Describe the characteristics of Mr Kelada from Mr Know-All by William Somerset Maugham.   What is Mr. Kelada like; his characteristics?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The narrator in Mr Know-All does not like Mr Kelada, even before he meets him and he prejudges Mr Kelada on this basis. "I was prepared to dislike Max Kelada even before I knew him."

Max Kelada is clearly a well- traveled individual with "(too) many labels" on his suitcases and he is well-educated as he talks of "plays, pictures, and politics." It seems from the arrangement of his toiletries that he is a well-groomed and particular gentleman. When he meets the narrator, the reader can imagine that his dialogue  is spoken with a clear and distinct English accent, fairly upper class. His familiarity with the narrator only serves to irritate said narrator who, for his own reasons, seems to think that Mr Kelada owes him some measure of respect.

For all his apparent indulgence, Mr Kelada is a fairly brash character, loud and outspoken and certainly not shy to share details of his alcohol supply which, during "Prohibition," would have been illegal. He is full of confidence and readily shares his expertize - much to the narrator's displeasure. Everyone on board the ship knows him and he is "everywhere and always" and he takes it as a compliment that passengers call him "Mr Know-All." 

The popularity of Mr Kelada is also a source of annoyance to the narrator; Mr Kelada being "hearty, jovial, loquacious (very talkative) and argumentative" not stopping to consider that he may be wrong or that other opinions may exist. He is "the chap who knew."

When Mr Ramsey deigns to argue with Mr Kelada, Kelada becomes "voluble and vehement." He notifies the other passengers that he is in the pearl "trade" so knows everything about pearls and with Mrs Ramsey's pearls having caught his eye, he is willing to stake a bet on their authenticity. It is this that changes the narrator's perception of Mr Kelada who has bet $100 but when he sees Mrs Ramsey's "wide and terrified eyes," he is prepared to swallow his pride to protect her apparent secret from her husband, making him a honorable man, despite the narrator's initial impressions. Mr Kelada, who seems vain and full of his own importance has been ridiculed and is the center of "a fine joke."

Mr Kelada does not reveal any more information. He knows he is right but still allowed himself to appear to be a "perfect damned fool."  His only comment is that it was somewhat foolish of Mr Ramsey to leave his "pretty little wife" alone. The narrator is impressed with Mr Kelada: he does "not entirely dislike" this self-opinionated, impetuous and seemingly over-friendly and familiar character any more as he has a depth to him that is otherwise not apparent.