new year's 1912

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Seventeen

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Sixteen

Emma Dumpke, December 1911

December 28, 1911

Dear Hedda,

What a glorious Christmas! 

Of course, Mr. and Mrs. K gave me Christmas Day off, but I elected to go help Mrs. K in the morning. Besides, I had nowhere else to go, and their house was filled with the comings and goings of friends and relatives and the most wonderful holiday smells. 

Mr. K insisted on giving me a ride back to the boarding house. As I alighted, he pressed a small gift box in my hand.

I scrambled up the stairs to my room to open it, and found a key with a note: “Thank you for devoting yourself to the care of Emma. Such a good-hearted woman deserves a home of her own. Pledge not to tell a soul, and we will unlock the door together tomorrow afternoon.” 

Oh, Hedda, you must come see my wonderful cottage. It is quite grand, actually. Perfect. I never dreamed of having a house of my own. A home.

Please arrange to come for a long, extended stay.

I know this year will be the best of my life.




The Author really does not recommend you read this footnote at this time. You should let your imagination remain rooted in the narrative of the fiction. But the Author pledged in advance to distinguish between fiction and truth along the way; the following is only for those readers who insist on being nitpicky.

The timeline the Author employs in the book is not always accurate. In later court testimony reported in the San Antonio Express, Hedda said the two lots on Hunstock were purchased “in the name of Mr. Burkett, a saloonkeeper, a friend of Mr. Koehler. It was put in his name to down suspicion. He was the go-between.” A deed dating from January but filed on June 17, 1911, noted the purchaser as Henry Burke. Dated June 16, 1911, but not filed until October 16 of the same year, a deed claimed Emma Burgemeister and Emmy Duenke (sic) paid $1,250 in cash and signed a lien for $1,250 on the properties to purchase them from Burke.      

Hedda’s naturalization papers state she was born in Berlin on October 11, 1879; arrived in New York on August 16, 1907; and, as of November 7, 1912, had lived in Texas for at least one year.

Ah, hindsight. Maybe the house on Hunstock was not an ideal Christmas gift.

Continue to Chapter Eighteen

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