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What does "Romance at short notice was her specialty" from "The Open Window" mean?

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tank187 | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 28, 2009 at 9:29 AM via web

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What does "Romance at short notice was her specialty" from "The Open Window" mean?

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kathyproctor | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted October 28, 2009 at 10:20 AM (Answer #1)

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In that particular story, "romance" refers to the genre of imaginative literature, not romance as in "love."  The girl in the story (I think I her name is Vera) is adept at inventing stories (i.e. lying) on the spot.  Thus, her story about the men getting lost in the bog during their hunting expedition, etc., as an explanation about why the window is open.  Simply put, she's good at making up stories. 

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William Delaney | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 2, 2012 at 10:27 PM (Answer #2)

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One might say that Vera is bright and imaginative, but one might also say that she is a confirmed liar. The author of the story does not explain that "romance at short notice was her speciality" until after she spontaneously invents a truly wild story to explain why Framton Nuttel fled from the house when he saw the three men approaching with their dog. She tells her story in a single sentence:

"He was once hunted into a cemetery somewhere on the banks of the Ganges by a pack of pariah dogs, and had to spend the night in a newly dug grave with the creatures snarling and grinning and foaming just above him."

She pins the blame on the innocent spaniel and rather perceptively implies uses the Freudian concept that their visitor could have developed a phobia against dogs in general from the encounter with the wild dogs in India. This girl is a very interesting and unusual character who must like to play what are now called  "mind games" with people.

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