The Open Window by Saki

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What does "Romance at short notice was her specialty" from "The Open Window" mean?

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This statement that Vera is capable of "romance at short notice" is Saki at his satirical best. According to the American College Dictionary, romance is

A tale depicting heroic or marvelous achievements, colorful events or scenes, chivalrous devotion, unusual or supernatural experiences, or other matters that appeal to the imagination.

So, Vera—whose name is ironic since she rarely speaks with veracity, o r truthfulness—has now fabricated another tale. This tale is from the real instance of the "tired brown spaniel," using a "colorful" fictional event: Nuttel was hunted by a pack of dogs on the...

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careemahchoong | Student

 

In this context Saki uses the word "Romance" to mean made-up stories of a wild or improbable nature. This meaning of the word is older than the modern association with falling in love(although this usage was also known in Saki's time.) It used to be quite common to accuse someone of "romancing" if they told you a tall or improbable story.

She took advantage of Mt Nuttel ignorance to deceive and make fun of him.She is careless what is the implication of her action .It may further detiorate his medical case.

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kathyproctor | Student

In that particular story, "romance" refers to the genre of imaginative literature, not romance as in "love."  The girl in the story (I think I her name is Vera) is adept at inventing stories (i.e. lying) on the spot.  Thus, her story about the men getting lost in the bog during their hunting expedition, etc., as an explanation about why the window is open.  Simply put, she's good at making up stories. 

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