Mr. Maugham, so famous for his novels and short stories, agreed to the use of part of The Summing Up in THE WORLD'S BEST. However, he thought selecting a fragment "would mean a considerable amount of work which I am not prepared to do. If Whit Burnett would like to choose a bit for himself I can see no reason why he shouldn't do so."
It seems to Whit Burnett that no finer summary of three great values has been written than the summary concluding the volume from which "Truth, Beauty and Goodness" is taken. The editor would also like to quote two Paragraphs from the section which immediately precedes this selection.
I have always lived so much in the future that now though the future is so short, I cannot get out of the habit and my mind looks forward with a certain complacency to the completion within an indefinite number of years of the pattern that I have tried to make. There are moments when I have so palpitating an eagerness for death that I could fly to it as to the arms of a lover. It gives me the same passionate thrill as years ago was given me by life. I am drunk with the thought of it. It seems to me then to offer me the final and absolute freedom. Notwithstanding, I am willing enough to go on living so long as the doctors can keep me in tolerable health; I enjoy the spectacle of the world and it interests me to see what is going to happen. The consummation of many lives that have run their course parallel with my own gives me continual food for reflection and sometimes for the confirmation of theories that I formed long ago. I shall be sorry to part from my friends, I cannot be indifferent to the welfare of some whom I have guided and protected, but it is well that after depending on me so long they should. enjoy their liberty whithersoever it leads them. Having held a certain place in the world for a long time I am content that others. soon should occupy it. After all the point of a pattern is that it should be completed. When nothing can be added without spoiling the design the artist leaves it.
But now if anyone should ask me what is the use or sense of this pattern I should have to answer, none. It is merely something I have
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Publication information: Book title: 105 Greatest Living Authors Present the World's Best Stories, Humor, Drama, Biography, History, Essays, Poetry. Contributors: Whit Burnett - Editor. Publisher: Dial Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1950. Page number: 420.