Horse Dealer’s Daughter

This story is about a girl named Mabel who tries to commit suicide by drowning
herself in a pond. A young doctor, Joe Ferguson, saves her. She then believes
that he loves her. Although this idea never occurred to Joe, he begins to find
that he indeed loves her. However, Mabel thinks she is “too awful” to
be loved, and finds that when Joe declares over and over that he wants her and
that he loves her, she is more scared about that than of Joe not wanting her. So
does Joe really love Mabel? Somehow, he is convinced that he is. I don’t think
the idea of love or marriage ever occurred to him. When Mabel finds out that he
saved her, she convinces herself that he loves her. “Do you love me,
then?” she asks him. Then, more confidently, she says, “You love me. I
know you love me, I know.” The reason why I think she committed suicide is
because she felt unloved at her home. Her father had recently died and her
brothers were unkind to her. The father had left the family in debt, and the
family will soon have to leave their house and move somewhere else. When asked
which path she would pursue, she did not answer. I don’t think she had anything
planned. She probably didn’t have a good education so there were few options for
her. Perhaps she felt overwhelmed with the pressure to decide what to do, and
decided to commit suicide. Thus, when Joe Ferguson saves her, her hope in life
is renewed and she convinces herself that Joe loves her. So why does Joe
convince himself that he loves Mabel? Perhaps he has never felt love before. He
didn’t want to at first, thinking it unprofessional, as he was a doctor, and
she, his patient. No doubt he has spent much of his time on studies rather than
girls. When they embrace, he feels he can never let go; until he smells
“the horrid stagnant smell of that water” from the pond. Both seem to
stop and draw away from each other. Mabel had a wild, doubtful look about her;
Joe could not interpret it. One reason he may have convinced himself that he
loved her is because he did not like that look and wanted to stop it. “You
love me?” she asks. He replies,”Yes.” When Joe leaves to go back
to the surgery, he kisses her “with his heart’s painful kiss.” But she
breaks down sobbing about how she is so awful. Joe tries to convince her that he
loves her and wants to marry her. She is not convinced. “I feel awful. I
feel I’m horrible to you.” “No, I want you, I want you.” he says
with a strange intonation. This makes her even more scared. She realizes then
that she really does not love him. I believe this story is about two people with
low self-esteem. They both need love and convince themselves to love the other.

I do not believe this to be real love, because it did not last, and one cannot
convince themselves to fall in love with another. I felt disenchanted after
reading this story. It was a bit sad, seeing two people who need love but cannot
find it even from each other. I wanted to find out who it was that had misled
themselves into thinking they were in love. I believe that both Mabel and Joe
are guilty of this.

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