An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Ten

Above, Peacock Alley merging New York’s Waldorf and Astoria into one luxurious hotel

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Nine

Emma Bentzen Koehler, August 1911

“Missus Koehler, I have a telegram for you,” says the clerk behind the desk, before awkwardly sprawling across the counter to lean down and place the envelope in her hands.

“Thank you, young man.”

“Of course, what they neglect to report is anything about the weather. Why in the world would we want to return to San Antonio in August?” Emma asks Sophie Wahrmund.

“Oh, Emma, I must confess. I actually miss my old Colonel. I am ready to return even if the cook could fry eggs on the sidewalk. But, on the other hand, we have only just arrived. I do need a few days here to shop for the girls. I will not be forgiven if I return without some New York finery for them to wear to parties this autumn.”

Emma agrees. “I promised my nurse she could have some time to visit with her friend here as well. Let’s telegraph back that we’ll make arrangements to leave New York on the tenth. I think the ‘lonely Ottos’ will survive without our company a few days longer.”


Sometimes the women are listed without their husbands on the manifests of ships docking in New York. The Author has not devoted time to worrying about the accuracy of the dates of these journeys, but July and August certainly are regarded as prime times to flee the heat of San Antonio. The telegram is a complete forgery.

Continue to Chapter Eleven

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