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"The Woman Who Wouldn't Take a Hint" (1924) M The Gentleman in the Parlour (1930) M "Mabel"


§ This story was first published in April 1924 in Cosmopolitan as "The Woman Who Wouldn't Take a Hint." Later it was integrated into The Gentleman in the Parlour (1930) as chapter VI. Subsequently, it was published as "Mabel" in several collections of short stories. The beginning varies in all versions up to this point. The first 1924 is as follows:

It was in a little town on the banks of the Irawadi that I met him. I have forgotten its name. It was there that the river boat on which I was traveling down-stream to Rangoon tied up for the night, and having nothing better to do I got into one of the bullock carts that was waiting at the landing-stage and was driven at the breakneck speed of two mile an hour to the club.

Here I found him. He was sitting on the veranda and as I strolled up he nodded and asked me whether I would have a whisky and soda or a gin and bitters. The possibility that I would have nothing at all did not occur to him. I chose the longer drink and sat down. He was a tall, thin, bronzed man with a big mustache and he was dressed in khaki.

In The Gentleman in the Parlour chapter VI:

From Pagan, wishing to go to Mandalay, I took the steamer once more, and a couple of days before I arrived there, the boat tying up at a riverside village, I made up my mind to go ashore. The skipper told me that there was there a pleasant little club in which I had only to make myself at home; they were quite used to having strangers drop off like that from the steamer, and the secretary was a very decent chap; I might even get a game of bridge. I had nothing in the world to do, so I got into one of the bullock-carts that were waiting at the landing-stage and was driven to the club. There was a man sitting on the verandah and as I walked up he nodded to me and asked whether I would have a whisky and soda or a gin and bitters. The possibility that I would have nothing at all did not even occur to him. I chose the longer drink and sat down. He was a tall, thin, bronzed man, with a big moustache, and he wore khaki shorts and a khaki shirt.

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"On the Road to Mandalay" (1929) M The Gentleman in the Parlour (1930) M "Masterson"


§ This story was submitted to The Strand but was rejected. I am not very familiar with the magazine, but I surmise it may be more for stories with a mystery turn? It was published in December 1929 in Cosmopolitan instead. The following year it was incorporated in The Gentleman in the Parlour. Subsequently, it has been included in collections of short stories as "Masterson," the title that Maugham chose for The Strand. The version in Cosmopolitan is slightly different from its later forms. Maugham forgoes the preliminaries, which, though interesting, that don't seem to go very well with the rest of the story. He starts straight off like this:

I met him at the club at Mandalay. He lived at a place called Thazi and when he heard that I was on my way to Taunggu by car he asked me to stop off and have brunch with him. This is the pleasant meal of Burma that combines breakfast and luncheon.

It seems that Taunggu is a variant spelling of Tauggyi, but I won't bet my life on it.

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