An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixteen

ambrose bierce devil's dictionary

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Fifteen

Hedda Burgemeister, December 1911

My dearest Emmy,

True confession: I had not the patience to wait for Madame Toselli’s book from the library. I splurged and purchased it immediately. I am sure “her own story” will soon be forgotten, for her writing has little merit. However, the glimpse inside the life of royals proved irresistible. I opened a can of Campbell’s oxtail soup – giving in to the Campbell’s habit, sometimes asparagus or pepperpot, into which I lazily slip all too often – and read it cover to cover.

It is easy to understand how her book angered the upper crust of Saxony, whom she describes as so old-fashioned that antediluvian is the adjective most appropriate. She writes, “The Court circle at Dresden… was composed of the most narrow-minded, evil-speaking and conceited collection of human beings it is possible to imagine.”

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

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Fifteen

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Fourteen

Emma Dumpke, December 1911

My dearest Hedda,

I just finished reading “The Judgment” by Mrs. Mary King. While not fine literature, the tale is compelling because it’s true. A virtuous young woman is virtually sold to a worldly man by her selfish mother, who loves luxury above all else. The brutal, unfaithful man demands she produce an heir. 

Alas! Poor Mr. K will have no heir of his own. But he and Mrs. K generously raise the children of others as though their own. Hettie is the child of one of Mrs. K’s sisters, and Otto and Charles are the sons of Mr. K’s twin brother Karl, now deceased.

Would you decide I’m no longer worthy of friendship if I stoop to read “Luisa of Tuscany?” I fear I cannot resist the gossipy allure of the autobiography of Madame Toselli. I understand König Friedrich August of Saxony pretends the book by his first wife does not exist. 

Sometimes I am frustrated by the lack of diversity in San Antonio’s Carnegie Library. The depressing Charles Dickens is by far the most popular author. The library has thirty copies of “David Copperfield,” and they are all in constant circulation.

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