M. Astin is a widower of forty by circumstance, and a cautious, deliberate man by nature. Thus it is that he finds himself divided and guided by his mother-in-law, his sister in law, the memory of his dead wife and the actuality of his three children:- Louise, ""his honey"", Michel, ""his vintage wine"" and Bruno, ""his vinegar"". But it is mostly the intractable Bruce who troubles him and who fills his thoughts which are the contents of this novel. The children to balk his hesitant courtship of a schoolteacher, but as they grow, up, M. Astin feeds more and more bemused and discomfited by them. And as Bruno reaches he learns that his youngest, who has occasioned so much solicitude and sacrifice, is probably and his son. The philosophical moral which underlies the physical fact is just as painful ""Fathers are born too early, sons too late, to walk the same path together."".... While by no means as vicious as this writer's Viper in the Fist (1951), it reflects again intelligence and resignation, his native penchant for the relentlessly rational examination of human thoughts and feelings. But as a story of the of a life, it inevitably assumes some of M. Astin's detachment and .