It was then nine o'clock
It was then nine o'clock. Riley and Bok held a council of war and
decided to slip out and buy some food, only to find that the front,
basement, and back doors were locked and the keys missing! Field was
very sober. "Thorough woman, that wife of mine," he commented. But his
friends knew better.
Finally, the Hoosier poet and the Philadelphia editor crawled through
one of the basement windows and started on a foraging expedition. Of
course, Field lived in a residential section where there were few
stores, and on Sunday these were closed. There was nothing to do but to
board a down-town car. Finally they found a delicatessen shop open, and
the two hungry men amazed the proprietor by nearly buying out his stock.
It was after ten o'clock when Riley and Bok got back to the house with
their load of provisions to find every door locked, every curtain drawn,
and the bolt sprung on every window. Only the cellar grating remained,
and through this the two dropped their bundles and themselves, and
appeared in the dining-room, dirty and dishevelled, to find the party at
table enjoying a supper which Field had carefully hidden and brought out
when they had left the house.
Riley, cold and hungry, and before this time the victim of Field's
practical jokes, was not in a merry humor and began to recite
paraphrases of Field's poems. Field retorted by paraphrasing Riley's
poems, and mimicking the marked characteristics of Riley's speech. This
started Sol Smith Russell, who mimicked both. The fun grew fast and
furious, the entire company now took part, Mrs. Field's dresses were
laid under contribution, and Field, Russell, and Riley gave an impromptu
play. And it was upon this scene that Mrs. Field, after a continuous
ringing of the door-bell and nearly battering down the door, appeared at
seven o'clock the next morning!