Darby Day, jr., the 21-year-old son of the multimillionaire head of Life Insurance Underwriter’s Association, recovering Hollywood from acid hurled into his eyes by his bride of a few months, who then sought to end his own life, will probably sue fir divorce in Chicago.
Even should he not file the divorce action, it expected that Mrs. Bernice Lundstrom Day, the 20-year-old wife will.
On the other hand, the young Mrs. Day has threatened to sue her mother-in-law, Mrs. Darby Day, sr., for alienation of her husband’s affections.
It has been learned since the acid-throwing episode that the divorce court will be no new experience for Mrs. Day.
Back in 1921 her father, Charles T. Lundstrom, a builder and contractor, erected the Montrose bachelor apartments in Chicago.
Bernice, then a high school student and eager for adventure, prevailed upon her father to allow her to act as awl on-board operator in the apartment.
And there she met Howard Fish, the son of Mrs. Jessie M. Fish.
A romance quickly came into being and, it is said now, progressed despite the objections of her parents. It was even said that Howard, a slender youth dressed himself, upon occasion, in genteel clothing to obtain entrance to the Lundstrom home.
~ Her First Elopement ~
And then, one day, the two jumped into Berniere’s snappy, yellow roadster drove to Waukegan, where they were married.
After the marriage, so the story goes, the young people went to live with Fish’s mother. There were quarrels, and, it is said, the bride once blackened her young husband’s eyes.
They separated; and, a short time later, were divorced. She and Young Day were married after a whirlwind courtship of just two and one-half weeks. The romance is said to have had its beginning in a Sheridan Hotel courtship, when she succeeded in beating him in her yellow speedster.
And, it is said, there were stormy scenes long before they started on their belated honeymoon to the Pacific Coast.
One of Darby’s best friends in Chicago asserts that upon one occasion a party at a select North Side hotel was broken up in a precipitate manner when Mrs. Day, then a bride of a few days, quarreled violently with her husband and struck him.
The acid-throwing came as the culmination of a series of quarrels, after one of which the wife left the home of her mother-in-law in Hollywood.
Then, one night, she returned.
She called young Day to the door of his home. A moment later he staggered back into the house, screaming with pain.
“My eyes! My eyes! She has blinded me!”
~ A Tale of Thwarted Love. ~
Physicians were summoned immediately. In the meantime Mrs. Day
Her sister rushed her to a hospital. Now, after convalescence, she is at liberty on bonds of $5,000 pending the hearing of the charges against her.
She has told a most amazing story, a story of thwarted love, in which she has pictured Mrs. Day, Sr., as the one responsible for the wrecking of their married happiness.
“We never had a chance from the time we were married,” the young wife asserted. “Mr. Day, my husband’s father, was always nice to us, but his mother never caused us anything but trouble.
“She would tell untrue stories about each other, and quarrels would result. Then she would be so sweet about it that it would look as though it was my fault.”
~ Mrs. Day, Sr., Story ~
The most dramatic story of the actual acid throwing has been told by Mrs. Day, Sr., the young man’s mother, who said:
“Last week she threatened to kill my son several times and I had to take a gun away from her and hide the cartridges. Then Sunday morning she told she had taken poison and that she was going out in the streets to die.
“I talked to her and she finally admitted she hadn’t taken the poison and said she would stay with us. But a moment later she ran out the front door. It was just after this she went up on the hill and jumped down it, bruising herself badly.
“Then Monday night Bernie came to our house and said she had come back to stay. I said, ‘No, dear, you will be better with your own mother for awhile. You go home and rest up and then you can come back in a few days.”
“She said she wanted to talk to Darby. I was afraid she would carry out some of her threats and told him not to go out the door with her. but she did.
“Then she said: ‘Look up at me, dear.” He looked up at her and she threw the acid on his face.”
It is reported Day may not even be seriously scarred as the result of the experience in that the young wife and not use nitric acid, as supposed, but ascetic acid. [The damage on the upper layers of the skin was nevertheless extreme, as is shown in the photograph.]
- “Acid Thrower Faces Second Divorce Case – Darby Day’s Young Wife Showed Stormy Temper Before Second Whirlwind Courtship.” The Star (Wilmington, De.), Apr. 19, 1925, p. 27