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 W. Somerset  Maugham
Of Human Bondage
W. Somerset  Maugham
Hardcover, 588pp
Wildside Press LLC
ISBN 0809587696

»'It is very difficult for a writer of my generation, if he is honest, to pretend indifference to the work of Somerset Maugham,' wrote Gore Vidal. 'He was always so entirely there.' Originally published in 1915, Of Human Bondage is a potent expression of the power of sexual obsession and of modern man's yearning for freedom.«

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Of Human Bondage from our US advertiser Barnes & Noble
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Of Human Bondage
W. Somerset  Maugham
Mass Market Paperback, 704pp
Wildside Press LLC
ISBN 0451525566 Signet Classics Edition
Twentieth Century Classics Series

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W. Somerset Maugham : Of Human Bondage
The Greatest Novel Of Our Time : Of Human BondageAbout half-way through the term a mania ran through the school for a game called Nibs. It was a game for two, played on a table or a form with steel pens. You had to push your nib with the finger-nail so as to get the point of it over your opponent's, while he manoeuvred to prevent this and to get the point of his nib over the back of yours; when this result was achieved you breathed on the ball of your thumb, pressed it hard on the two nibs, and if you were able then to lift them without dropping either, both nibs became yours. Soon nothing was seen but boys playing this game, and the more skilful acquired vast stores of nibs. But in a little while Mr. Watson made up his mind that it was a form of gambling, forbade the game, and confiscated all the nibs in the boys' possession.
Philip had been very adroit, and it was with a heavy heart that he gave up his winning; but his fingers itched to play still, and a few days later, on his way to the football field, he went into a shop and bought a pennyworth of J pens. He carried them loose in his pocket and enjoyed feeling them. Presently Singer found out that he had them. Singer had given up his nibs too, but he had kept back a very large one, called a Jumbo, which was almost unconquerable, and he could not resist the opportunity of getting Philip's Js out of him. Though Philip knew that he was at a disadvantage with his small nibs, he had an adventurous disposition and was willing to take the risk; besides, he was aware that Singer would not allow him to refuse. He had not played for a week and sat down to the game now with a thrill of excitement. He lost two of his small nibs quickly, and Singer was jubilant, but the third time by some chance the Jumbo slipped round and Philip was able to push his J across it. He crowed with triumph. At that moment Mr. Watson came in.
“What are you doing?” he asked.

He looked from Singer to Philip, but neither answered.

“Don't you know that I've forbidden you to play that idiotic game?”

Philip's heart beat fast. He knew what was coming and was dreadfully frightened, but in his fright there was a certain exultation. He had never been swished. Of course it would hurt, but it was something to boast about afterwards.

“Come into my study.”

The headmaster turned, and they followed him side by side Singer whispered to Philip:
“We're in for it.”
Mr. Watson pointed to Singer.
Philip, very white, saw the boy quiver at each stroke, and after the third he heard him cry out. Three more followed.
“That'll do. Get up.”
Singer stood up. The tears were streaming down his face. Philip stepped forward. Mr. Watson looked at him for a moment.
“I'm not going to cane you. You're a new boy. And I can't hit a cripple. Go away, both of you, and don't be naughty again.”
When they got back into the school-room a group of boys, who had learned in some mysterious way what was happening, were waiting for them. They set upon Singer at once with eager questions. Singer faced them, his face red with the pain and marks of tears still on his cheeks. He pointed with his head at Philip, who was standing a little behind him.
“He got off because he's a cripple,” he said angrily.
Philip stood silent and flushed. He felt that they looked at him with contempt.

“How many did you get?” one boy asked Singer.
But he did not answer. He was angry because he had been hurt.
“Don't ask me to play Nibs with you again,” he said to Philip. “It's jolly nice for you. You don't risk anything.” continue...
Quote from Somerset Maugham's novel Of Human Bondage,
chapter 12, first published in 1915.
free! Download ‘The Greatest Novel Of Our Time’: Of Human Bondage, by W. Somerset  Maugham at Project Gutenberg [click here]
* Read the complete Chapter 12 online — Print Printer Friendly
* Read about the broken pen-holder in Chapter 13

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Maugham, W. Somerset
William Somerset Maugham
Public domain image from the Library of Congress taken by Carl Van Vechten in 1934.
*William Somerset Maugham was an English playwright, novelist and short story writer. Maugham wrote comedies, psychological novels and spy stories. Maugham's masterpiece is generally agreed to be Of Human Bondage, an autobiographical novel which deals with the life of Philip Carey.
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swedish ”Of Human Bondage” — romanens svenska titel är ”Människans slaveri” (övers. Lisbeth och Louis Renner.)
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