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Stage IIIa: the start
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Stage IIIa: the start

In Letters I Professor Boulton has dated Lawrence's letter to Jessie accompanying his unfinished manuscript of Stage II (no. 324) after the second of his two interviews at Heinemann's, on 5 and 20 October 1911, which appears from Lawrence's account (no. 323) to have been the more businesslike and specific. The fact that Lawrence and Jessie met on Saturday 7 October might suggest an earlier date; but Jessie herself could not remember whether the parcel arrived in October or November (Delavenay 670). The later date gives her just a fortnight to return the novel with her comments before 3 November 1911, when Lawrence started Stage III. For it is most unlikely that he began the new draft until the old had been returned, not only because he was waiting for Jessie's suggestions before deciding how to proceed, but also because, as is evident from the comparisons that can be made, Lawrence's method of rewriting was to place the discarded draft in front of him and transcribe it with modifications.


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On 3 November he wrote to Louie with the air of one putting on a yoke (no. 330):

Tonight I am going to begin Paul Morel again, for the third and last time. I shall need all your prayers if I'm to get it done. It is a book the thought of which weighs heavily upon me. Say a Misericordia. . .

I really dread setting the pen to paper, to write the first word of Paul—which I'm going to do when I've written the last word of this.

This letter, like the two previous ones to Louie, was written on e paper, and when Lawrence had finished writing it he started his novel again as he promised, writing the first words on the same pad of poor-quality lined paper. For there survives an abandoned opening of the novel on seven unnumbered pages of this paper, which is now kept together with The Paul Morel Manuscript at the H.R.C. Being evidently the novel's opening, these pages are placed at the front of 'Paul Morel' Stage II, but in fact they post-date it by several months.

The text runs out nearly half-way down the seventh page, a point at which Gertrude Morel had finally learnt that the young man, "a school teacher who was a good Latin scholar," whom she had loved at twenty, had subsequently "married his landlady, a woman of forty odd years, who had money". Lawrence had arrived at this point in a brisk 150 lines from the opening: "'The Breach' took the place of Hell Row. It was a natural succession. Hell Row was a block of some half-dozen thatched, collapsing cottages . . ." It is clear from the textual development that these seven pages preceded the two other versions of the opening which also survive: Stage III proper, partly in the Fragments and partly in the Final manuscript, and Stage IV in the Final manuscript. The shape remained the same, but by the time Lawrence had finished working it up, he took 310 lines to reach the same point.

Lawrence was ill with pneumonia from 19 November 1911 till the end of the year, and convalescent until February. As mentioned above in the section on Paper use in Lawrence's letters, the evidence from his letter-paper is unusually clear-cut in this period.

In summary, he used f paper, a fine quality paper, watermarked "Court Royal" with a shamrock, rose and thistle design, for his letters from 15 November to 13 December 1911. (He was so ill that some of these letters had to be written for him.) Then he moved on to another good quality paper, "Classic Parchment", which he used for all his letters from 17 December to 7 January, and finished later in Eastwood (after his return from convalescing at Compton House, Bournemouth), using it for every letter from 10 to 28 February and then intermittently until 17 April 1912. No "Court Royal" (f paper) occurs again after 13 December 1911.

This paper evidence leads to a number of conclusions:

1. The fact that Lawrence abandoned his first attempt of a draft of Stage III at the seventh (unnumbered) page, and began again, was not caused by his illness.

2. He began again on f paper, copying and modifying this seven-page


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draft, and proceeded to write pages 1-74 of Stage IIIa on f paper between dates after 3 November and before 19 November, when he fell ill. (On 15 November he wrote to Louie—on f paper—that he was "frightfully busy", "rushed", "squashed with work" and exclaimed: "Poor Paul, I don't know when he will be done . . . Now I will to Paul." no. 338)

3. At this point, because Lawrence was too ill to continue with this draft of his novel, his supply of f paper was assigned for letter-writing, and it was used up during the next month.

4. At page 74 (see Fragment 5) Lawrence had reached his satirical description of Jerry at Walter Morel's bedside about to produce the bottle of beer: page 74 ends mid-way through the paragraph:

In the midst of their discussion of the malady, Jerry lowered his voice.
If not at the end of it, Lawrence must have been somewhere on page 74 of Stage IIIa when he fell ill.

5. The first surviving page of the previous draft, Stage II, page 72 of The Paul Morel Manuscript, has the same one-sentence paragraph on its fifteenth line: Lawrence was clearly copying and modifying The Paul Morel Manuscript to produce the new draft.

6. This explains why The Paul Morel Manuscript survives from page 72 onwards, or at least why pages 1-71 are lost: this is the point at which Lawrence had stopped when he fell ill in Croydon. The earlier pages of Stage II, which he had already copied, he no longer needed and so presumably he left them behind or threw them away when he left Croydon for Bournemouth. The rest of the old draft he took with him back home to Eastwood so that he could continue copying it with modifications from the point at which he had left off.

7. This suggests that the lost seventy-one pages of the opening of Stage II were similar to the opening of Stage III, now reconstructable from the Fragments and Final manuscript. Certainly the two versions of the episode between Walter Morel and Jerry, which can be compared, are very similar.

8. One theory which suggests itself concerning the renumbering of pages 72, 73 and 74 of The Paul Morel Manuscript must be rejected. Because of the way Lawrence later transferred pages from an earlier draft to the current one instead of copying them out again, it might be thought that the altered numbers of these first-surviving pages of Stage II indicate that Lawrence had been tempted, on taking up Stage III again at pages 74-75, simply to incorporate the old material rather than write it out again, but that after three pages he changed his mind. This cannot be the case, partly because he did not delete the first fourteen lines of page 72, as he would have needed to do,[23] but mainly because these pages must have been first 74, 75 and 76,


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and renumbered 72, 73 and 74 (the last of them is particularly clear, as the original 6 is revised into a very a-typical 4) which is the wrong way round, even supposing Lawrence had made the error of altering the first of the three to 74 instead of 75, and so on.

9. Finally, it follows that when Lawrence took his novel up again between 9 and 23 February 1912, and said in a letter of 23 February (no. 392): "'Paul Morel' is going pretty well, now that I have once more tackled it," he had not begun from the beginning again, but took it up at page 75 on g paper—which, alas, does not appear in his letters, by way of tidy corroboration, because he was now using up his supply of "Classic Parchment".