What does Vera make Framton believe about her aunt?  What does Vera explain to her aunt about Framton?  What motivation could she have for these stories?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Vera is the most interesting character in the story. She is obviously an intelligent, imaginative, mischievous girl who is bored with living in a country house where everybody does and says the same things. As a girl she is stuck in the house. She can't go hunting like the men, but she probably wouldn't want to do that anyway because it involves getting all dirty and killing poor, innocent birds. So she probably spends most of her time reading, Because of her confined situation she probably likes stories of travel and adventure. H. Ryder Haggard might have been one of her favorite authors. Vera finds herself forced to play hostess to Framton Nuttel, a thoroughly unattractive man. Her aunt is fussing with her hair upstairs. She wants to give Vera some practice in being a hostess. Vera realizes that and hates the idea because she doesn't want to end up being a total airhead like her aunt. This is one of the reasons Vera decides to create an uproar rather than making the guest feel at home.

Vera first tells Framton that her aunt's husband and two brothers were killed three years ago when they were sucked into a bog while out hunting. She then explains that her aunt was so overwhelmed by the tragedy that she has been mentally deranged ever since. Her aunt waits every evening for the three men to return from hunting, and she leaves the French window open so that they can enter the house directly from the outside. Nuttel is already in a state of nerves at the prospect at having to spend time talking to a woman who is insane. Then when he sees the three hunters approaching the house carrying guns and accompanied by the brown spaniel, he naturally believes they are ghosts and flees for his life. Vera helps to convince him that these approaching men must be walking dead by making the kind of face that girls her age love to make. Mrs. Sappleton identifies the three ghosts as her husband and two brothers when she says:

"Here they are at last!" she cried. "Just in time for tea, and don't they look as if they were muddy up to the eyes!"

Framton shivered slightly and turned towards the niece with a look intended to convey sympathetic comprehension. The child was staring out through the open window with a dazed horror in her eyes. 

Naturally Mrs. Sappleton and the three men wonder why the visitor ran off in such a hurry. Vera calmly explains:

"I expect it was the spaniel," said the niece calmly; "he told me he had a horror of dogs. 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. Enough to make anyone lose their nerve."

She must have gotten that incident from one of her books. 

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