The Narrow Corner is in chapter “sections.” Roman numerals. Makes the whole thing seem very momentous, which is great. Aim high. In everything you do. If you aim high, something, something, and something else happens. An inspirational song from fifth grade. There was a music video. It was not momentous. But Maugham does want to start Corner out with a bit of a jab. The writer conditions a reader with a novel, whether the writer wants to or not. Maugham embraces it. Section i of The Narrow Margin is a single sentence informing the reader it all happened in the past. It could easily go with the second section. It could probably even go unsaid. But it’s preparing the reader. Ground situation and author’s tone in one gesture. I don’t actually know if Corner is one of the Maugham novels where he shows up—Herbert Marshall-like—but there’s definitely a personality in the author’s voice right off.