It was an odious spectacle—odious and awful. For one moment it was an unbelievable thing—a thing beyond all credibility; it must be a delusion, a dream, a nightmare. But no, it was real—pitifully real, shamefully real, hideously real. These sixty policemen had been soldiers, and they went at their work with the cold unsentimentality of their trade. They ascended the steps of the tribune, laid their hands upon the inviolable persons of the representatives of a nation, and dragged and tugged and hauled them down the steps and out at the door; then ranged themselves in stately military array in front of the ministerial estrade, and so stood.
It was a tremendous episode. The memory of it will outlast all the thrones that exist to-day. In the whole history of free parliaments the like of it had been seen but three times before. It takes its imposing place among the world’s unforgettable things. I think that in my lifetime I have not twice seen abiding history made before any eyes, but I know that I have seen it once.
Some of the results of this wild freak followed instantly. The Badeni government came down with a crash; there was a popular outbreak or two in Vienna; there were three or four days of furious rioting in Prague, followed by the establishing there of martial law; the Jews and Germans were harried and plundered, and their houses destroyed; in other Bohemian towns there was rioting—in some cases the Germans being the rioters, in others the Czechs—and in all cases the Jew had to roast, no matter which side he was on. We are well along in December now, the new Minister-President has not been able to patch up a peace among the warring factions of the parliament, therefore there is no use in calling it together again for the present; public opinion believes that parliamentary government and the Constitution are actually threatened with extinction, and that the permanency of the monarchy itself is a not absolutely certain thing!
Yes, the Lex Falkenhayn was a great invention, and did what was claimed for it—it got the government out of the frying-pan.
Note: “Stirring Times” was published in the Mar. 1898 issue of Harper’s.
The New York Times of Nov. 27, datelined Vienna, Nov. 26, p. 1, “Revolution for Austria,” headlined “Mark Twain Among Those Ejected from the Galleries.” Rioting in the streets was also mentioned. Several newspapers reported that Sam and the gallery were hustled out roughly, or “forcibly ejected” including Nov. 28, p.1 and 29, p.6 articles in the New York Times. Supposedly he was “severely struck by a Czech delegate.” In the latter article the motive for the blow was his desire to “reform” the German language, which the Czechs hated. Sam’s Dec. 10 to Twichell contradicted such reports, lamenting it was “a pity that one’s adventures never happen!”
When the Ordner (sergeant-at-arms) came up to our gallery & was hurrying the people out, a friend tried to get leave for me to stay, by saying “But this gentleman is a foreigner—you don’t need to turn him out—he won’t do any harm.”
“Oh, I know him very well—I recognize him by his pictures; & I should be very glad to let him stay, but I haven’t any choice, because of the strictness of the orders.”
And so we all went out, & no one was hustled. Below, I ran across the London Times correspondent, & he showed me the way into the first gallery & I lost none of the show. The first gallery had not misbehaved, & was not disturbed [MTP]. Note: Dolmetsch supplies the name of the Times man, William Lavino .
At the Metropole Hotel Sam wrote to Frank Bliss that he’d been “able to find 3 of the blank sheets,” thinking that was all that came. He had put a motto on them for Walter Bliss and autographed the others on both sides. Sam wanted to autograph the entire issue for $3 each, which likely refers to a special edition of FE . Significantly, Sam briefly mentioned the brouhaha at the Austrian Reichsrath:
“I was in the parliament an hour ago—a historical day! I saw a battalion of police invade the House & drag out ten members by force”[MTP].
November 27 Saturday – Livy’s 52nd birthday.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.