The Reluctant Guardian

The morning that saw the great change in the life of Maximillian Stewart Raphael Frobisher, 12th Duke of Moorehaven, began early, much too early in the opinion of the aforesaid gentleman. For he had, or so it seemed to him just returned to Haven House, the well appointed London townhouse of the Dukes of Moorehaven, and his bed. He had spent the night with his group of particular friends at White's drinking, gambling & speculating on which of them would capture the heart or pocketbook of the newest opera dancer. This brought great laughter among the friends, as Max, himself had announced he had only just that morning paid a call on the lady and he had just made her an offer, and he would return the following evening to discuss the particulars of that offer in greater detail. Yes, the Duke of Moorehaven was a rake of the first water, and a very jaded one at that.

Which brings us back to the morning that would change his life forever, for Max, had been Duke of Moorehaven for only six months. He never even expected it for the late lamented 11th Duke had been his uncle, and he had the requisite heir and a spare, unfortunately all three had died in a boating accident, and Maximillian Frobisher had been the 6th Earl of Cresswell. In the six months that he had been duke, he had spent a great deal of his time straightening out the jumble that his uncle had left his estate in.

To Max, as he was known to his friends, the Moorehaven estates had indeed been left in a jumble, it had taken quite a bit of interest from some of Max's private holdings to shore up some of the more floundering parts of his late uncle's estates, that had so lately become his own, in fact, up until the morning in question, Max was quite sure that he had all of the business of his new inheritance cleared up, and he had sent Michael Thompson, his secretary on a well deserved holiday to Scotland to see his mother.

As mentioned before, Max was a rake, but not just your everyday common variety rake, oh no! Max was the most notorious rake in all of London. His reputation was made from the moment he came to Town at the age of twenty-one, he was now turned thirty, and was the acknowledged leader of a set that no virtuous young Lady would dare be seen with, let alone allow her name to be connected with. So it quite surprising when Rockingham, his valet entered his bedroom that morning to wake him up, as he had guests.

Mari Williams gathered her shivering charge just a bit closer to her, as the hackney made its way from the inn just outside of London. They had come a long ways south and tho' her charge had been co-operative and easy to entertain, the little girl was becoming restless.

"What is it Dearest?" asked Mari in a soothing tone. "Are you a bit afraid?"

"Just a little bit, Aunt Mari," replied her charge. "What if my cousin does not want me either?"

This question struck a chord in the heart of Mari, who knew personally of such uncertainty in her own life.

"Of he will want you. He is your guardian now, Dearest" replied Mari.

"If you do not take her, I will make you take her, for she is your responsibility, rake or not." thought Mari, as the hackney continued on its way to Grosvenor Square, where she was told the new Duke of Moorehaven resided.

 

2001, 2002 Copyright held by the author.

 

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