“look at the house, as we
would consent to add another pupil to his long list. Father and I drove out to his house in one of those little two-horse victories, for he lived some distance from our hotel.
My heart was fluttering like the smallest leaf on the wind-blown trees, but I did not want Father to suspect it, so I started him on the human race and the argument grew so intense that I forgot where we were bound for, when suddenly the carriage halted in front of Karl Ludwig Strasse 42, the home of the famous instructor in the art of piano-playing. I had never seen any photographs of him, but had created an advance picture of my own. I was, therefore, amazed to see an utterly unimpressive, harmless-looking man of small stature advance cordially to greet us. He tried to stutter a few English words and then burst out laughing. Father laughed hard, too, for never were English words so strangely pronounced before. But nothing sounded funny to me at that moment. I knew that I should be the object of attention before long. There was no escape from it. And in the presence of these two important men I felt my desires rapidly declining. Why had I ever thought it would be nice to study the piano? It was not the last time I asked that question. When the two gentlemen had grown tired of their crippled means of communication, Leschetizky suddenly addressed me. I felt as if some one had sewn up my throat.
Father said: “Herr Professor, my daughter can speak some German. It is the only thing she does a little better than I do. Speak up, Clara, and show how well you can talk this savage language.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“Well, what was it you came all the way from Switzerland to say? Have you forgotten it? Father’s eyes were twinkling with a mixed expression of mercy and amusement. Then he tactfully rose and started to wander around the room, looking at signed photographs of famous musicians. I stammered through my speech to Leschetizky and then at this request stumbled into a piece on the piano. Poor Father had to listen to a long speech addressed by Leschetizky to him explaining what I needed in the way of technical preparation before he would accept me as a pupil for lessons with him. I saw Father’s face droop more and more as this German cataclysm fell upon him, and finally he nervously repeated a few times “Ich versteh, Ich versteh,” believing if he stated he understood, Leschetizky might think he really did and cease talking. Father was anxious for just one bit of information—were we to remain in Vienna? Yes, we were. He was ready then to end the call, and after a great deal of cordial handshaking, which took the place of conversation, the two gray heads bowed farewell to each other and Marcus (one of my nicknames for Father)
and I were on our way back to the hotel [MFMT 189-91].
Daughter Jean Clemens suffered from an epileptic attack, logged by her father as her sixth, the first being “a year ago last winter” (1895) [Oct. 5 to Obersteiner].
September 29 Wednesday – At the Hotel Metropole in Vienna, Austria Sam wrote to Robert Barr, relating that upon their arrival in Vienna the town was “filled exactly up to the brim.” He liked Barr’s article on him that would run in the Century Jan. 1898. He thanked him again for the thesaurus, not recalling whether he had or not (he had), and enclosed a “heartily & gracefully-said tribute to Kipling,” asking Barr to send it to him. Sam was down with gout, but was glad he and Barr had had their walks in Weggis before the gout struck [MTP].
Sam also sent Chatto & Windus his address at the Hotel Metropole, not to be divulged. “All well & happy
& I have the the gout bad in my right foot” [MTP].
Within a day or two of Sam’s arrival in Vienna, Ferdinand Gross, editor-in-chief of Fremden-Blatt and president of the Concordia Press Club invited Sam to address a meeting of the club. Only one foreigner had ever been invited to speak to the group, Henrik Ibsen in 1891 [Dolmetsch 41]. See Oct. 31 entry
September 30 Thursday – At the Hotel Metropole in Vienna, Austria Sam wrote to Mrs. Laura Rothmann, thanking her for an advertisement sent on a rental house in Vienna by du Möblirte Wohnŭng.
Her note (not extant) had been delayed, but Sam wrote they would go tomorrow to
shall prefer housekeeping to boarding if we can situate ourselves satisfactorily” [MTP]. See Oct. 1 entry.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.