This poem employs a form of irony that feels closest to dramatic irony, the kind of irony that is understood by the audience but not the characters. Here, the reader has to reconcile the speaker's devotion with the impossibility of the relationship, something the speaker turns a blind eye to. The poem does not clarify whether the mistress returns her servant's feelings; in fact, she seems mostly concerned with preparing for the dance she will later attend, while her servant reads erotic meaning into every physical interaction. The speaker is also unfazed by the practice of wearing her mistress's pearls to warm them, which, to the modern reader, signals a huge disparity in class. The mistress, at least as she is portrayed in this poem, does not question why she has things her maid does not have; the maid is less than she is, unquestionably. This deepens the inherent divide that the poem depicts; since her mistress does not consider the speaker an equal, a romantic relationship between them would be impossible.