An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Ninety-Five

Andrew Stevens, March 1918

“The anti-German sentiment is so strong,” grumbles the Colonel, “the Loyalty Laws have taken away the older generation’s right to talk on the street. In Fredericksburg, Boerne, New Braunfels, most of the Texas Hill Country, if men are prohibited from expressing themselves in German, they have no vocabulary at their command. As you know, Andy, many of the inhabitants never have learned a word of English.”

“The last time I walked down Main Street in Boerne, Colonel, German was all I heard.”

“And the Anti-Saloon League, constantly pumping out propaganda that the breweries are all part of an enormous German conspiracy to take over the United States. I felt I had no choice but to make this commitment on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives yesterday: ‘The breweries of Texas stand ready to close as a patriotic measure, when, in the opinion of the President of the nation, such a course is desired for winning the war.’ It generated much applause, but I certainly am glad Otto was not alive to hear it.”

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An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Eighty-Eight

Above, 1917 advertisement for La Perla that appeared in the San Antonio Light

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Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Eighty-Seven

Andrew Stevens, August 1917

“Andy,” says the Colonel, “be on your guard in the coming days and weeks. I’m not asking you to break any laws, but I have wind that there are some pesky State Senators planning on trying to serve me with a subpoena. I would prefer that effort fail.”

“Yes, sir. I will reveal your whereabouts to no one and decline to admit anyone without an appointment.”

“Thank you, Andy. And whenever you call for my automobile, perhaps it’s best if the boy brings it around to the back door.”

“Well, well, Colonel,” bellows John as he strides into the office. He places his hand on the Colonel’s forehead. “No fever that I can detect. Yet you are here, and the House is still in session for another day or two.”

“One can never be too careful with one’s health. I thought it best if I were not present to vote on the question of passing the impeachment matter up to the Senate. Where? What? From whom? The continuing peppering of Governor Ferguson with questions about the origins of his $156,000 loan were striking closer to home than I desired.”

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An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Eighty-Three

Above, German Ships, George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Eighty-Two

Andrew Stevens, December 1915

John smacks his hand down on the Colonel’s desk. “On top of everything else, now we’re subjected to insinuations of wrongdoing at our copper mines.”

“People forget,” says the Colonel, “that the United States remains neutral in the European conflagration. There are no laws prohibiting us from selling Germany anything we choose. And trading originates from our holdings in Mexico anyway. It is tempting. Kaiser Wilhelm’s willing to pay above the going rate in his desire to keep the pace of production of shrapnel shells matched with his army’s rapid deployment of them. American withdrawal from Vera Cruz leaves the port wide open for merchant ships sailing under the German flag.”

John shakes his head. “Even if we wanted to engage in trade with the evil Kaiser, we couldn’t. There’s no way possible to safely extract our copper from Coahuila. President Wilson might have recognized General Carranza’s declared presidency, but what of others within Mexico’s own borders?”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Eighty-Three”