“Dusk” by Saki Summary: Short Story Plot Synopsis

“Dusk” is a short story by Saki about a man who is joined at a park bench and told a hard-luck story. Here’s a summary of “Dusk”.

“Dusk” Summary

Norman Gortsby sits on a park bench at dusk. The scene is mostly empty, but some people are still out walking. Gortsby feels defeated, and the scene matches his mood, as people in shabby clothes and sad eyes pass by. Beyond the park are bright lights where successful people gather. Gortsby has enough money to join them, but he’s too disappointed by a failure.

Sitting next to him is an elderly gentleman with an air of defiance who seems like a nobody. As the man leaves, Gortsby imagines his family doesn’t value him or he lives in a bleak boarding house. A young man in a bad mood quickly sits down in the same spot.

He arrived this afternoon from London and took a room in an unfamiliar hotel. He went out to get a drink and buy some soap (he hates hotel soap) and realized he didn’t know the name or location of the hotel. Now, he has nowhere to go for the night.

The young man knows his story is hard to believe. Gortsby had a similar incident once but was able to find his hotel due it’s being on a canal. The young man is glad Gortsby doesn’t think his story too outrageous. He needs a decent man to lend him some money for the night, hopeful that Gortsby might be the man.

Dusk by Saki SummaryPlot Synopsis
“Dusk” Summary

Gortsby believes it’s a strike against the story that the young man can’t produce the soap. The young man checks his pockets and finds he lost it. Angry, he takes off down the path.

Gortsby thinks it’s a pity the young man didn’t have the foresight to have the soap on him. It would have made the story very convincing.

He gets up to go and sees a perfectly wrapped small oval packet on the ground. Realizing it came out of the young man’s coat when he got up to check it, he picks it up and rushes off after him. Gortsby catches up with the young man, returns the soap and apologizes for his suspicion. In light of this new evidence, he offers the young man a loan of a sovereign, which he immediately accepts. He gives his address so it can be repaid at his convenience.

Gortsby thinks about the lesson he’s just learned about judging people as he walks back to the bench. The elderly man from earlier is there, looking on the ground. He’s lost a cake of soap.

I hope this summary of “Dusk” by Saki was helpful.