Paul sends a painting to an exhibition at Nottingham Castle, and one morning Mrs. Morel gets very excited upon reading a letter. It turns out that he has won first prize and that the painting has been sold for twenty guineas to Major Moreton. Paul and his mother rejoice at his success, and he tells her that she can use the money to buy Arthur out of the army. Paul is invited to some dinner parties and tells his mother he needs an evening suit. She gives him a suit that was William’s.
Paul’s newfound success prompts discussions with his mother about class and happiness. She wants her son to ascend into the middle class, but he says that he feels closest to the common people. Mrs. Morel wants her son to be happy, which seems mostly to mean finding a good woman and beginning to settle down. Paul argues that he worries a normal life might bore him.
Paul maintains his connection with Miriam, able neither to break it off entirely nor to go the full way to engagement. He feels that he owes himself to her, but he begins to drift slightly away from her.
Arthur is married to Beatrice, and she has a child. At first he is irritable and unhappy, but eventually he begins to accept his responsibilities and care for his wife and child.
One day a mutual friend asks Paul to take a message to Clara Dawes. He goes to her house, meets her mother, and observes them working on making lace. He delivers his message, has a pleasant conversation with Clara and her mother, and leaves, having gotten a humbling view of Clara, whom he had previously believed to be so high and mighty. Paul finds out that Susan, one of the girls at Jordan’s, is leaving to get married, and so he gets Clara her job. The other girls do not like Clara because she acts like she is above them; they call her the Queen of Sheba.
One day Paul is rude to Clara; later, he regrets his rudeness and brings her chocolates as an apology. On his birthday Fanny surprises him with a gift of paints that all the girls except Clara, who they do not include in their planning, have chipped in to buy him. Paul goes out walking at dinnertime with Clara, and she complains that the girls have some secret from her. Paul tells her that the secret was the planning for his birthday present, and, that evening, she sends him a book of verse and a note. This incident brings Paul and Clara closer together.
They discuss what happened between Clara and her husband, and somehow the subject of Miriam comes up. Paul says that Miriam wants his soul, which he cannot give her. Clara, however, informs him that Miriam does not want his soul, only Paul himself.
Paul maintains his close relationship with his mother, allowing her to live vicariously through his experiences. He tells her everything that happens in his life, and she feels as though she is a participant.
William is mentioned and reflected on several times in this chapter. First of all, when they are discussing Paul’s success, Morel says that William might have been as successful as Paul, had he only lived. This statement affects Mrs. Morel deeply, and makes her feel strangely tired. When Paul tries on William’s suit, she thinks again of William but is comforted by the thought of Paul. The notion that Mrs. Morel possesses Paul is particularly strong here, and this concept, which is constant throughout the novel, may account for Paul’s failure to develop a strong relationship with another woman.
In the very end of this chapter, Clara provides the motivation for Paul to go back to Miriam. It is interesting that this motivation comes from Clara, since Miriam is her chief rival (besides Mrs. Morel) for Paul’s affection.