The Debating Society of the Königsberg University was sitting. The subject for the occasion was of a trivial nature, but lent itself to keen and heated argument. The whole afternoon had been occupied with the speeches of the minor lights of the society, and now only the two opposing leaders remained to make their closing speeches before the division took place.
Young Osterberg, the leader of the "Ayes," rose to his feet. His remarks were sound and clear, and his arguments, to many, conclusive. After he had occupied the attention of the assembly for nearly twenty minutes, he sat down amidst the plaudits of his own side, to await the speech from the leader of the Opposition.
At that moment a voice, distinctly audible above the buzz of conversation that followed, spoke in a loud, unpleasant tone, evidently intended for the whole room to hear.
"'Tis a pity certain positions are not filled by fellows capable of thinking and arguing logically. Such rot I have never before listened to. Come, Maurice, let us go to the club rooms, we shall find better entertainment there." And the two men rose from their seats and moved towards the door.
Before they reached it the voice of the President stopped them, and in sharp, incisive tones called them to order.
"Such words," he said, "are against the rules of the society and must be withdrawn, or the laws which govern the Association will be enforced and the speaker's name struck off the list of membership."
John Landauer, the man who had uttered the offensive words, turned on hearing the President's mandate. With flashing eyes he glanced in the direction of Osterberg.
"My words may have been untimely as uttered in this room, and for that I apologize; but my opinion of the last speaker, friend Osterberg, remains the same, and what I am not allowed to express here I shall take the earliest opportunity of doing elsewhere."