CHEAPEST IN THE END by Madeline Bingham


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Madeline Bingham's reminiscence of an English girlhood is dominated by the splendid figure of her all Edwardian, half French father, whose motto, ""The best is cheapest in the end"", resounds throughout the book like a call to arms. A gourmet with a touch of foie gras in the blood, an interior decorator and dealer in antiques, Father was formidable in both English and French. He was also ""good value"", particularly so on holiday, at the sea when he made wonderful sand castles, or when one was ill and he made enticing ""doll's lunches"" to seduce a reluctant appetite. Father's inclinations were often at odds with those of his wife: he loved to travel, she preferred her daily steam bath and comfort; he loved to spend, she to save. Their differences were most marked in their approach to music--a loving daughter draws an incisive portrait of the forever amateur ranked against the impeccable professional (in this case Mother's father joined her). Amid the high enthusiasms of life with Father, there was sorrow in the loss of the only son and brother aboard the Hood in 1942. The joy of grandchildren gratifying in their wants for a man who liked to spend money lavishly was tempered by long illness after a stroke. He left his daughter ""a sense of family and a sense of home""; also two saints whose care and ministrations (prayers and Ad Majorem Dei Cloria pickles). At times a bit too openly artful, this is nevertheless engaging in its address.

Publisher: Dodd, Mead