The story is set in England around the turn of the twentieth century. It opens with the elderly Mr. and Mrs. White and their son Herbert in their cozy family home one stormy evening. Father and son are playing chess while Mrs. White knits by the fire.
"I wish for two hundred pounds"
I was to say that 'Maw and Meggins' disclaim all responsibility", continued the other. "They admit no liability at all, but in consideration of your son's services, they wish to present you with a certain sum as compensation.