Vol 3 Section 0140

96                                                                           1897

October 28 Thursday – At the Metropole Hotel, Vienna, Austria, Sam wrote to Bettina Wirth, a local novelist and correspondent with the London Daily News. According to Dolmetsch (46), she may have helped Sam draft a speech in German he would give at Concordia Press Club on Oct. 31. Sam wrote:

You have written it superbly, & I am full of thankfulness.

I am now, as always, yours to command, & so I am ready to sit for that bust, beginning next Tuesday or any day thereafter, & Mrs. Clemens is very happy in the thought that some day, a cast from it will be hers [After his signature Sam added:] I note the changes, & thank you ever so much for making them. And thanks for the Daily News, too [MTP].

Note: These “changes” were perhaps better German. The bust he would sit for may have been by sculptress Theresa Fedorowna Ries (1874-1956) in mid-December, 1897 [Dolmetsch 277]. See insert prior page.

Sam attended a session of the Austrian Parliament, or Reichsrath (also spelled “Reichsrat”). Dr. Otto Lecher, president of the Brüun Board of Trade delivered a marathon 12- hour speech. From the second section of Sam’s essay, “Stirring Times in Austria,” Sam describes the man and the session:

The gallery guests are fashionably dressed, and the finery of the women makes a bright and pretty show under the strong electric light. But down on the floor there is no costumery.

The deputies are dressed in day clothes; some of the clothes neat and trim, others not; there may be three members in evening dress, but not more. There are several Catholic priests in their long black gowns, and with crucifixes hanging from their necks. No member wears his hat. One may see by these details that the aspects are not those of an evening sitting of an English House of Commons, but rather those of

a sitting of our House of Representatives.  In his high place sits the President, Abrahamowicz, object of the Opposition’s limitless hatred. He is sunk

back in the depths of his arm-chair, and has his chin down. He brings the ends of his spread fingers together in front of his breast, and reflectively taps them together, with the air of one who would like to begin business, but must wait, and be as patient as he can. It makes you think of Richelieu. Now and then he swings his head up to the left or to the right and answers something which some one has bent down to say to him. Then he taps his fingers again. He looks tired, and maybe a trifle harassed. He is a gray-haired, long, slender man, with a colorless long face, which, in repose, suggests a death-mask; but when not in repose is tossed and rippled by a turbulent smile which washes this way and that, and is not easy to keep up with—a pious smile, a holy smile, a saintly smile, a deprecating smile, a beseeching and supplicating smile; and when it is at work the large mouth opens and the flexible lips crumple, and unfold, and crumple again, and move around in a genial and persuasive and angelic way, and expose large glimpses of the teeth; and that interrupts the sacredness of the smile and gives it momentarily a mixed worldly and political and satanic cast. It is a most interesting face to watch. And then the long hands and the body—they furnish great and frequent help to the face in the business of adding to the force of the statesman’s words.


The subject was a peculiarly difficult one, and it would have troubled any other deputy to stick to it three hours without exhausting his ammunition, because it required a vast and intimate knowledge—detailed and particularized knowledge—of the commercial, railroading, financial, and international banking relations existing between two great sovereignties, Hungary and the Empire. But Dr. Lecher is President of the Board of Trade of his city of Brunn, and was master of the situation. His speech was not formally prepared. He had a few notes jotted down for his guidance; he had his facts in his head; his heart was in his work; and for twelve hours he stood there, undisturbed by the clamor around him, and with grace and ease and confidence poured out the riches of his mind, in closely reasoned arguments, clothed in eloquent and faultless phrasing.

He is a young man of thirty-seven. He is tall and well proportioned, and has cultivated and fortified his muscle by mountain-climbing. If he were a little handsomer he would sufficiently reproduce for me the

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