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The Bishop's Apron

W. Somerset Maugham

Book Overview: 

Canon Spratte saw himself as he thought others might see him: mediocre, pompous, self-assertive, verbose." Maugham could have added ambitious, hypocritical, and vain. In this engrossing social satire, Theodore Spratte, a cleric, motivated by an obsessive desire to be elevated to bishop, embellishes his family history and intrudes upon his son's and daughter's courtships.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .He looked at her with those passionate eyes of his, and his whole heart yearned for her.

“You know what I think of you,” he said.

They were approaching the Vicarage and time was very short. Winnie threw off all reserve.

“I want to help you, I want to work with you, I hate the life I lead at home. I’m not a woman, I’m only a foolish doll. Take me away from it.”

The blood rushed to his face and the flame of an ecstatic happiness lit up his eyes. He could scarcely believe that he had heard aright.

“Do you mean that?” he cried, hastily. “Oh, don’t play with me. Don’t you know that I love you? I love you with all the strength I’ve got. When I’m away from you it’s madness; I can think of nothing but you all day, all night.”

Winnie sighed.

“I’m so glad to hear you say that.”

“Do you care for me . . . Read More

Community Reviews

A short and stinging stab at english social climbing in the early twentieth century - as always with Maugham it is beautifully written and right on the mark. A fun read.

This is from a collection of his writings. To some he may be a period writer, however I still enjoy his story telling and droll humor especially regarding the English Classes.

I don't believe that The Bishop's Apron rises to the level of the author's best work, but It may be the novel that best showcases Maugham's great wit. I enjoyed it very much.

Compelling and delightful!

I'm not sure how this book is rated by the critics, but I found it witty and clever.