"The Courtship of Mr. Lyon"
A young woman named Beauty stares out the window at snow gleaming in the dusk. We are told that her skin resembles the snow because it possesses the same "inner light" that seems to emanate from within. The snow is unspoiled by footprints, "white and unmarked as a spilled bolt of bridal satin." The young woman worries for her father's safety because he said he would be home before dark, and he cannot call her because he phones are down. The young woman's father has gotten his car stuck in the snow far away from home. He is returning from a meeting with his lawyers, where he has discovered that his fortune is gone. He does not have enough money even to buy Beauty the single white rose she requested. His spirits dampened, he comes upon an enchanting house that seems deserted except for one illuminated window. As he approaches the gate, he spies a single white rose blooming on a snowy bush amid the storm. As he enters the gate, he hears "a great roaring, as of a beast of prey." Beauty's father gathers his wits and knocks on the door. He notices that the knocker is a lion's head made of solid gold. To his astonishment, the door opens and then closes behind him without anyone touching it. Inside the house, candlelight illuminates countless crystal jars filled with flowers. He is not afraid, because he senses that the house's master is so rich that he is not subject to the laws of reality. A King Charles spaniel wearing a diamond necklace greets Beauty's father and urges him into a fire-lit study. There, he partakes of food and drink that is laid out for him. He calls a tow-truck service from the number on a thoughtfully provided card. However, when he tries to call Beauty, the lines are down again. The spaniel leads him out the door. As Beauty's father makes his way out of the estate, he bumps into a rosebush and knocks the snow off another single, peculiarly perfect white rose. He hears another bout of roaring. However, thinking that the estate's master will not mind, he plucks the rose. Suddenly, the Beast, a great creature with a lion's hea, appears next to Beauty's father and "[shakes] him like an angry child shakes a doll." Beauty's father appeals to the Beast, explaining that he stole the rose for his daughter. When Beauty's father shows the Beast a photograph of Beauty, the Beast is pacified. He tells Beauty's father to take the rose but bring Beauty to his house for dinner. When Beauty meets the Beast, the sadness in his eyes touches her. The Beast asks Beauty's father to serve himself and his daughter, himself eating nothing. He explains that he does not keep servants because being around humans constantly would make him feel mocked. The Beast and his house frighten Beauty; she feels as though she is his "Miss Lamb, spotless, [and] sacrificial." The Beast calms her momentarily when he promises to help her father regain his fortune. Yet the price of his help distresses Beauty; she must stay with the Beast while her father is in London. Luxury surrounds Beauty at the Beast's estate. But she cannot enjoy it because she senses that the Beast cannot either. She also notices that he avoids her as though he, the mighty predator, is scared of her; the Beast has the "shyness ... of a wild creature." Beauty amuses herself by reading fairy tales until the Spaniel shepherds her into the Beast's den. Beauty feels comfortable with the beast, as though she has always known him. When the clock strikes midnight, the Beast throws himself on Beauty's lap and lavishes her hands with passionate licks. Then he suddenly bounds out of the room, to Beauty's "indescribable shock ... on all fours." Beauty is happy at the Beast's estate. She spends her days exploring the house and garden and her nights conversing with the Beast. Then one night, her father calls with the good news that his fortune is being restored. The Beast is devastated. Before leaving, Beauty promises him to return to him "before the winter...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document