The Chatterleys go out for a walk. Domestic bliss!
It's February. The narrator spends a lot of time going on about how beautiful everything is, as long as you can ignore the sulphurous smell of the coal pits.
Clifford is pretty proud of his wood. Wragby has an old oak forest attached to it, and to Clifford this represents everything that's noble and traditional and aristocratic and awesome about his estate—"really the heart of England," he said (5.12)—except for the one patch where Sir Geoffrey (Clifford's father) cut down a bunch of trees to send to the war effort, which really bums him out.Get it? No trees = no wood.
It is kind of a Robin Hood, where there used to be "deer, and archers, and monks padding along on asses" (5.17). And Connie points out that Clifford's family isn't that old. The wood has been around for a long longer than the Chatterleys have.
Doesn't matter. It belongs to the Chatterleys now, and it makes Clifford wish he had a son to pass it along to. Gotta keep the tradition alive.
Here's a shocker: Clifford actually suggests to Connie that she should maybe… just for the estate, you know… go get herself knocked up by some other guy, so at least Wragby has an heir.
What does marriage have to do with sex after all? And he trusts her "natural instinct of decency and selection" to pick out a nice guy (5.39)—in other words, no one like Michaelis. Sorry to break it to you, Clifford, but you're a little late for that.
Connie admits to herself that the mental intimacy is important, but she can't quite shake the feeling that sex matters too. And when she thinks about living in a sexless (and more important, passionless marriage), she feels a little, well, trapped.
Suddenly, a man appears "like the sudden rush of a threat out of nowhere" (5.51). (Is that what you call the feeling of foreshadowing hitting you over the head?) It's the gamekeeper Mellors, dressed just like a gamekeeper in funny clothes and with a soldierly air about him.
Clifford introduces him to Connie, and she's a little fascinated by his attitude, which isn't gross and clingy like the other peasants. His speech is funny, too, switching between dialect and "good" English.
Mellors helps push Clifford's chair back to the house, and Connie gets really depressed. Clifford of course has no idea, but somehow Mellors knows.
After he leaves, Connie quizzes Clifford about him. He's local, born in Tevershall, and worked in the mines before becoming keeper under Sir Geoffrey until the war, and then back to be gamekeeper. He had a wife, but she ran off with another man.
As Clifford talks, Connie realizes that he never actually recovered from the war. Basically, she figures out that he has PTSD—along with the rest of the world. Since the war, everything has gone downhill, and modernity is just full of shallow, clever guys running after money who never actually say anything meaningful.
Just like Michaelis. Michaelis writes a successful play and heads back to get some praise from Connie and Clifford. They obligingly give it to him.
And then for some reason, he thinks it's a good idea to ask Connie to marry him. Um, what? He points out that Clifford can't show her a good time, which is true if you think a good time involves sex and dancing.
Connie is unconvinced, although for some reason she still agrees to have sex with him.
This turns out to be a big mistake, since, when they're all done, he lays into her with some really unsexy pillow talk about women these days and how he's never been with a woman who "went off at just the same moment" (5.141).
Let's just point out here that Michaelis—and D.H. Lawrence—seem to be woefully misinformed about female sexuality.
Connie is kind of horrified, but restrains herself from pointing out that she really only had sex with him because she felt sorry for him. Still, the whole thing stinks, and she's now stuck in a depressing house with a really depressing husband. For maybe the rest of her life.