Munro , was a British writer whose witty, mischievous and sometimes macabre stories satirize Edwardian society and culture. He is considered by English teachers and scholars as a master of the short story , and often compared to O. Henry and Dorothy Parker. Besides his short stories which were first published in newspapers, as was customary at the time, and then collected into several volumes , he wrote a full-length play, The Watched Pot , in collaboration with Charles Maude; two one-act plays; a historical study, The Rise of the Russian Empire the only book published under his own name ; a short novel, The Unbearable Bassington ; the episodic The Westminster Alice a parliamentary parody of Alice in Wonderland ; and When William Came , subtitled A Story of London Under the Hohenzollerns , a fantasy about a future German invasion and occupation of Britain.
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I wasn't living apart from my husband then; you see, neither of us could afford to make the other a separate allowance. In spite of everything that proverbs may say, poverty keeps together more homes than it breaks up. But we always hunted with different packs. All this has nothing to do with the story. I suppose there was a meet," said Clovis. Constance is one of those strapping florid girls that go so well with autumn scenery or Christmas decorations in church.
Towards the finish, however, we must have held rather too independent a line, for we lost the hounds, and found ourselves plodding aimlessly along miles away from anywhere. It was fairly exasperating, and my temper was beginning to let itself go by inches, when on pushing our way through an accommodating hedge we were gladdened by the sight of hounds in full cry in a hollow just beneath us.
It stood more than twice as high, had a short, ugly head, and an enormous thick neck. Evidently they had broken away from the rest of the pack on the trail of this alien scent, and were not quite sure how to treat their quarry now they had got him. It had probably been accustomed to uniform kindness from humans, while its first experience of a pack of hounds had left a bad impression. The hounds looked more than ever embarrassed as their quarry paraded its sudden intimacy with us, and the faint toot of a horn in the distance was seized on as a welcome signal for unobtrusive departure.
Constance and I and the hyena were left alone in the gathering twilight. My home may be an unhappy one, but at least it has hot and cold water laid on, and domestic service, and other conveniences which we shouldn't find here.
We had better make for that ridge of trees to the right; I imagine the Crowley road is just beyond. If we even knew its sex we might give it a name. Perhaps we might call it Esme. That would do in either case. The sudden apparition of two horsewomen and a hyena set it off crying, and in any case we should scarcely have gleaned any useful geographical information from that source; but there was a probability that we might strike a gipsy encampment somewhere along our route.
We rode on hopefully but uneventfully for another mile or so. For company's sake I hulloed to Esme, who had lagged somewhat behind. With a few springy bounds he drew up level, and then shot past us. The gipsy child was firmly, and I expect painfully, held in his jaws. What are we to do? I stormed and scolded and coaxed in English and French and gamekeeper language; I made absurd, ineffectual cuts in the air with my thongless hunting-crop; I hurled my sandwich case at the brute; in fact, I really don't know what more I could have done.
And still we lumbered on through the deepening dusk, with that dark uncouth shape lumbering ahead of us, and a drone of lugubrious music floating in our ears. Suddenly Esme bounded aside into some thick bushes, where we could not follow; the wail rose to a shriek and then stopped altogether. This part of the story I always hurry over, because it is really rather horrible. When the beast joined us again, after an absence of a few minutes, there was an air of patient understanding about him, as though he knew that he had done something of which we disapproved, but which he felt to be thoroughly justifiable.
She was looking more than ever like an albino beetroot. Children sometimes do. A flash of lights and the whir of a motor went past us at the same moment at uncomfortably close quarters. A thud and a sharp screeching yell followed a second later. The car drew up, and when I had ridden back to the spot I found a young man bending over a dark motionless mass lying by the roadside. I'll do anything I can in reparation. Evidently hasty roadside interments were contingencies that had been provided against.
He couldn't have suffered much. Lord Pabham never advertised the loss of his hyena; when a strictly fruit-eating animal strayed from his park a year or two previously he was called upon to give compensation in eleven cases of sheep-worrying and practically to re-stock his neighbours' poultry-yards, and an escaped hyena would have mounted up to something on the scale of a Government grant.
The gipsies were equally unobtrusive over their missing offspring; I don't suppose in large encampments they really know to a child or two how many they've got.
Constance snorted loudly. I got through the post a charming little diamond broach, with the name Esme set in a sprig of rosemary. Incidentally, too, I lost the friendship of Constance Broddle. You see, when I sold the brooch I quite properly refused to give her any share of the proceeds.
I pointed out that the Esme part of the affair was my own invention, and the hyena part of it belonged to Lord Pabham, if it really was his hyena, of which, of course, I've no proof. If you liked this story, please share it with others:. The Toys Of Peace. An uncle tries to interest his young nephews in some experimental non-violent toys. Hermann the Irascible. A newly imported King of England finds a harsh - but effective - way of dealing with the country's feminists.
The Chronicles of Clovis
This work was published before January 1, , and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least years ago. In , H. Munro Saki gave up foreign reporting and settled in London. Many of his stories from this period feature Reginald and Clovis, young men-about-town who take mischievous delight in the discomfort or downfall of their conventional, pretentious elders. The Match-Maker. Packletide's Tiger. The Stampeding of Lady Bastable.
Taken from his The Complete Short Stories collection the story is a frame narrative and after reading the story the reader realises that Saki may be exploring the theme of arrogance. This may be important as it suggests that not only is the Baroness and Constance detached from the realities of life but they may also be exceptionally arrogant considering themselves better than others. It is also interesting that neither woman at any stage of the story gets off their horses. Symbolically Saki may be using the horses to suggest that both women consider themselves to be above others. In fact neither the Baroness nor Constance feel anything for the young gypsy child. Something that may have been commonplace among those of the upper classes. The most important thing to the Baroness is the fact that she feels as though she has a new though dangerous pet.
Esmé by Saki (H.H. Munro)
I wasn't living apart from my husband then; you see, neither of us could afford to make the other a separate allowance. In spite of everything that proverbs may say, poverty keeps together more homes than it breaks up. But we always hunted with different packs. All this has nothing to do with the story. I suppose there was a meet," said Clovis. Constance is one of those strapping florid girls that go so well with autumn scenery or Christmas decorations in church. Towards the finish, however, we must have held rather too independent a line, for we lost the hounds, and found ourselves plodding aimlessly along miles away from anywhere.
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