Miss Theresa Bell is on her way home after visiting the Misses Ferrels when she crosses paths with Mr Stone. He is in his usual bold attire, highly unfashionable and utterly inappropriate. He is indeed handsome however, and Miss Theresa cannot help but steal a stealthy peek at him from underneath her bonnet. It is then that Miss Theresa notices that Mr Stone has paused and is now standing at the end of the street looking straight at her.
Coming close to him Miss Theresa bows hurriedly and is about to walk on but Mr Stone’s voice arrests her.
“Theresa! Can I have a word?”
Miss Theresa is positively flustered. She has never as yet been properly introduced to Mr Stone and she thus believes that he has no business speaking to her, let alone calling her by her Christian name.
She halts though, glances up and down the street and is pacified that not many people are around to observe the spectacle.
“Mr Stone,” she says politely and bows again, this time lower.
Mr Stone bobs his head awkwardly and takes a minute or two before he stutters his question.
“Theresa, will you have dinner with me some night?”
Miss Theresa ignores the improper use of her appellation for the time being and equally ignores the sudden rapid beating of her heart.
“Dinner?” she asks. “Has Mrs Stone asked me to dine?”
“No, I’m asking you. I mean it’s a date.”
“When is the date?”
“No I mean it’s a date-date.”
“Yes, but when—“
“Next Friday evening,” Mr Stone cuts in. A flush is now consuming his neck, competing with the deep beetroots on his cheeks.
“I am not engaged that day, but are you certain Mrs Stone is expecting me?”
“No, she doesn’t know.”
“You are asking me to dine without your mother having been informed? That is highly improper, surely!”
“Why would my mother need to know? I am asking you to go out with me to a restaurant which I shall pay for.”
“You and me? Alone? But that would be shocking! May I bring my sister at least?”
“No! Oh just forget it!”
Mr Stone walks away, he shakes his head as he does so and Miss Theresa is left gawking in his wake. She wonders whether her sister will be able to make sense of this encounter more than she can ever do so by herself.