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'i lie case of Stevens v. Patti—the world-renowned vocalist—excited considerable interest in London recently. It was heard before Mr Baron Hudleston and a special jury. The plaintiff claimed compensation as an agent for executing certain contracts and managing some of the defendant’s private affairs. The defendant denied that the work was done, and in the alternative alleged that the plaintiff gave his services as a friend, and not as a paid agent. Defendant paid LSO into Court, and denied that even that amount was due. Mr Jelf, in opening the case for the plaintiff, explained that his client was generally known as Victor Emanuel, and resided in Park street, Grosvenor square, and until 1880 he had acted in partnership with a Mr Winter, a commission agent. That partnership, however, was dissolved, and the plaintiff now acted as agent for a large firm in the south of France. The defendant was Madame Adelina Patti. This action was brought to recover remuneration for services rendered by the plaintiff. The defendant, however, only paid a sum of LSO into Court, and denied her liability even to pay that amount. The plaintiff was introduced to the defendant in 1869, when staying at Mr Winter’s house at Ivor, in Buckinghamshire, and a considerable acquaintance grew up between them. The plaintiff frequently visited at the de fendant’s house at Fulham, and there met Signor Nicolini. He understood that there had been some ceremony between Madame Patti and Signor Nicolini, according to the rites of the Greek Church, as the result of which they considered themselves man and wife. His client had, however, sued the defendant as a single woman. In May, 1880, during one of the plaintiff’s visits, the defendant complained of unjust treatment by her late agent, Mr Peek, and asked the plaintiff to deliver her from the vile people who _ had raised claims against her, and if he should succeed in his efforts she would pay him half the reductions obtained, if, however, that agreement were disproved, the question would still arise whether the plaintiff was not entitled to remuneration as an agent upon ordinary terms. The plaintiff, however, said he undertook the task under the agreement he had mentioned, and among other matters succeeded in reducing the claims of L 5,430 by Mr Barron, an ornamental gardener, for work done at Craig-y-nos Castle, near Swansea, by a sum of L 3213 the claim of Evans and Co., furniture dealers of Swansea, amounting to about L 6,000, by a sum of L3OO ; of Lake and Co., gas engineers of Swansea, amounting to L 964, to the extent of LIOO ; of Reece and Co., builders of Swansea, by a sum of L 2,500; and to Mr Morgan, who was the owner of property containing a spring, and who claimed Li,ooo before he would allow water to be supplied to Craig-y-nos Castle, and which claim was reduced by the efforts of the plaintiff to LSO. The correspondence which passed between the parties in reference to those various matters showed that there would be no real dispute as to the work ot. the plaintiff ; the only question would probably be whether the plaintiff had acted as a friend or as an agent. Mdme. Patti was called for the defence, and said it was not true that she had asked the plaintiff to be her agent or that she told him she would pay him half of what he would save her. She never asked the plaintiff to keep an agreement from Signor Nicolini, or to say anything in order to deceive him. She always treated the plaintiff as a friend and a guest both at Fulham and at Craig-y----nos. In cross-examination the defendant said during their many interviews she spoke to the plaintiff about the claims made against her, but only in the same manner as with others, as she had Mr Gye to help her. She sometimes had letters addressed to her from the nlaintiff and others under the name of her maid, but not tor the purpose of keeping anything from Signor Nicolini. Mr Herbert Frederick Gye also gave evidence, and said he always understood that the plaintiff acted only as a friend and not as an agent, because of the admiration and respect he entertained for the defendant, T lie case was continued the following day, and several other witnesses were called for the defence. In the result the jury returned a verdict for the defendant, which was received with loud applause in Court,

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Bibliographic details

PATTI IN COURT, Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 683, 8 July 1882

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PATTI IN COURT Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 683, 8 July 1882

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