Of Human Bondage

Maugham, W. Somerset

Pocket, 1973

p. 164

The protagonist, Philip Carey, falls in love with a trivial, hopeless woman. Norah, a more sensible and faithful woman “would make him much happier than he would ever be with Mildred: [the trivial one–she actually becomes a prostitute by the end of the novel] after all she loved him, and Mildred was only grateful for his help. But when all was said, the important thing was to love rather than to be loved, and he yearned for Mildred with his whole soul. He would sooner have ten minutes with her than a whole afternoon with Norah; he prized one kiss of her cold lips more than all Norah could give him.” He has Mildred in his bones. “He did not care if she was heartless, vicious and vulgar, stupid and grasping, he loved her. He would rather have misery with the one than happiness with the other.” To Mildred, he has a crazy, almost chemical reaction.