Liza of Lambeth, Chapter Ten

The chapter opens with Liza and her married beau bemoaning their situation—she won’t run off with him because she can’t leave her mother, he sort of doesn’t want to leave his kids. Only after she reminds him he has kids. His wife is fully aware of the affair at this point, which comes into play a couple times at the end of the chapter. Until then, it’s just Liza finding out the dude who fancied her and she mistreated no longer fancies her because of her scarlet status and then finding out her newlywed friend is actually being regularly abused by her husband. Lots of dialogue. Lots and lots of Maugham’s back and forth dialogue, even when the friend’s mother is recounting the most recent assault. Maugham really falls back on the dialect too. Maybe if the dialogue were more interesting on its own, not just being in dialect, it would go better. Maybe. The chapter ends with Liza’s beau hitting her for telling him not to have another drink. He’s been out drinking because his wife’s so mean to him at home, what with the affair and all. The resulting black eye leads to Liza meeting the wife on the street. Then the chapter ends. In some ways, it’s the best chapter, but Maugham’s going overboard. He’s also very confused with how the reader is supposed to relate to Liza.

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