The Cactus (Henry)

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The Cactus
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man lost the woman he loved due to his own vanity and conceit, as he pretended to know Spanish, which led to a misunderstanding when she sent him a cactus with a Spanish name as her answer.

A man named Trysdale stood in his bachelor apartment, reminiscing about the recent events that led to the loss of the woman he loved. He had attended her wedding to another man, and as he removed his gloves, he tried to understand why and how he had lost her. He realized that his own vanity and conceit had played a significant role in their separation.

Trysdale — narrator; conceited, vain, and regretful.

Vanity and conceit? These were the joints in his armor.

Trysdale remembered the night he had asked her to share his greatness, and how she had admired him for his supposed knowledge of the Spanish language. He had allowed her to believe this falsehood, and she had promised to send him her answer the next day. Instead of a direct response, she sent him a cactus with a tag bearing a foreign name. Confused and hurt, he waited for her explanation, but it never came. They drifted apart, and he was left to wonder where he had gone wrong.

The Bride — Trysdale's love interest; sincere, modest, and worshipful.

One day, Trysdale's friend visited him and noticed the cactus. He recognized it as a tropical plant from his travels in South America and informed Trysdale that the tag on the cactus was in Spanish. The name of the plant, Ventomarme, translated to "Come and take me" in English. This revelation left Trysdale with a bitter smile, as he realized that his own dishonesty and pride had cost him the love of his life.