The Luncheon - William Somerset Maugham

Topics: Black-and-white films, American films, The Head Waiter Pages: 4 (1633 words) Published: May 3, 2013
I caught sight of her at the play and in answer to her beckoning I went over during the interval and sat down beside her. It was long since I had last seen her and if someone had not mentioned her name, I hardly think I would have recognized her.   She addressed me brightly. “Well, its many years since we first met.   How time does fly!   We’re none of us getting any younger.   Do you remember the first time I saw you?   You asked me to luncheon.” Did I remember? It was twenty years ago and I was living in Paris. I had a tiny apartment in the Latin Quarter overlooking a cemetery and I was earning barely enough money to keep body and soul together. She had read a book of mine and had written to me about it. I answered, thanking her, and presently I received from her another letter saying she was passing through Paris and would like to have a chat withme; but her time was limited and the only free moment she had was on the following Thursday; she was spending the morning at the Luxembourg and would I give her a little luncheon at Foyot’s afterwards? Foyot’s is a restaurant at which the French senators eat and it was so far beyond my means that I had never even thought of going there. But I was flattered and I was too young to have learned to say no to a woman. (Few men, I may add, learn this until theyare too old to make it of any consequence to a woman what they say.) I had eighty francs (gold francs) to last me the rest of the month and a modest luncheon should not cost more than fifteen. If I cut out coffee for the next twoweeks I could manage well enough. I answered that I would meet my friend—by correspondence—at Foyot’s on Thursday at half-past twelve.   She was not so young as I expected and in appearance imposing rather than attractive. She was in fact a woman of forty (a charming age, but not one that excites a sudden and devastating passion at first sight), and she gave me the impression of having more teeth, white and large and even, than were necessary...
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