what a world of joy was this how infinitely superior even to Queen’s Gate and Glenbogie! The gaudy magnificence of the Tringles had been altogether unlike the luxurious comfort of Stalham, where everybody was at his ease, where everybody was good-natured, where everybody seemed to acknowledge that pleasure was the one object of life! On the evening before the Friday she was taken out to dinner by Captain Batsby. She was not sure that she liked Captain Batsby, who made little complimentary speeches to her. But her neighbour on the other side was Colonel Stubbs, and she was quite sure that she liked Colonel StubbsI know you’ll go like a nike air max bw bird tomorrow,” said Captain BatsbyI shouldn’t like that, because there would be no jumping,” said AyalaBut you’d be such a beautiful bird.” The Captain, as he drawled out his words, made an eye at her, and she was sure that she did not like the CaptainAt what time are we to start tomorrow?” she said, turning to the ColonelTen, sharp. Mind you’re ready. Sir Harry takes us on the drag, and wouldn’t wait for Venus, though she wanted five minutes more for her back hairI don’t suppose she ever wants any time for her back hair. I wouldn’t if I were a goddessThen you’d be a very untidy goddess, that’s all. I wonder whether you are untidyWell yes sometimesI hate untidy girlsThank you, Colonel StubbsWhat I like is a nice prim little woman, who never had a pin in the wrong place in her life. Her cuffs and collars are always as stiff as steel, and she never rubs the sleeves of her dresses by leaning about, like some young ladiesThat’s what I doMy young woman never sits down lest she should crease her dress. My young woman never lets her ribbons get tangled. My young woman can dress upon forty pounds a year, and always look as though she came out of a band-boxI don’t believe you’ve got a young woman, Colonel StubbsWell; no; I haven’t except in my imagination.” If so, he too must have his Angel of Light! “Do you ever dream about herOh dear, yes. I dream that she does scold so awfully when I have her to myself. In my dreams, you know, I’m married to her, and she always wants me to eat hashed mutton. Now, if there is one thing that makes me more sick than another it is hashed mutton. Of course I shall marry her in some of my waking moments, and then I shall have to eat hashed mutton for ever.” Then Captain Batsby put in another wordI should so like to be allowed to give you a lead tomorrowOh, thank you but I’d rather not have it,” said Ayala, who was altogether in the dark, thinking that “a lead” might be some present which she would not wish to accept from Captain BatsbyI mean that I should like to show you a line if we get a runWhat is a line?” asked AyalaA line? Why a line is just a lead keep your eye on me and I’ll take the fences where you can follow without coming to griefOh,” said Ayala, that’s a lead, is it? Colonel Stubbs is going to give my friend and me a lead, as long as we stay hereNo man ever ought to coach more than one lady at once,” said the Captain, showing his eruditionYou’re sure to come on top of one another if there are twoBut Colonel Stubbs is especially told by the Marchesa nike air max 97 hyperfuse to look after both of us,” said Ayala almost angrily. Then she turned her shoulder to him, and was soon intent upon further instructions from the Colonel. The following morning was fine, and all the ladies in the house were packed on to the top of Sir Harry’s drag. The Colonel sat behind Sir Harry on the plea that he was wanted to take care of the two girls. Captain Batsby and three other gentlemen were put inside, where they consoled themselves with unlimited tobacco. In this way they were driven to a spot called Rufford Cross Roads, where they found Tony Tappett sitting perfectly quiescent on his old mare, while the hounds were seated around him on the grassy sides of the roads. With him was talking a stout, almost middle-aged gentleman, in a scarlet coat, and natty pink top boots, who was the owner of all the country around. This was Lord Rufford, who a few years since was known as one of the hardest riders in those parts; but he had degenerated into matrimony, was now the happy father of half a dozen babies, and was hardly ever seen to jump over a fence. But he still came out when the meets were not too distant, and carefully performed that first duty of an English country gentleman the preservation of foxes. Though he did not ride much, no one liked a little hunting gossip better than Lord Rufford. It was, however, observed that even in regard to hunting he was apt to quote the authority of his wifeOh, yes, my Lord,” said Tony, there’ll sure to be a fox at Dillsborough. But we’ll find one afore we get to Rufford, my LordLady Rufford says there hasn’t been a fox seen in the home woods this weekHer ladyship will be sure to know,” said TonyDo you remember that fence where poor Major Caneback got his fall six years ago?” asked the LordSeven years next Christmas, my Lord,” said Tony. He never put a leg across a saddle again, poor fellow! I remember him well, my Lord; a man who could ‘andle a ‘orse wonderful, though he didn’t know ‘ow to ride to ‘ounds; not according to my idea. To get your animal to carry you through, never mind ‘ow long the thing is; that’s my idea of riding to ‘ounds, my Lord. The major was for always making a ‘orse jump over everything. I never wants ’em to jump over nothing I can’t help I don’t, my LordThat’s just what her ladyship is always saying to me,” said Lord Rufford, “and I do pretty much what her ladyship tells me.” On this occasion Lady Rufford had been nike air max 2013+ quite right about the home covers. No doubt she generally was right in any assertion she made as to her husband’s affairs. After drawing them Tony trotted on towards Dillsborough, running his hounds through a few little springs, which lay near his way. As they went Colonel Stubbs rode between the two girlsWhenever I see Rufford,” said the Colonel, he does me a world of goodWhat good can a fat man like that do you?” said NinaHe is a continual sermon against marriage. If I could see Rufford once a week I know that I should be safeHe seems to me to be a very comfortable old gentleman,” said AyalaOld! Seven years ago he was acknowledged to be the one undisputed paragon of a young man in this county. No one else dreamed of looking at a young lady if he chose to turn his eyes in that direction. He was handsome as Apollo ” “He an Apollo!” said NinaThe best Apollo there then was in these parts, and every one knew that he had forty thousand a year to spend. Now he is supposed to be the best hand in the house at rocking the cradleDo you mean to say that he nurses the babies?” asked AyalaHe looks as if he did at any rate. He never goes ten miles away from his door without having Lady Rufford with him, and is always tucked up at night just at half past ten by her ladyship’s own maid. Ten years ago he would generally have been found at midnight with cards in his hand and a cigar in his mouth. Now he is allowed two cigarettes a day. Well, Mr Twentyman, how are you getting on?” This he said to a good-looking better sort of farmer, who came up, riding a remarkably strong horse, and dressed in pink and white cordsThank ye, Colonel, pretty well, considering how hard the times are. A man who owns a few acres and tries to farm them must be on the road to ruin nowadays. That’s what I’m always telling my wife, so that she may know what she has got to expect.” Mr Twentyman had been married just twelve monthsShe isn’t much frightened, I daresay,” said the ColonelShe’s young, you see,” continued the farmer, and hasn’t settled herself down yet to the sorrows of life.” This was that Mr Lawrence Twentyman who married Kate Masters, the youngest daughter of old Masters, the attorney at Dillsborough, and sister of Mrs Morton, wife of the squire of BragtonBy the holy,” said Twentyman suddenly, “the hounds have put a fox out of that little spinney.” Chapter 24 Rufford Cross-Roads Ayala, who had been listening attentively to the conversation of Mr Twentyman, and been feeling that she was being initiated every moment into a new phase of life who had been endeavouring to make some connection in her mind between the new charms of the world around her and that world of her dreams that was ever present to her, and had as yet simply determined that neither could Lord Rufford or Mr Twentyman have ever been an Angel of Light at once straightened herself in her saddle, and prepared herself for the doing of something memorable. It was evident to her that Mr Twentyman considered that the moment for action had come. He did not gallop off wildly, as did four or five others, but stood still for a moment looking intently at a few hounds who, with their tails feathering in the air and with their noses down, seemed at the same time to be irresolute and determined, knowing that the scent was there but not yet quite fixed as to its lineHalf a moment, Colonel,” he said,nike free 3.0 standing up in his stirrups, with his left hand raised, while his right held his reins and his whip close down on his horse’s neckHalf a moment!” He only whispered, and then shook his head angrily, as he heard the ill-timed shouting of one or two men who had already reached the other side of the little skirting of treesI wish Fred Botsey’s tongue were tied to his teeth,” he said, still whisperingNow, Colonel, they have it. There’s a little lane to the right, and a gate. After that the country’s open, and there’s nothing which the ladies’ nags can’t do. I know the country so well, you’d perhaps better come with me for a bitHe knows all about it,” said the Colonel to Ayala. Do as he tells you  
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