Telemachus, Friend (Henry)

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Telemachus, Friend
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «Heart of the West»
Microsummary: Two inseparable friends competed for the affection of a widow, agreeing to court her fairly and openly, but their friendship was tested when one of them won her heart and married her.

A man named Telemachus Hicks and his friend Paisley Fish had been inseparable friends for seven years, working and living together through various ventures.

Telemachus Hicks — narrator; loyal friend, competitive, skilled in courting women.
Paisley Fish — Telemachus's best friend; talkative, competitive, storyteller.

One summer, they decided to take a break and visit the small town of Los Piños. There, they met Widow Jessup, the owner of a local eating-house, and both men were instantly smitten with her.

Mrs. Jessup — widow; attractive, strong-willed, decisive.

Telemachus and Paisley agreed to court Widow Jessup fairly and openly, with each man doing his best to win her heart without resorting to underhanded tactics. They would visit her together and take turns trying to impress her. Telemachus had a talent for holding a woman's hand just right, while Paisley tried to win her over with exciting stories of his past adventures.

We'll court the lady synonymously, and without any of the prudery and bloodshed usual to such occasions.

One evening, Telemachus confessed his feelings to Widow Jessup and she reciprocated. However, he insisted on waiting for Paisley to arrive before they could continue their romantic moment. When Paisley arrived, Widow Jessup made it clear that she had chosen Telemachus, but he insisted on giving his friend a fair chance until the very end.

You are too good a friend not to make a good husband.

A month later, Telemachus and Widow Jessup were married in a small ceremony attended by the entire town. Paisley arrived late, but was allowed to stand beside the bride during the ceremony. Afterward, the newlyweds were given a small house to stay in for the night before leaving for their honeymoon in El Paso.

That night, as Telemachus sat outside the house, he realized he was still waiting for Paisley to join them. When he mentioned this to his new wife, she angrily hit him with a broom handle, leaving a lasting mark on his ear. Despite the incident, Telemachus and Paisley remained friends, with Telemachus always remembering the importance of true friendship.