The cynical Grotsky sits on a bench at twilight in Hyde Park because the scene "harmonised with his present mood." In Grotsky's mind, dusk is the "hour of the defeated." While he watches the people who pass, the elderly man with a "drooping air" rises and departs. In his place, a fairly well dressed young man who is no more cheerful than the departing gentleman takes his place upon the bench.
As if to emphasis the fact that the world went badly with him the new-corner unburdened himself of an angry and very audible expletive as he flung himself into the seat.
This exhibition of anger and frustration creates an atmosphere for the story that the young man tells Grotsky when asked. But, when he turns to Grotsky with a look of "disarming frankness," the cynical Grotsky becomes skeptical. Nonetheless, the young man proceeds with his tale of woe, after which Grotsky merely replies "Yes?...dispassionately."
Cleverly, however, there is an "eloquent pause after the story has been told" and the young man says with resentment in his voice that Grotsky must doubt him. When Grotsky substantiates his story with one of his own, the youth "brightens" and "throw[s] a good deal of warmth" into his last remark to indicate his hope that Grotsky will offer him something. But, when Grotsky points out that the young man cannot produce the bar of soap, making his story unbelievable, the undaunted youth feels in his pockets and jumps to his feet, declaring with anger that he must have lost the soap. He departs with his head held proudly high, and "an air of somewhat jaded jauntiness." When Grotsky finds a bar of soap in the ground near the bench, he believes the youth's tale, of course, because the evidence is there to verify the seemingly genuine display of emotion by the young man. For, it is the appropriate use of emotional clues that lends the young man credibility in the dusk that normally cloaks "the defeated." Thus, his emotional story and behavior is what, ironically, defeats Grotsky.