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I suppose I should start with some sort of introduction for I believe it is customary to acquaint the readers with one's name, person and situation at the start of one's story. But I am not so old as to have a long story to tell and not so vain as to imagine that any of it would be of any interest to the public. Then why, you might as well wonder, am I telling you anything at all.
Have I, perhaps, been stranded on a desert island with nothing but a quill and some paper to occupy myself with until I am rescued? Or, perhaps, I have been sheltering a terrible secret within my chest these last fifty years and am finally at liberty to disclose it? While either would undoubtedly make for a thrilling tale, I must confess that the reason for my narration is that I am in love and it is the fullness of my heart, the utter felicity of being at long last united with the woman I adore, that I must share it with the world.
That being the case, I fear that you shall soon discover that I am an indifferent story-teller, quite careless and inaccurate to anything outside my own heart. I must also warn you that I am neither a poet to supply my fair one with epithets and metaphors nor a historian to relate the course of events in all particulars and dwell on detailed accounts of dates, names and places. But if you bear with my inconsistencies as a narrator, I promise that you shall hear as fine a love story as there ever was to tell.
So let me tell you of Brightmore for it is from here that our story takes its sedate course before moving into more turbulent waters of the world. Some fifty years ago Brightmore was but a small settlement in the south of England, lost amidst the kingdom's famous sea-bathing places, and comprising a few families of note and even less streets of worth. The principle estate of the helmet was that of Brightmore Hills situated in the snug valley between two woody hills. It was a formidable manor house erected in the days of yore and apart from its ancient walls Brightmore held little else of interest to a passer by with an exception of a boarding-school for young ladies that occasionally attracted a stranger to its midst.
However, due to the prodigious management of Lady Brightmore and her husband's affectionate heart, generous nature and considerable fortune, Brightmore soon turned into a fairly-sized town of recognition with an additional attraction of being located on the sea coast.
Before Lady Brightmore became the wife of the knight she was a penniless school teacher whose arrival at Brightmore caused little sensation at first. She came to take up a post at the school, but was turned out by its master who, it appeared, didn't have much faith in female instructresses. This event prompted future Lady Brightmore to appeal to the lord of the manor who also happened to be the patron of the school. They say that Sir William was instantly enslaved by her bold, dark eye and fierce temper and offered her his heart, hand and school into the bargain.
With Lady Brightmore at the head of the school it rapidly acquired a reputation for the excellence of its conditions and high quality of its education. Its proximity to the sea made it a most desirable destination for young ladies from respectable families whose first bloom of youth was pampered and nourished by the beneficial properties of its air. Naturally, considering all the advantages, it couldn't remain a mere boarding-school for long and was subsequently styled Brightmore Academy, attracting even more students and instructresses to its welcoming and fast expanding bosom.