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The Open Window

by Saki

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What does Mrs. Sappleton discuss with Framton, and why does he find it "purely horrible"?

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Vera has prepared Framton to believe that her aunt Mrs. Sappleton is insane by telling him a fantastic story about how her uncle and Mrs. Sappleton's two brothers went snipe-hunting exactly three years ago and were killed by being sucked into a bog. Vera has told him that her aunt lost her mind over that "tragedy" and that she leaves the tall French window open every evening because she still believes that the three men will return from hunting right around tea time. When Mrs. Sappleton comes down to the living room she immediately starts talking about about the three hunters she is expecting momentarily and telling him all about the snipe-hunting and prospects for duck-hunting. All the while she has her attention fixed on the open window where she expects the three men to enter momentarily, although Framton fully believes they have been dead for three years. This is what he finds "purely horrible."

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