Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chapter 27

     Trask slowly stepped into the character which he must play the rest of his life.  The role was exhausting and required long days of study and reflection.  Tutors were employed to educate him in languages and grammar but it was Mr. Potts who influenced him the most in matters of etiquate and duty.  For one who had frittered away his early manhood and depended upon women to support him, the decision to change presented many stressful challenges. But what made him decide? Perhaps it was the stories of his own father's struggles to overcome a ruined duchy which convinced him that the duke did not have the silver spoon afterall.  If the old aristocrat sitting hunchbacked in the chair had overcome adversity, why could not a strappiing bone of youth?
     "Is that you?" He asked, pointing to the dusty oil painting hanging over the duke's desk.  The duke nodded.  His own familiar face was reflected in the one boy with thick black hair and inquiring brown eyes standing beside the chair of his father.  "I cannot deny but what you are my father," he said after awhile. "And it is all true.  I was born the son of an earl, the very earl of Abergenny!"
     The duke's face lit up and a thin smile was drawn across his lips as he reached in his desk drawer and pulled out the packet from the solicitor.  He opened the parchment carefully and spread open the documents and without speaking pointed to the place where Trask should sign.  Trask fell under the spell of being master of the duchy and could taste the titles in his mouth so stepped forward and signed.  Afterwards, the duke waxed his signature into Manigault crest.  "Now I must caution you to be steadfast in your resolve and never relax upon it fo where there are vulchers hawking the skies there also lurks your peers."  
     "I could use those dualing pistols on the wall to protect meself."
     The duke scratched his head.  There was something dark and foreboding about Trask Martain which was cloaked by an intrinsic need to rise above his peers.  That was why he walked all the way from Wales to Cornwall and spied on the manor house.  "I think not.  You need to first tame your
reckless spirit."
     "I am nought afraid of me betters if that is what ye mean."
     "Yes, I suppose that you would not stop short of challenging the king himself."
     "If he gets in me way."
     "During the next several amonths we shall observe your progress in learning gentility and self-control."
     "Then will I get the pistols?"
     "Everything in its season, Trask."
      Trask stomped angrily from the room and passing Mr. Potts, shoved him into the door jam.  "What did you say to anger him?" The duke not answering, held up the signed documents. "He signed?"
     "I must say that I am rather shocked, owing to the wildness of the boy and his unwillingness to be tamed."
     "Oh he will be tamed. Despite his protests, he wants my titles and estates. You see, he rationalizes that I owe it to him because he never laid eyes on me until he came to Manningham."
     "And his secession to you will bring him happiness?"
     Something sinister, Mr. Potts, jabbing into his soul, coaxing him to step into my shoes."
     "Can he do it?"
     "Can a bird fall from it's nest and then fly?"
     "Depends upon the nature of his injuries."

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