Part Summary

The fourth part of the book happens during Maugham’s visit in Paris. He first visits Isabel, whom he had not seen for ten years, Gray and their daughters. The family is very happy in Paris in Elliott’s apartment, but Gray is worried because he is not in good conditions to get a job. A few days later, Maugham runs into Larry on a terrace. Larry says that he has been in Paris for a month, but that he spent the last five years in India. They talk about Isabel, and Larry says he will be very glad to visit the family. Five days later, he comes to the apartment while Maugham is there, and they all have dinner together. They arrange to dine together in two days, but when Maugham and Larry arrive, Gray has a headache that keeps him from going. Larry exercises a practice on Gray, that he probably learned in India, and Gray’s headache goes away. The next day, Isabel and Maugham have a long discussion about her relationship with Larry and the feelings she has towards him. She says that Larry is the only man she has ever loved, but that even if she does not love Gray, he is a loving husband and he has many other qualities. Maugham starts to talk about love and it makes Isabel question the reciprocity of her feelings for Larry. After leaving Isabel’s apartment, Maugham thinks about Suzanne Rouvier, a friend of his. He retells her whole life. She was mostly going from painter to painter to offer herself as a muse and as a lover. She had a child with one of the painters, Odette, but she was not able to take care of her. She gave Odette to her mother so that someone would take care of her. Suzanne had a tough time and she got sick. After she got better, she met Monsieur Achille Gauvain, a manufacturer who wanted to take her as a mistress during his occasional visits in Paris. He was willing to pay for her apartment and to give her two thousand francs a month in exchange, so she accepted his offer. One night, while Suzanne and Maugham were having dinner, they ran into Larry who surprisingly knew Suzanne. Later, Suzanne explains that the reason why she knows him is that he was the friend of one of her lovers. Six years ago, when she was sick and alone, she met him accidentally. He took care of her and he decided to take Odette and her in the country for her to get better. They were having a very good time together and Suzanne almost fell in love, but when she was better, he left her.



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