The Painted Veil (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) by W. Somerset Maugham

By W. Somerset Maugham

Set in England and Hong Kong within the Nineteen Twenties, The Painted Veil is the tale of the attractive yet love-starved Kitty Fane. while her husband discovers her adulterous affair, he forces her to accompany him to the guts of a cholera epidemic. Stripped of the British society of her adolescence and the small yet potent society she fought so challenging to achieve in Hong Kong, she is pressured by means of her awakening sense of right and wrong to reconsider her existence and how to love.

The Painted Veil is a fantastically written confirmation of the human means to develop, to alter, and to forgive.

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Sample text

I think I like you very much. ’ he interrupted. ’ 12 She knew him very little then, and now, though they had been married for nearly two years, she knew him but little more. At first she had been touched by his kindness and flattered, though surprised, by his passion. He was extremely considerate; he was very attentive to her comfort; she never expressed the slightest wish without his hastening to gratify it. He was constantly giving her little presents. When she happened to feel ill no one could have been kinder or more thoughtful.

He hasn’t been in since tiffin,’ he told her. ’ ‘I daren’t. ’ The boy brought the drinks and Townsend helped himself. When he offered her some she shook her head. ’ she asked. ’ Her tone was incredulous. ‘It’s always struck me he was rather shy. Some men can’t bear scenes, you know. He’s got sense enough to know that there’s nothing to be gained by making a scandal. I don’t believe for a minute it was Walter, but even if it was, my impression is that he’ll do nothing. ’ She reflected for a moment.

Charles Townsend was Assistant Colonial Secretary and she had no mind to allow him to use her with the condescension which, notwithstanding her good manners she discerned in Mrs. Townsend. The room in which they were received was spacious. It was furnished as was every other drawing-room she had been in at Hong-Kong in a comfortable and homely style. It was a large party. They were the last to come and as they entered Chinese servants in uniform were handing round cocktails and olives. Mrs. Townsend greeted them in her casual fashion and looking at a list told Walter whom he was to take in to dinner.

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