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Following on the success we had transcribing the text in the image on this question, I am hoping that lightning will strike twice. This image contains far more text, and is even less legible. It comes from an early draft of the chapter "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol" in The Two Towers. The sketch on the left is Tolkien's rendering of Shelob's Lair.

enter image description here

I was able to read a bit of the text, and it clearly isn't exactly the same as the text in the finished book. The portion I could decipher says:

"No, I don't think so,' said Frodo. 'He is up to no good, of course, but I don't think that he's gone to fetch orcs'"

The closest thing to this that appears in the book is:

`No, I don't think so,' answered Frodo. 'Even if he's up to some wickedness, and I suppose that's not unlikely, I don't think it's that: not to fetch Orcs, or any servants of the Enemy."
-The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Book IV, Chapter 8: "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol"

So the draft was obviously revised a bit before it was finally published, and I would like to know what the draft says, so I can compare it to the finished product, so to speak.

Slightly larger versions of the image are available here and here. A much larger version of part of the page is available here. It also appears as the frontispiece to the book The War of the Ring.


Note 1: Once again, I will offer a bounty of 500 rep points if you choose to transcribe it yourself, although I am not asking you to do so.

Note 2: Having compared the transcripts here with the books, it appears that the contents of this manuscript page were later spread across parts of 3 separate chapters, and little, if any, of the original manuscript text made it into the books without revision.

Note 3: Special thanks to Rand al'Thor for all his hard work. He gets the bounty of 500 points. Thanks also go to Jason Baker for copying the official transcript for his answer; he will get a bounty of 100 points.

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    "That's that," said Sam... and there I give up :P – Mac Cooper Jun 1 '15 at 15:24
36
+100

The page in question is from Tolkien's first draft of what would eventually become Book IV Chapter 8 of The Two Towers, which Christopher Tolkien dates to May-ish of 1944. The original page, according to HoME, is in Oxford's Bodelian Library.

Christopher Tolkien transcribed this page in History of Middle-earth VIII:

The verso of the page, numbered '[7]', carrying the picture of the ascent to the pass, has the following text:

'That's that' said Sam. 'What I expected. But I don't like it. I suppose now we are just exactly where he wanted to bring us. Well, let's get moving away as quick as we can. The treacherous worm! That last whistle of his wasn't pure joy at getting out of the tunnel, it was pure wickedness of some sort. And what sort we'll soon know.'

'Likely enough,' said Frodo. 'But we could not have got even so far without him. So if we ever manage out errand, then Gollum and all his wickedness will be part of the plan.'

'So far, you say,' said Sam. 'How far? Where are we now?'

'About at the crest of the main range of Ephel-duath, I guess,' said Frodo. 'Look!' The road opened out now: it still went on up, but no longer sheerly. Beyond and ahead there was an ominous glare in the sky, and like a great notch in the mount wall a cleft was outlined against it - so [here is a small sketch]. On their right the wall of rock fell away and the road widened till it had no brink. Looking down Frodo saw nothing but the vast darkness of the great ravine which was the head of Morghul dale. Down in its depths was the faint glimmer of the wraith-road that led over the Morghul pass from the city. On their left sharp jagged pinnacles stood up like towers carved by the biting years, and between them were many dark crevices and clefts. But high up on the left side of the cleft to which their road led (Kirith Ungol) was a small black tower, and in it a window showed a red light.

'I don't like the look of that,' said Sam. 'This upper pass is guarded too. D'you remember he never would say if it was or no. D'you think he's gone to fetch them - orcs or something?'

'No, I don't think so,' said Frodo. 'He is up to no good, of course, but I don't think that he's gone to fetch orcs. Whatever it is, it is no slave of the Dark Lord's.' 'I suppose not,' said Sam. 'No, I suppose the whole time it has been the ring for poor Smeagol's own. That's been his scheme. But how coming up here will help him, I can't guess.' He was soon to learn.

Frodo went forward now - the last lap - and he exerted all his strength. He felt that if once he could get to the saddle of the pass and look over into the Nameless Land he would have accomplished something. Sam followed. He sensed evil all round him. He knew that they had walked into some trap, but what? He had sheathed his sword, but now he drew it in readiness. He halted for a moment, and stooped to pick up his staff with his left hand.

History of Middle-earth VIII The War of the Ring Part 2: "The Ring Goes East" Chapter VIII: "Kirith Ungol"

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    Argh! All that effort, and ninja'd by 48 seconds by a canon answer! :-( I may try and update/complete my answer anyway, without looking at yours... – Rand al'Thor Jun 1 '15 at 15:54
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    @randal'thor - do not despair. It appears that Christopher Tolkien made some mistakes. I think the first line says "What we I expected". :) – Wad Cheber stands with Monica Jun 1 '15 at 15:58
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    @WadCheber the we is crossed I think -- there's definatley a straight line there but its hard to tell xD not that I would have made that out that without knowing what the sentance says haha – Mac Cooper Jun 1 '15 at 16:02
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    @WadCheber No, I copied it out from the book. I'm not at home right now, but when I get back I'll check and see if it was his error or mine – Jason Baker Jun 1 '15 at 17:34
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    @JasonBaker - I found a PDF of the transcript. It appears that you inserted the "just". – Wad Cheber stands with Monica Jun 1 '15 at 17:38
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+500

Transcribed by hand

"That's that!" said Sam. What we I expected. And I don't like it. I suppose now we are just exactly where he wanted to bring us. Well, let's get moving away as quick as we can. The treacherous worm! That loud whistle of his wasn't pure joy at getting out of the tunnel, it was pure wickedness of some sort. And what sort we'll soon know.

Likely enough, said Frodo. And we could not have got even so far without him. So if we ever manage our errand, then Gollum and all his wickedness will be part of the plan.

So far you say, said Sam. How far? Where are we now?

About at the crest of the mountain range Ephel Duath, I guess, said Frodo. Look!" The road opens out now: it still went on up, but no longer sheerly. Beyond and ahead there was an ominous glare in the sky, and like a great notch in the mountain wall or cleft was outlined against it - So [picture] On their right the wall of rock fell away and the road widened till it had no brink. Looking down Frodo saw only but a the vast darkness of the great ravine which was the head of Morghul Vale. Down in the depths was the faint glimmer of the wraith-road that led over the Morghul pass [far west? from the city? from the west?] On their left sharp jagged pinnacles, stood up like towers carved by the [biting?] years, and between them were many dark crevices and clefts. But high up on the left side of the cleft [to? by?] which their road led (K. Ungol [SIC]) was a small black tower, and in it a window [shone? shined?] a red light.

"I don't like the look of that, said Sam. This upper pass is guarded too. D'you remember he never would say if it was or no. D'you think he's gone to fetch them - orcs or something?

No, I don't think so, said Frodo. He is up to no good, of course, but I don't think that he's gone to fetch orcs. Whatever he is, he's no slave of the Dark Lord. I suppose not, said Sam. No, I suppose the whole time it's been the ring for poor Smeagol's own. That's been his scheme. But how coming up here will help him, I can't guess." He was soon to learn.

Frodo went forward now - the last lap - and he exerted all his strength. He felt that if once he could get to the saddle of the pass and look over into the Nameless Land he would have accomplished something. Sam followed. He sensed evil all around him. He knew that they had walked into some trap, but what? He had sheathed his sword, but now he drew it in readiness. He halted for a moment, and stooped to pick up his staff with his left hand.

(Tolkien hasn't been too consistent with inverted commas, I notice!)

Transcribing this has reminded me how great Tolkien's writing is. I need to reread LotR some time...

Thanks to Wad Cheber (the OP) for help with deciphering parts of the writing.

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    I'm very impressed with how close you were to the "correct" version; +1 from me, for the effort alone – Jason Baker Jun 1 '15 at 15:56
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    +1 for sure. End of second to last paragraph- "He was soon to learn". I suggest that you let others help with the transcription, without reference to Jason's answer. I will probably accept his answer, but give you the bounty, since you worked harder. – Wad Cheber stands with Monica Jun 1 '15 at 16:01
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    @WadCheber Thanks, but I'd already worked out "He was soon to learn" by the time I saw your comment :-) This job gets easier as time goes on, because I'm getting more used to the handwriting. And of course contributions from all and sundry will be appreciated! – Rand al'Thor Jun 1 '15 at 16:04
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    "I'm not asking you to, but this is the internet, so I know someone will" ≈) – corsiKa Jun 1 '15 at 22:22
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    @corsiKa - Richard told me that asking people to translate it would be off topic, but allowing people to translate it would not. :) – Wad Cheber stands with Monica Jun 2 '15 at 0:01

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