And now, as they say, for the rest of the story. I remembered a poem that Wallace wrote that may corroborate the Johns family story. No names are mentioned, but the parallel is intriguing.
MY CUT FINGER – AN AFTERTHOUGHTBy Lew Wallace
‘ Twas a little thing, a simple kindness,
Yet I cannot pass it by;
The blood drop from the wound you answered
With a tear-drop in your eye.
O lady dear! “Twas worth a world of thanks –
Not the thanks which wait on words,
The blund’ring syllables that too often
Fly amiss like blinded birds.
No; but those best told in ling’ring kisses;
And so I would have spoken,
But that another’s wedding seal upon
Your lips remains unbroken.
Ah! The pang of the lazy after-thought,
Laggard of the next day’s calm!
What if I had snatched your hand, and left
A kiss in the pearl-red palm;
Then clasped the fingers close the while the kiss,
Warm as fire and pure as dew,
Thrilled your heart and all its restful heaven?
Say if he had cared – would you?
(Published by Harper’s Monthly, January 1888)