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Beyond the Romantic Gypsy: Narrative Disruptions and Ironies in Austen's Emma

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Austen does not identify the poultry-diieves directly with the gypsies, though she calls the turkey thefts "pilfering" conducted "by the ingenuity of man" (483).21 I have always preferred to believe, however, that the gypsies came back for a spell to Highbury, to make the happy ending possible, just as fairies return at the end of Act V in A Midsummer Night's Dream (a play the novel references at another point) to give their blessing to the multiple nuptial beds of Theseus's household.22 The gypsies have done so much for the plot already that their presence here as the last instigators of a comic ending seems appropriate.

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