One Philander PIERCE lived unhappily with his wife, and she went alone to Chicago, where she received several sharp letters from him. One afternoon the clerks in the post-office, at the city named, were thrown into consternation by a series of agonized screams, evidently coming from a woman. Hastening to the spot whence the noise proceeded, they found Mrs. PIERCE speechless with terror, but able to point to a green adder, then crossing the floor and seeking the air of perfect freedom. Some of the men fled, but enough remained firm to capture the serpent, which was taken to the City Marshal’s office. There an explanation ensued. It seems that the woman had found a thin pasteboard box and a letter at the office, and had hastened to open the former, not doubting that it was a pledge of returning affection. She was surprised to hear from within at a slight hiss, and was quite transfixed with horror when, from the uncovered, prison, shot the ugly green head of the snake. Just then she dropped the box and the screams came in. The letter accompanying this infernal machine was hideously sarcastic, but not otherwise entertaining.
Contributed 25 Jan 2013 by Deb Haines,
Source: The Daily Dispatch, Nov 6, 1861