So what’s Edward been doing while young man Ashenden has been cavorting with his wife? He’s been publishing what would become a controversial book. He’s been distracted. Though it sounds like he’d be distracted anyway. Maugham goes off into a description of the novel and Ashenden’s favorite parts of it, which is somewhat problematic since it’s not a real book. So it’s Maugham blathering on about fictive fiction. Maybe there’s something he’s basing it all on, but it’s nothing I’ve read. The thing about Maugham is not many of his peers’ works are still read; sometimes I think if Of Human Bondage had been titled Beauty from Ashes it wouldn’t be read anymore. So whatever he’s doing, it’s unclear how much weight one should be putting on it. And he’s not really doing much. The chapter doesn’t even move Edward much, just makes him a pariah. And if young man Ashenden has any qualms about schtupping the guy’s wife, old man Ashenden the narrator doesn’t recall them.