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Beasts and Super-Beasts is a collection of short stories by the British author Hector Hugh Munro who wrote under the pseudonym of Saki. It was first published in The short stories first appeared in the Morning Post newspaper with the exception of the following; " The Open Window ", " The Schartz-Metterklume Method ", and "Clovis on Parental Responsibilities" originally appeared in the Westminster Gazette , and "The Elk" was published in the weekly Bystander magazine.
Beasts and Super-Beasts was the last anthology to be published in Saki's lifetime, and it is considered by many to be his best. Whereas his early collections included many light sketches, Beasts and Super-Beasts contains mostly stories with carefully-crafted plotlines, often with clever twists. Several of the stories in the collection have been adapted to other media. Many stories can also be found in various short-story anthologies. Stossen is determined to attend Mrs. Cuvering's fashionable garden party to which she was not invited.
She and her daughter try to sneak into the party from the back way, going through the narrow grass paddock into the gooseberry garden which connects to the lawn through a door. Unfortunately, the door is locked and they are forced to turn back. Cuvering's thirteen-year-old niece Matilda observes them and releases a huge, fierce-looking pet boar-pig into the paddock to block their return path.
Cuvering tries to coax Matilda into helping them, but she proves no match for the clever girl. The Mullet family has been trying for years to sell their horse, the Brogue. The horse is so easily spooked and difficult to handle that only their son Toby is able to ride it. They finally manage to convince their new neighbor to buy it, only to find out too late that the rich bachelor is interested in one of their daughters.
Now they must try to prevent the husband-in-prospect from getting killed by the dangerously uncontrollable horse. Sangrail has invited Dora Bittholtz to come for a visit. Her son Clovis tells her that the visit will be a disaster because their current house guest, Jane Martlet, has had a falling-out with Dora recently over a prize hen. Clovis volunteers to make Jane cut her visit short — generally considered an impossible feat — to ensure she is gone by the time Dora arrives.
With a little creative trickery, he manages to lead Jane to believe that their trusted butler is trying to kill her. The Duchess of Dulverton purchases a new invention, an apparatus for deep-sea exploration, to search for a sunken treasure ship. She sends her nephew Vasco Honiton, a young man with a small income living off his relatives, to her coastal property so he can practice using the apparatus in the bay.
Vasco returns a few weeks later to report that he found a submerged motorboat at the bottom of the bay. Using the apparatus, he has recovered from the wreck a watertight box containing some interesting papers. It turns out to be quite a treasure for Vasco — but not for the Duchess.
Durmot has invited Latimer Springfield, a politician on a campaign tour, to stay overnight at her house after a local event. She tells her husband and her sixteen-year-old niece Vera that she intends to give the politician a restful lull from all things political.
The afternoon and evening proceed well, but the hostess fears that Springfield will sit up late working on his speeches.
Shortly after retiring to his bedroom, the politician is busy working on his notes when Vera bursts into the room carrying a small pig and a gamecock. By the time she leaves, politics will be the last thing on his mind. After a busy strike season in which every trade and industry that could possibly go on strike went on strike, the nation and the newspapers are now happy to turn their attention to the upcoming divorce suit of the Duke of Falvertoon.
It is a complicated and sensational affair involving many distinguished witnesses. A whole industry has sprung up to cover the trial, including reporters, artists, filmmakers, and others from all over Europe in addition to local businesses servicing the assembly. Then suddenly, just two days before the start of the trial, the Duke announces he and the Duchess are going on strike — they threaten to reconcile unless they get some consideration out of the industry.
Morton Crosby is sitting on a park bench when a shabbily-dressed man sits down next to him. Crosby judges him to be a professional beggar. The man begins to talk presently and, as expected, tries to bring his financial difficulties to Crosby's attention. Crosby skillfully steers the conversation away to discourage the man. He then begins to lead the beggar on with a story about his hometown where generosity towards strangers is customary.
Blenkinthrope, a poor conversationalist who lives an uneventful life, is encouraged by his friend Gorworth to invent stories to impress his acquaintances. Gorworth says that, for example, Blenkinthrope can tell them that a snake with mesmerizing eyes killed six out of his seven pullets before getting pecked to death by the seventh pullet which was immune because its eyes were covered by feathers. During the morning commute the following day, Blenkinthrope is tempted into trying the story on his fellow passengers.
The story not only captures the attention of his companions but also spreads around and makes the newspaper. Blenkinthrope soon begins to tell more tall tales, and his companions quickly catch on. Then one day, something truly sensational actually happens to Blenkinthrope.
Egbert visits Sir Lulworth to discuss a serious matter concerning his recently deceased great-aunt Adelaide. Sir Lulworth, a gourmet blessed with a great cook, absolutely refuses to discuss any business over the sumptuous lunch. After the meal, Egbert finally gets the chance to tell Sir Lulworth that he found among Adelaide's papers a letter from her late brother Peter. The letter suggests Peter was murdered by his hot-tempered cook Sebastien — whom Sir Lulworth has since taken into his service.
A young man sits down next to Norman Gortsby on a park bench. The man, who is obviously in a bad temper, tells Gortsby that he checked into an unfamiliar hotel earlier, stepped out to buy some soap, then became lost.
He says he cannot remember the name or address of the hotel, and he has no money left on him. Gortsby refuses to lend him any money when the man fails to produce the soap. A short time later, Gortsby finds a package dropped near the bench and decides to search for the young man. Lady Blonze decides to have her guests play a game during the Christmas house party. Each guest is to pick a famous character and act that character throughout the visit.
On the last day, there will be a vote and the best imitator will win a prize. Her husband is concerned that some of their guests, especially the younger wild ones, may take it too far.
His concerns turn out to be well founded. Having served abroad honorably for four years, Basset Harrowcluff returns home to find his underachieving half-brother Lucas unchanged. Lucas, a dreamer who is full of "great ideas" that never work out, has come up with a new idea for a music-hall revue; a spectacular musical number which involves "Cousin Teresa" pulling four wooden dogs on wheels across the stage to the refrain of "Cousin Teresa takes out Caesar, Fido, Jock, and the big borzoi.
Editorial staffs of London newspapers suddenly begin moving their operations to various foreign cities. Even the most respected Daily Intelligencer transfers its offices to Eastern Turkestan, leaving only an intelligent office boy behind.
After their return a few weeks later, the editor and his staff are found to have developed an aloofness, nicknamed "the Yarkand manner" after a town in Turkestan, and prove impossible to get in touch with. The paper also begins to express forcible opinions on foreign affairs, prompting the government to launch an investigation.
Sophie Chattel-Monkheim is having her hair styled for her special dinner party when the maid informs her of a domestic strike. The maid says the servants' union has discovered that the emergency chef Sophia engaged for the dinner, the omelette specialist who knows how to prepare a Byzantine omelette for their honored guest the Duke of Syria, was a strikebreaker two years ago.
Since no one is able to get ready for dinner without their maids and valets, Sophia is forced to dismiss the chef. Unfortunately for her, the kitchen staff learns about the dismissal and decides to go on a strike. Thackenbury remarks to her nephew Clovis that there are too many remembrance days — Christmas, New Year, Easter — for exchanging gifts and thank-you letters with "people who must not be left out.
He then goes on to describe how one might take revenge on "people who must not be let off" on Nemesis Day. Thackenbury objects at first but soon begins to see the possibilities. Adela Chemping goes shopping during the sale week at an upscale department store accompanied by her adolescent nephew Cyprian. Cyprian obediently carries Adela's parcels from department to department for two hours before being rewarded with a luncheon.
Afterwards, leaving the parcels with the cloakroom attendant, they resume their shopping. Adela goes off on her own and loses Cyprian in the crowded store. She finally manages to locate him, but what she witnesses next makes her faint in shock.
Old Betsy Mullen lives in a large cottage with a nice garden and a quince tree which she loves. Sixteen-year-old Vera has just learned that Betsy is months behind in paying her rent. Vera's aunt says it is best for Betsy to give up the cottage and move into smaller quarters. Vera disagrees and tells her aunt a secret: Betsy is helping to keep hidden certain items stored in the cottage which, if found, will cause a terrible scandal involving many respected people of the community.
At a house party, Hugo Peterby asks Clovis to keep his rival, a wealthy man named Lanner, occupied while he tries to catch Betty Coulterneb alone for a few hours to propose to her. Since Lanner does not like Clovis and will not spend any time with him, Clovis decides to approach the task in a roundabout manner. He tells the hostess that Lanner is an avid and ruthless egg collector intent on stealing the eggs from the rare buzzards nesting in the woods on her property. Attray has been trying desperately to keep her son Ronnie from gambling.
She stopped his allowances some time ago, but he simply sold his watch and other personal belongings to raise money. She believes he is now out of things he can sell. Ronnie was out late again last night, but Mrs. Attray hopes he was not able to gamble. She soon discovers she underestimated Ronnie's determination.
Eggelby loves to talk about her children and their accomplishments. Clovis has no interest whatsoever in listening to her go on about the children whom he has never met, so he decides to be contrary. He intimates that he is unlikely to care for them then begins to offer bizarre opinions about their upbringing. By the time he is done, Mrs.
Eggelby is determined to keep her children away from Clovis at all costs. A pleasant-looking young woman strikes up a conversation with Kenelm Jerton in the hotel dining room.
She says she has suffered a memory loss and cannot remember who she is except that she has a title, a Lady Something. She found herself on a train, got off at the station indicated by her ticket, and checked into the hotel under the name of Smith.
Beasts and Super-Beasts
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Beasts and Super-Beasts is a collection of short stories , written by Saki the literary pseudonym of Hector Hugh Munro and first published in It was his final collection of stories before his death in World War I , and several of its stories, in particular "The Open Window", are reprinted frequently in anthologies. The majority of the volume's stories deal in some fashion with animals, providing the source for its title. The character of Clovis Sangrail, featured in earlier works by Saki, appears in several stories. Most of the stories appeared previously in periodicals. Stylistically, Beasts and Super-Beasts displays the simple language, cynicism and wry humor that characterize Saki's earlier literary output. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.