I have some things to explain. Miss Derby,” he said, turning to face her, “I know our parents arranged for us to meet socially. Surely, you’re aware of it.”
“I had inklings.” Mary smiled. “Mother now allows us to take carriage rides without my sister. Anyway, I enjoy your company. You have a certain . . . zest.”
He grinned, raising his brows. “Zest?”
“Perhaps enthusiasm is a better word. You commit fully to everything you do. And if you aren’t committed to something, you don’t do it.” Mary picked up some small flowers by the blanket and began weaving them into a chain.
“So, you think this zest is a good thing?”
“Absolutely. Without it, life is boring.”
“Miss Derby, I wonder . . . if I had my stake . . . I mean, would you allow me to officially court you?” Mary dropped her flower chain, eyes locked onto his in a way that spoke to her surprise. “Would that be something you would like?”
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