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Short Story Review D H Lawrence THE Princess

A precocious but spirited young woman finds herself a hostage of love in the Mexican mountains.


A story that seems to bridge a gap between The Virgin & The Gypsy and The Woman Who Rode Away.

The Princess is a very tense tale dealing with a young woman’s passionate quest to see the real wilderness in Mexico, only to bring out the primordial instincts of her handsome guide and see the rawest and most terrible nature lies in man.

Dollie is the precocious and spoilt daughter of a wealthy man, who is very possessive and adoring to her. He calls her his little Princess and takes her on a grand tour round the World, trying to educate her in the places he sees and has experienced. Dollie wants to visit Mexico, but her increasingly mad father has no desire to go there, and seems to fear the Mexicans.

When her dad dies, Dollie becomes much more independent and free spirited. She travels to Mexico with a friend Miss Cummins, and their young Mexican Indian guide, Romero.

Dollie laments not seeing much Mexican wildlife. The animals of the territory they are staying in seem to always be elusive. They se droppings and footprints, but few of the animals. Romero tells her that to really see nature, they must travel high into the mountains Dollie insists on undertaking such an expedition. Romero leads it and for a time they are joined by Miss Cummins, but when her horse is slightly injured, Miss Cummins returns to the base camp, leaving the Princess and Romero alone.

Romero leads the girl to a mountain cabin, left there by hunters. The pair end up snowed in for a time, and when she refuses to marry him, Romero steals the Princess’s clothes and destroys them. Though he does not molest her, he demands that she bows to his will. She is obstinate and brave enough to refuse, and Romero fears her liberated stance.

The authorities come to search for the couple, having been summoned by a concerned Miss Cummins. Romero shoots at he rescuers, and they kill him. The Princess has been saved, but shaken to her very soul. She is much older and closer to losing her own mind before she ever trusts a man again.

Dollie is more than one kind of Princess here – she goes from the father-kings little girl trapped in his kingdom and power, to a woman of independent means and will. Romero becomes the dragon she needs protecting from – and her stance destroys his sense of security and masculinity. He gets wild and primal, but her civilized defiance ruins him.

The story reflects Lawrence’s feelings for his own lover, Frieda, as Lawrence saw himself as driven to follow her across Europe and to Mexico He was afraid of her unique personality and after much turbulence, they came to love 0one another late in Lawrence’s short life when he saw her as mad for seeing any qualities in him.

The Princess is one of Lawrence’s darkest and most action packed novellas.

Arthur Chappell

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