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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As a social satirist of the Edwardian period, there is a humor in Saki's "The Open Window" not unlike that of Oscar Wilde, especially in the character of Vera, who has been sent downstairs by Mrs. Sappleton to entertain Mr. Framton Nuttel while he waits with his letters of introduction. 

The upperclass Mrs. Sappleton is not anxious to meet little Mr. Nuttel, knowing that he is inconsequential to her social circle, so she delays meeting him. After she "bustled into the room with a whirl of apologies for being late in making her appearance," her attitude contradicts her apology as she "rattled on cheerfully" about the men in her family who are hunting. As Nuttel feels he should change the topic of conversation away from the tragic event which Vera has described, he notices that "his hostess was giving him only a fragment of her attention."

Yet, Nuttel tries to refer to his condition as the reason he has come for a rest in the countryside. Operating under the "delusion" that stranger are eager to hear of his ailments, Framton informs Mrs. Sappleton in detail about his diet and need for rest; rather than commiserating, his hostess only stifles a yawn. Then, ignoring Framton, she "brightened into alert attention" as she sees her family approaching, "....Just in time for tea...."

Clearly, Mrs. Sappleton is abstracted, self-absorbed, and rather snobbish as she barely gives her guest Framton any attention. Ironically, after Framton rushes out, she heartlessly criticizes Nuttel's behavior to her husband.