Tristram meets with the school principal, Joscelyne, and learns that he won't be given the promotion he expected.
Joscelyne tells Tristram that his "family background" is holding him back: he comes from a large family, his wife comes from a large family, and Tristram himself has had a child. As Joscelyne says, although Tristram is "entitled to marry" if he wants to, and is "entitled to one birth in the family, "the best people just don't. Just don't" (1.8.9).
Joscelyne ends the meeting with some ominous advice to Tristram: "In confidence, fella, you watch your step. Watch your wife. Don't start having any more kids. Don't start getting irresponsible like the proletariat. One false step like that and you'd be out. Yah, out" (1.8.15).