In A Writer’s Notebook (1949), Somerset Maugham wrote: “I am like a passenger waiting for his ship at a wartime port. I do not know on which day it will sail but I am ready to embark at a moment’s notice. … I read the papers and flip the pages of a magazine, but when someone offers to lend me a book I refuse because I may not have time to finish it, and in any case with this journey before me I am not of a mind to interest myself in it. I strike up acquaintances at the bar or the cardtable, but I do not try to make friends with people from whom I shall so soon departed. I am on the wing.” Maugham died sixteen years later.

January 30, 2021

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