A well-mannered novel is perhaps deceptive in its casual touch and pursues some variables of conscience- and compromise-with the finesse exercised in his (New Yorker) short stories. Roger Heriott, whose memories of a cadging, cringing poverty of his childhood in the face of wealthier relatives, now owes a comfortable, protected position- for which he forfeited teaching-to successful Uncle Charles, and is the Executive Secretary of a Foundation which makes an annual award. This year the recommendation for the Fellowship will go to Sidney Rappaport, a virtuoso violinist but emotionally unreliable, and Uncle Charles is ready to overrule Roger's choice and terminate his job. For Roger, the uncertain future is an uncomfortable reminder of his youth; Tom, his boy, is brilliant and deserves every advantage; and the arrival in town of Munn, his wife's father, who has acquired a fortune in uranium, offers the permanent assurance of all the things money can buy. But Mary, who has only bitter memories of the father who was a drifter and a bum, refuses to see him or to have any part of his money, and Roger is at last able to recognize that he had been ready to forfeit Mary's enfranchisement for a return not his to accept, and he also stands firm in his refusal to capitulate to his Uncle Charles..... A delicate assessment of worldly expendables for which the price may be integrity- and independence, paraphrased in attractive and familiar terms.