(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Although this story focuses primarily on the marital relations of a Gypsy and his Welsh wife, the central character is the small child, Micah, for he is the one most affected by his parents’ passions. The plot is simple. A Welsh woman has married the Gipsy, obviously because she was pregnant with the boy Micah, but also because, as she says, she does not like to live in houses. Their life, which gives the story its title, is one of wandering, peddling, haggling, and hiring themselves as laborers out whenever possible.

The central event of the story occurs when the wife sees her husband coming out of a barn with a farm girl and soon after becomes sexually attracted to a French peddler and has sex with him while her husband sleeps. The next morning, Micah tells his father that the peddler took his mother into the meadow during the night. While the Gipsy goes off with the peddler, presumably to beat him, the wife leaves to meet the peddler in another town.

After walking for hours, the wife gives up her quest, returns to the caravan, and has a physical fight with her husband, which sends Micah running in terror into the meadow. When the Gipsy finally tires of the fight, he and his wife have sex. When Micah returns and finds them asleep, he is content, knowing that when they awake everything will be the way he likes it.

The actions and passions of the story are reminiscent of the fiction of D. H. Lawrence, whose influence is clearly...

(The entire section is 510 words.)