finagling

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Prominent scenarios include the dubiously virtuous machiavellian machinations of an exiled ruler who strives to regain his kingdom and family despite a usurping politician's counter ploys, the scams of smart, ambitious young men of no status who form ventures to defraud gulls, the cynical Italianate finaglings and bold assaults of a bankrupt younger son on a dual quest to gain wealth and status by way of marriage to a well-placed and endowed widow and also to supplant his timid elder as head of an ancient house, and most generally, the connivings of some gallant against a father, a brother, an uncle, a patron, a usurer, a power broker in hot pursuit of a wealthy widow or an heiress.