A Tale of Two Choices

"Never mention that name in my presence," thundered Lord Withenstrop. "He was a cad, a bounder and a blaggard."

Edmund was taken aback that the mere mention of this name could cause his normally austere and passionless father to react in such a violent way.

"What did he do, father, that should cause you such upset?"

"That man was my uncle. He seduced the woman I was to marry. He was in his middle age and dearest Cecily was only 18. I loved that girl with all of my heart."

"But, father, I thought you loved my monther."

"Her," Lord Withenstrop hissed. "We have never loved each other, never been tender. It is purely a marriage of convenience and it has gone on too long. Did you know that you are not even my son?"

Edmund sank to his knees in shock. This was not the birthday present he was expecting.

"What are you going to do, father?"