What is the meaning of the words of Miss Gaven:"Miss Hill, don't you see these ladies are waiting?" and "Look lively, Miss Hill, please."James Joyce's "Eveline"

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Joyce's short story "Eveline," the main character of this name sits in at the window in the waning evening reflecting upon her equally grey existence.  For, reflective of the invading dusk come Eveline's memories and impressions that intrude upon her consciousness. For instance, she recalls the field in which she played with other children when her mother was alive and her father "was not so bad." But, now, Eveline contemplates leaving, although there is some indecision as she reflects,

Perhaps she would never see again the familiar objects from which she had never dreamed of being divided.

Another division she will make if she departs with her sailor is from  the shop where she is employed. Eveline wonders what the gossip about her will be when she leaves; yet, she feels her employer, Miss Gavan, will be glad. 

She had always had an edge on her, especially when there were people listening.

That is, Eveline is subservient even at work and allows herself to be belittled before other employees and customers.  She reflects that she "would not cry many tears at leaving the Stores" because she will be relieved of the scoldings of Miss Gavan [the lines quoted above] meant to give her "an edge" by demeaning Eveline with corrections on what she perceives as her laziness.