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The Open Window

by Saki
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In "The Open Window," what did Mrs. Sappleton talk about to Framton and how did he react to her conversation?

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In "The Open Window," Mrs. Sappleton begins having a conversation with Framton. She explains why the window is open. She is expecting her husband and brothers at any moment. They have been hunting and are due to return at any minute:

I hope you don't mind the open window," said Mrs. Sappleton briskly; "my husband and brothers will be home directly from shooting, and they always come in this way. They've been out for snipe in the marshes to-day, so they'll make a fine mess over my poor carpets. So like you men-folk, isn't it?"

While Mrs. Sappleton is making small talk with her new acquaintance, she does not realize the trick Vera has played on Framton. Vera has told Framton a tall tale. Framton believes Mrs. Sappleton's husband and brothers died three years ago by drowning in the bog. Framton's nerves are set on edge as Vera shares how Mrs. Sappleton expects her husband and brothers to return at any moment. 

When Mrs. Sappleton makes conversation with Framton, Framton feels particularly sorry for Mrs. Sappleton. He thinks she is mentally touched. Framton tries to change the subject to a less tragic one:

He made a desperate but only partially successful effort to turn the talk on to a less ghastly topic; he was conscious that his hostess was giving him only a fragment of her attention, and her eyes were constantly straying past him to the open window and the lawn beyond. It was certainly an unfortunate coincidence that he should have paid his visit on this tragic anniversary.

When Mrs. Sappleton sees her husband and brothers approaching, she is delighted. Framton is terrified. He makes a run for it. He quickly leaves the house:

Framton grabbed wildly at his stick and hat; the hall-door, the gravel-drive, and the front gate were dimly-noted stages in his headlong retreat. A cyclist coming along the road had to run into the hedge to avoid an imminent collision.

Vera surely had a good laugh about the whole story she had made up. It will be weeks before Framton recovers. 


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