The Satyr (Variant Conclusion)

Clark Ashton Smith

They were lying coupled on a bed of golden moss, where the sunrays fell through a cleft in the high foliage, when Raoul fond them. They did not see or hear him; and their first intimation of his corning, as well as their last, was the rapier which he drove through Olivier's body till it pierced the bosom of Adele.

Adele screamed and twisted the corpse of Olivier moved in limp unison with her twisting. Raoul drew the rapier out and made sure of the woman with a second thrust. Then, with a vague feeling that he had avenged his fashion, and a sense of dull, unhappy confusion, of muddled and bleary wonder as to what it was all about, he stood looking down at his victims.

They were both very quiet now, as beseems a couple who have been slain in open adultery. And there was no movement, no sign of life, in the lonely forest where so few people ever came. Therefore, M. Le Comte was startled beyond all measure when he heard the wild, malign, unhuman and diabolical cachinnation witch issued from the alder boughs.

He raised his bloody rapier, and peered at the boughs, but he could see nothing. The laughter ceased, and was not followed by any other sound. He crossed himself, and began hurriedly to retrace the path by which he had entered the wood.

[Clark Ashton Smith completed "The Satyr", his second story set in the milieu of Averoigne, in the early spring of 1930. Manuscript materials preserved in Brown University's Smith Papers Collection demonstrate that Smith had first envisioned a conclusion for this tale that differs from the final published version. This earlier variant conclusion is reprinted below, and replaces the last three paragraphs of the published story (Genius Loci).
It is not known whether Smith rethought his original conclusion with an eye towards the story's saleability, in view of the sexual nature of the final scene. -Steve Behrends]

Bibliographic Citation

Top of Page