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Heigh! for a badger-skin waistcoat like that of Hillary Nanspian of Chimsworthy! What would not I give to be the owner of such a waistcoat? Many a covetous glance was cast at that waistcoat in the parish church of Bratton Clovelly, in the county of Devon, on Sunday, where it appeared during public worship in a pew; and when the parson read the Decalogue, many a heart was relieved to learn that the prohibition against covetousness did not extend to badger-skin waistcoats. That waistcoat made of the skin of a badger Hillary Nanspian had himself drawn and killed. In colour it was silver-grey graduating to black. The fur was so deep that the hand that grasped it sank into it. The waistcoat was lined with red, and had flaps of fur to double over the breast when the wind lay in the east and the frost was cruel. When the wind was wet and warm, the flaps were turned back, exposing the gay crimson lining, and greatly enhancing its beauty. The waistcoat had been constructed for Hillary Nanspian by his loving wife before she died.
Hillary Nanspian of Chimsworthy was a big, brisk, florid man, with light grey eyes. His face was open, round, hearty, and of the colour of a ribstone pippin. He was, to all appearance, a well-to-do man. But appearances are not always to be trusted. Chimsworthy, where he lived, was a farm of two hundred acres; the subsoil clay, some of the land moor, and more bog; but the moor was a fine place for sheep, and the bog produced pasture for the young stock when the clay grass land was drought-dry. Hillary had an orchard of the best sorts of apples grown in the West, and he had a nursery of apples, of grafts, and of seedlings. When he ate a particularly good apple, he collected the pips for sowing, put them in a paper cornet, and wrote thereon, 'This here apple was a-eated of I on ——,' such and such a day, 'and cruel good he were too.' (Cruel, in the West, means no more than 'very.')
The farm of Chimsworthy had come to Nanspian through his wife, who was dead. His brother-in-law was Taverner Langford of Langford. Taverner's mother had been a Hill, Blandina Hill, heiress of Chimsworthy, and it went to her daughter Blandina, who carried it when she married to her Cornish husband, Hillary Nanspian.