It was October of the year 1900. Doctor Horace Greenwich was a tall, imposing man in the prime of life, approaching fifty, bearded, erudite, opinionated, a graduate of Harvard and of The Greenwich School for Boys, which had been founded by his great-grandfather. His father, Jonah, was a quiet man, a lepidopterist, a happy widower. Horace was his only child, and to Horace he had gratefully resigned the headmastership while still a young man himself, staying on to teach biology and roam the fields with net and killing jar, a colorful eccentric. Doctor Horace Greenwich had been both more and less successful than his father as a patriarch. In the seven years before his wife's death he had fathered eight children; all were daughters, the oldest just turned fourteen. To undertake the troublesome and time-consuming task of educating them he had hired a governess from Boston. The young woman had come highly recommended by her agency as well as by one of his old professors at Harvard to whom she was distantly related, and she had been with the family some five years without incident.

Whereas he had been nettled and even offended at first by his bolder colleagues' rib-nudging remarks upon the situation, Doctor Horace Greenwich had come to regard an eventual marital union between himself and the governess from Boston in the light of likelihood; of its desirability he had no doubts on her account, as she was penniless and fond of the girls, while for his own part--he was a vigorous man in the prime of life. The Greenwich School for Boys, thriving upon one of the best reputations in the country, was his pride, and his only source of sorrow, his heirless state. Doctor Horace Greenwich had hopes of bringing forth a son by the governess from Boston.

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