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.
In general, it is extremely foolish … to suppose it should really be such an easy affair with faith and wisdom that they just arrive over the years as a matter of course, like teeth, a beard and that sort of thing. No, whatever a human being comes to as a matter of course, and whatever things come to him as a matter of course, it is definitely not faith and wisdom.