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The Schartz-Metterklume Method Characters

Instructor: Erica Schimmel

Erica has taught college English writing and literature courses and has a master's degree in children's literature.

A case of mistaken identity causes quite the disruption in the Quabarl household. Learn more about the two women involved in this lesson about the characters in ''The Schartz-Metterklume Method'' by Saki.

A Case of Mistaken Identity

Have you ever been mistaken for someone else? What did you do? Most of us would probably say something along the lines of, ''Nope, you must have the wrong person!'' Except most of us are not Lady Carlotta from in The Schartz-Metterklume Method, who instead decides to play along when Mrs. Quabarl mistakenly assumes she is the new governess.

Instead of correcting Mrs. Quabarl and going about her business, Lady Carlotta decides to go home with her new ''employer'' and impersonate Miss Hope, the expected governess. Once there, Lady Carlotta causes quite the disruption in the family's lives by telling outrageous stories and employing a supposed teaching method that involves acting out historical events.

Now, you're probably wondering what kind of person would do such a thing. And who would believe her crazy stories? Let's find out as we take a closer look at the characters in Saki's short story, The Schartz-Metterklume Method.

Since they are the primary focus in the story, we will spend our time with Lady Carlotta and Mrs. Quabarl. We will also find out a bit more about Mrs. Quabarl's family as we learn about her.

Imposter

Lady Carlotta is an interesting woman. First of all, she is not shy, as we see when she doesn't hesitate to give a piece of her mind to a ''carter'' who appears to be overworking his horse.

This isn't the first time Lady Carlotta has intervened when she thinks an animal is being mistreated. In fact, she has plenty of friends who believe she is too quick to interfere in situations which are ''none of her business.'' That doesn't stop the outspoken Lady, however, who has only ''put the doctrine of non-interference into practice'' one time - when she left a friend in a tree, chased by a boar, for hours.

That being said, Lady Carlotta doesn't seem to get upset easily. When her train leaves without her, she doesn't freak out. She just sends a telegram to her friend that she'll be on a different train. That's when Mrs. Quabarl comes in and assumes Lady Carlotta is actually Miss Hope, her family's new governess. Turns out Lady Carlotta is a bit of a jokester, and she decides to go along with it.

Not only does she go along with it, but she plays it up. When told she is expected to speak French during meals at least a few times a week, Lady Carlotta declares she shall speak French four days and Russian three, and it won't embarrass her that nobody in the home understands Russian.

She drinks wine at dinner, and shows off her knowledge about wines. As if that isn't enough, she makes up crazy stories about her supposed previous employer, and she also claims to have a ''half-grown'' leopard cub in her luggage. With all these stories, we have to question whether the teaching method she claims to use is even real.

Why would Lady Carlotta do all this? Well, we aren't specifically told, but her response to her friend when she finally arrives might be a clue. Her friend sympathizes that the delay must have been ''tiresome,'' but Lady Carlotta responds that it was ''not at all tiresome - for me.'' Evidently, she found the entire episode amusing.

Family Matriarch

When we take a closer look at Mrs. Quabarl, we can maybe see why Lady Carlotta might want to needle her a little bit. See, Mrs. Quabarl is a little snooty. She is the type of person who is ''imperfectly self-assured'' and ''magnificent and autocratic.'' Until, that is, someone comes along who opposes her.

At the ''least show of unexpected resistance'' Mrs. Quabarl becomes ''cowed and apologetic.'' So, for example, when Lady Carlotta is unimpressed by her new employer's new, expensive car, Mrs. Quabarl is a bit put out.

Mrs. Quabarl isn't used to being opposed. Her husband Mr. Quabarl certainly doesn't oppose her. Instead, he ''usually duplicated her opinions and lent her moral support generally.'' Mrs. Quabarl takes advantage of his support to talk over him.

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