If it weren’t for the cockney dialect, this chapter would be almost perfect. Maugham finally finds a likable tone for old man Ashenden. He’s retracing his history, not just sitting around thinking about not liking his friends. There’s a nice summary flashback of his time in a rooming house, then the scene of his return to visit. It’s not a lot of heavy lifting, but it’s a solid chapter with actual development. Cakes and Ale has had way too much character revelation, way too little development. Who knows, maybe Maugham will actually do something with it before the end… I wasn’t hopeful after the flashback end but now there seems to be chance.