A Service of Love (Henry)

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A Service of Love
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «The Four Million»
Microsummary: A young couple, both aspiring artists, secretly took jobs at the same laundry to support their artistic pursuits, eventually realizing their love for each other was more important than their art.

Joe Larrabee, an aspiring painter, and Delia Caruthers, an aspiring musician, were a young married couple living in a small flat.

Joe Larrabee — aspiring painter; Delia's husband; passionate about art; supportive, loving, and dedicated to his wife and their shared dreams.
Delia Caruthers (Dele) — aspiring musician; Joe's wife; gentle, high-spirited, and imaginative; willing to work hard to support their artistic pursuits.

Both were passionate about their respective arts and were taking lessons from renowned teachers, Magister for Joe and Rosenstock for Delia. They were happy in their modest home, supporting each other's dreams and ambitions.

When one loves one's Art no service seems too hard.

However, as their money began to run out, they could no longer afford their expensive lessons. Delia decided to teach music to support them both, allowing Joe to continue his studies. She went out to find students, and after a few days, she came home excitedly announcing that she had found a pupil, Clementina, the daughter of General A. B. Pinkney. Delia would give three lessons a week at $5 per lesson, which would be enough to support them both.

Meanwhile, Joe continued to work on his paintings, hoping to sell them to wealthy buyers. He managed to sell a watercolor of an obelisk to a man from Peoria and received an order for an oil sketch of the Lackawanna freight depot. The couple was thrilled with their combined earnings and celebrated their success.

However, unbeknownst to each other, both Joe and Delia were secretly working at the same laundry to make ends meet. Delia had not found any music students and had taken a job ironing shirts, while Joe had taken a job firing the engine. They both created fictional stories about their successes to keep each other's spirits up.

One day, Delia came home with her hand injured from a burn at the laundry. Joe, who had sent up some cotton waste and oil for another girl who had been injured, realized that Delia had been working at the laundry as well. They finally confessed their secrets to each other and laughed at their shared deception.

No," she said—"just 'When one loves.'"

They realized that their love for each other was more important than their love for their art, and they found happiness in their shared struggles and dedication to one another.