The modern Rupert found himself sketching diagrams and cartoons as he tried to make sense of Matthew Steyne's theories. The Ashoptons had been wealthy sheep-farmers and wool-traders, while the Peverils had taken on diplomatic roles with farming as a secondary occupation. Ties between the families before Lord Rupert's time had been for mutual convenience: the Ashoptons sold wool from both estates to merchants – including distant Peveril cousins – in Europe, while the Peverils were able to cement bonds between the Ashoptons and various Peveril cousins in London and elsewhere. Following the Parliamentarian victory at Naseby, Lord Rupert had somehow managed to continue his farming and trading ventures in spite of being exiled to a much smaller home. Meanwhile Lady Anne and her mother had only Carsingthorpe Lodge, a very few servants, and sufficient land to provide food for them with nothing left over to sell.
Lady Anne, it seemed, had far more to gain from the marriage than Lord Rupert, unless Matthew Steyne was correct that information was to be gained in the Carsingthorpe area that might eventually help restore the King to his throne. Or maybe they had just loved each other. Rupert was about to read the next letters in the series, when a noise behind him caught his attention.
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