The Power and the Glory (Penguin Classics)
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"Graham Greene's masterpiece" —John Updike)
In a poor, remote section of Southern Mexico, the paramilitary group, the Red Shirts have taken control. God has been outlawed, and the priests have been systematically hunted down and killed. Now, the last priest is on the run. Too human for heroism, too humble for martyrdom, the nameless little worldly “whiskey priest” is nevertheless impelled toward his squalid Calvary as much by his own compassion for humanity as by the efforts of his pursuers.
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cupboard in which instruments were dustily jumbled. A forceps stood in a cup, a broken spirit-lamp was pushed into a corner, and gags of cotton-wool lay on all the shelves. Very fine, the stranger said. It's not so bad, is it, Mr. Tench said, for this town? You can't imagine the difficulties. That drill, he said bitterly, is made in Japan. I've only had it a month and it's wearing out already. But I can't afford American drills. The window, the stranger said, is very beautiful. One pane of
slowly: even the smoke of the shot seemed to remain in the air for an unnatural period. Some pigs came grunting out of a hut, and a turkey-cock paced with evil dignity into the centre of the circle, puffing out its dusty feathers and tossing the long pink membrane from its beak. A soldier came up to the lieutenant and saluted sketchily. He said: They're all here. You've found nothing suspicious? No. Then look again. Once more time stopped like a broken dock. The lieutenant drew out a
stupid head. Do you think so? How far did you travel yesterday? Perhaps twelve leagues. Even a mule needs rest. The priest took his bare feet out of the deep leather stirrups and scrambled to the ground. The mule for less than a minute  took a longer stride and then dropped to a yet slower pace. The twigs and roots of the forest path cut the priest's feet-after five minutes he was bleeding. He tried in vain not to limp. The half-caste exclaimed: How delicate your feet are! You should wear
led down, he looked back-the woman was still biting at the lump of sugar, and he remembered that it was all the food they had. The way was very steep-so steep he had to turn and go down backwards: on either side trees grew perpendicularly out of the grey rock, and five hundred feet below the path climbed up again. He began to sweat, and he had an appalling thirst: when the rain came it was at first a kind of relief. He stayed where he was, hunched back against a boulder-there was no shelter
see the lamp burning, and Miss Lehr knitting, and he could smell the grass in the paddock, wet with the first rains. It ought to be possible for a man to be happy here, if he were not so tied to fear and suffering-unhappiness too can become a habit like piety. Perhaps it was his duty to break it, his duty to discover peace. He felt an immense envy of all those people who had confessed to him and been absolved. In six days, he told himself, in Las Casas, I too ... but he couldn't believe that