Student Question

What is the surprise ending of Saki's "Dusk"?

Expert Answers

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Gortsby believes the young man is lying and is trying to con him out of money.  He believes himself a good judge of people, and, after listening to the young man's story, confronts him with the fact that he didn't have the bar of soap he says he bought.  The young man, pretending to be surprised that he didn't have the soap, runs off --- supposedly in search of it.  Then Gortsby finds the soap underneath the bench.  He feels bad for having misjudged the young man and goes in search of him.  He finds him, apologizes, and gives him some money.  However, he expects the money to be returned and gives the young man his card.  When he returns to his bench, the old man who had been sitting there before the young man came was searching all over the ground.  Gortsby asks if he has lost something, and the old man replies that he lost a bar of soap.  The surprise ending is that the young man really was conning him, and the very bar of soap that he thought proved the young man was a con man was the reason he ended up giving the young man some money.  Gortsby still got conned.

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