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Exposition: Mr. Framton Nuttel arrives at the Sappleton home to pay a visit to his sister's friend, Mrs. Sappleton. The reader learns that he has arrived in the country to rest his nerves, but does not know anyone.
Rising Action: Vera decides to keep Mr. Nuttel entertained by telling him the story of the open window, her aunt's "great tragedy." In the story, the aunt's husband and young brothers were lost in a bog accident, but she keeps the window open in case they ever return. Then Mrs. Sappleton returns to the room, announcing that her husband and brothers should be back shortly.
Climax: Mr. Nuttel and the others see the approach of figures in the fog, coming to the open window.
Resolution: Mr. Nuttel panics and bolts from the home. Vera decides that he is terrified of dogs after being hunted by them in India, and then comments that she loves "romance at short notice."
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