February 1 Tuesday – In Vienna, Austria, Sam wrote in German to Siegmund Schlesinger. Translation courtesy of Holger Kersten:
Dear Mr. Schlesinger:
Gut! Also werde ich Sie am 3hem Februar expect. Esfruit mich sehr dass Sie unseres heiliges Werkes schon so weit gebrasht habe. (Wiese is mein eigenes Grammatik—Komment nicht aus des Buches.)
Dear Mr. Schlesinger:
Good! So I will expect you on February 3rd. I am glad that you have advanced our holy work this far already.
(This is my own grammar—It does not come from the book.) [MTP].
In the evening Sam lectured at the Bösendorfer Saal Theatre for the favorite charity hospital of Countess Misa Wydenbruck-Esterházy and Princess Pauline Fürstin von Metternich (1836-1921). Sam’s notebook identifies the pieces he read, which took one hour: “Stolen Watermelon / Grandfather’s Old Ram /
Golden Arm. / Poem (Ornithorhyncus)” [NB 42 TS 55].
Dolmetsch calls this “his first, and in many respects most important, public reading in Vienna.” The Bösendorfer Saal house seated 800 and was packed full, with many standing. Some of the seats were $4 each. The Neue Freie Presse reported on Feb. 2 that the hall was too small for the demand. Sam wore white tie and tails, and was introduced by Ambassador Charlemagne Tower. The response was “tumultuous applause.”
Dolmetsch further describes this important event:
Besides Princess Metternich, Prince Alois Liechtenstein, Countess Wydenbruck-Esterhazy, other patrons of the charity and members of the American community, the Viennese journalistic, literary, and medical professions were well represented, including Dr. Sigmund Freud, playing truant from a lecture that evening by Prince Bismarck’s personal physician. What’s more Twain bragged to Rogers [Feb. 4-5], “Six members of the Imperial family present and four princes of lesser degree, and I taught the whole of them how to steal watermelons.” This refers to his opening selection, his “Morals Lecture,” which Freud, recalling the event almost three decades later, used to illustrate a principle in his Civilization and Its Discontents…
Dolmetsch also gives some added detail to other personages the Clemenses met during the evening, from which they would, on Feb. 3, return to sign a guest book for the royalty, only to discover they had been sent for (see entry.):
The episode had its origin in the Bösendorfer Saal reading when Countess De Laszowska presented the Clemenses to Her Royal Highness Adelgonde do Bourbon y do Braganca, Countess von Bardi, daughter of the King of Portugal, and her sister, the recently widowed Archduchess Maria Theresa (1855-1944), stepmother of the ill-fated Franz Ferdinand (then heir-apparent to the Habsburg throne). Noting that the countess was “very cordial” as well as “very beautiful, too, both in body & spirit,” Clemens decided it would be “proper etiquette” to drive to her palace and “write our names in her visitors’ book,” a variant of the card-leaving custom . See Feb. 3.
The program exceeded two hours and Sam’s talk was sandwiched by musical pieces: “Singing by Miss Walker & Mlle Saville of the Grand Opera, piano by young Schnabel & violin & songs by two Germans—one hour” [NB 42 TS 55]. Note: Edyth Walker, Frances Saville, Artur Schnabel, sixteen-year-old prodigy, and the “two Germans” not named in the NB, concert singer Eduard Gärtner, and violinist Fritz Kreisler [Dolmetsch 99].
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.