The scene opens in the private offices of Duc d’Orlean, Phillipe II, Regent to Louis XV, King of France and Navarre. Seated are the Regent and Charles II, Duke of Guise-Lorraine. The year is 1717.)
Phillipe: “Now, tell me of this misfortune with your daughter.”
Charles: “As you know, my lord, I had intended the girl for the Bavarian court, but it seems she has taken up with a Scottish lad and they have requested permission to marry.”
Phillipe: “A Scot, eh? Of what house?”
Charles: “The boy is a near commoner, my lord. He is called L’Dave McGraw the son of Hamish McGraw who serves us well in St. Petersburg at this moment. His mother was Marie-Louise Santin, of the Neuburg Santins. She died in childbirth.”
“The McGraws are old retainers to the house of Regis. You may recall John Regis, who commanded a battalion in Flanders for us?”
Phillipe: “Ah, yes, I recall him. He holds a rather meager estate in the south of Scotland. Is there not some question of his loyalty? Is the house not more English than Scot?”
Charles: “The house has been English as often as Scottish, my lord, but he performed most ably for us, and since his return to Scotland has shown no ill behavior. He married into the Campbells, I believe. His eldest son, Bognor, resides near Paris with the boy in question. The elder McGraw was awarded a small estate for meritorious service, and the boys have been there for about seven years.”
Phillipe: “Ah, yes, and the boys’ conduct?
Charles: “The boys were sent to France for their education, my lord, however I have spoken with them and their French is nearly unintelligible. It appears they spent more time studying wine and wenches than the arts. Hamish McGraw, their guardian, has been away in our service instead of overseeing the boys. But they seen to have a head for business, and have conducted several successful trade ventures into the Baltic regions. They have plans for an expedition to the Barbary Coast this coming season.”
Phillipe: “Well, then, Charles, what is your preference in this matter?”
Charles: “My lord, I am inclined to grant the girl her wish. She inherits nothing, and her value allied to Bavaria is quite small.”
Phillipe: “It is well then. A marriage of love, more suited to a peasant than the aristocracy, mind you, but I will grant this permission.”
After a successful season in the Mediterranean, the young men return to France and determine to set out for the West Indies. L’Dave is learning that marriage to an aristocrat tends to be a bit expensive, and Bognor is always ready for something new and different.