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Summary of "The Luncheon" by Somerset Maugham

Updated on June 7, 2017

Summary of 'The Luncheon'

The writer of 'The Luncheon' William Somerset Maugham, in this short story,relates about a lady who is an admirer of his stories. She wins the author's favour and expresses her wish to meet him at a high class restaurant.William exposes the false motives of modest eating habits, of the middle classes with a touch of humour.

Twenty years ago the author was living in Paris, when he had met a lady, who is an admirer of his stories. She had met him at a play and relates to him the incident during the interval which had occurred at that time. She had read a book written by him, and had written a letter to him about her views. Another letter was posted, stating about her visit to Paris and her desire to have a little luncheon at the Foyots, a restaurant where French senators eat. William was not a rich man and had never even thought of visiting that restaurant, nor did he possess the art of refusing her request.

Estimating the cost of a luncheon, which should not cost more than fifteen Francs,he decided to cut down coffee from his menu, so that he could have enough for himself for the next two weeks. His meeting was fixed on Thursday, at half past twelve, through correspondence.The lady was in her Forties, talkative, and not attractive. She had ordered for Salmon,and Caviare, while the Salmon was being prepared.William had ordered for the cheapest dish mutton- chops.

After the meal, she had ordered for white champagne. She kept enjoying the meal, and chatting about art, literature, and music, while William kept wondering about the bill.The bill of fare was soaring above that which he had anticipated.When the waiter had come with the bill she waived him aside with an air of gesture and ordered for Asparagus, the horribly expensive dish.William's heart sank, his mouth watered, and yet he had to quell his emotions.Adding to worsen the situation, she ordered for ice-cream and then coffee, all the same announcing that 'she never ate anything for luncheon - just a bite' Thoughts kept reeling through William's mind about how he was going to pay the exorbitant bill or how could he feign an act of his pocket having been picked.

To his utter dismay,the head waiter walked up to the table with a large basket full of huge Peaches.She picked up one protesting that her meal was just a snack, and that she could certainly enjoy the Peach.

The bill was finally paid, and William found himself with just a few Francs for the tips, and not a penny left in his pocket for the whole month. William believes, that he had had his revenge for then, when the Twenty years had passed by, he met her weighing One Hundred and Thirty -Six Kilograms.

Some questions answered:
1. How do you think there was a revenge? William Somerset is exposing the false motives of modest eating habits. The lady, only an admirer of the author does not even consider the rising bill that the author would have to pay rather giving in to her greed. He finds twenty years later that the lady had to pay for her greediness, then that she weighed One Hundred and Thirty -Six Kilograms, which Somerset refers to 'the revenge'.

2.Why had the writer never thought of eating at Foyot's restaurant? At the Foyot's restaurant the most expensive dishes are served as told in the Notes from London Daily Telegraph 18 August 1894 p6. William was a very rich man.
3. "I never eat anything for Luncheon"Explain how the woman contradicted this way in the way she behaved at the luncheon. Why did this upset the writer?At every sarcastic statement, the woman did exactly the opposite and the writer's bill kept rising he was at his wits end how he would be able to pay his bill since he knew he didn't have enough to pay the bill and just kept hoping that he would be able to pay the bill without any embarrassment.

4. What is the irony of the story?

Her remarks were sarcastic: "I never eat more than one thing for luncheon" "I'm not in the least hungry", yet she picked up a huge peach, she remarked her luncheon was just a snack " I never eat anything for luncheon", I'm not in the least hungry, "I never want more"," I couldn't possibly eat anything more."

This depicts the irony of the story.


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      Md shad Ahmad 2 months ago

      Nice I like this story very well n I would like to say something about this story that great man of the world William samerset Maugham I salute you

    • rjbatty profile image

      rjbatty 3 months ago from Irvine

      I "met" a woman years ago who agreed to meet me at a restaurant in Marina Del Rey -- a rather ritzy beachside area of Los Angeles. It was the date from hell.

      First off, the woman had used a very dated picture of herself to attract reactions on the Internet. She looked nothing like her photo. But the troubles began even before. I allowed myself plenty of time to get to the restaurant, probably driving there after work ... or maybe it was a Saturday.

      Traffic was horrible, but I still got there about 20 minutes before our scheduled meeting. I decided to spend the time at the bar, slowly sipping a beer.

      When the clock struck and I still saw no sign of my date, I returned to the bar and had a second beer.

      After that I again went looking for my date and finally found her. She was in the reception area and fuming, even though I might have been 10 min. at max. past our appointed meeting time. She asked me where I was, and I told her. She immediately accused me of being an alcoholic. I let this slide.

      I had reserved a table, so we got seated immediately. She ordered wine. I don't remember ordering anything alcohol-related at this point. I was already feeling rather tipsy from the two beers.

      The dialogue began, and I don't remember whether it was good or bad. I seem to recall letting her do most of the talking and it was all about past relationship failures.

      She ordered lobster, the most costly item on the menu and a few appetisers.

      My date ordered glass after glass of wine while we waited for our entrees. I ordered some sword fish (that I didn't like).

      The bill was rather staggering. It all went onto a credit card.

      As we were leaving, I casually said I would call her. She bluntly stated "No, you won't." I said, "No, really, I'll give you a call." Again she replied, "No, you won't."

      During our table conversation, I got the idea that she was someone who fitted the "wounded woman" profile. She kept talking about past relationships and how her partner in each case turned out to be a bastard. It wasn't enjoyable, and her overall bitter attitude toward men didn't make me attracted to her in any way. Nevertheless, I think I was sincere about my calling her. The woman's insistence that I would not left me feeling rather shat upon.

      On the drive home I began to wonder whether this woman just lured men in using an out-of-date photo and had no higher objective than to eat and drink on someone else's dime.

      One day passed then two, and I never called her. She was right on this account. But, I didn't blame myself as she made for a really lousy date.

    • olgakhumlo profile image
      Author

      olga khumlo 3 months ago from Mira Road Mumbai India

      Wiliam Somereset Maugham, portrays the profound nature of a gentleman, and the consequences of unlimited passion for food. It awakens us to be considerate and self-controlled, which definitely pays off.

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      Dhriti 3 months ago

      Can I get the central idea of the luncheon

    • Maira Kulsum profile image

      farahnaaz 5 months ago from hyderabad

      Hey i remembered i studied this lesson luncheon by somerset maugham when i was in school. And to your surprise it was my favorite and it even came in my exam and i scored good marks on this answer. You made me nostalgic thank you for such wonderful post.

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      Princess 12 months ago

      It is a funny story and I liked it!!!!!!!!!!!

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      Meneer Machethe 13 months ago

      I hope my learners from Lethaba Sec will obtain good marks if the examiner decide to bring along this story during the next coming exam, since i taught them everything about it, All the best...

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      machwebeni sboh Ntozakhe 15 months ago

      i always enjoy reading this book i have learned alot to it

    • profile image

      Aditya 18 months ago

      Nice story helped me lot in my project

    • rjbatty profile image

      rjbatty 18 months ago from Irvine

      I haven't read this story but will have to seek it out. Thanks for the summary. It reminds me of a couple times where I found myself in a similar predicament.

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      parneet 20 months ago

      it was really an amazing story that describes the feelings of a poor man who was not a rich man

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      Ridoy 2 years ago

      Really nice story. I like it so much :)

    • profile image

      umang shekhar 2 years ago

      it was crazy but also very nice ,i loved it very much

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      olga khumlo 2 years ago

      Thank you children. I'm so glad you are all blessed. May God continue to bless you all and keep you in His paths.

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      mahfuza rahman 2 years ago

      I always enjoy it.

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      Kgomotso Sekamoeng 2 years ago

      It is the story that I understand the most than others.I really like this one.

    • olgakhumlo profile image
      Author

      olga khumlo 2 years ago from Mira Road Mumbai India

      Bonni Kindly let me know which story dear.

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      bonni 2 years ago

      Can I gt help plz 4 doc story

    • olgakhumlo profile image
      Author

      olga khumlo 2 years ago from Mira Road Mumbai India

      Dear Mamelato, Mooketsi, Rahlaga and all other folks, I'm so glad it has been helpful to you and others.God bless you all and help you to always excel in your careers for His glory. Amen.

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      Mamelato sephiri 2 years ago

      Lyk a story as it is straight & foward.....thnx alot.

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      Mooketsi 2 years ago

      Thank you man.... great

    • profile image

      rahlaga granny 2 years ago

      This story is very interesting i always read it almost every day

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      Sebotsa mosiuwa sam 2 years ago

      Wow wat book tht touht me abt opportunist woman i've leand to say no!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      syar 2 years ago

      ay tjo i rly du lyk dic summar coz it jst m8k me 2 undrstnd hw 2 smmrys 4 my slf

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      nelly 2 years ago

      I love this story....the luncheon Woooow

    • olgakhumlo profile image
      Author

      olga khumlo 2 years ago from Mira Road Mumbai India

      Dear Abhirup, could you please make an attempt to write the character sketches and send them to the email gemsgleanings@gmail.com I will make the corrections and send it back to you.

      God bless you all children, I'll be praying for each one of you.

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      Qawula Kamva 2 years ago

      The story is so amazing,but I learnt something

      new on how to have an appointment with somebody.

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      G wayne TG 2 years ago

      dear lord tnk u for making my way easer to my exams #sweeeeeeeeeet smry

    • profile image

      ABHIRUP MAZUMDER 2 years ago

      GOOD JOB...... PLEASE GIVE CHARACTER SKETCHES......

    • profile image

      Mackhenz Ngongoma 2 years ago

      I'm not that guy use to read story but this make me read story

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      maggie nhlapo 2 years ago

      I really love it,it is so interesting ummmm...gents learn how to say no...laaag

    • olgakhumlo profile image
      Author

      olga khumlo 2 years ago from Mira Road Mumbai India

      Her remarks were sarcastic: "I never eat more than one thing for luncheon" "I'm not in the least hungry", yet she picked up a huge peach, she remarked her luncheon was just a snack " I never eat anything for luncheon", I'm not in the least hungry, "I never want more"," I couldn't possibly eat anything more."

      This depicts the irony of the story.

      Children I pray God give you all a good success. God bless you all.

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      kheka zhimo 2 years ago

      What is the irony of the story??

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      Donald 2 years ago

      Short straight to the main facts with simple understandable English.Big up!!

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      anbarasi 2 years ago

      very nice story, i like it .thank you

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      theo 2 years ago

      I never eat anything for luncheon(explain how the woman contradicted this way in the way she behaved at the luncheon,Why did this upset the writer so much)100-200 word

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      ranjana 2 years ago

      Its nice story .....i was reviewing this story ...n your summary helped me slot..thank u

    • profile image

      Mereseini Naola 2 years ago

      wow....its tremendously amazing.

    • profile image

      poonam 2 years ago

      i luv da story its amazing.

    • profile image

      poonam 2 years ago

      i luv da story its amazing.

    • profile image

      Shamita 2 years ago

      what will be the thesis statement of this story?

    • profile image

      yamkela mkhize 2 years ago

      Wow this story is intresting ,ilike it

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      Krishna 2 years ago

      I loved it...

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      nihlaaslam 2 years ago

      Its goood to me

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      hy this is Amantle Sehunoe whos loving the book of luncheon nd fully understand it..am doing it with mr Madisa At Malefo 12A 2 years ago

      Amantle Sehunoe

    • profile image

      Tarunaa 3 years ago

      Nice summary, very helpful

      Thanks

    • profile image

      dfgrwe 3 years ago

      morghem is a favourite writer of mine.

      thanks

    • profile image

      rgtrhw 3 years ago

      nice summary . thankxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    • profile image

      Sushmita ( Shivsena) Pravin mestry 3 years ago

      Nice one

      need to learn something

    • profile image

      lini 3 years ago

      hhohhgilo;

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      Vivek Mohan 3 years ago

      My ever time favorite short story, well crafted and narrated by Somerset Maugham clubbed with humorous incidents.

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      mayimele Felix 3 years ago

      This is just one great story

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      zandile mabuza 3 years ago

      Its a very intresting story I luv it.

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      suhanna 3 years ago

      execellent story to view

    • profile image

      olga khumlo 3 years ago

      At the Foyot's restaurant the most expensive dishes are served as told in the Notes from London Daily Telegraph 18 August 1894 p 6. William was not a very rich man. Sorry son I was down with Flue. You can e-mail for any emergency need to gemsgleanings@gmail.com

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      Qhawekazi 3 years ago

      Hlw I want my answer plz

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      I'm Qhawekazi Langa 3 years ago

      I wnt 2 ask ths question why didn't he mind her talking so much?

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      Qhawekazi 3 years ago

      I wnt 2 ask this question why had the writer never thought of eating at Foyot's restaurant?

    • olgakhumlo profile image
      Author

      olga khumlo 3 years ago from Mira Road Mumbai India

      Dear kids if you need script by dialogue, please write it and send it to gemsgleanings@gmail.com, I will correct it and send it back to you.

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      Shreyansh Vats 3 years ago

      good 2 good 3 good 4 good 4 good 4 rjsjngd

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      aaannnnnnnnaaaaaaannnnnnaaannnnnnnnnnnntttttttttttttt 3 years ago

      gooooooood humourose 1 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      i am speech less ? **** the woman

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      abhash 3 years ago

      mast story hai ! by advocate anant

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      olga khumlo 3 years ago

      Hello! Thanks guys you're appreciation is encouraging. God bless you all.

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      bridgette zwane 3 years ago

      Thanks a lot was a nice understable summery short and simple

    • olgakhumlo profile image
      Author

      olga khumlo 3 years ago from Mira Road Mumbai India

      Hi! Xichavo, William Somerset is exposing the false motives of modest eating habits. The lady, only an admirer of the author does not even consider the rising bill that the author would have to pay rather giving in to her greed. He finds twenty years later that the lady had to pay for her greediness, then that she weighed One Hundred and Thirty -Six Kilograms, which Somerset refers to 'the revenge'.

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      Xichavo mathebane 3 years ago

      I dont understand the ending of this story.. I mean about the revenge

    • olgakhumlo profile image
      Author

      olga khumlo 3 years ago from Mira Road Mumbai India

      God bless you child.

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      Zuhayer 3 years ago

      hello Olga Khumlo I made a mistake on that comment. I have written ''with whole mouth". So it will be "for whole month''. Sorry.

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      wow nyc story 3 years ago

      Makungu Ndlovu

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      Zuhayer 3 years ago

      That's a very nice and interesting story. The most interesting part was when the bill came, he walked out of the restaurant with whole mouth that he sees there is not a penny in his pocket. Haaaaa.

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      betty 3 years ago

      am interested in dis story its a lovly story

    • profile image

      Olga khumlo 3 years ago

      Thank you children for your appreciation. God bless you all in your studies and help you to build a bright and promising career

    • profile image

      Olga khumlo 3 years ago

      Thank you children for your appreciation. God bless you all in your studies and help you to build a bright and promising career

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      sandy 3 years ago

      its quiet interesting and even useful.the author is great

    • olgakhumlo profile image
      Author

      olga khumlo 3 years ago from Mira Road Mumbai India

      Thank you guys, God bless you.

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      jigyasa kanda 3 years ago

      Its a group activity in which i have to speak about the 2nd para of this story .It was very useful for me .

    • olgakhumlo profile image
      Author

      olga khumlo 3 years ago from Mira Road Mumbai India

      Thank you guys for your appreciation.

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      meera 3 years ago

      this is how we should not be.........

    • profile image

      dipit 4 years ago

      this is known as story

      the lady that i love most

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      saliwa 4 years ago

      lovely story by the way

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      arsh 4 years ago

      nice story

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      kheimor 4 years ago

      awesome!!!!!!!wounderful indeed!!!

    • profile image

      jess 4 years ago

      loved this story

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      ankurjain 4 years ago

      this story is very exciting

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      mohammed 4 years ago

      thank

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      Snoo24 4 years ago

      I have read this story a million times yet it feels as much interesting as it did when i read it for the first time... good explanation.. thank you!

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      ayursh arya 5 years ago

      nice story written by somerset....

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      vuledzani muhadi 5 years ago

      me i read about dis story is very very good and enjoyable dat 9c people lean 2 say no 2 de woman

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      camilla 5 years ago

      M in tertiary and my little brother is doing grade 11 and he's the one who introduced me to "the luncheon" I just think its a great story and many can relate to it....

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      Clifton Chikometsa 5 years ago

      It is a nice story

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      aaa 5 years ago

      gud 1

    • olgakhumlo profile image
      Author

      olga khumlo 5 years ago from Mira Road Mumbai India

      Thank you children for your appreciation. God bless you all in your studies and help you to build a bright and promising career.

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      Nqoh 5 years ago

      I have red abt this story at schul,d principal taught us n nw i undrstand it better

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      Martha 5 years ago

      A love dis short storie very nyc..we where sooo death by laughter in ma class,it was nyc reading it with ma matric 2012

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      Tsatsi J 5 years ago

      Yah short stories hey! It was tough at first bt due to ur unfalling help,am able to tacle each nd every question abt the short stories. In actual fact nt jst i bt we r very much thankful.

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      Lekeka T 5 years ago

      Guys i apreciate wat u done for and my friend tx we already pass im doing matric.

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      Busiswa somniso 5 years ago

      I like this story nd i knw it we doing that stry at my sku 2mrw i'm gna wrte about it nd coffe-cartgirl lv it

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      Thembie Simelane 5 years ago

      Yestadae nyt i read the story, nd 4 ths lil sammary I AM GOING TO PASS ma Test 2mrw. Tank u..

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      Msheffee 5 years ago

      This story is great and usefull for those who can't say no to a woman.

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      Cole 5 years ago

      I lyk dis story coz is tellng me smthng