On returning to the house, they made their way to his wife's private sitting room. He left her there with the infant and sought out their sister and brother. Once he had brought them to the room, he divulged the particulars of the morning's events.

The two men quickly returned to the field where the strange vessel still lay. They managed to push it into an extremely convenient nearby shed that happened to be just the right size to hold it. They resolved that they would return after night fell, dig a hole behind the shed, and bury the vessel there.

They returned to the house and were able to give a detailed description of the vessel to their wives, who had been examining the child and had found him to have no apparent defects or infirmities.

"Astounding!" their sister cried on hearing the details. "From where could it possibly have come?"

"If I may be so bold," he replied, "I think it possible that he could come from an undiscovered world, one that lays beneath the surface of our earth. I have read of such possibilities in Icosameron by Giacomo Casanova." He was not an avid reader, but thrilling tales of other worlds were able to hold his interest.

"Casanova! I have read him as well!" their sister exclaimed. Her husband snorted slightly, and she laughed at his reaction. "My husband thinks it impossible and will not deign even to read such speculation. But one must always be willing to embrace new scientific theories, I believe. I think, however, that it could also be possible that the child could come from a world beyond ours, in the heavens. Have you ready Plurality of Worlds by Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle?"

"No, I have not."

"We have it at our home. I am told that my husband's father was fascinated by it. When next you visit, be sure to look for it in our library."

"I will indeed!" he said.

He and his sister looked at one another briefly, realizing that they had just discovered an excellent topic for future conversations.

"The important question now, however," he continued, "is what explanation we will present to the world for the presence of this child."

"Yes," their sister said slowly, looking pensively at the infant. "How long has it been since the two of you were out in society?"

His wife replied, "We have kept at home these past four months."

"Four months . . . this may actually be easy. When you retired from society, you were already with child, five months along. You were not aware of it at the time, because you had not yet begun to visibly increase, which is sometimes the case with a first child. Also, since your courses have always been irregular, you had not suspected anything."

His wife looked at her sister in confusion. He remembered that she had told him that since her first flowering into womanhood, her female cycles had been as predictable as the rising and setting of the sun.

Her sister raised an eyebrow at her and said with emphasis, "Your courses have always been irregular. The child before us could not be more than one month old, so there will be no more than one month difference between his actual age and the age that you will claim for him. No one will be able to notice such a discrepancy. I trust that the staff here can be trusted to keep your confidences?"

"Absolutely," he replied, "everyone here adores the mistress. How could they not?"

"Indeed," their sister smiled. "And I think it is a very good thing that you no longer live in the same neighborhood as our parents. I suspect that my mother is the person who would have most endangered any secrets."

His wife nodded. "Every time Mamma writes to me, she is full of advice about what I need to do in order to fall with child. If she lived nearby, she would be a frequent visitor, I have no doubt."

"In your correspondence with Mamma," their sister offered, "you did not mention that you were with child because you feared losing the babe and did not want to attract bad luck by boasting. You silly, superstitious girl!"

His wife laughed. "Yes, I am sure she will accept my apologies in the matter."

"Then all that is left is to find a nurse, which you would have done in any case."

"I will ask the housekeeper to recommend one who can be trusted."

"Then I believe that we have resolved every question! Welcome to the family, dearest nephew!"

His wife placed a hand on his arm. "Dear, I wish for you to choose his names."

His heart swelled with pride at the thought of naming his son. "My desire," he said, "would be to name him in memory of my parents. Shall we give him my father's given name?"

"That would be wonderful."

"And then for another name, I wonder if there is a way that I can honor my mother. I doubt that we could fashion an acceptable masculine form of the name Amaryllis."

His wife shuddered.

Their brother interjected, "I recall that you have often said that your mother was very fond of the place where she was born and raised."

"Yes!" he cried, "Indeed, she cherished it greatly. She considered it the finest county in all of England, and even the most beautiful land that existed in the world. She never tired of speaking of it. So there it is! My father's name and then the county where my mother was born! Splendid!"

His wife agreed. "Clark Kent Bingley! How well it sounds!"