While foxes are not a protected species, anyone viewing them as expendable vermin should be aware that this is one of the prime arguments used by foxhunters. Though urban foxes can be huge, they don’t tend to approach humans so there’s little reason to fear them. If Maugham was concerned for his chickens, couldn’t he have just removed them, letting the RSPCA humanely deal with the fox? Keeping chickens in your garden is arguably the kind of affectation that makes people hate the “metropolitan elite” but, if people wish to do so, they should at least make their enclosures fox-proof.
The fox tried to get at the chickens and the fox didn’t get at the chickens. That’s what fox proof means, no?