The Colonel has never been published in print. The manuscript which is transcribed here is held at the British Library, London, in the Lord Chamberlain’s Files (shelfmark: MSS. Add. 53248 C. [Lic. 19.]). The licence is dated January 31, 1881, and was granted for the Prince of Wales’s Theatre (where the play opened on February 2, 1881). Acts I and II are type-set, Act III is handwritten (in his Records and Reminiscences [1904, ii.158] Burnand states that he was working on the final scenes to the last minute). All pages are used on recto only and are consecutively numbered (Act I, pp. 1–21; Act II, pp. 22–42; Act III, pp. 43–61, renumbered individually from 1–19). For easier reference, the pagination of the manuscript has been incorporated into the text, in square brackets set in bold type, after a page break which is indicated thus "|".
In order to produce a readable type-set text of Act III, I have departed from the manuscript in the following respects.
(1) Punctuation in the manuscript for Act III is handled inconsistently and is often omitted. This is more distracting in print than in a handwritten text, and I have therefore tacitly, but cautiously supplemented lacking punctuation in line with the practice used in Acts I and II where it seemed apposite. Readers who wish to trace these alterations are referred to the source-code, where all such additions are included in hidden square brackets.
(2) I have formatted the speakers’ names and stage directions in Act III in accordance with the conventions used in the two type-set acts.
Other cases in which I have deviated from the wording, spelling or punctuation of the manuscript (generally to correct misprints or other evident oversights) are recorded in a brief set of textual notes immediately following the text of the play.
The headings for each act, as given in the navigation zone (top left of the screen), as well as the subtitle and the dramatis personae at the head of the transcript, are taken from the opening night’s playbill and do not appear in the copy submitted for licensing. The sketches chosen as illustrations are by Harry Furniss and first appeared in Punch (“‘The Colonel’ in a Nut-Shell,” Feb 19, 1881) and in the Illustrated London News (“Sketches at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre,” March 26, 1881).
The estate of F.C. Burnand is fragmented (see the entry on Burnand in the WATCH File). I have made a set of investigations into the identity of a potential copyright holder, but so far without any result.
The present edition (edited transcript, introduction and notes) © Anton Kirchhofer, 2004.
“Settings and Costumes” © Anne Anderson, 2004.