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It’s 1880, and Benjamin is twenty years old. He begins working at his father’s hardware company. Mr. Button also starts taking him to fashionable dances, as he’s now old enough to go out socially.
The two men start enjoying each other’s company all the more. Since they look about the same age, people assume they are brothers.
One night, out at a dance, Benjamin sees a beautiful woman get out of a carriage in front of him. "It was first love," comments the narrator (1.5.6).
Benjamin’s father informs him that the young lady is Hildegarde Moncrief, the daughter of the famous General Moncrief.
Later that evening, Benjamin finally gets to dance with Hildegarde. She assumes that Benjamin and his father are brothers, and he does not dare tell her the truth.
Hildegarde guesses that Benjamin is fifty, and goes on to tell him how much she likes older men. She doesn’t want a guy her own age (in his twenties); instead, she wants a man like Benjamin. Benjamin is smitten for the rest of the night.