NYT Jun 24, 1908 Diamond

From New York Times (Jun 24, 1908)


Mrs. Mary Wilkins Freeman Baked the Bauble in a Cake and Wonders Who Swallowed It.


Another Time She “Lost” It in Her Hat — Now It is Apparently Gone Beyond Recovery.

This is the tale of the three adventures of the solitaire diamond ring of Mrs. Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, the novelist, of Metuchen, N. J.:

The first adventure occurred one night last Winter, when Mrs. Freeman, on retiring, placed the ring beneath some orange peel in a saucer on the table by her bedside.

Mrs. Freeman did not miss the ring until the following evening. Then she sought for it in vain. Letty, the negro maid, was promptly summoned.

“Letty,” said Mrs. Freeman, solemnly, “where did you put the orange peel which was on the table by my bed last night?”

“Please, Mrs. Freeman, Ah done put it in de furnace.”

The furnace was raked out, and the ashes were sifted by Dr. Freeman. Finally a gleam of light was discovered among the clinkers. The gold of the ring was slightly tarnished, and when Mrs. Freeman took it to a jeweler, he said that the stone might have to be repolished, but that it was otherwise unharmed. The day that it spent in the furnace was cold, and the stone must have been submitted to an intense heat.

Not long ago Dr. and Mrs. Freeman were staying in New York at the old Fifth Avenue Hotel. Mrs. Freeman thought it would safeguard her rings if she pinned them with a huge safety pin to her hat. In the morning she put them on again, and she and Dr. Freeman went blithely on their way.

An hour later she discovered that the same solitaire diamond which underwent the cooking process was missing. They hurried back to the hotel and started a search. There was no trace of the missing diamond. Mrs. Freeman sank into a chair, and then Dr. Freeman saw the diamond on the brim of Mrs. Freeman's hat.

And this was what came next. Mrs. Freeman now and then amuses herself by cooking at home. There has been in her family for years a famous receipt for Fairweather Cake, which is so-called because it is believed the cake never can be a success unless made in fair weather.

Mrs. Freeman recently gave a bridge luncheon. Some twenty-five guests were bidden from New York, and she planned to treat them to a Fairweather Cake. She was much pleased when the day before the party proved so sunny that the cake, so far as the weather conditions were concerned, seemed an assured success.

One of the essentials for the cake is that it be kneaded by hand. Therefore Mrs. Freeman used her hands in its composition. The cake was made and baked, and proved a triumph, being unusually light and well browned. Not until that night, when the festivity was over and Mrs. Freeman was about to retire, was the loss of the ill-fated ring known for the third time.

Letty was again interviewed, and instantly recalled that she had seen “Mis Dolly mixin' the cake with her ring on.” A friend who was visiting the family was questioned, and she said positively that Mrs. Freeman was not wearing the ring while playing bridge. Moreover, when the ring had been reset after its experience in the furnace it was made half a size too large for the finger.

The conclusion was inevitable: the ring had gone into the cake. The cake had been eaten. Since then Dr. and Mrs. Freeman have been anxiously watching the obituary columns of the newspapers.

Mrs. Freeman's cautious inquiries for the ring finally divulged the secret, but the only concrete result so far has been a deluge of letters asking how to make the cake.