Stand clear of the ropes- it shall never reach.
The brass lands short of the water. The mate of the Bencoolen is desperately waving for the rope. The men pull the rope back in across the rocks.
Hurry, there must be at least forty souls aboard.
Why have the men not launched the lifeboat?
HAWKER runs down to the beach where the Lifeboat has been pulled by several horses.
He grabs hold of one of the Bude Pilots.
Why are you not launching man?
It is too dangerous with the brass of Capt. Manby’s apparatus and when they have tied off the Bencoolen, it will be unnecessary to launch sir.
For the love of your fellow man, launch it. There are men out there fighting for their lives.
If I wanted to go sir no-one will join me. The seas are too high, they will not die in vain.
Get the men- let me talk to them.
They are up by the apparatus watching the action, try them there.
HAWKER races back up to Sir THOMAS.
No Man, it will fly left, the wind is too strong.- HAWKER why has the boat not left?
Men and Pilots of Bude, for the love of your fellow man, Launch the lifeboat, we have spent such money on this saviour. Are you too lily-livered to take it out?
Silence please, we are firing the brass.
This time they have aimed the cannon much higher. There is a loud explosion and the brass flies high in the air, tumbling over with the rope snaking out fast behind it. On the Bencoolen the mate has seen the trajectory, and sees it is going over the bow. he leaps up onto the prow and begins running over the bow sprit. He reaches up high, even ready to catch in his arms the heavy brass, but it is beyond his reach, and as it falls into the sea it is followed by the falling mate.
Again men, pull it back fast. Someone keep an eye on the Mate.
We have no more charges. We cannot send another.
The Mate is lost, I have not seen him rise from the waters.
Launch the lifeboat! Hurry men, get to the Bencoolen.
None will pull sir. The breakers are too large to launch from the beach.
A pound for everyman who will row, hurry men.
The men of the lifeboat turn their backs, and watch the proceedings. On the Bencoolen the men are axing wood, and stripping rope to build a raft on the large deck. They strap barrels along planks of wood, expertly running ropes and tying knots. Throughout Sir THOMAS is cajoling the men to row.
Come, I will pay you five, and your men three pounds, In the name of God I implore you row.
CAPT OF LIFEBOAT
Think not we are cowards Sir THOMAS, but I would have the widow of each man here to face in heaven if we left the shore. This time the Bude Lifeboat will not be launched.
Come Sir Thomas, they will not go out, you are becoming incensed.
Sir THOMAS suddenly turns and grabs the captain, he has him by the throat and is spitting with fury in his face.
Those men are dying, launch man, launch.
The captain holds his eye, and nerve- he says nothing. HAWKER pulls the incensed THOMAS away.
Come Sir Thomas, not this way.
VOICE FROM THE CROWD:
They are launching their raft.
I count thirty four aboard, with two lost already.
The raft is thrown to the sea, and men leap overboard after it. The raft floats away from the Bencoolen, but quickly starts to break up in the heavy seas. The men are starting to fight to get to the raft, and eventually they see four men holding to the top. The raft approaches the shore, and as it smashes to pieces six men manage to reach the sands. They are helped ashore, but at the same time some of the people of Bude are already rushing back from the shore with ankers in their arms (small barrels)
Six survive, and four corpses on the sands. Twenty six are somewhere in our waters. With the incoming tide they will be washed ashore toward Morwenstow. I will take some men, and begin the search. Sir THOMAS I suggest you return home and rest. You look a little sick sir.
41. EXT MORWENSTOW CHURCH YARD GATE-DAY
HAWKER is organising the bodies at the Lych gate house. He has several parts of bodies that have to be married to their torso’s.
A young man (ROBERT TREMAIN) comes through the Gate.
I am looking for the Reverend HAWKER.
And who wants him, he is much busy with work, and has no time for sightseers.
I search for my brother- I am Robert Tremain of St Ives and my brother Will a sailor on the Bencoolen. I would recognise him by a mark of indian ink on his arm, it is a picture of his sweetheart.
HAWKER turns from his work, and looks at JOHN CANN, they nod to each other.
ROBERT TREMAIN notices the nod and knows that his brother is dead. He is stoic in his loss.
I am Hawker. Come sir, away from this charnel house. Your brother is not here, but I know where he is.
HAWKER writes a quick note on a piece of paper.
John, take this to the Canal engineer at Bude, then bring him and meet us at Stanbury Mouth. I give you two hours and a half
JOHN CANN leaves in a hurry.
Come young man, I know where your brother is, though we can do nothing as yet. Will you manage a little food?
Then I shall take you to him, you can help us.
Charlotte, this is the brother of one of the poor sailors, can we allow him some succour? Sir you will stay with us tonight, you are more than welcome to rest a day or two here.
You say your name is Robert?
Robert Tremaine Sir.
Robbie eh? much like my own.
CHARLOTTE lays some food out for the boy.
Robert a word with you….Have we found the body?
I think it is the corpse at Stanbury. I have not explained it yet, but John has raced to Bude to bring the engineer from the new canal. He has lifting gear I know, so we may be able to free him.
Come Robbie, have you finished? Then we should be away. We are to go to a small creek not far from here. A neighbour of mine has seen what I think is your brothers corpse. You must be strong for we will need help to bring him out from his imprisonment in the rocks.
Go there Robert Tremain, it will not be easy, but something you will be most relieved to have done in the future years of remembrance.
42. EXT- STANBURY MOUTH- DAY
THE ENGINEER AND JOHN CANN have lifting gear rigged up already. As HAWKER and TREMAIN approach they can see a foot sticking out from the rock. There is a large boulder on top of the corpse, about fifteen tonnes in weight.
That is he, I recognise the boots he was given at Christmas last. Are we ready to begin lifting?
Nearly, I must just belay this line.
When he is ready, JOHN CANN, the engineer and HAWKER all pull on the line. The rock begins rising.
A fraction more and I shall have him out. That’s it.
He pulls his brother to the clear shingle, and the boulder is allowed to return to its place. HAWKER, JOHN CANN, and the Engineer take handkerchiefs to their faces. TREMAIN oblivious to the smell kisses his brothers face.
Come men, let us take him to the churchyard. The day will be ever longer if not.
A sad line winds it’s way to the top of the beach. A cart is ready for the corpse.
43. EXT- MORWENSTOW CHURCHYARD- SUNSET
HAWKER is walking into the church with JOHN CANN at sunset.
They came in paths of storm,
They found this quiet home
In Christian Ground
Why sir when we used to find the dead sailors on the shore, and carry them in- you didn’t used to give way, but now I see you weeping on going into church.
John, since the last two weeks I have changed much. Before I would see so many ghosts around me, but now with every gust of wind, and moan through the trees, I hear the voice of a dead sailor, entreating me to save his soul. How my mind is in balance is very much a suprise.
Come though let us call them for evensong. The ritual of life is a balm to my fever.
JOHN CANN begins ringing the bell, CHARLOTTE appears, apart from her the only other congregation are some cats and a dog.
Now John, three for the trinity and one for the holy Virgin.
JOHN CANN pulls the bell four times.
Dearly beloved Charlotte..
He smiles at CHARLOTTE and continues with the ritual for Evensong. We see that CHARLOTTE is looking much older, though she smiles with much love as her Husband continues his ritual.
44. EXT. MANOR HOUSE- DAY
TITLE: Sir Thomas Acland’s Home 1862
HAWKER and CHARLOTTE sit in the Garden at Sir Thomas Acland’s home in Bude. There are several children playing ranging in age to their teens.
HAWKER is reading the paper- The West Briton, and CHARLOTTE is much older now, and talking to some of Sir THOMAS’ children.
Sir THOMAS is attempting to work out an Astrolabe, the latest piece of Nautical computing device.
Will I ever be able to work this confouded thing.
I say, I must read this: Mermaids At Mawgan Porth … One evening this week, ayoung man who lives adjoining the beach…Blah blah. He went out about 10 o’clock at night… near a point that runs into the sea he heard a screeching noise proceeding from a large cavern which is left by the sea at low water, but which has some deep pools in it, and communicating by the sea with another outlet. ..His astonishment is not to be described when on going up he saw something of the shape of a human figure staring at him with long hair hanging all about. He then ran away thinking he had seen the devil.
The next day some people on the cliff, saw three creatures of this same description. The following day, five were seen.
It goes onto say that… The large ones were lying on their faces, their upper parts were like those of human beings, and black or dark coloured. Their lower parts were of a bluish colour and terminating in a fin, like fish… Well friend what do you say to that?
Ridiculous, mermaids, in this day and age, Some of the lower classes will believe anything.
Do not be so quick to ridicule Thom. just because you do not believe, does not mean to say that it is any less valid to others.
Oh my man, do not begin again with your conflicting ideas.
They do not conflict, there is just as much a leap of faith in believing in our Lord walking on the water, as in the fact of women who dwell in the sea. There are many folk living amongst us who would readily agree to such creatures.
Nonsense HAWKER, ‘tis a joke only.
‘Tis not a joke, open your senses Sir THOMAS, there is much in this world that is hidden behind the immediate field of vision.
I have an idea.
oh no, what this time.
look I see the plant jocularis maxima, come Sir THOMAS, let us look and understand The Omnipotent plan.
Yes, yes of course, let us take a stroll.
45 EXT- BUDE HARBOUR- NIGHT
Sir THOMAS and HAWKER are hiding behind some lobster pots on the quay at Bude.
If we are seen Robbie, I would lose respect in all Cornwall. Perhaps we should forget the whole thing.
HAWKER is taking off his clothes, pulling a blue dress on upside down up to his waist.
Imagine what CHARLOTTE would say if she knew I had her blue silk.
He takes sea weed and ties it with a ribbon to his head.
How do I look?
Sir THOMAS puts his thumb up and nods encouragingly. HAWKER sneaks out from the pots, climbs to the end of the breakwater and sits in the moonlight pulling at his hair.
Sir THOMAS is hiding behind the lobster pots sniggering. HAWKER begins screeching loudly which causes Sir THOMAS to jump. He looks over the lobster pots-
A young couple appear across the harbour, taking a late night stroll. they look over at HAWKER. The young man points at HAWKER, and his girlfriend looks intently. With another screech the couple take off running.
Come Robbie, you have done enough. Quick we must away.
Soon a small group of men appear where the couple had been standing. They begin shouting and then pick up rocks and throw them high towards HAWKER. HAWKER is forced to Duck from a few, but he continues to shriek and comb his hair.
They hear a voice carry over the water “Come let us catch ‘er” HAWKER disapears over the back of the lobster pots and Sir THOMAS looks on fearful.
We see the gang running over the walkway, as a poor looking man in rags (THOMAS) wheels a barrow full of fishing net.
Get on wass all the fuss be?
A Mermaid, seen on the breakwater just now. We go to catch it.
Oh, tis nothing, you should a been here yesterday, saw five or more- You’s ‘ll be hard pressed to catch her now. She be away with the Pilchards.
The poor man continues pushing his load, While the crowd run on. From the barrow comes a faint screech, and the poor man hits the nets with his fist. We see it is Sir THOMAS pushing the barrow, with some scraps of sack cloth used as a disguise.
46. INT- MANOR HOUSE- DAY
It is breakfast time at the Acland Home. There is a sideboard filled with plates of an 19th century breakfast- Sausages, kippers, bacon etc. HAWKER and Sir THOMAS are laughing while they help themselves to food.
Is that the smell of the kippers or you HAWKER? I shall berate the servants if our fish are bad.
No Sir, I have washed out the smell of those nets, it has taken half the night. Though if not myself, nor the kippers, perhaps it was your outlandish dress of fishing sacks.
CHARLOTTE walks into the breakfast room.
Husband, could we return home? I do not feel so good.
Of course dear whatever is the matter?
I am not sure. Though also my eyes are fearfully painful and I can see little outside of straight in front of me.
Oh, let us return right away, if you are in pain. Sir THOMAS could you send on a message for the good Doctor of Stratton to ride out to the Parsonage?
Of course, my friends. CHARLOTTE, how long have you felt this way?
Not long Sir THOMAS, a week or so, though I suffered a terrible time last night.
I shall have your carriage readied immediately then, excuse me.
Sir THOMAS leaves.
I feel for you my love, what is it. I never knew you had any problems?
I know not, but I am afeard. I did not want to worry you so much. I know you are so hard at work yourself. I will return to my rooms a moment. A maid is now packing for me, shall I arrange for a groom to clear you room Dear, whilst you finish your breakfast?
Yes of course.
And my darling, perhaps don’t eat the kippers this morning they smell a little high.
47. EXT MORWENSTOW CHURCH- SUNSET
From a distance the view of the Church of St Morwenna with one bell tolling. To the Vicarage at sunset where all the curtains and shutters are closed. JOHN CANN is standing outside looking at the building.
To JOHN CANN, crossing to the Vicarage at midday. The shutters and curtains still closed.
To the church on Sunday. JOHN CANN Cann ringing the bell for church. In the pews nearly a full complement of parishioners.
JOHN CANN rings the bell for a long time.
Eventually HAWKER walks through the side door, he does not meet any ones eye, and begins the service perfunctorily. He retires behind the rood screen. He falters on much of the service.
He begins the sermon:
For those who know me, as you may know, my wife has died. Unfortunately this has hurt me much more than I have expected. For this reason I am unable to carry on very well with acting as your Parson, for the Parson is the Person. The person to whom you look for guidance, but I am lost. I will need a little time to gather myself, and ask if you would allow a younger man, a week or two to take on some of my clerical duties.
For those who knew CHARLOTTE I know that you would honour her in your own way. I would like to honour her with a service too, but I.. But I find it a little too hard to continue talking. We shall have a service, but I will need some help from you all to conduct it.
At the end of the service HAWKER leaves the building directly and hurries to the Parsonage. JOHN CANN follows at a distance, but the door is closed and locked, the curtains remain drawn.
48. EXT HAWKERS HUT, VICARAGE CLIFFS DAY
HAWKER is in his hut wrapped up warm, there is a light snow swirling in the brisk wind. The sea is grey and white flecked with a tumultous groundswell. HAWKER looks grey and unshaven. He is smoking on his pipe. His fingers in fingerless gloves are attempting to add a grain of opium to the bowl. We see his fingers are bitten to the quick and dirty. He drops the grain on the floor and attempts to find it. He gives up the search, and picks another piece from his pocket. The smoke swirls in his mouth and is snatched away by the wind. He sits back and stares out at the sea.
MORWENNA is suddenly sitting beside him.
Robert, it is getting late. You have been here a long time.
No longer than usual sister.
You have been here a long time Robert, it is nearly a year now that you have missed your wife.
Charlotte has been my life. I cannot sleep at night for the pain of her loss.
You are your life Robert, you still have much work to do here, Morwenstow is in need of you. The church roof is in need of repair, the peoples souls need freshening with faith. Bring back the festival at Samhain, the church needs to understand the peoples year. You could call it the Harvest Festival, it will allow some charitable food for the poorest of the parish
I have written a great piece of work.
And what have you done with it Robert? finish it now, and send it to London. It is time you came to the surface. Look I think I see a corpse, there below, you must finish with Charlotte. You must fish. Fish out the sailor.
HAWKER comes out of a reverie and seas that there is indeed a body at sea. The waves are washing up the cliffs in time to the last words of Morwenna. He takes up a sack beside him in the hut and climbs down the cliff. He is still a little under the influence of the opium and is seeing visions, and hearing the moans of sailors. The wind and snow swirl around him, he reaches the sea and waits for the body to reach the shallows. He enters the cold sea to his knees, the waters nearly reaching the top of his boots and drags the corpse to land. He lays it down on the sand. Ties the hands together with some cord from his sack, holds the hands above the body swings himself under the arms and in one movement has the sailor on his back. Immediately he starts the long climb up.
49. EXT- BRIDGE OVER STREAM- DAY
HAWKER is standing at the King William Bridge at Coombe. The wind is blowing hard from the sea. He has a sea coat on, and a scarf wrapped tight around his neck. He is shaking as his hands grip the stones, and a light rain is laying on his grey skin.
HAWKER: Charlotte, I am sick now, but I will not come, see we built the bridge, you knew the King would pay, the people are happier now, but they still need me, more than I need you.
I am trying to leave you now, I will still remember you with all the love I can muster, but I cannot think of you as much as I do. I must stop talking to you, I must stop this sickness, I must give up the opium pipe.
So goodbye for now sweet wife, and allow me a recovery, for if not our work will be much foreshortened.
HAWKER sees that two horses are approaching from Morwenstow, he attempts to gather himself and wipes tears from his eyes.
He looks at his hands, sees they are dirty and shaking and hides them in his pockets.
It is DR JONES, and a woman.
Why Mr HAWKER! What do you here in such miserable weather? Admiring your old bridge- or looking for pixies?
‘Afternoon doctor, no just returning from a visit to a sick parishioner.
Who pray tell, I may be able to offer some succour of my own.
And hasten him to the churchyard, I think not.
Very dry, Mr Hawker- I hear that your congregation is again diminishing since last year. At the chapel we are ever busier.
Well Jones, if you don’t get ‘em in the living, you are sure to finish them off in the hereafter. Dissent is all very well if it is only yourself you are harming.
We have a church that is clean and wholesome, look at yourself Hawker to see what that old faith has come to, sick, stuck in the past, and more interested in spiritual contemplation than saving souls.
We can see that HAWKER is trying extremely hard to keep his strength, as he looks up into the Doctors face he feels weak. The doctors companion can see the difficulties that he is under.
Come Doctor, we have a way to ride as yet-
Of course my dear, let us be off.
As they ride away HAWKER is forced to squeeze against the wall of the bridge. He looks at them riding off in fine spirits, and turns his back to them, to begin the long damp walk back to Morwenstow. As he leaves the bridge he leans over to the grass and vomits.
50. INT THE VICARAGE- DAY
HAWKER is opening all the shutters. Then turning to the desk he pulls out a manuscript and a box. He picks up a quill pen and writes off a quick note to a publishers.
He then empties the box on the desk it is a lump of opium. He looks at it, then walks out of the room to the fire in the dining room and tosses it on the fire. He returns to the desk and folds the letter into an envelope.
JOHN CANN knocks at the door and enters.
Good morning Sir. We have a problem with the housekeeping in that there is no money. The fish for this week has not come for we have no funds, and the coal man has not been paid for a month.
I understand John. Though have no fear, Lazarus is alive and will doubtless change the fortunes of Morwenstow.
I am sorry sir? I do not understand.
It is time for a new start my man. I feel a new year will mean a new beginning, for too long I have been under a morbid spell. St Morwenna has cast away the demon. I will go this day to Clovelly and buy us some fish. Ask Marion if she would be so good to begin a spring clean of the Parsonage. perhaps you could prepare burial for yesterdays sailor, and replace the herbs on the floor in Church. Open the windows, open the windows.
But it is January sir.
It may be January but it is bright enough. I am off to Clovelly, ‘tis a long time since I ventured there, I will return with fish for ourselves and the smoker. Away, I shall take Carrow.
51. EXT CLOVELLY HARBOUR- DAY
HAWKER dismounts from Carrow and wanders through the crowds. He is still affected by the opium he has been taking, and is grey and wan. The people are looking at him. He sees where he must go to buy fish and walks with a little difficulty there. It is a conscious effort for him to appear normal and conduct a conversation
Good day, I wish to buy a selection of the freshest fish.
There is a hold up sir if you could wait awhile until we have come to an agreement, on the account of the weather the fishermen are refusing to sell at the usual price.
I, I am in a hurry, I am not so well, and a little confused. How much do you need? I have money.
ONLOOKER(LARGE MAN, BIG VOICE)
Parson Hawker- The sailors friend, he that buried so many poor drowned fellows at his own expense. Shame that this man should be in want of fish. Clovelly will never allow this man hardship- Give him what he wants and if you are willing to gamble with your soul, then charge me, I shall pay.
Parson Hawker, I knew not it was you, here allow me to find you some cod, I have whiting and mullet.
HAWKER takes the fish offering a handful of change. The fish seller refuses his money. HAWKER appears confused. He takes the fish and turns to his saddlebag.
Three cheers for Parson HAWKER! Hip
The rest of the crowd are now watching
Hurrah Hurrah Hurrah
HAWKER smiles a little, and nervously mounts Carrow. AS he walks back up the hill he waves a little to the crowd, many of them are still watching him, and they wave back.
52. INT- THE VICARAGE- HAWKERS STUDY
HAWKER is pacing up and down.
Oh Lord, help me please the fever’s of the night are vexing me intolerable. I should order more poppy, no, I will not. The pain is becoming less.
The first part of my Opus is to be published. The weather is returning to the good. Some money is coming in. A letter from the literary society. Come HAWKER there is a greener field.
Let me see a wish to hear me recite my new work, at the Guild Hall, London! At last some recognition- With Lord Tennyson in attendance, yes, I think I may. And perhaps we may try the railway. Yes next week, I best learn my lines.
This house is too dark, let us have visitors, and fine foods, perhaps I need more servants.
Ay the pain of the poppy, I shall never return to these evil days, Morwenna do ye hear me. No more of the noxious filth!
53. EXT- THE VICARAGE VEGETABLE GARDENS- DAY
HAWKER is striding across the field to where JOHN CANN is struggling with trying to put up a scarecrow, the figure is in remarkable semblance to HAWKER, with a broadbrimmed hat and large cloak. There are many birds flying around him.
John, John I must leave for London. Why this won’t help John, they think it is I look. Hello Tommy, and Robin, here have some seed.
The birds fly down to HAWKER. JOHN CANN looks a little miserable.
Not to worry man. The peas will grow if God wants it.
John, I want to open the house a little, come let us buy in some finer foods. I may even return with some guests from London. Please convey to Marion my wishes.
Yes sir, and if I might say so sir, it is very much better to see you well.
54. EXT HIGH POV STEAM TRAIN THROUGH VALLEY- DAY
55. INT TRAIN CARRIAGE- DAY
HAWKER is on the train to London. He is wearing some scarlet gauntlets. his great boots, a yellow jacket, and a brown beaver hat. He is watched by the other members of the carriage, as he walks up and down.
HAWKER (to WOMAN)
My second time on a railway. And the first time away from Devon & Cornwall in twent years, wonderful.
The stranger wonders if HAWKER is talking to her, and looks away.
HAWKER opens the window and looks out of the carriage. As he does so his hat is blown off. He turns shocked, and after reading the sign above the chain that runs across the top of the doors and windows he pulls it sharply. There is a loud whistle from the engine, and the brakes are slammed on. There is some turmoil in the carriage as luggage falls.
The conductor in uniform comes rushing to the carriage.
What has caused the train to be stopped?
I sir, my hat. It has fallen from me. Could you be so good and instruct somebody to fetch it?
Sir, you have caused a great consternation, and much difficulties. The train will have to stop for an hour now for the Western train. The chain is only for emergencies.
It is an emergency, my beaver hat- It was a present from a dear lady.
That is not an emergency sir. I must tell you that it is in my powers to have you arrested for causing a stoppage of the train without due reason.
Well perhaps, but still would it be alright for someone to check the line back there?
NO IT WOULD NOT. I suggest you stay in your seat until we arrive now sir.
The Conductor departs.
HAWKER ( to lady sitting opposite)
It was a very expensive hat.
The lady turns her head and looks out of the window. The train starts up.
56. EXT SALISBURY STATION- DAY
The train stops at Salisbury station.
There will be a twenty minute stop here in Salisbury. Travellers may purchase tea and coffee from the station rest rooms on Platform 1.
57. INT STATION MASTERS OFFICE- DAY
HAWKER knocks on the door of the Station-Master. He walks in.
Good day to you sir, I am in need of purchasing a new hat. I lost a fine beaver one on the line near Honiton, and I am on my way to London.
Sir, I am very sorry to inform you that there is no purveyor of headwear here.
What a benighted place this is. We have no purveyor of Headwear here! I also would like to say that I received little satisfaction from your conductor when I lost my hat.
Many people lose things on the railways sir. I will note down you have lost your hat, if it is handed in we will send it onto you.
Yes but the problem is that I stopped the train, but no one would walk the line to retrieve my hat.
You stopped the train sir, for a hat? Right I see that is serious, Will you let me write your name down? We will take this further, there may have to be some reimbursment
There is a large whistle
HAWKER: Oh, That’s the train for London, no time station master, but if you can arrange for my hat to be picked it up send it on to Hawker of Morwenstow.
58. INT- PADDINGTON STATION- DAY
Paddington Station, there are two men waiting for HAWKER on the platform. HAWKER alights with a bag. He is wearing a red neckerchief tied over his head pirate fashion.
Good evening Mr HAWKER, I am Jones, welcome to London. I have come to take you to The Dorchester. The Literary society is honoured to have you as a guest.
Good man, glad to be here.
HAWKER walks on and the two men look quizzically at each other behind him.
59 EXT- STANBURY MOUTH- DAY
TITLE: July 1864
HAWKER is with a group of friends picknicking on the sands at low tide.
Sir THOMAS Acland, his daughter AGNES, two other young ladies a gentleman, the Reverend VALENTINE- a yorkshireman convalescing, with his children and his governess PAULINE.
Sir THOMAS, HAWKER, and VALENTINE, are sitting in deckchairs. The children are playing.
So Father VALENTINE, a fine spell of weather you are having for your convalecence. I hope you are enjoying our little corner.
Aye indeed Mr Hawker, much improved I feel with the weather, and the air abouts. Your parish must be one of the all beautiful of our pleasant land. And you sir? the rumour was that you had been ill yourself.
HAWKER: Indeed, but I conquered my difficulties with the help of Morwenna, who is always with me.
VALENTINE: I would like to introduce to you Pauline Kuczynski, who governs my Children. She has been begging to be introduced to you these past days, she is evidently a fan of your poetry. Pauline, come here child.
PAULINE leaves the children with whom she has been playing chase and demurely comes to where HAWKER and VALENTINE are sitting on Deckchairs. She is hot and sweating around the face, her face flushed.
PAULINE stumbles on the pebbles as she reaches HAWKER, falls onto him, he has a slight glimpse of her breasts as she falls, and she disguises it as a kiss on his cheek. A little of her sweat remains on his cheek.
So sorry, Mr Hawker, I have been longing to meet you since I first read some of your poetry as a fifteen year old.
And how old are you now pray tell?
Nineteen Sir, I have been working for Mr Valentine some two years now.
HAWKER surreptitiously wipes his fingers across the sweat left on his cheek, he touches his fingers to his nose.
And are you enjoying this place?
Yes Sir, very much. It is lovely for the children to be in such pleasant surroundings.
Well then, something for you- perhaps I could recite some of my new work. I have spent over a year composing it. It is the first book, a great epic on the life of King Arthur, that great man who lived with his knights among these parts in the time of St Morwenna and St Nectan, the saints of these hills.
Sir THOMAS overhears him and calls out to the people in the party about.
My Children, friends of my Children, and others, pray come ye close. The great writer Robert Stephen HAWKER, Parson of Morwenstow, Cornwall is to recite from his new great work ‘The quest of The Sangraal’
Thankyou, sir THOMAS, my oldest fan, someone who is ever ready to listen in pain to my attempts at art, and seldom to tell me of the rubbish of which he thinks it.
Nonsense sir, I am always keen for you to recite your work, it gives me the chance to relax, and close my eyes.
Thankyou old friend, I always knew I could trust you for a barbed reply, but enough and please come around.
The young children sit at HAWKERS feet, some young ladies, stand further back, giggling slightly but watching HAWKER intently.
If I may, the first part of ‘The quest of the Sangraal’, an epic of the Dark Ages, in five parts, four still to be created.
In Cornish ‘San’ is holy (short for sanctus), and ‘Graal’ is a receptacle, or vase. The good king Arthur asked his knights to search for some of the holy relics of the lord, and the Graal, was the receptacle with which he shared wine at the last supper.
This is the first of the poem, and forgive me for the Keltic which I have used, though I will stop to explain, if it need it.
Ho! for the Sangraal! Vanished vase of heaven!
That held, like Christ’s own heart, an hin of blood!
(Hin is a hebrew measure used for the wine of sacr..)
Get on with it Hawker.
Ho! for the Sangraal!…
How the merry shout,
Of reckless riders on their rushing steeds,
Smote the loose echo from the drowsy rock
Of grim Dundagel: throned along the sea!
As HAWKER recites he is looking at PAULINE, who is looking back. Some of Sir THOMAS’s daughter’s friends have noticed.
The Children at HAWKERs feet are soon fidgeting and preparing to escape.
“Unclean! Unclean! ten cubits and a span,
(this is the distance at which a leper was commanded to keep from every healthy person)
Keep from the wholesome touch of human-kind:
stand at the gate, and beat the lepers bell,
But stretch not forth the hand for holy spring,-
Unclean as Egypt at the ebb of Nile!”
Thus said the monk: a lean and gnarléd man;
The children run out from HAWKERS feet as he pauses, AGNES and her friends use this as an excuse to escape also. PAULINE remains behind. Sir THOMAS is already leaning back in his chair getting ready for sleep. VALENTINE is on the edge of his deckchair in rapt attention.
His couch was on the rock, by that wild stream
That floods, in cataract, Saint Nectan’s kieve:
(or cauldron, it is a place near to Tintagel)
Oh, I seem to have lost my audience.
go on please, Mr Hawker, I am much enjoying your tale.
Yes, please do Mr Hawker, I too am enraptured.
Sir THOMAS grunts.
Later that day. HAWKER and PAULINE are talking at the deckchairs. Sir THOMAS and the Rev VALENTINE are playing cricket with the children.
One of Agnes’s friends takes a stick, and writes in the sand where HAWKER can read. Agnes reads it aloud.
On this soft sand thy name I trace,
Which ocean’s tide will soon efface;
But vain the power of ocean’s art
To wash thine image from my heart.
will he he read it Agnes?
yes I think he is reading it as we speak.
HAWKER: Methinks that message is intended for me- Come PAULINE let us walk a little on the sands
HAWKER takes up a stick, and writes back to the message.
On these soft sands we just have read
The effusion of thy softer head:
Old Ocean’s power indeed is vain
To wash the nonsense from thy brain.
Agnes and her friend act coyly as HAWKER is writing, As the message is seen Agnes laughs and her friend reddens.
PAULINE smiles, and her and HAWKER carry on with their walk.
well it is very well indeed to be walking with a poet. I write myself you know.
So glad Pauline, it is an honourable occupation, and have you worked long for Mr Valentine?
Mr Hawker, you know as well as I that you have already asked me that question, I will not answer it.
Of course, I am sorry, please call me Robert.
Did I not here Baronet Acland call you Robbie?
Well, yes he does, but he is an old friend.
I would like to call you Robbie.
Well I am not sure if you are quite as close to me as Sir THOMAS.
Perhaps I would like to be.
Well perhaps I would like that too, yes Pauline.
HAWKER is embarassed.
Actually, I think Mr HAWKER would probably be better in company, but you could call me Robbie when we are together.
Perhaps I could invite all to dinner this evening, yes that’s an idea, what do ye say to that?
Well that is for my employer to decide, but yes I would be delighted to come to dinner, so far I have had little company apart from the children and Mr Valentine
Well lets go and ask him straight away.
They walk over to the cricket game
I say, I have an idea- How about dinner at mine. It has been awhile since I opened the dining room, and I would be very glad of you all to come.
Not us unfortunatly Robbie. We already have dinner ordered with my kindly wife. We should be heading back soon I think.
Mr Valentine, could I invite you and your family to dinner with me?
That would be delightful Mr Hawker, but I must tell you that my stomach is a little fragile and only the simplest of meals for me, also we tend to eat early for the childrens sake.
Sir, I am famous for my hospitality. The food for you will be simple, home produce, fresh vegetables from the garden and a piece of excellent meat from my own farm. You are all welcome to stay this night, I have comfortable rooms for all of you, and an especially nice room for your two children-settled then. I think I will have a gentle ride in the Phaeton over the cliff, and meet you back at the Parsonage for about seven thirty O’clock.
Well that is a little late.
HAWKER looking at his watch
Well then a quarter past the clock, and see you then.
HAWKER walks slowly up the beach until he is out of sight, and then tears along the path at a run.
He jumps up into the buggy, slaps the reigns and takes off in a plume of dust down the lane.
60. EXT- TONACOMBE MANOR- DAY
HAWKER turns the Phaeton into Tonacombe Manor, He stops to a halt in front of the door leaps out and bangs on it.
A young MAID in uniform oopens the door
Parson HAWKER is everything alright?
Of course everything is alright. Could you please ask Mr Martyn if I might see him, or ask if I could take a leg of lamb.
The maid disappears, closing the door on HAWKER. He stands walking in circles, wringing his hands.
Eventually the maid appears holding a leg of lamb.
Mr Martyn says you are welcome to the lamb, but you won’t bring him back to the fold.
Ha, the Dissenter! I’ll not see him at Church then, but I will replace his Lamb, thankyou.
HAWKER leaps back into the Phaeton, reels it around and canters out of the drive.
61. INT- THE VICARAGE- KITCHEN- LATE AFTERNOON
HAWKER rushes into the kitchen where MARION is cleaning
Mrs Cann, Mrs Cann, quick we must get this lamb cooked. I have invited four for dinner.
Mr HAWKER, whatever is the matter?
A dinner party, guests, for quarter past seven, Here- Lamb.
Why that is wonderful Mr Hawker. It’s been a long time, well over a year. I must say I have been waiting. Go on, go and put some clean clothes on. I will have everything ready, Though the lamb will take a little while to cook. You can choose some wine, it’s about time you got some of the better stuff out.
Maybe I better get John to put a jacket on for service.
No, not John, better young Mary the maid. No, no she is young, better John. Yes John, get him to shave. Where to start.
Mr HAWKER, please, go to your room and dress, I can work everything.
Right ho, yes, a wash, I am hot.
HAWKER wanders up the stairs mumbling.
62. INT- THE VICARAGE DINING ROOM-EARLY EVENING
At the table, Rev VALENTINE, his children HEATHER and JAMES and PAULINE. They are silent. HAWKER rushes in, then slows to walk.
Wonderful, you are on time. Everything is ready, right, here we are.
Ah Scallops: For what we are about to receive may the lord make us truly thankful, Amen.
Hawkers guests are looking at the scallops with hesitation.
Mr Hawker, In Yorkshire we are not quite so used to western tastes, what manner of animal have you put in front of us.
Shellfish, delicious, a little spice, some bacon and cream.
He sees the children looking at him with some amazement
-Live you know, sometimes one has to chase them around the plate a little.
He makes a play of chasing one with his hand around the plate
-Best grab it around the gills, hoist it in the air, catch it in the mouth and swallow, like so.
Perhaps it’s not the best food for the children.
Well you dont have to swallow it whole really, I jest.
The children are entertained and begin to happily eat their food.
Is this the way Mr Hawker?
Suggestively she lifts a scallop to her mouth, holds it between her teeth for a second and swallows it.
Well, no not necessarily, it was a prank, the swallowing, for the children.
I see it is not to your liking Mr Valentine.
A little rich for my constitution I fear.
Oh well, more wine then, claret?
A little, a half glass.
HAWKER tips a little into VALENTINES glass, and slops a full amount into his and PAULINES.
Children, please try some of my Elderflower Champagne, not to worry Mr VALENTINE, it has little or no alcohol, I have a lovely leg of lamb on it’s way, I hope that will be more to your liking.
Perfect, I just hope it is well enough cooked, I am dismissive of the carniverous man who likes his meat raw.
Of course Mr VALENTINE, it will be cooked to a goodly manner. Excuse me all one moment-
HAWKER leaves the dining room and rushes to the kitchen. MARION and John and a maid are busy getting the main course ready.
63. INT- VICARAGE KITCHEN- NIGHT
-Marion how goes the lamb?
Good Sir, still a little rare, maybe another 10 minutes, don’t you fret, back you go.
Marion, make sure the meat is well done for the Reverend. Make it as grey as his visage, oh and I suppose we better have another bottle of the Claret, John could you get the best we have, I think there is a Petrus somewhere.
He returns to the dining room.
64. INT- DINING ROOM- NIGHT
-Ah we have all eaten, except for you Mr VALENTINE, not to your liking, well never mind, the meat is a coming-in.
Now where was I, more wine, not for you Mr VALENTINE, never mind, Here PAULINE.
Now I was going to entertain you with a little story about the local area, Heather, James have you heard the tale of Cruel Coppinger. No! Well perhaps I better explain the foul deeds he was guilty of.
Now yesterday you amused yourselves at Welcombe Mouth, well once long ago, in fact one hundred years ago.
VALENTINE: Sir, I hope you will not fill the childrens dreams with nonsense.
HAWKER: Never fear that, this is a true story of the Severn Sea, He was a Dane and his descendants live among us still, there are old men now who quake at the sound of his name.
Now as I was saying, One hundred years ago almost today, there was the rarest of summer tempests, the mercury dropped to a record low, even for the midsts of winter. The people stayed in their houses fearful that their rooves would be off across the moors. And then the bell was rung at St Nectans Church, clang, clang. There was a ship in trouble. The people set about to aid the poor sailors that were in trouble and rushed down to the mouth.
When they arrived they saw a huge ship with red sails, battling the tempest and tacking from Gull Rock to Embury beacon. It’s sails were in tatters, and a man could be seen, a huge man with long red hair standing at the bowsprit. As the storm reached it’s fury and the boat was about to be wrecked on the rocks, he leapt out into the huge rollers. He swam furiously to the beach.
As he reached the shore he turned to see the ship disappear into a bank of fog and cloud.
There is a light knock at the door and JOHN CANN walks in carrying plates, followed by MARION, she delivers a plate first to VALENTINE and then to the two children. JOHN CANN delivers to HAWKER and PAULINE.
HAWKER looks relieved that the food, has arrived.
-Good, now let us see what we think of the lamb, more wine for anyone. James can I tempt you with some more of my elderflower champagne?
Yes please sir, and I wonder if you can tell us a little more of Cruel Coppinger.
the Parson has finished with his story for now children.
Please father, we would so much like to hear more.
You have a wonderful way with words Mr HAWKER, pray continue.
Of course, with your fathers permission, and is the lamb to your liking sir?
It is cooked well, though I find the gravy a little rich, as for your story, yes please, it is entertaining.
Good, then I will. Well, where was I?
He had swam to the beach
Ah, yes at the beach. Well nearly all of the parish was at the beach, watching the red headed giant emerge from the great rollers of Welcombe on the high tide. No person dare speak to the Dane as he stood panting and regaining his breath, until young Dinah Hamlyn of Galsham Farm came riding down to the beach on a large steed. Straightaway she rode to Coppinger and he swung up behind her. She kicked her horse into action, and up the steep path they went, Cruel Coppinger laughing behind her, his long wet hair shaking.
Is she still alive?
Oh no, but she lived to a long age, and is remembered still.
Oh do continue Mr HAWKER, I am entranced.
Yes, yes, Well Coppinger stayed at the Yeoman home and at first was a gentle kind and hardworking addition to the family. He asked for that daughter’s hand in marriage, and it was given. They were given a cottage at Galsham but from that day on Coppinger changed for the worse. He gathered around him a gang of wreckers, thieves, drunkards and smugglers. No ship was safe, for their trickery lured ships to the mighty rocks on dark stormy nights. They would not stand for survivors and it is said that the horrendous swim would be in vain when one had your grasping fingers smashed from their life searching hold on the slippery boulders
HAWKER stops to fill some wine for PAULINE and himself. They have now finished their food and HAWKER rings the bell for service.
Can I help sir?
We are ready for our desserts I would say-
JOHN CANN begins clearing the plates.
-John, what do the people remember of Coppinger?
A monster, Sir, a murdering monster, may we never have him back.
HEATHER and JAMES shiver in excitement. VALENTINE is also looking scared.
I am not sure if this is wise for the children.
I think it alright for them Sir, it is most exciting.
Very well, but John, no dessert for me I am quite full already.
64. INT- THE DINING ROOM- NIGHT
Later, The children are tired and the meal is finished.
HAWKER: And so with the Kings Riders hunting him down, and the villagers armed with stick, cudgel and farm tool against him, he ran from Galsham with a wild wind behind him. As Cruel Coppinger ran, the rain came down in torrents, leaving the horses all a-slither on the treacherous paths. Down to Welcombe Mouth he tore, gorse ripping at his jerkin, just yards in front of the braying horses, falling over the pebbles he plunged headlong into the sea. He swam through the heaving seas until he was swallowed by the mists and low clouds, some say that a ship waited for him in the fog, perhaps he died, but that is all anymore was seen of that murderous Dane, Cruel Coppinger.
PAULINE, JAMES and HEATHER clap energetically.
I think my dears that it is time you were in bed. Please thank Mr Hawker for such wonderful entertainment, and let us be up the stairs to our rooms.
HAWKER rings the bell
John could you see if Marion or the maid could show the children to their rooms?
I thankyou for your hospitality, Mr Hawker, but I too am a little tired. I will say goodnight to the Children and put myself to bed if I can beg your leave, I feel sure I will be thinking on your strange tale for a while at least.
Of course kind sir, John will show you to your room unless you will join me for port and some tobacco in the study?
No thankyou sir, I will say goodnight.
65. INT HAWKERS STUDY- NIGHT
HAWKER is sitting in an armchair with his pipe, and writing a few words in a notebook on his knee.
The violet eyes! The violet eyes, that gleam’d a glimpse of paradise.
There is a knock on the door.
PAULINE walks into the room and closes the door behind her.
The children are asleep. The house is so quiet, I thought I might see if I could borrow a book to read as I am not quite ready to retire.
Indeed Pauline, I felt suddenly bereft of company when your employer retired. There are books aplenty on the shelves, help yourself- I have let the servants go now, but if you would like to sit and chat with me I would be honoured. I know it might not seem the done thing by London standards but this is the west country and we are not so formal here.
I would be delighted to stay awhile Robbie, you mind me not calling you by that name now?
I , er no, I don’t mind.
what are you writing, will you read it to me?
I er, no, it is my personal writing, it is my observations, I had mentioned you to it as a matter of fact, No, I think not.
He closes the book
The children very much enjoyed your story, they have been acting the parts of wreckers as they changed, I will imagine they will talk of nothing else tomorrow.
We did not quite finish the wine at Dinner, or I have some port, would you like some of either?
I may have a little more wine, but do not trouble yourself to rise, allow me.
She takes a glass from the sideboard and pours a small glass.
HAWKER is watching her.
She takes a sip and looks over the glass at his eyes.
You know they will say that I am depraved and that you are attempting to rise above your station.
Do you care?
I have always cared, perhaps too much, but I have never allowed those thoughts to change my own judgement.
I am not the lowly girl you think of Mr Hawker, my mother was married to a Polish count, however he died, and she has been left with his debts. I am forced to work, you must realise that not everyone in employment is of low birth.
Do you like your employment?
He is a boring man Robbie, I have had hardly any enjoyment since leaving London, Yorkshire is so dull. Being here has given me a new lease on life. it is as if we are on the cusp of the past and the future, real and surreal, sea and land, Christian and witchcraft.
I agree Pauline, tis true. So would you come and live here?
It is not only the land, but the man that I want.
And I the woman, come sit on my knee. I wish to smell behind your ear.
66. INT MORWENSTOW CHURCH- DAY
Sunday at Church.
PAULINE is standing alone in a pew at the rear of the church. Some of the congregation are talking about her, and she gets many looks from those in front of her. She holds their eyes defiantly.
I would also like to inform you all that there will be an extra service on Saturday. I am getting married, and ..
The audience erupts into cheers, and everyone turns to smile at PAULINE. She is shocked,and then happy. HAWKER is trying to calm down the congregation but is also looking pleased.
67 EXT- MORWENSTOW CHURCH-DAY
It is HAWKER and PAULINES wedding day.
St Morwenna’s church is full, there are even people outside the door.
VO: We are gathered here today to celebrate the wedding of….
The singing is loud and joyous, and the bell ringers pull the bells with abandon at the end of the service.
They leave and are covered in confetti, HAWKER bends down to kiss PAULINE.
Well I think we have work to do Robbie.
Well yes indeed PAULINE, but let us think of ourselves before the congregation, we have a Honeymoon-
Exactly- Children, Mr HAWKER, you are getting older and you need some young things around you.
well lets get the wedding party out of the way first, surely.
67 INT MORWENSTOW CHURCH- DAY
At the font.
The church is full of ghosts, that swirl around the font, at the centre is HAWKER, who baptises his three daughters over a swirl of time, and faces from the past including several seamen in rags, CHARLOTTE, Morwenna, Nectan etc.
I baptise thee Morwenna
I baptise thee Rosalind
I baptise thee Juliot.
In the background are the living congregation.
68. EXT- THE VICARAGE- DAY
TITLE: September 1868
HAWKER is at outside his home he has a baby on his lap, and two toddlers are playing on a blanket in front of him.
Sir THOMAS approaches from the path to the church.
Hawker! Acting as Nanny, haven’t you a job to do?
Hello old friend. How goes the old Lord of the Manor?
Sir THOMAS approaches and sits down with the children on the blanket.
Responsibilities fall off me every year that I realise how innocent life is, Come on how is your beautiful young wife?
Not so good, childbirth has not been easy for her, she must rest often. I was hoping that she would be looking after me in my old age, another plan that has fallen by the wayside.
Ha, the usual HAWKER, never happy when he should be.
And what of your parishioners-What think you of the Reform act?
The poor have much more pressing worries than the vote sir. This should be the quieter time of my life, when all my worries have been sorted into safe compartments and filed away, and what do I have? My church denouncing the Bible, the creation just a metaphor. The dissenters have grown even more obscene…
Obscene, Robbie? calm yourself. Mr Wesley has surely done much for the spread of Christian values.
The history of this church, so many years of knowledge and understanding, washed away by sexual shakings a- a- spasm of the ganglions. I have seen them, depraved. They have a chapel at Marsland, Remember Dr Jones? he is the Preacher- if I had my way it would be burnt down and the congregation scattered.
Calm yourself Robbie you are getting a little old for such excitement.
It is Thursday, they will be having a ‘meeting’ this evening, why don’t we go down and look through the windows.
Britain is heading towards change we hardly know about. If they have their way the Peers will be thrown out from the House of Lords, Churches will mean nothing, just a pretty place to look at on your travels. London will grow to be a town from the shores of the east to the gates of Bristol, and populated by a grey sludge of unholy, ignorant, paupers who cannot differentiate between spring and Autumn. Come THOMAS, I’ll show you what your world is coming to.
69. EXT- METHODIST CHAPEL- NIGHT
HAWKER and Sir THOMAS are walking along the road and as they pass the entrance to the chapel they duck down and sneak below the window level around to the back of the building.
They lift their heads to the level of the window and look through to the proceedings.
There is a service going on, Dr Jones, now an old man is leading the service with a long grey beard.
There are several women who are shaking slightly in the front of the congregation. Jones is holding the women in turn. He touches their breasts a little as he does so, and they begin shaking more.
Feel the power of the lord, let the holy spirit enter your soul.
One of the women begins to shake even more, and she gabbles unintelligible words. Her dress is becoming looser and looser and her breasts can be seen in some of her more extravagant gyrations.
As Dr JONES moves among them he can be seen to touch his penis against them through their clothing. HAWKER and Sir THOMAS look at each other as Dr JONES has a prominent protuberance in the front of his trousers, hardly hidden by the folds of his long shirt.
Sir THOMAS begins laughing, as HAWKER’s face becomes a furious red. Sir THOMAS is holding HAWKER back from standing up to the window and causing a commotion.
There is a crash as they topple back and fall over a fence and down an incline into the woods. They are covered in leaves and sticks.
Hush, Robbie, they have stopped.
Some faces appear at the window that opens.
Is somebody there? if it be Children, I shall know from your parents who is about, get out of here a’fore we catch you and thrash you.
Sir THOMAS is holding his hand over HAWKER’s mouth and is finding it hard to catch his breath with laughter.
HAWKER manages to remove his hand-
I have seen thee Doctor Jones, your church is so wholesome, oh yes that you walk around with the bowsprit of the Bencoolen sticking out o’ your breeches. What faith is that I wonder? Some old faith I would say, Positively Roman with the dance of the vestal virgins. Oh yes the old gods we are seeing, licentiousness from Bacchus no doubt, you lead your people a merry dance with their spastic gangling shakings. Voices of God say you, prompted by a rude prompter says I.
Sir THOMAS manages to get his hand over HAWKERs mouth again.
Is that you hiding in the bushes HAWKER! What are you doing here you mad-man? ever since you were a boy nothing but strange ways, now be off and leave a simple god fearing congregation alone!
He slams the window, and a hymn begins.
HAWKER and Sir THOMAS sit and laugh in the dirt and leaves.
Come Sir THOMAS, we have done our duty. I bet I have scared at least one of those dissenters to return to St Morwenna.
It’s true HAWKER, you have been nothing but strange since you I met you, but bloody glad I am for it! Come lets away, and leave them to their service. Will I ever be too old for these strange-ways?
70. INT HAWKERS STUDY-NIGHT
HAWKER is sitting in his finest dressing gown and hat. He is writing with a swan quill, his pipe near his hand.
Robbie, I am going to retire, please do not stay up too late. I worry for your health sometimes, you are constantly writing your letters.
You must not worry also dear, your constitution is not so strong, but we are very poor and in desperate need of funds. I am writing a collection of stories from the past.
Do ye know that some of my critics have accused me of plagiarism, it vexes me so. I have never borrowed another idea. It incenses me.
If you are becoming vexed then rest, are you partaking of the poppy again Robbie?
I am not, well rarely, I have had some awful headaches recently, and the opium is a balm for that, but not in the way I was using before my brain-storm.
For your own health Robert, I must tell you that you are looking a lot older this year than last.
Well I would dear girl, surely.
Do not jest Robert. I am in all seriousness.
Yes, Woman, but leave me now, I have work to do.
We are both unwell, I know that, but please let us not argue, my Prince. If we have no money, if we have little food, if we have ill health, what does it matter when there are still those outside our door with little of any. Come to bed soon Robbie, it is cold, I would like have you close to me this night.
She leaves. As the door closes HAWKER opens the drawer of his desk, and takes out a small piece of Opium, he rolls it around his fingers, and then leans back and picks up his pipe.
71. EXT- MORWENSTOW CHURCHYARD- NIGHT
TITLE: June 1875
Outside the Church, at the figurehead of the Caledonian, at night.
HAWKER’s clothing is looking more tattered and his face is an old sick gray.
Morwenna, Morwenna! Where art thou? Where are you when I need you? Where are you ghosts of nautical men. Captain James, I buried you here can you hear me?
What have I done here Morwenna? Nothing? Has anything been worth it, have I been of use, I have written these words all my life, and has anyone ever wanted to hear them, or write them, answer me Morwenna, why have you forsaken me, what have I done?
You sailors, where are you now. I buried you here, I found your quiet home in Christian Ground, Come talk to a mad old fool, tell me it was worth it, I know you are there, I have seen your souls. Come heart, I laid you to rest- was it just my money the people took, and left sniggering at me,the anachronism that thought it made a difference.
Morwenna Morwenna, Come see me, I am in need of your help.
Why have you gone from me? Is it the Church roof that I cannot afford to repair? My apologies, There is no money,there never was there is no more of this great land of yours.
Oh the saints, and the knights, and the men of old, we have desecrated your England- We have none of your faith, your hope, or your charity. Where is it? lost in the great upheaval, the end of an age is here, the end of my England.
Faith, you are ridiculed as ancient dogma, we have ecclesiastical scientific proof that our faith is the imaginings of our ancients simple minds, what miracles, what saints, what church? They take away the priest, and for what? For Doctor Jones who ministers his congregation with a shirt at full mast.
Hope, Where are you hope? The sailors here will be joined by many more friends, make room, make room, they will now cut the cost of your safety in the great race for progress. What hope for you Morwenna as your church empties year by year.
Science will be the new church- My school will teach physics and economics, the past has gone, what is hidden must be exposed, make the world clear for the shadows of history and the umbrage of our ancient church have no place in the modern world.
We abandon hope, it will no longer exist, it will be a probability.
Here, Charity, Charity, are you there charity, you go against the new rules. What Charity have we here Morwenna? Let them starve lest they cause a change to the economic rules.
After me boys you wont reach up here. When I go it will be for a thousand years, not a hundred.
Morwenna, talk to me now sister, for there will never be another. Your church will be a gaudy tourist bauble, every true breath suffocated for the pennies of visitors.
Morwenna, I beg you where are you, me faith is sorely tested, I will deny it’s tenets. Will you not help? Are you angry at me, have I failed in my work, has it all been in vain?
Argh I have the itches terrible. Like a plague on my skin, an excema for my losing faith. Are you comfortable in there boys, I bet I’m not too far behind you.
“Ah! Haughty England! Lady of the wave:”
Thus said pale Merlin to the listening King:
“What is thy glory in the world of stars?”
“To scorch and slay: to win demoniac fame,
In arts and arms; and then to flash and die!
Thou art the diamond of the demon crown,
Smitten by Michael upon Abarim,
That fell and glared, an Island of the sea!
Ah Native England! Wake thine ancient cry;
Ho for the Sangraal! Vanished vase of heaven,
That held, like Christ’s own heart, an hin of blood!”
He ceased and all around was dreamy night:
There stood Dundagel, throned and the great sea,
Lay, a strong vassal at his master’s gate,
And like a drunken giant, sobbed in sleep!
TITLES: On the thirteenth of August a blood clot formed in HAWKER’s left arm, causing him to deteriorate quickly. On his Deathbed he seceded from the Anglican church and was baptized into the Roman Catholic faith.
He passed away peacefully on the 15th August 1875 and was buried in Plymouth.
PAULINE had his tomb inscribed with the line:
I would not be forgotten in this land