Sitting before the hearth, he placed the basket on his lap and sat there, staring at the lush red fruit. Picking one up, he bit into the sweetness and closed his eyes, savoring the taste and thinking of Victoria. He wasn't one to sit and eat fruit, so it was rather delightful eating a strawberry for the first time, especially knowing they came from Miss Tilney.
Ashton continued sitting there for the next several minutes until the whole of an hour passed. And before he realized it, he had eaten every single one.
When he finally emerged from his library, he loosened his cravat, itching at his throat.
"Sir!" Nimbles stopped him in the hallway, his jaw nearly hanging to his chest.
"Yes?" Ashton said as he turned to face his steward.
"Dear God! Your face! It is - - It is, well, it is puffing up!"
"What?" Ashton said, this time with a bit of a thick tongue.
"Well, your face sir, and your neck! By God! Look at your hands!"
Ashton, who had been standing there, itching at his chest, suddenly splayed his fingers out in front of him. They were red, swelling..."For the love of God! She has poisoned me! Call the Constable! Get Miss Tilney! Dear God!"
"Yes sir! Right away sir!"
Not much later Nimbles was beating his fist against the front door of the Hawthorn's.