Dalrymple interviews a student at a university, studying a vocational subject in which arithmetical calculations are often necessary, who cannot multiply six by seven, except by counting it out laboriously on his fingers. Dalrymple comments:
Only the British State could perform this miracle.
And Dalrymple reports that approximately half of the people aged between 16 and 25 whom he encounters in his work as a doctor in a ‘deprived area’ reply to the question,
Are you good at arithmetic?
with a question of their own:
What is arithmetic?