He followed this up a few

He followed this up a few days later with a paragraph announcing Bok's
arrival at a Boston hotel. Then came a paragraph saying that Miss
Pinkham was sailing for Paris to buy her trousseau. The paragraphs were
worded in the most matter-of-fact manner, and completely fooled the
newspapers, even those of Boston. Field was delighted at the success of
his joke, and the fact that Bok was in despair over the letters that
poured in upon him added to Field's delight.

He now asked Bok to come to Chicago. "I want you to know some of my
cronies," he wrote. "Julia [his wife] is away, so we will shift for
ourselves." Bok arrived in Chicago one Sunday afternoon, and was to dine
at Field's house that evening. He found a jolly company: James Whitcomb
Riley, Sol Smith Russell the actor, Opie Read, and a number of Chicago's
literary men.

When seven o'clock came, some one suggested to Field that something to
eat might not be amiss.

"Shortly," answered the poet. "Wife is out; cook is new, and dinner will
be a little late. Be patient." But at eight o'clock there was still no
dinner. Riley began to grow suspicious and slipped down-stairs. He found
no one in the kitchen and the range cold. He came back and reported.
"Nonsense," said Field. "It can't be." All went down-stairs to find out
the truth. "Let's get supper ourselves," suggested Russell. Then it was
discovered that not a morsel of food was to be found in the
refrigerator, closet, or cellar. "That's a joke on us," said Field.
"Julia has left us without a crumb to eat.

    © 2009, Opera Glass Networks