In "The Luncheon," how did the lady manage to get an invitation for a luncheon from the writer?
The lady in question presented herself as a connoisseur of good literature and as an admirer of young Somerset Maugham. She sent him a note telling him she had just read his new novel and would like to have a little chat with him if he would "give her a little luncheon at Foyot's," an expensive Parisian restaurant. Maugham was acquiring a reputation as an author but not making much money. He succumbed to her flattery (and may have hoped that the relationship might blossom into a love affair before he really got a good look at her at the restaurant). His main motive for sacrificing so much of his dwindling money on a luncheonette is summed up in one of the opening sentences of the story:
She talked a lot, but since she seemed inclined to talk about me I was prepared to be an attentive listener.
According to Maugham, "She talked happily of art and literature and music," but apparently had little to say about his own work. She actually talked more about food than anything else, although she kept explaining that she was a very light eater. She did prove to be a light eater, but everything she ordered was very expensive, including caviar.