- W. S. MAUGHAM
The short story is divided into three parts which are the exposition, the story and the climax.
The exposition being the start where he looks back in memory 20 years in the past. The story behind the luncheon and the climax being the woman's increase in weight. There is a lot of irony in the luncheon as the woman repeatedly says she only eats one thing and it is only something small, but to the contrary she eats five dishes.
The theme of the short story is appearance versus reality. It is first shown a he thinks the woman is much older than he thought and then how she says she only eats one thing. The other example s how she said that she is a fan, but she is only after a free lunch.
W.S. Maugham was young and naive, and was living in Paris, some twenty years from the time of writing this striking short story with a twist of irony. 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, she suggested that the author might consider treating her with a little luncheon at Foyot's on the following thursday when she would be free.
Foyot is plush and expensive upscale 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 80 francs to sustain him through the month and a modest luncheon, he thought would not cost more than 15 francs. This deficit of 15 francs could be adjusted by refraining from taking daily coffee for two weeks.