In the paragraph beginning “She had suffered badly,” D. H. Lawrence focuses on Mabel’s thought processes in what she expects will be the last hours of her life. The paragraph foreshadows Mabel’s suicide attempt without explicitly referring to her plans. Through the same unnamed, omniscient third-person narrator as in the rest of the story, Lawrence presents what is going through Mabel’s mind as she prepares to take her next actions, which will subsequently be revealed as cleaning her late mother’s headstone and walking into the pond.
It has been clear from the beginning of the story that Mabel has few options: her father has also died, the family farm is sold, and she will not make a home with any of her brothers.
Although the paragraph deals with a somber topic, Mabel is not presented as grieving or a victim of circumstances. The narrator emphasizes that she does not want to stay in the town, where she believes the people look down on her. Her resolute attitude is emphasized by mentioning her decisiveness:
She would follow her own way just the same.
The narrative strategy includes unadorned prose and declarative statements, interspersed with the questions Mabel asks herself as she arrives at her conclusion.
Why should she think? Why should she answer anybody?
Death is implied by referring several times to “the end.”
Now, for Mabel, the end had come. ... It was enough that this was the end, and there was no way out. She need not pass any more darkly along the main street of the small town, avoiding every eye. She need not demean herself any more, going into the shops and buying the cheapest food. This was at an end.
By the last sentence, there is no question that the topic is death and that Mabel anticipates it as an alternative to her current situation. The narrator mentions the “sort of ecstasy” that she experiences in anticipating
her fulfilment, her own glorification, approaching her dead mother, who was glorified.