Interesting Literature’s ‘The 10 Best Saki Stories Everyone Should Read’

The literary blog Interesting Literature (A Library of Literary Interestingness) has a top-ten list of Sakis stories along with some short analysis and comments on their choices. The obvious ones are there (Gabriel-Ernest, Sredni Vashtar, Tobermory’, The Music on the Hill, The Lumber-Room) as well as some lesser known but worthy entries (Filboid Studge! Yes!). I dont completely agree with the choices made (The Jesting of Arlington Stringham has a good joke about rabbit curry but is otherwise only average Saki) but then again, isnt the point of these lists that you can argue about them?

Agree/Disagree here:

The 10 Best Saki Stories Everyone Should Read



‘The Treasure-Ship’

The great galleon lay in semi-retirement under the sand and weed and water of the northern bay where the fortune of war and weather had long ago ensconced it. Three and a quarter centuries had passed since the day when it had taken the high seas as an important unit of a fighting squadron—precisely which squadron the learned were not agreed. The galleon had brought nothing into the world, but it had, according to tradition and report, taken much out of it. But how much? There again the learned were in disagreement. Some were as generous in their estimate as an income-tax assessor, others applied a species of higher criticism to the submerged treasure chests, and debased their contents to the currency of goblin gold. Of the former school was Lulu, Duchess of Dulverton.

The Duchess was not only a believer in the existence of a sunken treasure of alluring proportions; she also believed that she knew of a method by which the said treasure might be precisely located and cheaply disembedded. An aunt on her mother’s side of the family had been Maid of Honour at the Court of Monaco, and had taken a respectful interest in the deep-sea researches in which the Throne of that country, impatient perhaps of its terrestrial restrictions, was wont to immerse itself. It was through the instrumentality of this relative that the Duchess learned of an invention, perfected and very nearly patented by a Monegaskan savant, by means of which the home-life of the Mediterranean sardine might be studied at a depth of many fathoms in a cold white light of more than ball-room brilliancy. Implicated in this invention (and, in the Duchess’s eyes, the most attractive part of it) was an electric suction dredge, specially designed for dragging to the surface such objects of interest and value as might be found in the more accessible levels of the ocean-bed. The rights of the invention were to be acquired for a matter of eighteen hundred francs, and the apparatus for a few thousand more. The Duchess of Dulverton was rich, as the world counted wealth; she nursed the hope, of being one day rich at her own computation. Companies had been formed and efforts had been made again and again during the course of three centuries to probe for the alleged treasures of the interesting galleon; with the aid of this invention she considered that she might go to work on the wreck privately and independently. After all, one of her ancestors on her mother’s side was descended from Medina Sidonia,[1] so she was of opinion that she had as much right to the treasure as anyone. She acquired the invention and bought the apparatus.

Among other family ties and encumbrances, Lulu possessed a nephew, Vasco Honiton, a young gentleman who was blessed with a small income and a large circle of relatives, and lived impartially and precariously on both. The name Vasco had been given him possibly in the hope that he might live up to its adventurous tradition,[2] but he limited himself strictly to the home industry of adventurer, preferring to exploit the assured rather than to explore the unknown. Lulu’s intercourse with him had been restricted of recent years to the negative processes of being out of town when he called on her, and short of money when he wrote to her. Now, however, she bethought herself of his eminent suitability for the direction of a treasure-seeking experiment; if anyone could extract gold from an unpromising situation it would certainly be Vasco—of course, under the necessary safeguards in the way of supervision. Where money was in question Vasco’s conscience was liable to fits of obstinate silence. Continue reading

‘Ferrets can be gods’: LRB review of Gabriel-Ernest and Other Tales

The London Review of Books website has a review by Katherine Rundell of Alma Classics’ Gabriel-Ernest and Other Tales. The review was originally printed in the LRB’s 11 August 2016 issue. It’s particularly interesting for its discussion of the influence of Saki on Roald Dahl, and contains the wonderful line “[Saki’s] children are nasty, brutsh and short”, which is worthy of the man himself.

The direct URL is:

The LRB website has a paywall but you can access one article for free or register free for 24 hours of access.