Nov. 26. To-day, 1.30, saw the great dramatic incident in the House when 60 policemen marched in & cleared the Presidium of 10 Social Democrats by violence. 4 were imprisoned on the premises. Wolf was arrested at 2 p.m. at 2.30 the Left seemed cowed, & made not much noise. So I left.
The streets around were well stocked with police mounted & on foot. Quiet crowds looking on [NB 42 TS 48]. Note: Dolmetsch identifes Karl Hermann Wolf (1862-1941) as a “German Nationalist deputy in the Reichsrat (parliament) and editor of the scurrilously anti-Semitic Wiener Volkszeitung . Wolf had fought a duel with Count Kasimir Badeni; see AMT 1: 571:299.39-42.
Vienna, Austria. Sam was in his seat in the gallery of the Reichsrath at noon. The Socialists, upset about Falkenhayn’s passage the previous day of the law to permit use of force in the assembly, “overpowered the presiding officer and seized the rostrum” [Dolmetsch 71]. Police were called and at 1:30 Sam witnessed the entrance of 60 police who forcibly evicted ten legislators . These tumultuous events would become grist for Sam’s essay, “Stirring Times in Austria,” which Dolmetsch calls “a tour de force of political reportage” .
From that essay, we have Sam’s eyewitness account, written on Dec. 9:
There were no vacant seats in the galleries next day [Nov. 26]. In fact, standing-room outside the building was at a premium. There were crowds there, and a glittering array of helmeted and brass-buttoned police, on foot and on horseback, to keep them from getting too much excited. No one could guess what was going to happen, but every one felt that something was going to happen, and hoped he might have a chance to see it, or at least get the news of it while it was fresh.
At noon the House was empty—for I do not count myself. Half an hour later the two galleries were solidly packed, the floor still empty. Another half-hour later Wolf entered and passed to his place; then other deputies began to stream in…. By one o’clock the membership was present in full force. A band of Socialists
stood grouped against the ministerial desks, in the shadow of the Presidential tribune. It was observable that these official strongholds were now protected against rushes by bolted gates….
There was a pervading, anxious hush….
Presently the President entered by the distant door to the right, followed by Vice-President Fuchs, and the two took their way down past the Polish benches toward the tribune. Instantly the customary storm of noises burst out, and rose higher and higher, and wilder and wilder, and really seemed to surpass anything that had gone before it in that place. The President took his seat, and begged for order, but no one could hear him…. Below him was that crowd of two dozen Socialists glaring up at him, shaking their fists at him, roaring
imprecations and insulting epithets at him. This went on for some time. Suddenly the Socialists burst through the gates and stormed up through the ministerial benches, and a man in a red cravat reached up and snatched the documents that lay on the President’s desk and flung them abroad. The next moment he and his allies were struggling and fighting with the half-dozen uniformed servants who were there to protect the new gates. Meantime a detail of Socialists had swarmed up the side-steps and overflowed the President and the Vice, and were crowding and shouldering and shoving them out of the place. They crowded them out, and down the steps and across the House, past the Polish benches; and all about them swarmed hostile Poles and Czechs, who resisted them. One could see fists go up and come down, with other signs and shows of a heady fight; then the President and the Vice disappeared through the door of entrance, and the victorious Socialists turned and marched back, mounted the tribune, flung the President’s bell and his remaining papers abroad, and then stood there in a compact little crowd, eleven strong, and held the place as if it were a fortress. Their friends on the floor were in a frenzy of triumph, and manifested it in their deafening way. The whole House was on its feet, amazed and wondering.
It was an astonishing situation, and imposingly dramatic. Nobody had looked for this. The unexpected had happened. What next? But there can be no next; the play is over; the grand climax is reached; the possibilities are exhausted: ring down the curtain.
Not yet. That distant door opens again. And now we see what history will be talking of five centuries hence: a uniformed and helmeted battalion of bronzed and stalwart men marching in double file down the floor of the House—a free parliament profaned by an invasion of brute force.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.