“The Horse Dealer’s Daughter,” DH Lawrence.
Review: The what’s left of the horse dealer’s family is now bankrupt. Three brothers and their sister. In a few days, they must leave the house in which they grew up. The scene is one of melancholy and defeated spirits. The sister says almost nothing as the brothers talk about their future. A young friend of the brothers, a doctor, joins them in the house.
The sister tends the graves of her parents in the churchyard. The young doctor observes her neatly trimming the grass around the markers. She leaves the churchyard and walks toward the pond where she tries to drown herself. When the doctor realizes what she intends to do, he rushes to the pond and tries to save her. He does—barely.
The doctor carries her, unconscious, to the house where he tends to her as a doctor. He removes her sodden clothes and wraps her in a blanket. When she comes to, she realizes her nakedness beneath the blanket and suddenly assumes that the young doctor loves her. And, gradually, his professionalism becomes a growing passion. He had not intended to love her, but now he wants her. She cries both because she hopes he loves her—which he assures her he does and desires to marry her the next day—and for fear that he doesn’t love her.
Quote: “He was amazed, bewildered and afraid. He had never thought of loving her. He had never wanted to love her. When he rescued her and restored her, he was a doctor and she was a patient. He had no single personal thought of her. Nay, this introduction of the personal element was very distasteful to him, a violation of his professional honor.”
Short Story Masterpieces. Ed. RP Warren and A. Erskine. New York: Dell Books. 1954.