illustration of a young girl looking out a window at ghostly figures

The Open Window

by Saki

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What was Framton's reaction to the hunting party's arrival in "The Open Window"?

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Towards the end of Saki's short story "The Open Window" Frampton Nuttell, a house-guest of Mrs. Sappleton's who was there to cure his nerves, had been told a fake story by Mrs. Sappleton's niece, Vera, regarding the reason why the window was kept open in the household.

Vera had made up a story telling Frampton how her aunt, who was not present at the moment, had a fixation with the open window because she had supposedly lost her husband and his hunting party one afternoon, and that their bodies were never recovered.

Poor aunt always thinks that they will come back someday...and walk in at that window just as they used to do. That is why the window is kept open every evening till it is quite dusk.

Therefore, when Mrs. Sappleton returns and, shortly after, so does her husband and his hunting party, Frampton is still led by Vera's faked-petrified face, which made him believe that these were apparitions, or something otherworldly. Hence, he panicked and ran out of the house so fast that he almost crashed with a nearby cyclist. 

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.


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Vera had inserted several details into her story which insured that Framton Nuttel would recognize the three hunters as the trio who had supposedly been killed exactly three years ago by being sucked into a bog on the moor. She said that they had been accompanied by a little brown spaniel which had died along with them. Her uncle had been carrying his white waterproof coat over his arm, and Bertie, her aunt's youngest brother, had been singing "Bertie, why do you bound?" When Framton sees three figures approaching the open French window "in the deepening twilight," they are all holding guns, one is carrying a white waterproof coat over his arm, they are accompanied by a little brown spaniel, and one of the hunters bursts out singing, "I said, Bertie, why do you bound?" Further evidence that these are the three men who supposedly died three years ago is provided by Vera's aunt who cries, "Here they are at last!" Vera has prepared Framton to view this typical country scene with "a chill shock of nameless fear."

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

Framton may return to London, where life is stressful but at least not haunted by ghosts carrying guns. No doubt he will report his experience to his sister, who may in turn report it to the local minister, and he might relay it to Mrs. Sappleton; but it will get so garbled in translation that Vera's involvement may never be suspected. On the other hand, the minister, who must be used to hearing people's secrets, may say nothing to anyone, especially since he probably won't be able to understand what happened himself and he already has the impression that Framton Nuttel is mentally and emotionally unstable..

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