Mrs. Craddock

Mrs. Craddock

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by William Somerset Maugham
     
 

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EPISTLE DEDICATORY

Dear Miss Ley,— You will not consider it unflattering if I ask myself when exactly it was that I had the good fortune to make your acquaintance; for, though I am well aware the date is not far distant, I seem to have known you all my life. Was it really during the summer before last, at Naples ? (I forget why you go habitually to

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EPISTLE DEDICATORY

Dear Miss Ley,— You will not consider it unflattering if I ask myself when exactly it was that I had the good fortune to make your acquaintance; for, though I am well aware the date is not far distant, I seem to have known you all my life. Was it really during the summer before last, at Naples ? (I forget why you go habitually to winter resorts in the middle of August; the reasons you gave were ingenious but inconclusive—surely it is not to avoid your fellow-countrymen ?) I was in the Gallery of Masterpieces, looking at the wonderful portrait-statue of Agrippina, when you, sitting beside me, asked some question. We began to talk—by the way, we never inquired if our respective families were desirable; you took my reputability for granted—and since then we have passed a good deal of time together; indeed, you have been seldom absent from my thoughts.

Now that we stand at a parting of ways {the phrase is hackneyed and you would loathe it), you must permit me to tell you what pleasure your regard has given me and how thoroughly I have enjoyed our intercourse, regretting always that inevitable circumstances made it so rare. I confess I stand in awe of you—this you will not believe, for you have often accused me of flippancy (I am not half so flippant as you); but your thin and mocking smile, after some remark of mine, continually makes me feel that I have said a foolish thing, than which in your eyes I know there is no greater crime. . . . You have told me that when an acquaintance has left a pleasant recollection, one should resist the temptation to renew it: altered time and surroundings create new impressions which cannot rival with the old, doubly idealised by novelty and absence. The maxim is hard, but therefore, perhaps, more likely to be true. Still, I cannot wish that the future may bring us nothing better than forgetfulness. It is certain that our paths are different, I shall be occupied with other work and you will be lost to me in the labyrinth of Italian hotels, wherein it pleases you, perversely, to hide your lights. I see no prospect of reunion (this sounds quite sentimental and you hate effusiveness. My letter is certainly over-full of parentheses); but I wish, notwithstanding and with all my heart, that some day you may consent to risk the experiment. What say you ? I am, dear Miss Ley, very truly (don't laugh at me, I should like to say—affectionately),
— W. M.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940014866958
Publisher:
OGB
Publication date:
08/12/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
387 KB

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Mrs. Craddock 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DrSaunders More than 1 year ago
Unbounded affection meets efficient practicality, and the results are disastrous. He is the ideal bread winner, beloved by all but his erstwhile wife, for he cannot return her affections. While of themselves, each is good, neither is able to go beyond their own personality to become what the other needs, although it seems that it would not be impossible. Rather, it seems like it would be quite easily done. While Mrs Craddock needs the marriage to serve her needs, Mr Craddock is a giver; yet he gives on his terms, and not in terms of his wife's needs. His view of a wife is informed by his experience raising livestock -- not the most enlightened way to approach marriage. Mrs Craddock is too needy, and doesn't appreciate a good thing when she has it. Both develop in the course of the novel, but the ultimate split is inevitable. A thoughtful read.