The haberdashery was no place for a lady – polite gentlemen, yes; but then gentlemen were supposed to go to the haberdasher for all their “elite particulars,” as Auntie Mara always said.
Beatrice, however, was determined to choose the perfect present for her fastidious fiancé, no matter what Auntie or her wretched instructor at “finishing school” said on the matter. The shop owner was all politeness, but a bit frosty in his demeanor; but Beatrice chose to overlook it with all the faux grace of a headstrong girl used to getting her way.
Upon leaving, however – one foot on the boardwalk, the door still creaking closed behind her – her own “progressive” notion of deportment withered at the sight of a dashing young man striding up the street, cane and gloves in hand.
Heat rushed to Beatrice’s face as she clutched her lapdog and thought bitterly: Be gracious, even if it kills you – that’s what they taught at the school, isn’t it?