A friend of mine happened to post Excerpts from the Painted Veil which contains some very nice quotations. One such is this:
'When all things lasted so short a time and nothing mattered very much, it seemed pitiful that men, attaching an absurd importance to trivial objects, should make themselves and one another so unhappy.'
While i was reading Maugham's short stories over the weekend, i came across this:
'I permit myself a trite remark. It is strange that men, inhabitants for so short a while of an alien and inhuman world, should go out of their way to cause themselves so much unhappiness.'
I'm thrilled that through this queer co-incidence, where she happened to have given importance, too, to such a sentence as that and written it down for posterity, I have been able to perceive one of Maugham's most fundamental convictions, for why else would two such similar observations on the nature of mankind appear in his two pieces of work that are separated by almost six years?
Life is indeed beautiful!