The skill of Saki to utilize subtle foreshadowing is also evident as the niece reasonably develops the scenario of a fictitious tragedy, the death of the three men (and the dog) exactly a year before, which coincides to a year after the man's sister had been in residence nearby. The niece begins by ascertaining that Nuttel knows nothing of the people or place and that he would be easy to fool, foreshadowing that she is playing a trick on him. She then determines that the "tragic" events took place after the sister left and proceeds to describe exactly how the three figures and the dog looked when they left just that morning, with the supposition that they would return looking just the same.
Nuttel's shock, fear and outwardly rude reaction to seeing the three figures, with their dog come across the lawn is the climax of the work. The Niece has made a fool of him by spinning her story and by appearing shocked and horrified when the party returns, her acting skill at work. The remaining party assumes she is shocked by Nuttel's strange behavior and Nuttel by the return of the dead. The antagonist resolves the climax for those who are still present, by spinning a story about Nuttel that has him afraid of dogs because of an equally "romantic" morbid occurrence that the rest of the party seems to believe as well. The work then comes full circle as Nuttel dashes off even before being introduced to the new arrivals, "like he had seen a ghost," and the remaining party has a nice fantastic explanation offered again from the antagonist and a curious first impression of Nuttel.
Ultimately, the short story is well developed as the characterization, foreshadowing and climax devices build the situation as if it is plausible. The characters are well developed as protagonist (Nuttel) and antagonist (Niece) and each is given a reasonable and believable role in the work. The foreshadowing, including the ignorance of Nuttel, ascertained by the niece and the author in a tale tell way is subtle but present and the climax of the work, when the niece can support her shocked appearance by Nuttel's reaction to seeing the dead is well timed and interesting. Overall the story is predictable but very amusing.
Saki, the Open Window. at: http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/OpeWin.shtml