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The remains of Stage IIIa
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The remains of Stage IIIa

Very little of Stage IIIa now survives: 139 pages in seven sequences on six different batches of paper (not including the sections of D paper transferred towards the end from Stage II). These are pages 1-85, 182-192, 204-226, 272-281, 309-315, 317-318, 328-331 (the D paper of Stage II became pages 332-333 and 337-347). The papers are f to l, of which f, j and k only are found in the letters.

The largest sequence is the opening eighty-five pages on f and g paper, constituting chapters I-III and the opening of chapter IV, of which the first seventy-four pages are the "Court Royal" pages which Lawrence wrote before his illness. The opening chapters are the part of Stage IIIa that Lawrence seems to have copied most closely from Stage II, but because the first 71 pages of Stage II are now lost, and pages 86-181 of Stage III are also lost, there are now only twenty pages of close overlap between these two versions: Stage II pp. 72-91 and Stage III pp. 74-85. However, the fact that certain episodes from the beginning of Stage II are also found in Stage IV—notably the making of straw fuses and Paul's interview at Jordan's—means it is very probable that despite the eventual divergence of plot, the overlap between Stages II and III continued beyond what now survives of Stage III.

This is particularly significant because of another curious inaccuracy in Jessie Chambers's memoir. In her description of the beginning of this draft, she selects for praise, as if now written into the novel for the first time, two passages that she must have read (very little different) in The Paul Morel Manuscript (E.T., 197-198):

The early pages delighted me. Here was all that spontaneous flow, the seemingly effortless translation of life that filled me with admiration. His descriptions of family life were so vivid, so exact, and so concerned with everyday things we had never even noticed before. There was Mrs Morel ready for ironing, lightly spitting on the iron to test its heat, invested with a reality and significance hitherto unsuspected. It was his power to transmute the common experiences into significance that I always felt to be Lawrence's greatest gift. He did not distinguish between small and great happenings; the common round was full of mystery, awaiting interpretation. Born


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and bred of working people, he had the rare gift of seeing them from within, and revealing them on their own plane. An incident that particularly pleased me was where Morel was recovering from an accident at the pit, and his friend Jerry came to see him. The conversation of the two men and their tenderness to one another were a revelation to me. I felt that Lawrence was coming into his true kingdom as a creative artist, and an interpreter of the people to whom he belonged.
However much one may agree with Jessie's praise here—leaving aside her failure to notice Lawrence's ironies at the expense of Jerry and Walter Morel (which included that the latter's illness was caused by drink and not by an accident at the pit)—she implies that it was in this draft, written with her advice and moral support that Lawrence first described those everyday things she had not noticed before. But her examples were both present in The Paul Morel Manuscript, and the description of Mrs Morel ironing (which survives intact amidst radical alterations in the Final manuscript)[28] was very probably, like the other scene, copied with modest revisions into Stage IIIa. In view of the fact that Jessie wrote equally forcefully of the stale, tired writing of Stage II, her emphatic praise here must reinforce the suggestion made above that she had been predisposed against that manuscript.

Chapter I, "Antecedents", has survived complete in its Stage IIIa form: pages 1-43 (of which twenty-four pages were eventually retained in Stage IV). It was similar in outline to the revised chapter I in Stage IV (that is, largely as published), but Lawrence had not yet introduced the small boy William's arrival for lunch and visit to the Fair, or Walter Morel's return home after helping at the public house and his brief conversation with his wife before the authorial voice resumes the story of her antecedents. In Stage IIIa, while Mrs Morel waited for her husband to return from his holiday trip to Nottingham, Lawrence offered some authorial reflections on her disappointment with her marriage, such as:[29]

Walter Morel had given his wife children, according to the doctrine of Schopenhauer. But he would not take from her, and help her to produce, the other finer products, blossoms of beautiful living of which he might make wisdom like honey, and dreams like worship. Therefore she refused him: also, fearfully, she combated [sic] him. She was too much of a woman, too much of the stuff of life, to despair for herself. She was still fast producing life, and religion of life for her children.


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followed by descriptions of the stifling kitchen and the relative emotional states of the two partners that evening before they met and quarrelled, such as (Fragment 2, p. 34):
It is a question whether she was more intoxicated with suffering than her husband with drink. He came at about twenty past eleven. He was not drunk, but in that wound up state of intoxication whose precious calm and equipoise is easily shaken, when a little readjustment is irritating to make, when real thwarting maddens.
All of this Lawrence dropped at Stage IV in favour of the dramatic inspiration of having Morel arrive just as his tired and heavily pregnant wife is engaged in the effort of pouring hot liquid from a large saucepan.

Chapter II, called "Birth and Death", then "Birth and Horror" and then simply "Birth", can also be reconstructed almost intact at Stage IIIa: pages 44, 46-67. This was the only one of the first three chapters that Lawrence modified at Stage IIIb. Eight pages from Stage III (a and b) were eventually retained in Stage IV, but the rest of this version of the chapter was only revised a little as it was copied into the Final manuscript. For example, at Stage III Lawrence had not yet had the idea of describing Morel working at the pit before coming home to discover that Paul had been born; he also introduced in Stage IV some remarks about the older boy William's distress at his mother's pain and his dislike of the new baby—but these were deleted by Garnett when he pruned the Final manuscript. Finally, at Stage IIIa chapter II had ended with Walter Morel's escape from his family to the local pub on the Sunday evening following the Saturday night row in which he had struck his wife [with a drawer]. (It was at Stage IV that Lawrence added the semi-comical coda of Morel's half-hearted attempt to leave home with a bundle of possessions.)

Chapter III, numbered at Stage IIIa pages 68-82 and called first "Aftermath" and then "Morel Reaps the Whirlwind", was all rejected and rewritten at Stage IV, and is now entirely found among the Fragments. As described above, it opens with the causes of Walter Morel's illness, and continues with a revision of the Stage II version of chapter III: Jerry's visit, the baby Paul's rôle in disturbing the brief harmony between Mr and Mrs Morel during Morel's recuperation (which was re-used in Stage IV but deleted by Garnett) and finally a severely abbreviated account of the birth of Arthur. (A very brief remark at the end of the chapter, on the young life of William, was the seed of expansion to many pages in the Final manuscript—of which Garnett deleted a great deal.)

Chapter IV, "Glimpses of Early Life", of which only three pages now survive (Fragment 6 pages 83-85) is also a revision of Stage II. It begins with the successful relationship between the handsome baby Arthur and his father, contrasted with the sickly and colourless Paul who followed chattering at his mother's heels all day; and the pages run out at the familiar account of Paul's fits of motiveless weeping. All this material occurs in modified form in chapter III of the Final manuscript, where the chapters are fewer and longer.


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As one looks from the opening three and a bit chapters of Stage IIIa back to the earlier versions—the overlapping first twenty extant pages of The Paul Morel Manuscript (pp. 72-91) and the seven unnumbered pages of the abandoned opening—and then forward to the much revised final version of the work, certain general impressions emerge. Lawrence's first inspiration seems to have been the single thread of his mother's jarred existence in the alien, recently built mining village, with her memories of her betrayed youthful and romantic optimism still very vivid to her; and he only gradually diversified that rather static narration of bitterness with the dramatic accretions of the lives of other members of the family, particularly William. Jessie's recommendation with regard to William bore fruit progressively: aspects of his youth had already been included in Stage II; his death was now entered at her suggestion into Stage IIIa (see the account of h paper below); but further aspects of his childhood and early manhood were introduced as Lawrence rewrote the novel. It seems that Lawrence's perception of William's rôle developed along the lines Jessie had had in mind slowly,[30] and accumulated momentum as he rewrote the novel; and it might be added that Garnett made an error of perception when he pruned much of that growth in the early pages.

In Stage III Lawrence's tone towards Walter Morel was more lighthearted, Mrs Morel's resentment of her husband was occasionally alleviated by humour and Lawrence's treatment of both was more even-handed at the outset of the narrative. Then, although the movement of the later drafts was less static, had more of the action that Lawrence found it so hard to instil, the bitterness became more relentless, the humour more scornful.

From this point on, the surviving pieces are more fragmentary, and it is here that the identification by paper-types is most useful.

Of the two sections of h paper, the first, pages 182-189, narrates the death of William from the moment of Mrs Morel's arrival at his bedside, as far as Paul's subsequent illness. The fact that these pages, written for the first time now in response to Jessie's advice, were eventually incorporated into the Final manuscript shows that Lawrence established them largely to his satisfaction at the first writing. (The narration was completed on three pages of g paper, 190-192; see Table 2.)

The second sequence on h paper is the twenty-three page section of chapter IX, pages 204-226, the whole of the chapter except its opening pages. This is the longest surviving sequence of Stage IIIa apart from the first three chapters, and is the equivalent of chapter VII of the published novel: it relates Paul's teenage friendship with Miriam and was rewritten because of Jessie's many objections.

The part of Stage IIIa on j paper, pages 272-281, which constituted the end of a chapter and survives because Lawrence found it satisfactory enough to transfer bodily into Stage IV to be the end of chapter VIII, recounts the terrible and pivotal scene of Paul's quarrel and reconciliation with his mother:


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It was not the first time Lawrence had written up this exchange, for he was here further developing it from The Paul Morel Manuscript and A Collier's Friday Night (Act III). In other words, this scene was one of the foundation episodes present in all the versions of the novel for which we have any evidence, and must have been central to Lawrence's conception.

The two sequences of k paper were numbered 309-315 and 317-318 at this stage. But when Lawrence re-used them in the Final manuscript he did so in reverse order, renumbering them 350-355 and 345-346. The first, at Stage IIIa, contained Paul's twenty-first-birthday letter to Miriam in which he had called her a nun, and his reply to her reply. It was his description of Miriam's reaction to the first letter that Jessie had corrected on page 311. The other, two-page, passage, which at this stage followed Paul's letters, was the latter part of a scene of partly dare-devil and partly passionate flirtation between "Beat" and Arthur Morel. Evidently Lawrence decided at Stage IV to make the virile portrait of Arthur in this scene (followed by some sketching of the changes at home after Annie's marriage and a description of the physical contrast between Clara playing at the farm and Miriam standing aloof) lead up to, and so set a pointedly contrasting tone before, Paul's precocious-juvenile, intellectual-spiritual letters to Miriam. With the second of them he then brought chapter IX of the Final manuscript to a close, as "the end of the first phase of Paul's love affair".[31]

In the four pages of l paper that follow shortly (later transferred into chapter X of the Final manuscript) Paul invites Clara to apply for an overseer's job at Jordan's, and this leads straight into a section of pages taken from the Stage II draft, The Paul Morel Manuscript, in which the growing friendship between Paul and Clara (her name now changed from Mrs Frances Radford) is quickened by their walk to the Castle on his birthday and her subsequent gift. These had been pages 337-351 of Stage II and they were renumbered when transferred to Stage IIIa, pages 332-347. Thus our knowledge of Stage IIIa ends precisely where our knowledge of Stage II ended.