The Power and the Glory Part 2, Chapter 2 Summary

Graham Greene

Part 2, Chapter 2 Summary

The priest sits on a bench in the capital city as the sun goes down. The people are going around the square in a procession until the lights go off.

A beggar approaches the priest and asks for some money, explaining that his wife and children have eaten very little. The priest refuses, saying that the little money that he himself has is to go toward some wine. The beggar accuses the priest of having a heart of stone, but he also offers to show him where he can buy some alcohol, hoping that the priest will share with him.

The priest agrees and walks down the street with the beggar. They pass a squad of policemen, in the midst of whom walks the mestizo. The priest ignores him and follows the beggar down toward the river.

At a hotel, the beggar takes the priest to the home of the Governor’s cousin. He says that after the priest has bought his wine, he should share with him out of simple courtesy.

The Governor’s cousin offers to sell the priest a bottle of brandy and a bottle of wine, although all the priest is thirsty for is the wine. He at last agrees and offers the Governor’s cousin some of the brandy, but he wants the wine. He drinks a glass, making toasts with several more glasses of the wine.

The priest ostensibly meant the wine to be for the purposes of celebrating the mass, but the Governor’s cousin drinks most of it. The jefe (police chief) arrives and joins in the celebration, drinking even more of the wine. The priest begins to cry, but they assume that he is a drunk and a poet.

The jefe describes the manhunt that his officers are on, although it may be spoiled by the approaching rain. They have a man in custody who says he can identify the renegade priest.

When the wine is gone, the priest leaves, still with the bottle of brandy in his pocket. As he goes down the street, the rain begins to pour. He runs into a pool hall and accidentally bumps into a Red Shirt. The bottle clinks in his pocket.

The priest runs out the door, pursued by several men. He runs into the home of Padre Jose and begs for sanctuary. Padre Jose refuses out of fear, and the men (along with the police) catch up with the priest. They do not recognize him as the renegade priest but take him to jail anyway when he cannot pay the fine for possession of alcohol.