In one of his short stories W. S. Maugham tells us about Thomas Wil¬son, a thirty-five-year-old man who came to Capri, fell in love with the island and decided to live there enjoying his life. His money was just enough to last him for twenty-five years, after which he intended to com¬mit suicide. He was sure that twenty-five years of happiness seemed worth paying that price.
B. Say what you think of the following:
• Thomas Wilson’s philosophy of happiness.
• Capri — a world of paradise. Nature’s possible influence on human’s lives and decisions.
• The possible way oflife Wilson could lead on the island.
• Committing suicide as a way of leaving this world.
• If Wilson was able to carry out his resolution about the end of his life.
C Now read the extracts from W. S. Maugham's short story "The Lotus Eater" and compare them with what you imagined. Were you right?
...From what I saw of him and from what I think must have been a fairly accurate picture of the life he (Wilson) had led for the last fifteen years, it was certainly a very harmless one. He bathed,-he walked a great deal, and he seemed never to lose his sense of the beauty of the island... he played the piano and he played patience; he read. When he was asked to a party he went and, though a trifle dull, was agreeable. He was not affront¬ed if he was neglected. He lived thriftily, but with sufficient comfort. His only passion was for the beauty of nature, and he sought felicity in the simple and natural things that life offers to everyone. You may say that it was a glossy selfish existence. It was. He was of no use to anybody but on the other hand he did nobody any harm. His only object was his own hap¬piness and it looked as though he had attained it. He was certainly a man who knew his own mind.
...Wilson's plan was all right. There was only one flaw in it and this, I suppose, he could not have foreseen. It had never occurred to him that af¬ter twenty-five years of complete happiness, with nothing in the world to disturb his serenity, his character would gradually lose his strength. When Wilson's annuity expired he had no longer the resolution to make the end which was the price he had agreed to pay for that long period of happy tranquility. He died in poverty being very ill.