The short story is a narration of the author W.S Maugham's luncheon experience with a middle-aged woman of humble origins. With a touch of humour, the author points out the fake modesty of middle-class people.
The author recounts his luncheon experience with a middle-aged fan about twenty years ago. During that time, the author lived in a tiny apartment in Paris and did not have much money to spare on luxuries. The lady had previously written to him about his works and had come out to Paris to meet him in hopes of going on a lunch with him at an expensive restaurant. The author, with little money to spare, expected to have a modest lunch. However, when he saw the prices of the dishes listed, he was taken aback.
The lady assured him that she would eat only one dish. The lady ordered a salmon, an expensive item, and some caviar to nibble while she waited for the main dish. Worrying about the bill, the author ordered the cheapest item on the menu. She goes on to order more expensive items off the menu, such as champagne, expensive asparagus, coffee and ice cream and an Italian peach as well; meanwhile, the author continued nibbling on his lamb chop and sipping a glass of water miserably. Throughout the lunch, the lady berates the author for indulging in red meat and compares it to her light "snack". At the end of the luncheon, the author is left with three francs to tip the waiter. He miserably thinks about his monthly expenses as he has nothing left to spare. The lady bids him goodbye without offering anything. After several years he met the lady again, unrecognisable to him this time since she seemed to weigh "twenty-one stones."
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