In which story by S. Maugham or S. Zweig is it said about a mother who, by manipulation, brought her husbands to their graves, complaining of a weak heart. And then hindered her daughter from successfully getting married. And when the daughter finally got married, and society condemned her, the woman died of anger.


1 Answer 1


This is "Louise" by W. Somerset Maugham.

Louise outlived her husband. He caught his death of cold one day when they were sailing and Louise needed all the rugs there were to keep her warm. He left her a comfortable fortune and a daughter. Louise was inconsolable. It was wonderful that she managed to survive the shock. Her friends expected her speedily to follow poor Tom Maitland to the grave.

But George Hobhouse had not the stamina of Louise's first husband and he had to brace himself now and then with a stiff drink for his day's work as Louise's second husband. It is possible that the habit would have grown on him, which Louise would not have liked at all, but very fortunately (for her) the war broke out. He rejoined his regiment and three months later was killed.

"Have you quite determined that Iris shall not marry this boy?"
"I've begged her to marry him. I know it'll kill me, but I don't mind.
Nobody cares for me. I'm just a burden to everybody."
"Did you tell her it would kill you?"
"She made me."
"As if anyone ever made you do anything that you were not yourself quite determined to do."
"She can marry her young man to-morrow if she likes. If it kills me, it kills me."

Louise was as good as her word. A date was fixed, a trousseau of great magnificence was ordered, and invitations were issued. Iris and the very good lad were radiant. On the wedding-day, at ten o'clock in the morning, Louise, that devilish woman, had one of her heart attacks—and died. She died gently forgiving Iris for having killed her.

I read it in Russian translation which is available here.

  • what is interesting, that I had original question in russian and transaled it in english.
    – Alexan
    Apr 10 at 18:18
  • 2
    @Alexan: as far as I can judge, Maugham has influenced a lot of English writers, but, maybe with the exception of "The Moon and Sixpence", he's not even remotely as popular among the English readers as he is among the Russian ones.
    – Quassnoi
    Apr 10 at 18:26
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    @Alexan "S. Maugham" gives it away: correct abbreviation would be "W. S.", but Soviet translations used only the middle name.
    – IMil
    Apr 11 at 14:11
  • @IMil: to be fair, the W is not something even the scholars who study his works use often
    – Quassnoi
    Apr 11 at 15:40

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