Every Sunday, Faraday goes to Hundreds for Roderick’s treatment. After, he always has tea with Caroline and Mrs. Ayers. Faraday begins to like the Ayerses more and more, especially Caroline. He often sees Caroline walking through the park and stops to talk with her. One day, Faraday brings Caroline some honey as a gift, and both Caroline and Mrs. Ayers are amazed by the kindness. Faraday does not see the big deal, but the Ayerses repeatedly express their appreciation. During this time, Roderick’s leg is getting much better because of his treatment.
Although the Ayerses are a well-connected family who know a lot of people, they probably have never had a friend like Faraday. Faraday is their window into how middle class people think and behave, and his little kindnesses surprise them. Presumably, Faraday is the only person who sees the Ayers family regularly at this point other than their servants.
The Ayers family begins getting to know the Baker-Hydes. After speaking with Mrs. Baker-Hyde in town, Mrs. Ayers decides to throw a small gathering at Hundreds. Faraday is skeptical about the Ayerses' ability to pull off such a gathering, but Mrs. Ayers assures him they can handle it. Caroline invites Faraday to the party, which takes place several Sundays later.
A party at Hundreds will be difficult to pull off because of how much work there is to do, and how few people there are to do it. Additionally, it is strange that the Ayers family would all of the sudden decide to throw a party, after many years of isolation. This shift in attitude suggests an ulterior motive of which Faraday is not yet aware.
In private, Caroline tells Faraday she is skeptical about the party, as is Roderick. However, she knows it will make Mrs. Ayers happy, so she does her best to prepare the house for it. Although Caroline does a lot of work herself, she also tasks Mrs. Bazeley and Betty with more work than they are used to. Although Mrs. Bazeley complains, she and Betty work hard for the occasion.
In this section of the novel, it is apparent that while Mrs. Ayers does not handle the finances, she is still the leader of the Ayers family, and her children will fall in line to do what she asks. Unsurprisingly, so will the servants.
Faraday finds himself looking forward to the party. In particular, he is interested in meeting the Baker-Hydes. Before Faraday goes to the party, he stops by to see Graham and Anne, who help Faraday improve his appearance; he is not used to dressing up for this type of party, and his attire isn't quite right. Faraday is embarrassed but appreciates his friends’ help.
Here, class differences once again come to the forefront. Faraday is not used to going to the type of parties held at Hundreds, and he does not know how to properly dress up for them.
The evening of the party is a rainy night. Faraday makes his way out to Hundreds. He finds the hall cloaked in shadows and quiet when he arrives. Faraday lets himself in and makes his way to the parlour. Usually, most of the furniture at Hundreds is covered, and the only light in the house is natural. However, all the Ayerses uncovered the furniture for the party, and the chandeliers are brightly shining, at least in the rooms meant for the guests.
The weather on the night of the party is ominous. The description of Hundreds is typical of the decaying (and often haunted) mansions typically found in Gothic novels. Faraday’s willingness to let himself into Hundreds shows that he has grown comfortable with the place. Meanwhile, the fact that the Ayerses have no one to meet him at the door shows how far they have fallen from their former social prominence.
Faraday finds Caroline finishing up the preparations for the party. Caroline has dressed up for the occasion, and although Faraday thinks she would look better if she dressed as she usually does, he compliments her on her appearance. Caroline blushes, appreciating the compliment.
Once again, Faraday finds himself focusing on Caroline’s appearance, and manages yet another internal insult. In fact, Faraday’s description is especially insulting considering he does not approve of Caroline’s normal appearance, either.
Soon after, Mrs. Ayers makes her entrance. Like Caroline, she is dressed up for the occasion. However, Roderick has yet to appear, much to Mrs. Ayers's dismay. Mrs. Ayers is nervous about the party and wishes Roderick was beside her. Roderick is the master of the house, and Mrs. Ayers thinks it only proper that he attend the party on time.
Mrs. Ayers’s nerves suggest that the party is important to her, for reasons that are not yet apparent. Meanwhile, Roderick’s absence is yet another ominous sign on an already portentous-looking evening.
A few minutes later, the first guests show up to the party. Betty lets them in and brings them to Mrs. Ayers. Faraday recognizes the other families in attendance from his medical practice, though he does not know them well. Everyone seems surprised that Faraday is in attendance.
Faraday sticks out at the party because everyone knows he is not part of their social class. Even in a time when the upper class is in decline, it isn’t common for people to socialize across class boundaries this way. This fact embarrasses Faraday, and he tries not to call attention to himself.
A short while later, the Baker-Hydes arrive with their daughter, Gillian. Everyone is surprised to see Gillian, who the Ayerses did not know was coming. Although they are rather extravagant, Faraday finds himself liking the Baker-Hydes. However, he dislikes Mr. Morley, Mrs. Baker-Hyde’s brother, who is also present. Faraday finds Morley pretentious and thinks that he acts as though he is above everyone else at the party. No one else seems to like Morley either, but the Ayerses do their best to make him comfortable.
Although he has come around on the Ayers family, Faraday’s dislike for elitist people is once again brought to the surface with the arrival of Mr. Morley. Because the Baker-Hydes were the inspiration for this party, their arrival is significant, as is the unexpected appearance of their young daughter.
As Faraday observes Caroline interact with the party guests, he suddenly realizes that the party's purpose is to find Caroline a husband. This realization makes Faraday feel inadequate and puts him in a dour mood. However, the other party guests have a good time as the Ayerses show them around and discuss the many antiquities in the house. At one point, Mr. Baker-Hyde finds that beetles have infested part of the wall. He warns the Ayerses that they must take care of the infestation soon before it does permanent damage. He says that the previous owners of his home did not fix similar issues, which led to significant problems. Mr. Baker-Hyde then expresses his opinion that people should only keep homes that they can afford to keep up.
Here, it is revealed why the party is so important to Mrs. Ayers, and why it is especially problematic that Roderick is not in attendance as the Ayers heir. Furthermore, the beetle-infested walls of Hundreds are unlikely to be attractive for someone seeking a wife. Additionally, although he does not seem to know it, Mr. Baker-Hyde’s comment about people only keeping homes they can afford is a direct criticism of the Ayers family. Everyone else at the party knows this is the case, but Mr. Baker-Hyde is too new to the area to realize his gaffe.
After some light conversation, Mr. Baker-Hyde asks after Roderick, who still has not shown up for the party. Mrs. Ayers sends Betty upstairs to fetch him. Betty returns minutes later, looking flustered, and says that Roderick will be down shortly. However, more time passes, and Roderick never appears. In the meantime, Caroline gets annoyed at Gillian, who acts entitled and will not stop touching things all over the manor. Caroline even makes a snide comment about Gillian, angering Mrs. Baker-Hyde, but the tense moment soon passes, and the guests return to their normal conversation.
Betty’s flustered look implies that something happened when she went to check on Roderick and, despite what she says, it is immediately obvious that he will not be joining the party. Meanwhile, Caroline’s annoyance with Gillian, while somewhat justified, comes off as childish itself. It also sets up some tension between Caroline and the Baker-Hydes, which is not conducive to finding a husband, and sets her up for problems down the line.
Later, Mr. Baker-Hyde and Faraday have a one-on-one conversation, and Mr. Baker-Hyde inquires about Faraday's position at Hundreds. He assumes that Faraday is at the party to care for Roderick, but Faraday tells him he is only there to socialize. Mr. Baker-Hyde quickly shifts the conversation to Mr. Morley, for whom he openly expresses his distaste. He tells Faraday that the entire purpose of the party was to try to arrange a romance between Caroline and Mr. Morley.
Faraday’s presence at Hundreds is so out of the ordinary that Mr. Baker-Hyde assumes it is more likely that he is there because Roderick is ill than that the Ayers family would associate themselves with someone outside of their social class. Actually, his hypothesis is closer than Faraday would like to admit. The Ayerses would never have invited him to the party if he was not treating Roderick.
As the Baker-Hydes prepare to leave, Gillian plays with Gyp by a window. She is partially out of the view of the other partygoers, although Mrs. Baker-Hyde regularly turns around to check on her. At one point, when no one is looking, Gyp yelps, and Gillian screams. Mr. Baker-Hyde quickly goes over to tend to his daughter, who has blood running down her face. As Faraday approaches, he realizes that Gyp bit her in the face. Faraday springs into action, swiftly stopping the bleeding, but he can tell it is a bad bite.
Many strange events occur throughout the novel, often when someone has just looked away from the spot the event happens. Gillian’s injury is no exception, and the fact that no one saw what happened leaves the incident without a clear explanation, which leads to issues between the Ayerses and the Baker-Hydes.
Mr. Baker-Hyde is furious and overwhelmed. Faraday tells him that he will have to stitch Gillian’s face. He takes her to the kitchen to perform the operation because he doesn’t want to drive her to the nearest hospital in such poor weather. As Faraday takes Gillian to the kitchen, Mr. Morley sees Gyp and kicks him. Caroline angrily yells at Mr. Morley, which causes a fight about who is to blame for the bite. Caroline claims that Gyp is harmless and has never bitten anyone. Meanwhile, Mr. Morley thinks that someone should shoot him.
At this point, the night has turned upside down. Rather than a night of revelry, it has turned into an evening of horror. Meanwhile, whereas Caroline and Mr. Morley were supposed to fall in love, they are now bitter enemies. Whether Caroline’s claims about Gyp’s passivity should be taken as the truth is unclear. On the one hand, he typically seems like a happy-go-lucky dog. On the other hand, the Ayerses rarely have company, especially children, and it is possible that Gyp might not be as kind to those he is not familiar with.
Faraday does not have time to deal with the argument; he is too busy attending to Gillian. Faraday isn't worried about performing the stitching in the kitchen. He has done similar operations before, almost routinely. However, he knows that the Baker-Hydes are scared and does his best to console them. As Faraday stitches Gillian, he knows that the scarring will be extensive. After the operation, he puts gauze on Gillian's face to minimize the Baker-Hydes' fear.
Here, Faraday shows he is a competent doctor, who is quick on his feet and has a good bedside manner—or, at least, the best bedside manner one could reasonably expect given the circumstances. Evidently, Gyp’s bite was fierce and aggressive for a dog his size, given the extent of Gillian’s wounds.
The Baker-Hydes take Gillian to the car. As they do so, the other party members discuss what could have caused Gyp to bite Gillian. However, no one can come up with a convincing reason. Mr. Baker-Hyde returns inside to take his leave, and Mrs. Ayers apologizes, though he does not accept her apology.
Mr. Baker-Hyde’s refusal to accept Mrs. Ayers’s apology signals problems in the future. Although Hundreds’ reputation has already suffered, this incident is sure to make its reputation worse.