"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. A reviewer in 1906 wrote, "The whole book is an admirable blend of cynical gaiety and broadly farcical comedy; it is the smartest and most genuinely humorous novel that the season has yet given us." -- Lee Smalley
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