TO SERVE THEM ALL MY DAYS by R. F. Delderfield


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A pleasant autumnal comforter for Delderfield's following, which, if unrolled by the yard, day after day, will serve to the first snowflake. This is the story of Welshman David Powlett-Jones, emaciated and horror-drained veteran of the trenches who in 1918 joins Bamfylde, a boys' public school in Exmoor. The Headmaster is Algernon Herries, canny and generous, whose kindness encourages Davy to rebuild his life as Master of Literature and History and as a man. David married the gay and lovely Beth (all his women are gay and lovely), who is killed with one of their twin girls. With his daughter Grace, David lives through bleak years as a widower, but he marshals his strength to advance progressive ideas in education and fight off the leaden rule of Herries' successor Alcock (""You can try and force me to resign but. . . I'll fight you every inch of the way""). He does have a brief affair with Julia, an independent career woman and finally marries a young woman politician, Chris (there are manifold discussions of individual manifest destiny before the final capitulation). David becomes a father again by Chris, and then -- a surprise -- belatedly by announcement from a dying Julia, he learns he has another son who is a student at the school. It all closes with a bittersweet recall of over two decades of boys he has pushed and comforted, taught, and loved.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1972
ISBN: 1402218249
Publisher: Simon & Schuster