But human nature is weak. You must not ask too much of it.
--Somerset Maugham, "The Three Fat Women of Antibes"
...ah, hell, I'm gonna post the context for that, because my lunch made me think of it in the first place:
They ate grilled fish while Lena ate macaroni sizzling with cheese and butter; they ate grilled cutlets and boiled spinach while Lena ate paté de foie gras; twhice a week they ate hard-boiled eggs and raw tomatoes, while Lena ate peas swimming in cream and potatoes cooked in all sorts of delicious ways. The chef was a good chef and he leapt leapt at the opportunity afforded him to send up one dish more rich, tasty, and succulent than the other.
'Poor Jim,' sighed Lena, thinking of her husband, 'he loved French cooking.'
...Lena was going to stay with friends on the Italian Riviera and Frank saw her off by the same train as that by which she had arrived. She was taking away with her a lot of their money [won at cards].
"I don't know how to thank you," she said, as she got into the carriage. "I've had a wonderful visit."
[Frank's] reply was perfect in its combination of majesty and graciousness.
...But when she turned away frm the departing train she heaved such a vast sigh of relief that the platform shook beneath her...
...[she] stopped dead still. She could not believe her eyes. Beatrice was sitting at one of the tables, by herself...
..."Beatrice, what are you doing?" she cried...Beatrice looked at her coolly.
"Eating," she answered.
...In front of Beatrice was a plate of croissants and a plate of butter, a pot of strawberry jam, and a jug of cream. Beatrice was spreading butter thick on the delicious hot bread, covering this with jam, and then pouring the thick cream over all.
..."You'll put on pounds and pounds."
"Go to hell!"
She actually laughed in Frank's face. My God, how good those croissants smelt!
"I'm disappointed in you, Beatrice. I thought you had more character."
"It's your fault. That blasted woman. You would have her down. For a fortnight I've watched her gorge like a hog. It's more than flesh and blood can stand. I'm going to have one square meal if I burst."
The tears welled up to Frank's eyes...Speechless she sank down on a chair by Beatrice's side. A waiter came up. With a pathetic gesture she waved toward the coffee and the croissants.
"I'll have the same," she sighed.