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Victor Herbert? Musical Neighbor? The Distinguished Composer Built a Special "Nowc Proof" Vault in His Residence AVhich Proves Useless Against the Eleven Husky Girls Who Are Studying Music ^ext Door The .Well Known Composer at His Piano. EVERYBODY knows vfctor Herbert, $ the composer, and bis mushs. All the orchestras play the pretty airs from "Babes In Toyland," "The Wiaard of the Nile," 'The Red Mm." "Algeria- and scores of other Victor Herbert light operas. Viptor Herbert is a hard worker. Every day he sits at his piano, patiently working out new airs, new musical themes. But a composer muBt hare silence. No body can compose a new melody if a street organ is grinding a tune within hearing or if somebody in the apartment overhead or in the bouse next door is thumping a piano. Victor Herbert must have absolute quiet?his musical genius will not tolerate competing noises. Mr. Herbert could not insure undis turbed peace if he lived in an apartment house. Somebody on the floor above or the floor below or next door was sooner or later perfectly certain to have a piano, or worse. So Victor Herbert bought a house. No 321 West One Hundred and Eighth street, in upper New York. But in the house next door. No. 323, came a charming family with a musical daughter. Mr. Herbert and the young lady both chose the morning hours for their musical labors. Herbert likes to compose in the forenoon and the young lady found it convenient to do her practising in the'mornlng hours. And just enough of the sound waves from the young lady's piano vibrated through the party wall into the Herbert house to com pletely upset the composer at bis work. So Mrs. Victor Herbert, who was her self once an opera singer, rang the bell next door. Introduced herself, and sweetly ex plained how the young lady's thumping on the piano was putting the great composer ) completely out of business. With much neighborly sympathy the family at once t Agreed that Mr. Herbert should have his j mornings for his musical labors and that i the daughter would take ber outdoor ex ercise in the forenoon and do her practis 1 Ing in the afternoon. I This was a very nice and neighborly ar ' rangement and the Herberts annreclated j the thoughtful courtesy of the family in > No. 323. But they realized that the time might come when this family might move out and new neighbors might move In who would not be so considerate of their distinguished musical neighbor. So Mr. Herbert decided to build a specially con structed noise-proof room on the top floor of his residence. With much care and at no little expense this chamber of silence was constructed and the spaces were filled in with sea grass, which is supposed to stop all noise vibrations. When the noise proof compartment had been completed the Herberts, with much Joy, found that the noise of Mr. Herbert's own piano, played inside the vault, could not be heard in any part of the house. And the sound of the young lady's piano next door did not penetrate Mr. Herbert's retreat. At Lake Placid, where Victor Herbert and his wife spend their Summers, Mr. Herbert has had to take somewhat similar protective measures. His neighbors on either side seemed always to have what they considered musical geniuses, who threw up the windows and thumped the pianos all through the warm Summer days and evenings. Mr. Herbert was compelled to buy the houses on either side of his own cottage and now rents them only to people who never pound a piano end do not im agine that they are vocal geniuses. So the distinguished composer was fixed for both Summer and Winter. Owning the cottages on both sides of him at Lake Mr*. Victor Herbert. Placid, he was able to Insure noiseless neighbors during his vacation season. With his noise-proof room at the top of his city residence he felt that he need not bother about his neighbors on either side of his home o? One Hundred and Eighth street. And who would have sup posed In this fancied security that a little happening In Cincinnati would be destined to turn the composer's serenity and peace into a nightmare of misery? When Dr. Fery Lulek, a well-known music master, severed his connection with the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and came to New York a few months ago seven of Dr. Lulek's favorite pupils, young ladies with voices that cried out for culti vation, followed the music master to his new field of usefulness In New York. Dr. Lulek found the seven faithful pupils a home In One Hundred and Seventh street?a block away from the Herbert home. The girls were delighted with Jolly, lively New York and wrote home to Cin cinnati such happy accounts that three more girls joined them?a violinist and two pianists. Mrs. Mary Turner ran the house and mothered them, fed them and chaperoned them. Mrs. Turner's charm ing daughter. Mlas Jean, assisted as a musical teacher and looked after the pupils' piano practice. There were plenty of pianoa and food and room and amuse ment. And then things began to happen. The house where the musical girls were living was sold and Mrs. Turner and her musical boarders were compelled to look about for another residence. Just at that time Vic tor Herbert's amiable neighbors, for some reason, gave up their lease and moved away. Already the reader guesses what is go ing to happen. Yes, Dr. Lulek's faithful following of musical young women moved in next door to Victor Herbert! There were four pianos, one violin and eight voices?all going together?in that crowd of eleven young musical geniuses next door to Victor Herbert, the composer. iTP in that specially built noise-proof room the composer began to realize that something was not. right. Through the deadened walls traveled the noise of the battery of pianos and the high notes from the vigorous young lungs next door. All uls trouble and expense in building that noise-proof vault was futile against the combined noise of those eleven worthy and vigorous noise-makers. The gentle touch on the piano of the obliflog young lady who preceded the musical eleven at No. 32* had not been enough to penetrate the silence of Victor Herbert's retreat. But the combined vlbratlona of the musical eleven easily were heard Inside the vault, and the com poser and his work were brought to an immediate standstill. <C? 1PTO InUratUoaal TV.tum tarrta*. toe. II I ITTTTTTTXTT ?? j) fllll f tg-l-f f t f 11 j Victor Herbert in Despair in Hit Useless "Noise-prooP' Vault on the Top Floor?and Some of the Eleven Young Musicians Next Door. Mr*. Herbert at once Baw that the fat was in the Are and she set about getting a remedy. She called upon Mrs. Turner and her daughter, Miss Jean. She ex plained the situation?a distinguished composer striving to bring into the world yet another great American light opera, silence a necessity, noise from people next door completely destroying his genius. What would Mrs. Turner and her eleven musicians suggest to do about it? They were sympathetic and agreed at once to move the pianos to th west wall of the house, as far from tje Herbert home as possible. They lowered one piano from the top floor so that it would not be quite so close to Mr. Herbert's noise-proof sanctum. But the youthful vigor of those hus'-y young Angers on the "keys of the pia.>os and the lusty lungs of those enthusiastic singers penetrated the walls of the com poser's retreat with perfect ease. The genius of the composer would not function What should be done? Various hints and suggestions were con veyed to the musical people next door that they ought to shut up or get out or go into some other business. This Mrs. Turner and her girls declined to do, so Mrs. Her bert went to the court and had Mrs. Tur ner brought before the Magistrate on the charge of disorderly conduct. Magistrate McOeehan listened with some astonish ment to both sides, but said that really there had been no disorderly conduct on the part hf Mrs. Turner's lodgers and that no law had been violated. If anj power could reach this situation the Magistrate suggested that it might be the Health De partment. But the Health Department was unable to seft wherein it had the right to interfere with ambitious young girls seeking musical culture. Victor Herbert has gone to bed ill. His artistic temperament Is completely upset. With the resounding noise of the four pianos and the seven votces next door he is utterly unable to even compose his own thoughts. Mrs. Herbert Is almost sick with the situation. Mrs. Herbert was herself once an opera singer and she comments with some acid* ity on the musical bunch next door. "Such technique, such awful method, such attack, such rendition of scales! It ta terrible. Never hava i heard such sing ing. I was a prima donna In my day, a Mgh soprano. I sang Wagnerian roles and OrMt Britain klfkta Kanrrad. I know singing. I hare heard many poor singers in my day?'but this?what they call singing, these girls!" Next door the musical household is quite calm. Miss Turner, one of the instructors, said: "We are sorry if we annoy the Herberts, but what can we do. We have moved the pianos. We do not practice all the pianos and all the voices at one time, as Mrs. Herbert said. No doubt the Herberts do not enjoy our music. It is quite likely that they do not appreciate our music. Thank heavens, it isn't the kind of music Mr. Herbert writes. We play classical music!" When Victor Herbera tried to make the law straighten out his trouble for him he discovered a rather curious situation. He thought, and most people believe, that there is a. way of having the Police or the Health Department suppress annoying noises. And this is true?and it isn't true. "What kind of a noise annoys an oyster?" This is a foolish question nobody can answer. "What kind of a noise can be suppressed in New York City?"?and this question nobody can answer with any certainty. The Health Department baa certain authority over certain noises under cer tain conditions. If a parrot sticks its head out of the window after 11 o'clock at night and shrieku from time t*> time until 6 o'clock in the morning?that noise may be gotten after by the Department of Health bemuse they have a rule that the Bleep and peace of the city imist not be dis turbed unnecessarily between 11 p.m. and 6 a. m. But if that same parrot stuck its head out of the window and made the same noises after 6 o'clock in the morning? then the Health Department would advise you to go around to the Police Depart ment and tell them about It. Under Section 285 of the Penal Code a "public nuisance" Is defined. A nuisance is "a crime against the order and economy of the State, and consists in unlawfully oing an act, or omitting to perform a uty, and which act or omission annoys, Injures or endftangers the comfort, repose, health, or safety of any considerable num ber of persona." Victor (Herbert) made his first move against his musical neighbors under a sec tion of law. making It "disorderly conduct." But could the composer have secured a Judgment againat the musical young wo Victor Herbert'* Residence, N: 321 We?t 108th Street, New York, and the Musical Boarding House Next Door?to the Left. mem If he bad started after them undei the "public nuisance law?" He would have met defeat because the singing and playing did not interfere with the comfort and repose "of any consider able number of persons." The law is cop strued to mean that more than one house hold. a whole neighborhood, is meant by a "considerable number of persons." There is also an ordinance as to street noises and noises in public places. This noise law is meant to cover hospital streets, school streets, noisy automobiles and street peddlers and hawkers. It says that junkmen must not ring a bell weigh ing more than six ounces in the street, nor more than three bells at a time. Jolting, resounding rails cannot be car ried through the streets. Show men must not beat drums, blow cornets or play other musical instruments without a license. But all this refers entirely to street noises. If the musical young ladies would only step outside their house and sing from the street?then Mr. Herbert would have them in his grasp. The young women could be fined and Imprisoned for singing their scales on the front steps of their house beacuse that would be a street noise. But eo long as they sing their scales inside cheir residence, even though the lusty notes travel out into the Summer air through their windows and back in through the windows of Mr. Herbert's house?no law is vfolated. And there is one more possible avenue of approach. There Is a section in the Code relating to noises from animals and birds. It reads: "No person owning, oc cupying, or having charge of any build ing or premises, shall keep or allow there on any animal or bird, which shall by noise disturb the quiet or repose of any person therein or in the vicinity, to the detriment of the life or health of such person." But would any police magistrate be eo mean as to consider the melodious noises from Mr. Herbert's neighbors as worth? of suppression like the yowl of a dog or the chirping of a canary or the screams of a parrot? And so a careful survey of the whole length and breadth of possibility of muz zling these musical girls by law seemed to offer no possibilities of success. They would not come out on the street and make their noises, they would not make oat-calls and growl, or bird noises, they would not pound the pianos after 11 o' clock at night?nothing they did seemed to come within the grasp of any section of any law. It is a distressing situation for Victor Herbert, But what is there to be done about It! He and his wife and his lawyer and their friends have studied the situa tion from every point of view and they are unable to see any reasonable suggestion for relief. Three alternatives have been suggested to Mr. Herbert?that he give up compos ing music, that he move to the woods, that he consult a oulja board. But neither one of these alternatives appeals to the dis tinguished composer.