Edward and Augusta, December 13, 1870

Edward H. Bergmann was a man whose habit of command had been reinforced by his rise from private to Lt. Colonel during the War Between the States and even if Augusta Sever had not wanted to marry him, she wasn’t sure she would have had the courage to deny his request for her hand. Now, on this sunny Tuesday morning in December, she stood before her father, who as Elizabethtown’s Justice of the Peace could both marry and give her away, and took a deep breath to steady her nerves. She placed her hand tentatively on Edward’s sleeve. He moved his arm slightly inward and she remembered that the uniform required no touching while he wore it.

She dropped her hand and joined it to the other, grasping the small bunch of geraniums her mother had plucked from the window pot as they’d left the house. They were the only flowers available in Etown in December. Augusta lifted her head, moving away from their metallic odor. She was marrying a Superintendent of Mines, she reminded herself. They would not remain in Etown forever. She would have hothouse flowers year round, if she wanted them.

Copyright © 2016 Loretta Miles Tollefson


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