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In Studies in Short Fiction, Bassoff contends that Lovisa ‘‘muses over her happiness’’ and then, after her engagement with the thief, ‘‘life is both more and less than imagined promises.’’ For, interpreting the encounter with the thief in the grove as a sexual one, symbolized by the action with the knife--
he... raised the point of the knife till it pointed at her throat. The gesture was mad, unbelievable. He did not smile as he made it, but his nostrils distended, the corners of his mouth quivered a little. Then slowly he put the knife back in the sheath by his belt--
Certainly, then, Lovisa has lost her innocent confidence in life after the encounter with the thief: "With his lost ring she had wedded herself to something." The experience in the grove has, indeed, changed the young woman who knew no fear nor no evil before it. Never again can she sense the comfort she once knew; never again can she be without a certain consternation. Indeed, more than the wedding ring has been lost as she is now to be wed to fear and uncertainty with a new ring.
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