The good lieutenant escorted her home from the dance, he and the belle weathering scornful looks from the old families and pro-secession youth.
He opened the white picket gate that encircled her home, and let her through. As she passed, her elbow grazed his side and he winced.
“My good sir, are you alright?” She asked, a concerned look on her face.
“It’s nothing. Merely bruises from a few locals that had too much to drink, and wouldn’t bow to proper authority. I assure you, they came out far worse than we did.”
“So brave.” She pressed her linen handkerchief into his his palm. It was soft and warm, and he imagined it smelled of her. “Here, this shall protect you from such danger in the future.”
“My lady, I doubt that even such a wonderful gift as this would be enough to protect me from a rain malicious blows.”
She smiled, a demure but knowing smile, and then whispered in his ear. “But then, it shall be my responsibility to kiss each bruise to make it better.”
And that is how she left him for the first, but not the last, time – stunned and reeling on her sidewalk.
The Union occupation of Memphis went on for most of the Civil War, and in that time, the two sides had to more or less learn to live with each other. Resentment still festered against the Union, and fights between drunken groups of men were not uncommon – which was the primary reason alcohol sales were banned. But, even with that tension, some Romeo and Juliet connections had to have been made.