Mabel Pervin in "The Horse Dealers Daughter" deals with brothers that don't want to deal with her and a situation of having to find somewhere to live once the farm sells. The only love she has had on that farm is her mother who died when she was young. She feels unwanted and lonely not knowing where to go, she wants to be with the one person that truly loved her or be with a person that loves her. Many characteristics of her life, the brothers not wanting her, her mothers death, and the loneliness of no one loving her, contributes to the theme of love as salvation and freedom.
The three brothers want to start a life and families without having to look after a little sister. They intently pester her about going and being a maid for a friend. Many times she goes to the cemetery to clean the grave of her mother. Mabel wanted to be independent, " she would always hold the keys of her own situation." (476). She wants to be "glorified" (476) just like her mother, it would take her closer to her goal. She liked to be in control not wanting to be told what to do, she wanted to be in control of her own fate. Next to the Pervins' house was a deep pond she tries to use this pond to get to her glorified state.
Dr. Fergusson was the towns doctor, to him the Pervin residence was one of the last places he actually cared about in that small town. He has no apparent feelings for Mabel Pervin other than a slight knowing of each other. As he is doing his daily routine he sees Mabel slowly walk into the pond until totally submerged. He runs across the field to do his job and save her. Lawrence describes the pond as "dead cold" (477) almost symbolized because Mabel and the Doctors relationship was "dead cold" before the incident of her trying to commit suicide. As he entered the water and search for her she somehow emerged right next to him. He revived her to where she started breathing normal, almost like she never was drowning. She was conscious but "unconscious of her surroundings" she showed no emotion of what he was doing. After she becomes herself again she asks if he loved her because he did all of that he had to love her. The pond to both of them was a start of there love for each other, rebirth for both of them. She changes because the moment she tried something new, suicide, she finds someone that loves her, Dr. Fergusson, who's life was almost as pointless as hers.
When Mabel changes clothes at the end of the story it is almost as if her life is starting over, she finally found someone that will love her and will care for her, even though that wasn't his wanting when he saved her. In saving Mabel, Dr. Fergusson has started a new more interesting life with someone he loves. The pond even though it was "dead cold" ended up bringing two very lonely, unloved people together to love each other. Mabel is finally free from herself and her brothers grasp, they don't have to worry about her finding a place to live anymore because fate has found her someplace. Getting out of there clothes was like them shedding themselves before they were in love.
Lawrence uses Mabel's character and many symbols to get his theme across. Mabel changes from a boring unloved person, wanting to die, using the latter to be able to find love in one way or another. If she would of died she would have been with her mother "glorified" at last. Fate brings Dr. Fergusson in to save her and ultimately loving her. Bringing the theme of love as salvation. The pond was only the point that the character was reborn and changed to reach salvation. Many characteristics of her life, the brothers not wanting her, her mothers death, and the loneliness of no one loving her, contributes to the theme of love as salvation and freedom.