Vol 3 Section 0132

88                                                                           1897

The NY Times, p.7, and the Hartford Courant, p.1, ran essentially the same squib, “Mark Twain Has the


London, Oct. 2—A dispatch to the Daily Chronicle from Vienna says that Mr. Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) is confined to his bed with the gout. But he is in excellent spirits, and calls his ailment “toothache in the toe.”

This day’s issue of the Neues Wiener Tagblatt ran the first detailed interview with Mark Twain.

This one was a full-blown feuillton, a particularly Viennese genre—forerunner, perhaps, of the modern feature story—which occupied the lower half of a front page and, in this instance, was continued inside the paper. Entitled “A Quarter-hour with Mark Twain” (Eine Viertelstunde bei Mark Twain), it was written by the paper’s feature editor (Feuilleton-redakteur), Sigmund Schlesinger, a writer with whom Twain was to have a close if unproductive working relationship during his stay in Vienna. This interview was very chatty and intimate, and it was clear that Twain was quite at ease with Schlesinger. At its conclusion, he accepted Schlesinger’s invitation to write something at a later date for Neues Wiener Tagblatt, a commitment never fulfilled [Dolmetsch 34-5].

October 3 Sunday Sam’s notebook:

Hotel Metropole, Vienna, Oct. 3, 1897. At the next round table to ours sits a princess, daughter of the Dowager Empress Friederich & granddaughter of Victoria; also the young daughter of the above and her intended, the young Prince Henry Reuss (called Henry III); whose mother & sister and Uncle (the Prince von Wernigerode) in Ilsenberg in the Harz mountains six years ago. With them a maid of honor & a couple of equerries. Good looking people. They all smoke [NB 42 TS 39].

In Vienna, Austria Sam wrote to Chatto & Windus, asking for the “rest of the Ellis photographs.” He had been in bed with the gout [MTP]. See July 30 for Alfred Ellis information and photograph.

Eduard Pötzl, the Neues Wiener Tagblatt’s top writer, wrote a humorous sketch about Mark Twain titled, Der Stille Beobachter” (The Silent Observer). Dolmetsch calls Pötzl an “obscure figure today but during his lifetime…immensely popular,” and describes the article:

…it narrates an imaginary incident in which Twain, standing on a city bridge to observe the passing scene, notebook in hand, is greeted by two typical city workmen who endeavor to converse with him in Weanerisch (Viennese dialect) . The result is a hilarious series of misunderstandings an befuddlements [35]. Note: see Sam’s Oct. 4 to Pötzl.

October 4 Monday – At 5 p.m. at the Hotel Metropole in Vienna, Sam wrote again to Eduard Pötzl.

Thank you ever so much for the books & the Feuilleton, & for the offer to show me the city: I accept the whole, gratefully. I shall be very glad to have you along when I get arrested on the bridge, because you will be able to explain the case to the police (and divide the punishment.)

Sam added that the gout was gone and he would get out of bed within the hour. He would be finished with breakfast by eleven the following morning and dressed & glad to see Pötzl if he could come then. “I am tired of the house; I want to get out on that bridge” [MTP]. Note: the bridge reference was to Pötzl’s article in the Oct. 3 issue of Neues Wiener Tagblatt.

SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.