LUNCHEON- A REVIEW
W S Maugham was young and naïve, and was living in Paris, some twenty years from the time of writing this striking short story with a twist of irony. His first literary works were just published. Like any young writer, he craved for admiration. And that's what he got when he received a fan mail from a lady, lavishly praising one of his just published works. He was elated and wrote back thanking her. Then he receives a letter from the same admirer stating that she was passing through Paris and was interested to have a chat with the author. As she had a busy schedule and suggested that author might consider treating her with a little luncheon at Foyot's on the following Thursday when she would be free.
Fyot's is plush and expensive up scale restaurant in Paris where the French senators eat - meaning it was a place for the elite's and a struggling writer like Maugham can never dream of eating at such place. He had only eighty francs to sustain him through the month and a modest luncheon, he thought, would not cost more than fifteen francs. This deficit of fifteen francs could be adjusted by refraining from taking daily coffee for two weeks.
Being flattered by the attention being showered on him by the l
The author answered his friend, known to him through letter, that he would meet her on Thursday at half past twelve, at Fyot's. And still the young writer falls for her well-laid trap and inquires about her preference. But when the mutton chop ordered earlier arrive for the author, then the supreme irony of this story unfolds. Reluctantly the author ordered caviare for her and a mutton chop for himself, that being the cheapest dish on the menu. The mental anguish that the writer had to endure during this span of time is heart touching. His self-esteem wouldn't permit him to borrow any short fall of cash from his guest. He observed with complacency the way the immortal gods mete out justice. she reiterated that she never ate more than one thing for luncheon. Finally the bill came and after settling it he had barely enough to pay a decent tip. Referring her doctor, she opts for champagne. Her comment was again an irony- one should always get up from meal feeling a little hungry. Waiter was asked and he said that a salmon had indeed come in and it was the first of the year. The author thought that the statement was earnest and out of mere courtesy insisted her to have some thing.