I am so used to 'pitiful' meaning that someone is to be pitied, that is almost sounds odd to have Maugham use it
to mean that someone is capable of pitying an unfortunate.
"It was possible that a merciful judge, reserving the flames of hell for the heathen--Mahommedans, Buddhists, and the rest--would spare Dissenters and Roman Catholics
(though at the cost of how much humiliation when they were made to realise their error!), and it was also possible that He would be pitiful to those who had had no chance of learning the truth..."