Vol 3 Section 0170

126                                                                        1898

Accept the homage of a stranger. Ecclesiastical & military courts made up of cowards, hypocrites & time-servers can be bred at the rate of a million a year & have material to spare; but it takes 5 centuries to breed a Joan of Arc & a Zola [NB 42 TS 54].

January 20 Thursday – At the Hotel Metropole in Vienna, Austria, Sam wrote to H.H. Rogers.

“Yours of the 5th is to hand. It is very good news: that when you have paid Barrow up, & the last 25% div. to the other creditors (except Grant & the Bank) we shall still have about $1,000 left in cash. This is exceedingly bully; the best music we have heard lately.” [Note: there is no extant HHR letter for Jan. 5, but there is one for Jan. 6—possibly Sam refers to the Jan. 6 letter].

Sam also reported he was involved in a “joint production” with “An Austrian playwright” which this source points to as the playwright-journalist Siegmund Schlesinger (1842-1918). It would prove a short-lived collaboration on two plays, neither produced.

Phillip Walker writes about this collaboration and offers reasons it failed:

During the latter portion of this same period, the winter of 1898-99, Twain essayed a dramatic collaboration with Seigmund Schlesinger, a successful Viennese journalist and playwright. It was the intention of the two authors to write several plays based on American themes for the Burg Theatre in Vienna. Twain’s part in the collaboration was to supply the plays with their authenticity of American background and spirit, and Schlesinger was to have written the dialogue which, of course, was to have been in German. One of the plots developed by the authors was given the title of Die Goldgraeberin (The Woman Gold-Miner). ) Another play, The Rival Candidates was to have been a comedy dealing with female suffrage.

The facts, however, that Twain lacked sufficient fluency in German and Schlesinger could scarcely understand English prevented the two writers from achieving a workable collaboration and, as a result, the project was eventually abandoned, thus ending Twain’s last known attempt to write for the professional theatre [192].

Dolmetsch’s contribution to the Mark Twain Encyclopedia for Austria-Hungary details the plays Sam collaborated with Siegmund Schlesinger, though he spells the titles slighty different than Walker.

Schlesinger…prevailed upon him [Twain] in January 1898 to collaborate in writing two comedies—Die Goldgraberin (the Lady Goldminer), to be set in the Klondike, and Der Gegenkandidat, oder die Frauen Politiker (The Opposition Candidate, or Women Politicians), on the topic of women’s suffrage— purportedly for performance at the k.k. Hofburgtheater (Imperial-Royal Court Theatre) with Katerina von Schratt, the emperor’s mistress, in leading roles. The collaboration, in which Twain was to supply plot situations and characters while Schlesinger wrote the German dialogue, dragged on throughout the next sixteen months without resulting in a stageworthy piece, and the manuscripts have been lost [50].

Sam also thought P&P might be dramatized in England again, though there is no record that it was. Sam then spoke of Harry Rogers and his dedication to him in FE; the new office building H.H. Rogers was moving into, and then asked for a favor from Livy—could Rogers invest the thousand-pound check they’d received from Chatto?

Insert: Hofburgtheater

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