A love story : October and June
The Captain gazed sadly at his sword that hung upon the wall. In the closet nearby was stored his uniform, worn and faded by weather and military duties. The old days of war’s alarms seemed a long time ago !
And now, a veteran of his country’s service, he had been rendered completely powerless by a woman’s soft eyes and smiling lips. As he sat in his quiet room, he held in his hand the letter he had just received from her – the letter that had caused him to wear the look of sadness, he reread the part of the letter that had destroyed his hope.
A Matter of Age
“In declining the honor you have done me in asking me to be your wife,” she wrote, “ I feel that I ought to speak frankly. The reason for so doing is the great difference in our ages. I like you very, very much, but I am sure that our marriage would not be happy. I am sorry to have to speak of the years which separate us, but I believe that you will want me to be honest and give you the true reason.”
The Captain sighed and leaned his head on his hand. Yes, there were many years between their ages. But he was strong and courageous. He had wealth and an important position in society.
Wouldn’t his love and his care and the advantages he could offer her make her forget the matter of age? Besides, he was almost sure that she cared for him.
The Captain was a man of prompt action. In the field he had always decided quickly what had to be done and proceeded without delay to accomplish his objective. He would see her and talk with her again. Age! Why allow age to come between him and the one he loved?
A Direct Attack
In two hours he stood ready for his greatest “battle.” He took the train for the town in Tennessee
Where she lived.
Theodora Deming was on the steps of the handsome old mansion, enjoying the summer evening, when the Captain arrived. She met him with a smile that showed only surprise – neither joy nor sadness. As the Captain stood on the step between her, the difference in their ages did not appear so great. He was still tall and straight and clear-eyed and browned. She was youthful and lovely and calm as always.
“I wasn’t expecting you,” said Theodora. “Didn’t you get my letter?”
“I did,” replied the Captain, “and that’s the reason I came to see you. Now really, Theo, won’t you reconsider your answer?”
Theodora smiled softly. She was fond of his strength, his wholesome looks, his manly qualities - perhaps, if – “No, no,” she said, shaking her head. “My age and yours are – but don’t make me say it again – I told you in my letter.”
A Sad Man
The Captain flushed a little. He was silent for a while, gazing sadly into the evening shadows. Beyond the woods not far from the house he could see a field where the boys in blue had camped during their march towards the sea. How long ago it seemed now! Truly, Father Time had tricked him. Just a few years stood between himself and happiness!
Theodora put her soft hand on his firm brown one. She was indeed sorry that she had to make him unhappy.
A Gentle Woman
“Don’t be so sad – please,” she said gently. “Someday you’ll be glad I didn’t marry you. It would be nice and lovely for a while – but just think! In a few short years what different tastes we would have.
“One of us would want to sit by the fireside and read, and maybe nurse various ailments while the other would want to go do dances and theaters and late suppers. No, my dear friend. While our situation isn’t exactly January and May, it is a clear case of October and early June.”
“I’d always do what you wanted me to do, Theo. If you wanted to –“
“No. You think now that you would, but you really wouldn’t. please ask me again.”
The Captain had lost the battle. But he was a gallant man and knew how to accept defeat. When he rose to say a final good-bye, he stood like a soldier – head up and shoulders back.
At Home Again
He took the train for the North that night. The next evening he was back in his room. He was dressing for dinner, tying his white tie into a careful bow. And at the time he was deep in thought.
His Final Thought
“Now that I think the matter over carefully,” he said to himself, “I believe Theo was right after all. Nobody can deny that she’s beautiful, but she is certainly in younger than 28.”
You see, the Captain was only 19, and he had never drawn his sword except on the military training ground at Chattanooga. This was as close as he ever got to the Spanish-American war of 1898.
Closet, a small room for storing clothes and other things.
Faded, lacking the color that it had when new
Veteran, a man who was once a soldier
Reread, read again
Frankly, honestly and plainly
Prompt, quick; immediate; without delay
Objective, aim; purpose
Mansion, a very large house.
Reconsider, consider again
Wholesome, healthy and strong
Flushed, became red in the face
Boys in blue, soldiers of the Union Army, or Army of the North, during the U.S Civil War, 1861-65
Ailments, illnesses; discomforts
October …. June, Theo compares their ages to months of the year.
Gallant, brave; courageous