and scent out their tortuous fallacies. I'm glad you're a mathematician, Mr. Oswald. And so you have thought on social problems?'
'I have read "Gold and the Proletariate,"' Oswald answered modestly, 'and I learned much from it, and thought more. I won't say you have quite converted me, Herr Schurz, but you have given me plenty of food for future reflection.'
'That is well, said the old man, passing one skinny brown hand gently up and down over the other. 'That is well. There's no hurry. Don't make up your mind too fast. Don't jump at conclusions. It's intellectual dishonesty to do that. Wait till you have convinced yourself. Spell out your problems slowly; they are not easy ones; try to see how the present complex system works; try to probe its inequalities and injustices; try to compare it with the ideal commonwealth: and you'll find the light in the end, you'll find the light.'
As he spoke, Herbert Le Breton lounged up quietly from his farther corner towards the little group. 'Ah, your
This wry novel on class conflict in 19th-century England chronicles the lives of four Oxford men from very different backgrounds and outlooks: Harry Oswald, a brilliant mathematician, although neither he nor anyone else can forget that his parents are plebeian grocers; Arthur Berkeley, a clergyman and composer with surprising origins; and the Le Breton brothers, sons of a military officer, gently-born but not wealthy — Ernest, a single-minded socialist, and the more conventional and selfish Herbert — as well as Oswald's sister, Edie, and Lady Hilda Tregellis, daughter of an earl.
The story isn't complimentary to the aristocracy or the period's status quo, and dwells on issues which, outside of the hereditary element, seem very relevant to the widening income gap in the U.S. today. It's interesting reading, with excellent characterizations, though it moves slowly in places.