Part 3, Chapter 5 Summary
Ashburnham's troubles with women did not end with La Dolciquita. At first repentant, he grew to dislike Leonora. Leonora forgave her husband but not without first punishing him. Leonora insisted he give her management of their financial affairs; he agreed. Leonora now had power over her husband. She paid off all his debts by selling family possessions, mortgaging some real estate holdings, and renting their estate. She insisted they leave England and live in the Far East, where he would join his fellow soldiers. They would budget severely, living only on what Ashburnham made from the army. In this way, Leonora planned to earn back the money her husband had lost to gambling, loan sharks, or women. She attained this goal, at the cost of her husband's affection.
Ashburnham was humiliated by Leonora. If he had thought her unfeeling before, he now found her closed and hard hearted. More than before, he craved the attention of another female for sympathy. This he easily did, first with the wife of a fellow officer and later with Maisie Maidan. At the same time women showered him with affection, he developed an uncomplimentary image of himself. Previously, Ashburnham had touted constancy. He could no longer live up to the image of the gentleman that he had previously cultivated.
Leonora was not faring much better. She had tried everything to make her husband love her, sacrificing new clothes and even friends to save money. What little extra money they had, Leonora spent on her husband, buying him expensive gifts. When she saw the attention her husband paid to other women, she allowed it without complaint. She thought that if her husband were happy, he might one day appreciate her and come back to her. That is why when, after several years of living abroad and after their finances were restored, Leonora agreed to her husband's request to take Maisie back to their estate with them.
Leonora saw how happy her husband was when Maisie was around. Living in the Far East had not benefited his health, and Leonora worried about him. She did not think her husband and Maisie were having a physical affair. Leonora believed her husband would eventually tire of Maisie. Then Leonora hoped he would finally fully appreciate all that she had done to restore his good health and wealth. In the end, she would finally enjoy the reward of his love. This might have happened, but then along came Florence.