Skip to main content
Original Issue


Recently the "Old Party," the richest and most widely read storyteller of his time, made a sentimental journey to the ancient German university town of Heidelberg where more than 65 years ago he spent a pleasant two years in the study of philosophy and history. Maugham's arrival coincided with one of Heidelberg's social highlights, the benefit soccer match which pits the artists of Heidelberg's theater and opera against the reporters of the newspaper Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung. No greater honor could be bestowed on the distinguished visitor than to invite him to kick off the game. Before 2,200 dignitaries and students, Maugham positioned the ball, muttered, "This is the first time I've handled a soccer ball in 70 years," and with a fine kick and vigorous follow-through sent the ball downfield. Thus inspired, his fellow journalists gave the artistic types a 5-1 trouncing.