TO EVERY MAN A PENNY by Bruce Marshall


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The abbe Gaston provides another figure in the roster of lovable personalities -- chiefly men of the cloth -- with which Bruce Marshall has delighted his readers since he created Father Malachy. The abbe is a Frenchman almost before he is a churchman. His religion is a very personal sort of application of basic Christianity rather than the tenets of Catholicism, and it continually gets him into trouble with his rector, with the abbe Moune, and officially with the Cardinal who manages, however, to see the saint behind the sin and sidestep the punishment demanded. Nonetheless, the abbe Gaston lived in difficult times, spanning two wars. He played his part in each; he carried a lame knee as a reminder of the first- and made a firm though troublesome friend, in Bessier, who was a Communist first, a Frenchman second, and not a believer at all. The abbe had very human affections, which caused some of his troubles. He followed his Savior's traditions in living with the humble and the sinners- and finding the good in them. He had his appetites too, and occasionally was betrayed by them as when he bought himself a steak with change left from purchase of candles and incense. He was beloved -- and suspected -- and resented. But he jogged his way through a long life, living his faith, practising his creed, giving to friend and enemy alike, never reaching any goal ambition dictated -- but making those who did seem lesser men. Delightfully written with that rare combination of humor and sentiment, characteristic of Bruce Marshall. There is, perhaps, less plot interest and the story drags at times, which may prove disappointing to those who relished his Vespers in Vienna.

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 1949
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin