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Strange Times 183: Police Prefect Has Odd Adventure
In keeping with my policy of general oafishness, last week I neglected to include the link to the Sports Illustrated story about the importance of the much-discussed Dempsey fight to the history of sportscasting. I hereby correct the error and assure you that this will be my last mistake until the next one.
Today brings a kidnapped socialist, a much maligned mayor, and a police prefect enjoying a night on the town. Watch your own damn shoes on…
July 2, 1921
Gabriele d’Annunzio incites his followers to resist the planned handover of the port of Fiume to Yugoslavia.
A League of Nations conference on “white slavery” proclaims that the rate of human trafficking has dropped fivefold in the last ten years, since world governments began prosecuting traffickers more strictly, but says that South America remains a great importer of European “white slaves.”
Refusing prosecutors’ arguments that the husband, as “priest and king” of the household, has the right to place his children where he pleases, a Rochester judge awards custody of five children to their mother, Elizabeth Delaney.
It is estimated that at least $600,000 has been wagered on today’s Dempsey v. Carpentier bout, with Dempsey favored at 2-1 in the final betting.
1921 Readers are again reminded not to telephone the New York Times for updates on the fight, as this will make it impossible for other newspaper business to proceed. 2023 readers are strongly encouraged to telephone the New York Times for updates on the fight, as it would be confusing and strange.
The Weather: Generally fair today; Sunday, fair and warmer; moderate variable winds.
This is a terrifying story! Normally I would refrain from announcing the result, lest I spoil the suspense, but I was so worried about Mrs. O’Hare that I couldn’t help looking her up. Since we may not get an update on this story I’ll go ahead and share the ending: she survived!
TWIN FALLS, Idaho, July 1.—Mrs. Kate Richards O’Hare, a Socialist writer and lecturer, who was released from Federal prison by President Wilson after she had served fourteen months of a sentence imposed under the Espionage act, was today taken from the home of H.H. Friedheim, a friend, by a part of a dozen or more unknown men. Her present whereabouts are unknown.
She was to have delivered a lecture here tonight.
Mrs. O’Hare arrived here at noon today with her daughter, coming from Vale, Ore., where she spoke Thursday. At Vale she had received a telegram from Friedheim to the effect that the county and city authorities had warned him that her coming here would likely result in dangerous consequences, and advised him to prevail upon her to cancel the engagement. Mrs. O’Hare’s reply, as given by Friedheim, was that she would stand on her constitutional rights and come.
Feeling in Twin Falls against Mrs. O’hare, who has spoken here on two different occasions, has been running high, according to authorities. Resolutions in opposition to her intended appearance were adopted by numerous patriotic and civic organizations.
Mrs. O’Hare was convicted in a South Dakota Federal Court of interfering with the operation of the draft law and was sentenced to a prison term of five years. Her sentence was commuted by President Wilson on May 30, 1920, after she had served fourteen months. The civil disabilities she incurred as part of the penalty were not removed by her release. In 1916 she was a Socialist candidate for United States Senator from Missouri.
Remember that murder inquiry we mentioned last time, which had left the French judiciary so totally baffled? Turns out it was all hogwash!
PARIS, July 1.—The Magistrate appointed to investigate the shocking charge against Mayor Monnerat and Councilors Frichet and Taillefert of an Aisne village of having murdered a wounded Zouave during the retreat from Charleroi through fear of German reprisals has dismissed the case.
The investigation showed the accusation was composed of error, malicious gossip and rumor. Thus the Mayor, who was arrested and said to have committed suicide last April from remorse, is now proved to have died of cancer. The woman Davau, who said she was a witness of the murder of the Zouave by drowning and even exchanged verbal remonstrances with the criminals, is now shown to have been on the other side of the wide river, whence, owing to shortsight, she could not possibly have seen what was going on. Secondly, a flagrant contradiction was established in her story. Thirdly, her character is bad and reasons of malice against the local authorities were conclusively shown.
The testimony supported the story of the accused that they moved the Zouave to an isolated house with due care to evade detection of the Germans and that he was found dead the next morning.
A welcome return of one of my favorite Strange Times staples: a newspaper story that’s basically just some dude’s anecdote. The best part of this is that it never states explicitly that the police prefect didn’t steal this guy’s shoes.
PARIS, July 1.—M. Leuiller, the new Prefect of the Paris police, has adopted the troublesome habit of wandering about at night incognito, like the kings of old, in order to see what happens and how his police perform their duties. And so the night before last there happened to him this adventure:
As he walked across Louis Philippe Bridge he heard a cry and saw a figure plunge from the parapet into the water. At once he rushed to help, but a young man was before him. “Look after my things!” the young man cried as, stripping off coat and shoes, he dived into the river. The Prefect soon saw that the life saver and his burden were in difficulties, and, rushing down to the bank of the river, he helped them ashore.
It was a woman who had thrown herself from the bridge, and so determined was she on suicide that once more she tried to escape the two men and leap into the water. By this time a crowd had gathered and policemen ordered all the principals to the station house. There all details were duly marked down, the woman’s name recorded and the gallantry of her saver praised.
The latter, however, when it was his turn to speak, complained somewhat bitterly that while he was risking his life in the water some sneak thief had stolen his shoes. “Whom do you suspect?” asked the Inspector.
Slowly the young man turned till his eyes rested on the stranger who had been with him on the bridge. “I think he took them,” he said.
Immediately interrogation of the stranger was begun.
“What is your name?”
“Where are your identity papers?”
“There they are. I am the Chief of Police.”
The rest of the story is according to all romantic models—praise for the young and gallant life saver, fatherly advice for the would-be suicide and immense relief on the part of the policemen that they had done all that could be expected of them.