A visitor came to the Herringbroke boys’ home by carriage with a large trunk of books. He had dark blond hair, now silvering, and fine features. One or two young ladies from the school down the street paused to admire his profile while he waited at the door. The carriage waited, too, and in it a man with the same face, only slack and expressionless, his shoulders wrapped in blankets.
When Master Edwold opened the door, he paused in confusion mid greeting. The gentleman visitor did not let him flounder, however. “So pleased to meet you, sir. I am Doctor Wilther Ash. I am visiting from the Royal University of Firaus, where I am a teaching professor.”
“I see,” Master Edwold said, “though your accent is not Firaus.”
“No, no.” Doctor Ash smiled. “I am a native of Shandor.”
“We’ve had generous Shandorian donors in past,” Master Edwold said.
“Well, I am no wealthy scholar,” the man said, with a smile. “But what is mine, I give to you. My greatest work is in my writings. I heard you have need of volumes. I’ve written a fair number, and I’ve come to present them to you.”
“That is quite generous, sir,” Master Edwold said, looking at the trunk. “What is your field?”
“I study many things,” Doctor Ash said, “but I have a particular interest in the gifts of ancestry, the mysteries and laws of genetics. So much depends on the stuff of which we are made, and which we add to ourselves.”
“That sounds rather advanced for our current students.” Master Edwold frowned. “They come from very little.”
“Well, all things in time,” Doctor Ash said. “Everything starts from the basest of beginnings, and takes work to unfurl. Perhaps in future I’ll find some bright young boy here to take on as an assistant.”
“My apologies, I should invite you in,” Master Edwold peered out at the man in the carriage, “and your, ah, brother, as well?”
“No, no, we won’t trouble you. My dear twin Simeon is an invalid. Poor soul, he cannot speak. I’d best get him settled in our hotel before making any other calls.” Doctor Ash tipped his hat, and left his trunk full of books behind him.