Of Human Bondage

Maugham, Somerset

Pocket, 1973

p. 39

Young Philip Carey, who struggles with his talipes (earlier called “club foot”) and who may be Maugham’s alter ego lives with his uncle, a curate, a vicar. The vicar is a cold, indifferent man, who patronizes Philip by lopping off the tops of his boiled eggs at breakfast and saying to Philip, “You may have my tops if you like.” (Philip never gets a full egg) “Philip . . . could not understand that a man might sincerely say things as a clergyman which he never acted up to as a man. The deception outraged him. His uncle was a weak and selfish man, whose chief desire it was to be saved trouble.”