|Saki-1870 to 1916|
I did not really plan to read another short story by Saki (Henry Munro-1870 to 1916-UK) this year. Most days I check to see what the short story of the day is on East of the Web: Short Stories. Today it was a very brief short story "The Disappearance of Christina Umberleigh" by Saki so I decided to read it. (There is some background information on Saki in my prior posts on his work. If you are an American he is the English O Henry and vice-versa.)
I really enjoyed this story and found the very brief period of time I spent reading it well rewarded. Based on the five of his stories I have posted on I think all of his stories are at least well written (if mannered in an Edwardian style) fun stories with a cute twist at the end. Saki is not great literature but he a pleasant read and draws sharp pictures of his subjects in just a few pages. His stories have a bit of an edge to them, they are not dark works and are not going to greatly strain your mind. I will read more of them in 2011.
Christina Umberleigh is the very domineering of one of the leading politicians of the time, Edward Umberleigh. I have not quoted from Saki at any length in a previous post so I will do so here so you can get a feel for his style.
Some people are born to command; Crispina Mrs. Umberleigh was born to legislate, codify, administrate, censor, license, ban, execute, and sit in judgement generally. If she was not born with that destiny she adopted it at an early age. From the kitchen regions upwards every one in the household came under her despotic sway and stayed there with the submissiveness of mollusks involved in a glacial epoch. As a nephew on a footing of only occasional visits she affected me merely as an epidemic, disagreeable while it lasted, but without any permanent effect; but her own sons and daughters stood in mortal awe of her; their studies, friendships, diet, amusements, religious observances, and way of doing their hair were all regulated and ordained according to the august lady's will and pleasure.
One day Mrs Unberleigh shows up missing. I do not tell anymore of the plot of this story. I think you will like the ending. It is not conclusive but there is reason to include him as a GLBT writer.
It can be read online here.