In "The Open Window," why does the niece stare in ''dazed horror''?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Vera, Miss Sappleton's niece, has set Framton Nuttel up to believe that the three hunters returning towards the open window must be ghosts because she has made him believe that these men were killed three years ago. Therefore, Vera, who has been described as a very self-possessed young lady, must put on an act of being horrified when Framton turns to look at her. Mrs. Sappleton, according to Vera, has been waiting for her husband and two brothers for three years and has left the window open for them all that time. When she cries, "Here they are at last!"--

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. In a chill shock of nameless fear Framton swung round in his seat and looked in the same direction.

Vera is a good actress as well as a good story-teller. She is pretending to see what her aunt sees. Her faked expression of dazed horror makes Framton turn around and look in the same direction. He sees these "ghosts" too, and this is what causes him to flee for his life.

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The Open Window

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