In Reginald on Tariffs, Saki writes:

There are only two classes that really can’t help taking life seriously—schoolgirls of thirteen and Hohenzollerns; they might be exempt. Albanians come under another heading; they take life whenever they get the opportunity. The one Albanian that I was ever on speaking terms with was rather a decadent example. He was a Christian and a grocer, and I don’t fancy he had ever killed anybody. I didn’t like to question him on the subject—that showed my delicacy.

Why does Reginald state that Albanians "take life whenever they get the opportunity"? Was the basis of this statement a concurrently existing stereotype?

  • 1
    1. "fiscal question" is probably a generic stand-in for a serious matter of that sort. 2. “declares on a weak red suit and hopes for the best” is probably about bridge. 4. Yes there seem to be such remarks in multiple Saki stories about various “other” peoples (Balkans etc) who keep getting into wars, etc. Oct 6, 2020 at 6:52
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    Albanian culture has a history of blood feuds. This is probably what led to the stereotype that Reginald was referring to.
    – Peter Shor
    Oct 27, 2020 at 11:13
  • re q3: the stereotype of germans as humourless is old and still-current, and easy to find references for. But the stereotype of early-teen girls as solemn, earnest, and moralising is one I'm familiar with, but struggling to find a reference to back up. Oct 27, 2020 at 11:54
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    @Vince: Not Germans in general here, but Prussians in particular, I believe. The unification of Germany was not that long ago when Saki wrote the story.
    – Peter Shor
    Oct 27, 2020 at 12:30
  • Since each post should strictly speaking focus on a single question, I have retained the one from the title and removed the other ones. You can post the three other questions as three separate post. (People had started close-voting this post because it contained multiple questions.)
    – Tsundoku
    Oct 27, 2020 at 20:10


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