An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Fifty-One

Above, San Antonio Express, August 23, 1913

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Fifty

Dr. Ferdinand Peter Herff, August 1913

The bell jangles on the front door.

“Missus Hatzenbuehler?” A voice calls out. “Hilda, are you ready?

Peter rises from his desk and unlatches the door.

“Oh, I apologize for disturbing you, Doctor Herff,” says Hedda. “Missus Hatzenbuehler said you would be out this afternoon. We were hoping to see the Edison Talking Pictures at the Grand tonight. Amazing. He takes words—words we can hear—and makes them appear to emerge from someone’s mouth on the screen. It sounds so much more exciting than viewing Little Mary Pickford in In the Bishop’s Carriage.”

“It’s quite alright, Miss Burgemeister. I was supposed to be away from the office. Missus Hatzenbuehler went home to prepare dinner for her husband. Please have a seat. She should return shortly. Missus Hatzenbuehler’s as excited as you are over witnessing Mister Edison’s newest achievement. 

“Instead of one of man’s great accomplishments, I, on the other hand, witnessed one of his basest deeds. I’m supposed to be a protector of life, yet I was called upon to oversee an execution. And I wasn’t alone.”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Fifty-One”

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Forty-Nine

augustus maverick

Above, “Dr. Augustus Maverick, Mrs. Maverick and daughter Vienna,” San Antonio Express, August 20, 1913

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Forty-Eight

Hedda Burgemeister, August 1913

“Mein Liebchen. Put this envelope away for safekeeping. Although I leave for Germany tomorrow, I can’t bear the thought of being separated for so long. So here’s your round-trip ticket to meet me in three weeks.”

“Oh, Otto!” Hedda throws her arms around him. “Thank you, thank you, thank you. That will be wonderful.”

“Unfortunately, you’ll have to return by a separate liner as well. Emma would not fail to make the connection if you appeared on board our ship. But we’ll rendezvous in Germany and afterwards in New York.”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Forty-Nine”

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Two

an ostrich-plumed hat

Return to Chapter One

Hedda Burgemeister, January 1915

Returning again and again and again, the nightmare is unbearable. Seared in her mind, the vivid images haunt her even in daylight.  

Leon Johnson continues to stare at her. But when Sheriff Tobin slips down the black hood, it is Hedda who is plunged into claustrophobic darkness. She senses hundreds of eyes trained upon her as he tightens the rope around her neck. 

Dr. Herff said the condemned young man gripped a cross in his right hand and thanked everyone for giving him a fair trial. Hedda, though, finds herself teetering on the trap door with no cross in her hand and no thanks to offer. 

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Two”