In the Second Best, Lawrence tells a story of two sisters who meet after being apart for a long time. The older, Frances, a girl of twenty-three and the beauty of the family comes from Liverpool back to the parents' house and spends a day with her younger sister, Anne, ‘a very buxom girl’, 'brimming with common sense'. The two sisters talk of Jimmy Barras, a Doctor of Chemistry, whom Frances has been ‘sweet on. It turns out Jimmy got engaged to a different girl, so Frances has to move on. When they walk the fields Anne finds a mole and later kills it for no good reason. Frances is astonished by her sister’s action, but soon her grief is substituted by sudden indifference.’Something dies insider of her’ and she finds herself caring very little for everything. As the two girls approach the gate they meet Tom Smedley, a young man, ‘who was ready to love Frances, as soon as she would show him. Now, that Jimmy is already taken, Frances decides to settle for Tom, as he is the second best.