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A whisper of the culminating misfortunes of Ashpound spread abroad like wild-fire, soon ceased to be a whisper, and became a loud scandal; and Diana lost her credit as summarily as she had acquired it. It was "That wretched Mrs. Gervase Norgate came of an evil stock, though drinking was not Mr. Baring's vice.

She would be in the saddle ten hours during a long day's hunt, as the autumn advanced and the meets assembled, and within an hour of alighting at the door of Ashpound, she would have exchanged muddy bottle-green or Waterloo blue cloth for glistening white satin, and be stepping into the carriage with Gervase to be present at one of their wedding parties.

It was on a clear, fragrant evening in June, when the world was all in flower, that a whispering, and pulling of skirts and sleeves, and throwing up of hands and eyes, arose among the servants at Ashpound, at a sight that was seen there. The servants' hall were gathered secretly at a side-door and a lobby-window, and were watching Mrs.

She had lulled him to sleep as with cradle songs, she had fed him with her hands, ministered to him with her spirit. She learned to love him exceedingly. Other summer suns shone on Ashpound. Gervase and Diana had come back from a lengthened sojourn abroad.

Suddenly he had taken it into his muddled head to pull up in his career, and, if need be, to chain and padlock, hedge and barricade himself with a wife and family, before Ashpound should be swallowed up by hungry creditors, and he had hurried himself into a forlorn grave. Mr.

The "he" of the conversation, who was not to last ten years, was Gervase Norgate of Ashpound a poor, impulsive, weak-willed, fast-living young neighbouring squire. Unluckily for himself, he had been early left his own master, and had ridden post-haste to the dogs ever since.

The neighbours about Ashpound were slow to discover, as erring men and women are always slow to discover, that God is more merciful than they, and that he can bring good out of evil, light out of darkness; but they discovered it at last, and, after a probation, took Mr. and Mrs.

If she ever had a child a son, though she shuddered at the idea, he would be the young Squire, the heir of Ashpound. In the meantime, Gervase Norgate was not a churl: he did not dream of stinting his wife in her perquisites, though he was not fond of her, and they now no longer lived comfortably together.

I had liefer have the holding-in of a senseless calf, though I had not Luke to help me with the bars of the gates, than the holding in of a full-grown, whole-witted man. But the poor mistress them as don't know the rights of a thing calls her saucy young lady though she be, she do work hard for her place and living, she do, since she has got Master Gervase and Ashpound."

So ruminated Gervase Norgate's old servant, Miles, pushing back the tufts of ragged red hair on his long head ruefully, as he sat "promiscuous" in what he was pleased to call his pantry at Ashpound, while he contemplated with the eye of the body his chamois skin for what he proudly denominated his silver, and with the eye of the mind the new régime and its ruling spirit.