What’s this about bastards not being able to inherit, even if they’re legitimized?
Bastards legitimized through canon law can’t inherit. It’s different if you’re seeking legitimization through Act of Parliament. Remember that Parliament has done a lot of things in English history, like changing the country’s religion a few times. If it wanted to, it could declare an heir legitimate.
But would Parliament want to?
Neither of our point-of-view characters, Margaret and Ash, are particularly legally sophisticated, but there is a reason why Ash is spending the summer before Parliament votes on a country estate, arguing with his brother, while Richard Dalrymple is off working for votes.
How did Ash make his fortune in India?
The details ended up getting deleted from the book—there was already so much backstory to fit in, I couldn’t make it work. The short answer, though, is that Ash, who went over at first to work as hired muscle for another Englishman, worked very hard to learn the local languages. He saved his salary and began to make small side deals on his own. He got a reputation fairly quickly as being someone who was fair, and who didn’t dismiss the people who were there as savages, and this gave him a competitive advantage in trade.
What happened to Laurette?
He released her into the wild, where she lived a long and happy life. She still misses Ash, though. I imagine if Ash ever went back to India and found her, their reunion would look like this.