The fact that the gipsy had no name for Yvette until the last line of the story is sufficient indication that he is not a real person to her but rather a symbolic embodiment of a life of vitality and freedom as opposed to the deathly world of the rectory and its stagnant sense of middle-class morality and middle-aged death-in-life. Moreover, the inhabitants of the rectory—her father, her aunt, her uncle, and especially old Granny—are more symbolic embodiments than they are real. Her father embodies narrow middle-class morality, whereas her aunt and uncle represent the repressed and meaningless life of middle age. Granny is the central representative of the decayed life of the rectory, the “pivot” of the family, which she covers and controls with her power.
Yvette is the central figure in the battle between the forces of gipsy vitality and the sterility of the deathly world of the rectory. Her older sister Lucille primarily seems to serve the contrasting function of one who is more resigned than Yvette to slip into the harness of bourgeois morality and thus marry and settle down. Yvette’s mother, “She-who-was-Cynthia,” although not physically present in the novella, is an embodiment of one who has escaped these mundane devotions to strike out on her own.
Yvette is a reincarnation of her mother’s yearning for freedom as well as her carelessness and immaturity. Although she elicits the reader’s sympathy because of her entrapment within the stifling world of the rectory, at the same time she alienates the reader with her selfishness. At least at first glance, however, there seems little doubt that the narrator, perhaps the most important “character” in the story, is fully in sympathy with her plight and completely scornful of the world of the rectory. Although the narrator remains an unnamed, omniscient figure throughout, it is his judgmental voice that dominates the action. It is thus by the narrator’s point of view and his possibly ironic tone that the complexity of the novella’s value system is communicated.