After Civil Servant Philip Christy crosses paths with the mysterious Bertram Ingledew in the respectable suburb of Brackenhurst, Philip and his sister Frida, married to the wealthy Scot Robert Monteith, become friends with the stranger. Bertram has some unconventional concepts about society, and as the story unfolds, his beliefs and actions cause much disruption in the family and the neighbourhood.
Who is Bertram? Where does he come from? Allen explores some interesting ideas about society, some of which are curiously relevant today.
The story is preceded by an introduction which, although it may appear to have no connection with the story itself, the reader is earnestly besought by the author to read. The introduction begins as a diatribe against publishers, and develops into a philosophical justification of Allen's writing, and may, if desired, be omitted by the listener who is only interested in the story. (Summary by Ruth Golding)