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DH Lawrence postcard written to his lover discovered — under a bed

A POSTCARD written by writer and poet DH Lawrence to a woman he fell in love with over a century ago has been discovered — under a bed.

The famous author penned the postcard to his sweetheart Louie Burrows (pictured above) shortly before they became engaged in 1910.

He described his fiancée as a woman who ‘warmed his heart like a sunny day’ and ‘strong and rosy as the gates of Eden’ — but their engagement ended two years later when he eloped with another woman.

Now the discovery of the 110-year-old postcard, which had been gathering dust for decades under a bed in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, has ‘reawakened their wonderful love story’.

It is set to fetch hundreds of pounds when it goes under the hammer next month after it was uncovered by Louie’s great niece Ros Connolly.

Mrs Connolly, 70, said: ‘I was given the postcard by my grandma Constance Slee, Louie’s sister, when I was about five years old in 1955.

‘I started collecting postcards when I was four or five as I thought they were pretty. At the time, I didn’t realise the importance of Aunt Louie’s postcard.

Sender: DH Lawrence

‘I’ve always kept my postcard collection in my bedroom, often under the bed. I came across it again when I was downsizing and decided to sell it as tribute to my great aunt.

‘Louie and my uncle Fred Heath, who she married in later life, were lovely people. I stayed with them when I was eight and they were so kind to me.

‘She used to send me and my three siblings a box full of gifts at Christmas. I still have a Red Indian doll she gave me.

‘I knew Louie always had a place in her heart for DH Lawrence — and he loved her.

‘He liked her intellect. I would like their love story to be remembered. It’s a magical piece of family history.’

The postcard is addressed to ‘Miss Louie Burrows, 72 Moorlands Rd, North Bay, Scarborough’.

It has no stamp or visible date but reads: ‘Thank you for letter — I’ll try to see you one day — possibly Monday week.

‘We having a veritable red & yellow time here — gaudy’s not the word. Saw Nina — Mary’s lovely. DHL.’

The historic piece of literary memorabilia will be sold by Hansons Auctioneers next month with a guide price of £300 to £500.

However, it is expected to fetch more after a DH Lawrence postcard, which was found as it was about to be thrown in a skip in Newark, Nottinghamshire, sold for £1,500 last August.

‘Wonderful find’: Jim Spencer of Hansons Auctioneers PICTURES: SWNS

Jim Spencer, Hansons’ literary expert, said: ‘This newly discovered postcard from 1910 is a wonderful find, reawakening a love story from more than a century ago.

‘The couple never married, but Louie was engaged to DH Lawrence from 1910-12.

‘He must have broken her heart when he left her, but she always remembered him with fondness.

‘The character Ursula in his book The Rainbow is based on their relationship, and her former home, Church Cottage in Cossall, near Ilkeston, is also referenced.

‘Though Lawrence left Louie, she retained her respect for him throughout her life. I hope the sale of this postcard celebrates her loyalty and love.’

The couple’s romance has been documented both academically and in book form.

In 1910, Lawrence wrote to his mother, who was ill in Leicester Hospital: ‘I have been to Leicester today and have met a girl who has always been warm to me — like a sunny happy day — and I’ve asked her to marry me: in the train quite unpremeditated between Rothley and Quorn.’

During their courtship, Lawrence wrote to Louie: ‘When I think of you, it is like thinking of life. You will be the first woman to make the earth glad for me.

‘You are strong and rosy as the gates of Eden. You are like Canaan — rich and fruitful and glad, and I love you.’

Professor John Worthen and Dr Andrew Harrison of the DH Lawrence Research Centre examined the card for Hansons.

They said: ‘This unpublished postcard pre-dates Lawrence’s engagement to Louie Burrows, which happened in early December 1910.

‘Lawrence was writing from the boarding house of Catherine Swarbrick at 77 Talbot Road, Blackpool, where he was staying with his friend George Neville.

‘The “red & yellow time” in the card is partly explained by that memoir in which he describes how two other guests had dressing gowns of rose and gold colour, and how Lawrence and Neville called them “Rosie” and “Old Gold” and successfully evaded them.

‘The mistakes in the card — “We having” and the scrawled “lovely” — suggest the unsettled nature of life there.

‘In the card, Lawrence says, “saw Nina”, which we know took place on Thursday, August 11, 1910, so the card must have been written around August 11-12, 1910.

‘The postmark was certainly “Blackpool”. The Stewarts [Nina’s parents] were at 44 Nelson Street, Barrow.

‘They had three children, the Nina whom Lawrence mentions, a daughter Mary, almost certainly the Mary mentioned in the card, and a younger son.’

Plane English: The front of Lawrence’s postcard

Louisa, known as Louie, Burrows (1888-1962) met Lawrence at Ilkeston’s Pupil-Teacher Centre and the Day Training College of University College, Nottingham.

However, in 1912 Lawrence caused heartbreak when he eloped with Freida Weekley. But Louie never forgot Lawrence and visited his grave at Vence, France, twice.

She enjoyed a successful teaching career and became a headmistress in Leicestershire.

In 1940, she married Fred Heath and, according to Mrs Connolly, they enjoyed a very happy marriage. Louie retired in 1941 and died in 1962 at the age of 74.

Lawrence (1885-1930) was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire. He rose to become one of England’s most influential literary figures.

His impact is still felt today and some of his books, such as Lady Chatterley’s Lover, have been adapted for film and television.

The DH Lawrence postcard is due to be sold at Hansons Library Auction at Bishton Hall in Wolseley Bridge, Staffordshire on April 2.