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As is typical of Saki, there is a subtle irony to his story, "Dusk," in which a complacent, yet heart-weary Norman Grotsby rests on a park bench in the Park in London at twilight. The scene
harmonised with his present mood. Dusk, to his mind, was the hour of the defeated.
But, little does Grotsby know that he will be counted among these defeated that his supercilious attitude regards. The people who come to sit in the park at this time of night come because the scrutinizing looks of others cannot notice the shabbiness of their clothes or the "bowed shoulders and unhappy eyes." As Grotsby sits in the dusk, he counts himself among them, having become "heartsore and disillusioned." In this state, he feels a cynical pleasure in observing and labeling the passersby. Observing the elderly gentleman who sits beside him on a bench, Grotsby judges him as "one of the world's lamenters who induce no responsive weeping." As he departs, Grotsby imagines him returning to a place where no one takes notice of him.
Then, a fairly well-dressed young man comes up immediately, flinging himself down as he utters a "very audible expletive." Gortsby asks him what is wrong, and the young man looks at him with a "disarming frankness" that puts Gortsby on his guard. The young man tells him he arrived in town only to learn that the hotel at which he had intended to stay had been torn down. So he was sent to another hotel. But, when he discovered that he had forgotten to pack a bar of soap--he hates to use hotel soap--he went out to buy some with only a shilling on him. Now, he discovers that he cannot remember the hotel name of the street it is on.
After a pause, the young man says that he supposes Grotsby believes that he has merely "spun a yarn." Judicially, Grotsby replies that it is not at all impossible since he and a friend did much the same thing in a foreign capital, but they remembered that the hotel was near a canal, so they found it. Then Grotsby adds with the "requisite decency, "the weak point of your story is that you can't produce the soap." Checking his pockets and jumping to his feet, the young man replies in anger, "I must have lost it" and runs off with an air of "jaded jauntiness."
Reflecting upon what has happened, Grotsby decides that the young man would have been "a genius in his particular line" if he had produced a bar of soap wrapped and sealed by the chemist's counter. Then, as he rises to go, Grotsby sees just that: a wrapped bar of soap. He rushes to catch up to the young man whom he finds on the border of the carriage drive; when Grotsby approaches, he turns abruptly with an air "of defensive hostility." Holding out the soap, Grotsby says, "The important witness to the genuineness of your story has turned up." He offers the young man a sovereign with his card so that the man can repay him. "Lucky thing your finding it," says the young man with a catch in his voice, and he thanks him and hurries off.
Feeling sorry for the youth whose voice sounded as though he were about to cry, Grotsby chastises himself for being hasty in judging circumstances. As he retraces his steps, he sees the elderly gentleman again. "Have you lost anything" he asks. "Yes, sir, a cake of soap," the man replies.
I need a summary of dusk in 1000 words.
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