Beyond the Rose-Arbor (Synopsis)

Clark Ashton Smith

A staid middle-aged bachelor, waiting for his fiancée in her rose-arbor, accidentally discovers that a small, never-before-used exit from the arbor leads into a strange, enchanted domain of opulent flowers and exotic sunshine, peopled by beings of fable and faery. He meets a nymph and a satyr, who proceed to get him half-drunk on nectarous wine. Finally, recalling his appointment with his fiancée, a prim old maid who had kept delaying the date of their marriage for years, he returns through the arbor, which, on the enchanted side, is covered with roses of a lush, exotic type, larger and more frequent than the natural ones. Letitia Stinson, his fiancée, notices the alcoholic odor on his breath and is very much shocked. She reprimands him. Trying vainly to make her understand what has happened, the bachelor finally grabs her arm and pulls her through the exit giving upon the demesne of enchantment. After her first shock of surprise is over, she succumbs to the atmosphere of pagan gaiety.

Later, repenting her lapses from decorum in the realm beyond the arbor, she has the rose-bushes cut to the ground. The bachelor, indignant, finally asserts himself by rushing her off to the marriage license office. He nurses a secret hope that the roses will grow again from their roots and renew the entrance to that otherworld pleasance

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Printed on: January 16, 2019