Following Mrs. Ayers’s death, Caroline begins funeral arrangements. For some time, Hundreds is even darker than normal because Caroline has Betty close all the shutters in a symbolic show of respect for the dead. Meanwhile, Faraday does a post-mortem on Mrs. Ayers, which is required because he reported the body, and he is the family doctor.
Hundreds grows grimmer with each passing day. If something unusual did happen to Mrs. Ayers, no one else will ever get a chance to discover it because Faraday is solely responsible for examining her body.
During the post-mortem, Faraday carefully examines the marks all over Mrs. Ayers’s body. In the end, he cannot find any evidence that anyone other than Mrs. Ayers herself is responsible for her death. All of the cuts, bruises, and bite marks are in places Mrs. Ayers could reach and there is no other explanation besides suicide. While performing the post-mortem, Faraday briefly worries that he will find some sort of evidence that would suggest Caroline played a role in her mother’s death. However, he is relieved when he finds no evidence to suggest such a terrible thing.
Of course, Faraday comes to the only conclusion that he was ever going to make; that is, Mrs. Ayers was mentally ill. Even if Faraday wanted to make the case for the supernatural explanation, his profession would not let him. He would be laughed out of the hospital and lose all the respect he gained over the years.
To help Caroline, Faraday starts contacting close family and friends to relate the news of Mrs. Ayers’s death. Some of Caroline’s close friends insist that she come live with them rather than stay at Hundreds by herself, but Caroline refuses. Caroline’s friends worry about her, but Faraday promises them she will be alright. Faraday makes it clear that they recently became engaged, and he promises to take good care of her in the wake of Mrs. Ayers’s untimely death.
Despite everything, the wedding is still on Faraday’s mind. Essentially, he takes it upon himself to make the announcement to the public, which could be a mistake. After all, Caroline still hasn’t shown clear interest in marrying Faraday, and the death of her mother isn’t likely to put her in the mood for love.
News of Faraday and Caroline’s engagement spreads around town and Faraday notices that people begin to treat him differently. Suddenly, he seems to command more respect than he ever did before, and this makes him happy. One day, not long after Mrs. Ayers’s death, Faraday runs into Seeley, who congratulates him on his engagement. He also recommends that Faraday take Caroline away from Hundreds Hall. After all, Caroline needs a fresh start after everything that has happened in that home.
Whether people actually treat Faraday differently or whether it is all in his mind is up for debate. Given all that has happened at Hundreds lately, one would think people feel sorry for the Ayers family more than anything else. However, at least for a little while, Faraday gets to experience what it is like to be treated like a member of the Ayers family—something he has wanted all his life.
On the day of the funeral, Faraday stays close to Caroline and makes sure to provide her with comfort whenever she needs it. It is a long and difficult day for Caroline, though she manages to get through it. After the service, Faraday helps Betty clean, and he is the last one to leave Hundreds in the evening. However, before he goes, he has a private conversation with Caroline about their upcoming marriage.
Faraday is an admirable partner for most of the day of Mrs. Ayers’s funeral. However, at the end of the day, his character takes a sharp turn when he once again brings up marriage to Caroline. Here, Faraday’s behavior seems completely lacking in empathy. He is entirely focused on what he wants, and he ignores Caroline’s feelings entirely.
Faraday begs Caroline to give him a marriage date. He feels that they will keep putting it off if they do not set a firm date. Furthermore, he thinks that their marriage is exactly what is needed to restore life to Hundreds Hall and cheer everyone up. At first, Caroline refuses to give Faraday a date. She is too upset from the events of the day to think about their wedding at the moment. However, Faraday continues to push. Eventually, he gets her to agree to a wedding six weeks from the day of the funeral.
Caroline’s reaction to Faraday’s pushy request is completely reasonable. Meanwhile, the more Faraday pushes, the more suspect he becomes. Why, of all times, does he feel the need to plan their wedding on the day of his bride’s mother’s funeral? Like so much of what Faraday despises, it defies rational explanation, and suggests there is a darkness lurking in Faraday.
Faraday finds himself happy and excited in the days following the funeral, as he begins preparations for his wedding. However, some of his excitement is lost whenever he interacts with Caroline. Faraday repeatedly tries to get Caroline’s opinion on the wedding, but she never shows any interest. Additionally, Caroline appears concerned that Faraday wants to continue to live at Hundreds. She does not see how Faraday will have the time or the money to put into Hundreds Hall. When Caroline confronts Faraday in this regard, he admits that he does not know how it will all work out in the end. However, he is optimistic and says that Caroline should be as well.
All signs point to the fact that the wedding will never happen. Yet Faraday continues to plan for it anyway, no matter how disinterested Caroline appears. Because he does not seem to care what Caroline thinks, Faraday seems to have other reasons to care about the wedding. Most notably, marrying Caroline means that he will become the proper owner of Hundreds. He already feels like people respect him more and he likely imagines that respect will only grow when he takes over Hundreds. However, as Caroline points out, Faraday does not have the money to keep Hundreds alive.
As the wedding grows closer, Caroline continues to lack interest. At one point, Faraday realizes that Caroline hasn’t picked out anything to wear for the wedding and decides he should buy her something. He heads into town and purchases an expensive outfit for Caroline, along with a wedding ring. Excited, Faraday drives to Hundreds to show Caroline what he has bought.
Faraday continues to set himself up for failure. His decision to buy wedding clothes for Caroline appears controlling. As he returns to Caroline with a dress and ring, tensions between them look like they are about to come to a head.
However, when Faraday arrives, he does not get the warm welcome he hopes for. Faraday shows Caroline the dress, but instead of acting excited, she tells him that she does not want to marry him. Caroline’s admission crushes Faraday and he thinks that Caroline is not in her right mind. Caroline admits that part of her attraction to Faraday was the fact that she thought he wanted to leave Hundreds behind. However, now that she knows he wants to stay at Hundreds, she does not think she can go through with the wedding. Additionally, Caroline tells Faraday that she thinks he likes the house more than her and would not marry her if she did not own it.
As seemed likely all along, Caroline does not want to marry Faraday. As it turns out, she considered marrying him for the opposite reason she thinks he wants to marry her. Although Faraday was not fully aware of it until this moment, all of his actions implied that he cared more about Hundreds than about Caroline. Evidently, Caroline exhibited similar behavior, the difference being that she managed to identify it in herself and call herself out on it.
When Faraday asks Caroline what she plans to do instead, she tells him she wants to sell Hundreds and live abroad. Faraday tells Caroline that she cannot sell Hundreds, but Caroline assures him that she can. In a burst of anger, Faraday throws the dress and ring at Caroline, and tells her to keep them so she finally has something nice to wear. He also insults her physical appearance and tells her that she will never find anyone to marry if she does not marry him. Caroline quickly grows upset and after a moment, Faraday regains his composure and attempts to apologize. However, it is already too late; when Faraday moves toward Caroline, she steps away from him, and he knows the damage has been done.
Here, the dark side of Faraday finally comes out. He is bitter, cruel, and manipulative. His behavior in this passage makes one wonder how much of this darkness was hiding beneath the surface all along. Although he tries to get Caroline back after his outburst, Caroline’s reaction suggests that they are through, no matter what Faraday does.