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: Mr. Lewisham is an 18-year-old teacher at a boys' school in Sussex, earning forty pounds a year. He meets and falls in love with Ethel Henderson, who is paying a visit to relatives. His involvement with her causes him to lose his position, but he is unable to find her when he moves to London. After a two-and-one-half-year break in the action, Mr. Lewisham is in his third year of study at the Normal School of Science in South Kensington. He has becomes a socialist, declaring his politics with a red tie, and is an object of interest to Alice Heydinger, an older student. But chance brings him together again with his first love at a séance. Ethel's stepfather, Mr. Chaffery, is a spiritualist charlatan, and Mr. Lewisham is determined to extricate her from association with his dishonesty. They marry, but Mr. Lewisham is forced to abandon his plans for a brilliant scientific career followed by a political ascent.