"My dear, you know nothing about it," said the old gentleman. "Yes, I do," said the old lady. "I know all about it. Whatever she does a young lady ought not to be perverse. I do hate perversity. I am sure that hole up there must be open, Sir, for the wind does come in so powerful." Colonel Stubbs again jumped up and poked at the ventilator.
In the meantime Ayala was laughing so violently that she could with difficulty prevent herself from making a noise, which; she feared, would bring down increased wrath upon her from the old lady. That feigned scolding from the Colonel at once brought back upon her the feeling of sudden and pleasant intimacy which she had felt when he had first come and ordered her to dance with him at the ball in London. It was once again with her as though she knew this man almost more intimately, and certainly more pleasantly, than any of her other acquaintances. Whatever he said she could answer him now, and pretend to scold him, and have her joke with him as though no offer had ever been made. She could have told him now all the story of that turned dress, if that subject had come naturally to her, or have laughed with him at her own old boxes, and confided to him any other of the troubles of her poverty, as if they were jokes which she could share at any rate with him. Then he spoke again. "I do abominate a perverse young woman," he said. Upon this Ayala could no longer constrain herself, but burst into loud laughter.
After a while the two old people became quite familiar, and there arose a contest, in which the lady took part with the Colonel, and the old man protected Ayala. The Colonel spoke as though he were quite in earnest, and went on to declare that the young ladies of the present time were allowed far too much licence. "They never have their own bread to earn," he said, "and they ought to make themselves agreeable to other people who have more to do."
"I quite agree with you, Sir," said the old lady. "They should run about and be handy. I like to see a girl that can jump about the house and make herself useful."
"Young ladies ought to be young ladies," said the old man, putting his mouth for a moment up out of his comforter.
"And can't a young lady be useful and yet be a young lady?" said the Colonel.
"It is her special province to be ornamental," said the old gentleman. "I like to see young ladies ornamental. I don't think young ladies ought to be scolded, even if they are a little fractious."
"I quite agree with you, Sir," said Ayala. And so the fight went on with sundry breaks and changes in the matter under discussion till the station for Stalham had been reached. The old gentleman, indeed, seemed to lose his voice before the journey was half over, but the lady persevered, so that she and the Colonel became such fast friends that she insisted on shaking hands with him when he left the carriage.