April 3, 1907 (Wednesday)
HAMMERSTEIN TOASTS MELBA: Opera star Nellie Melba (right) has said for years that entertainment mogul Oscar Hammerstein is the "man who swallowed the canary" -- meaning presumably that he smugly gets what he wants. With that in mind, Hammerstein headed to the docks early yesterday carrying a cage with a canary inside. He presented it to Melba, who was about to head for Europe on board the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse. Hammerstein also presented her with a poem:
To you, the brilliant songstress fairy
I give in friendship this canary.
If ever we should part in rage,
I'll swallow the canary and you the cage.
She was so moved that she promised to return next season for five new roles, including that of Senta in "The Flying Dutchman."
Hammerstein must have left pleased, looking like a cat that, say, had just eaten a canary.
INJURED MAN GOES BEYOND SIMPLY GIVING JURORS A PIECE OF HIS MIND; HE GIVES THEM A PEEK AT HIS BRAIN: During his testimony in Flushing's (N.Y.) Queens County Superior Clourt, Harry Hanson unfastened a device on his head. Then he removed a silver plate. He bent his head so the judge and jurors could peer inside. Hanson, 30, is looking for $25,000 in damages from his employer. He was injured on the job when a brick fell from a chimney and hit him on his skull. A doctor says Hanson will likely live only two more years -- and he will become more and more paralyzed as time goes on. Jurors evidently decided not to ask for a peek at the brain of any of the lawyers.
A WONDERFUL BEGINNING TO A FIRE STORY: A fire broke out yesterday in the basement of the Hotel Saranac in Manhattan. Nobody was hurt. I liked the first paragraph of the story, which was written in a narrative style. Here are the first couple of sentences:
From under the clerk's desk in the Hotel Saranac lobby at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon a little puff of smoke curled upward, expanding as it rose. It was just such a puff as would come from a cigar laid on a table for a moment. Michael E. McNulty, who with "Danny" Mahar, the jockey, owns the hotel, which is on Broadway, just below Forty-second Street, was behind the desk. He lookd for the cigar and didn't see it. Then he pulled open the door of a little closet under the desk. A volley of smoke poured forth.
The unidentified writer (remember, newspapers rarely include bylines) also had some fun describing a man leaving his room by an outside route, wearing only an overcoat -- with bare legs below: "Cautiously he made his way down the fire escape, touching the iron rungs as though they were swords."