Jan. 3, 1908 (Friday)
A COUNT AND A PRINCE FIGHT AFTER FUNERAL IN PARIS: Count Boni de Castellane (right), recently divorced from Anna Gould, says an insult he received from Prince Helle de Sagan prompted him to confront the prince on the steps of the Church of St. Pierre de Chaillot in Paris (above) yesterday. On the steps of the church, Boni SPAT in the FACE of the prince after -- he said -- the prince had insulted him inside the church. Then, according to today's Boston Globe,
Then came the clash of canes, followed by a rough and tumble fight on the pavement, which ended in the gutter, where the men finally were separated by a big butcher.
Coverage of the tussle indicates that our current (2008) infatuation with celebrity news is not a recent fixation. News of the fight dominates the FRONT PAGE of both the Globe and the New York Times today. The Times includes a lengthy quote from Boni, describing the fight:
"When the ceremony was but half over, [the prince] turned and saw me. Then, rising, he put on his hat and brushed past me toward the door. As he passed me he shoved his hat further down on his head, with an insulting gesture.
"I immediately followed him out and put my hand on his shoulder to remonstrate with him, whereupon he immediately raised his cane and attempted to strike me. I raised my cane to ward off the blow, and accidentally smashed his hat and wounded his forehead.
"He seized me, but I hurled him into the mud and spat in his face, and said, 'There's a New Year's gift for you from my children'
"Then my cousin, Jean de Castellane, and others interfered."
Boni is a familiar name in the news. The divorce proceedings dominated news coverage in 1906 (see, for example, Nov. 1, 1906).
EMPIRE-DRAPED ENGLAND FACES ITS OWN IMMIGRATION PROBLEM: Officials in Great Britain seem to be suddenly annoyed by the longstanding influx of people from Asia into her so-called "white colonies," according to today's New York Times. In the Transvaal area, thousands of Indians and Chinese are "confronted with the alternative of submitting to what they consider a degrading system of registration or of being imprisoned and expelled." Then, there are recent reports of "racial rioting" in Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver is riled over a riot by residents with Japanese backgrounds. The fighting left city policemen injured. The report of a New Years Day riot in Vancouver in today's New York Times lays the blame totally on the Japanese. Here's the description:
Public opinion in Vancouver finds no justification for the Japanese who took part in the attack of last night [Jan. 1]. It was New Year's night and the three firemen, having had their share of seasonable cheer, were skylarking good-naturedly as they passed through the Japanese colony. They were not animated by any anti-Japanese sentiments, but were simply having fun with one another.
OK. It sounds relatively innocent so far, despite the eyebrow-raising references to the "seasonable cheer" and "skylarking". But the men should have known they were tempting fate, if nothing else, in light of recent anti-Japanese rioting in the city.
The tale goes on:
In the course of their fooling one of them was pushed against the window of a Japanese store. The glass was broken and in an instant the street thronged with angry Japanese, all armed with long, wicked-looking knives.
The firemen fought hard, but they wee greatly outnumbered, and were unable to hold their own against the demonlike rushes that were made against them. They were quite at the mercy of the Japanese when the police came. Had the coming of the police been delayed a brief moment longer undoubtedly all three men would have been killed.
Not exactly a "fair and balanced" report.