What are the reactions to Vera and to Framton?"The Open Window" by Saki

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The skillful narrator of "romance at short notice," Mrs. Stappleton's niece Vera, upon her perception of Framton Nuttel's nervous condition and lack of acquaintance with the area and its populace, fabricates a credible tale of how her uncle and her two counsins went hunting by departing through the window that is open upon them as they await Mrs. Stappleton.  Incorporating details of truth into this tale, she lures Mr. Nuttel into believing the veracity of the men's having never returned.  Mrs. Stappleton, Vera tells him, yet believes in her debilitated state of mind that they will come back.

So, when Mrs. Stappleton finally arrives in the sitting room, Nuttel patronizes her. When she exclaims, "Here they are at last!" he looks to the niece sympathetically; however, as he sees the girl staring out the window in horror, Framton Nuttel quickly looks himself.  As the men approach, chatting with one another, Framton flies out the door and races away in reaction to Vera's look and the conclusion to her tall tale.

In the meanwhile, Mrs. Stappleton is baffled by Framton's reactions because she has no knowledge of what Vera has fabricated:

"A most extraordinary man, a Mr. Nuttel," said Mrs. Sappleton...." one would think he had seen a ghost."

Both Framton Nuttel and Mrs. Stappleton of Saki's "The Open Window" have reacted to the "romance at short notice" of Vera, Mrs. Stappleton's niece.

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