June 4, 1921
Page 1

Crowds Gather Early at Pier to Cheer Idol as He Puts to Sea—Will Be Away "Till He Feels Strong Again”—Sings a Powerful Top Note in Reply to Query—”Return to Italy Marks Consummation of Constant Wish During Days of Illness—"Viva Caruso" Follows Tenor as Liner Slips Its Moorings—Addresses Message of Appreciation to American Public

CARUSO is at last on his way to Bella Italia. During the most serious days of the tenor's illness in February, he kept saying over and over, that if he could only die in Italy he would die happy. But it is not to die that the idol of the opera-going public sailed for Naples on May 28, but rather to put the finishing touches on his recuperation that he may be able to return next season and again occupy the place that no other singer can fill.
Early in the morning of May 28, a crowd began to gather at the Bush Terminal Docks in Brooklyn where the Presidente Wilson, the ship that is taking Caruso across the Atlantic, was moored. The vessel was scheduled to leave at one o'clock, but as the morning wore on, those waiting were told that it would be five o'clock before she got away, and that the singer would not go on board before four. So, the crowd dispersed, though many returned in time to see Caruso arrive.
The Party Arrives
Shortly before four o'clock, three limousines drove into the dock and the word was passed along that the tenor had arrived. Instantly a shout of "Viva Caruso!" went up and the crowd pressed around the motor cars. Dr. Antonio Stella, Caruso's physician, spoke to the crowd in Italian and English, telling them that the singer was still a sick man and asking their indulgence and their courtesy. Instantly the men and women fell back and allowed Caruso to alight, which he did smiling and bowing. Though much thinner and with very evident traces of his illness, the jolly smile was as potent as ever, and another cheer went up.
A woman in the crowd called out: "We want to see Gloria!" The famous tenor instantly became the proud father, and with a smile, he lifted Gloria where everyone could see her. The party then went aboard the liner and the tenor retired to his suite to rest half an hour before seeing anyone.
Finally, leaning on Mrs. Caruso's arm, he came on deck and sitting in a steamer chair, smiled at everyone.
"How do you feel?" was the first question he was asked.
"Fine!" was the answer. "That is, considering that ™ve been ill for five months."
"How long are you going to be away?"
"Till I feel strong again. I don't know just how long that will be. I lost sixty pounds but I have gained back fifteen of it."
"Will you be at the Metropolitan next year?"
This question sobered the tenor for a moment. Then, again smiling, he said: "I hope so more than anything else in the world. It all depends if I am all right."
"Are you singing any now?"
Sings for the Reporters
This awoke the joker in Caruso. Taking a deep breath, he sang on a high A, a "No!" that belied what he sang, as it could have been heard a block away.
He then asked all the newspaper men to express to the American public his keen appreciation of the interest taken in him during his illness and the sympathy expressed, and with a cheerful smile all around retired to the suite prepared especially for him and which he had visited the day before. Shortly after five-thirty when the steamer was clear of the dock, the tenor again stepped on deck and waved his hat. A cheer as from one throat went up from the dock:
"Viva Caruso!"


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