The next two days were not quite so triumphant to Ayala as had been the evening of her arrival.
There was hunting on both of those days, the gentlemen having gone on the Friday away out of Sir Harry's country to the Brake hounds. Ayala and the Colonel had arrived on the Thursday. Ayala had not expected to be asked to hunt again -- had not even thought about it. It had been arranged before on Nina's account, and Nina now was not to hunt any more. Lord George did not altogether approve of it, and Nina was quite in accord with Lord George -- though she had held up her whip and shaken it in triumph when she jumped over the Cranbury Brook. And the horse which Ayala had ridden was no longer in the stables. "My dear, I am so sorry; but I'm afraid we can't mount you," Lady Albury said. In answer to this Ayala declared that she had not thought of it for a moment. But yet the days seemed to be dull with her. Lady Rufford was -- well -- perhaps a little patronising to her, and patronage such as that was not at all to Ayala's taste. "Lady Albury seems to be quite a kind friend to you," Lady Rufford said. Nothing could be more true. The idea implied was true also -- the idea that such a one as Ayala was much in luck's way to find such a friend as Lady Albury. It was true no doubt; but, nevertheless, it was ungracious, and had to be resented. "A very kind friend, indeed. Some people only make friends of those who are as grand as themselves."
"I am sure we should be very glad to see you at Rufford if you remain long in the country," said Lady Rufford, a little time afterwards. But even in this there was not a touch of that cordiality which might have won Ayala's heart. "I am not at all likely to stay," said Ayala. "I live with my uncle and aunt at Notting Hill, and I very rarely go away from home." Lady Rufford, however, did not quite understand it. It had been whispered to her that morning that Ayala was certainly going to marry Colonel Stubbs; and, if so, why should she not come to Rufford?
On that day, the Friday, she was taken in to dinner by Captain Glomax. "I remember quite as if it were yesterday," said the Captain. "It was the day we rode the Cranbury Brook."
Ayala looked up into his face, also remembering everything as well as it were yesterday. "Mr Twentyman rode over it," she said, "and Colonel Stubbs rode into it."
"Oh, yes; Stubbs got a ducking; so he did." The Captain had not got a ducking, but then he had gone round by the road. "It was a good run that."
"We haven't been lucky since Sir Harry has had the hounds somehow. There doesn't seem to be the dash about 'em there used to be when I was here. I had them before Sir Harry, you know." All this was nearly in a whisper.
"Were you Master?" asked Ayala, with a tone of surprise which was not altogether pleasing to the Captain.