March 8 Wednesday – Sam had agreed to give a reading and speech in German at a benefit for a charity hospital in the Festsaal of the Kaufmännische, where he had given his Concordia speech on Oct. 31, 1897. He shared the platform with Auguste Wilbrandt-Baudius) .
Sam’s notebook: March 8, ’99, Vienna. Read, this afternoon, with the poet Wilbrandt’s wife, for one of the Countess Wydenbruck-Esterhazy’s charities. (Lucerne Girl & Interviewer—had to leave out the Mexican Plug for lack of time.) Of course Frau W. was wholly ignorant of the length of her pieces. I told her she must restrict herself to 30 minutes, so that I could have 40, (and 5 for a German speech); she came loaded with an hour’s ammunition & confessed that she was only guessing at its bulk. She occupied the stage just an hour, & then I came before a perishing audience that had the death-rattle in its throat. I only saved their lives by cutting the M. Plug out of my program. Frau W. had privately added a long (written) speech glorifying me. I will never accept of help, musical or otherwise, on the platform again. Last year the music privately doubled its program. George W. Cable always stole 2/3 of the platform-time when we were out together—& with his platform-talent he was able to fatigue a corpse.
I have half-promised to go to Budapest & do a charity-reading. I bet I will run that show alone [NB 40 TS 54-55].
Note: See also Dolmetsch 118. Katona writes: “Hungarian sources, led by A HET (no. 13, 1899), accused the author of accepting the invitation to lecture in the Hungarian capital only because he was in desperate need of money. However, there is no evidence that he received any fee in Budapest, and English sources deny it”
Clearly, besides the above NB entry, Sam was no longer lecturing for fees by this time, and did so only for charity, if at all. Dolmetsch writes that Mór Jokai (1825-1904), “Hungary’s premier writer in that era…may have had something to do with the American humorist’s invitation to Budapest” .
March 9 Thursday – At the Hotel Krantz in Vienna, Austria, Sam replied to Francis H. Skrine, whose letter is not extant. Evidently the Skrines had offered to rent a house reasonably to the Clemenses when they returned to London.
“If we were going to abide in London again you wouldn’t have to make that offer twice, but we shall merely pass through, on our way home next autumn. If I see anyone here who wants a house I will remember & speak” [MTP].
March 10 Friday – In Vienna, Austria, Sam wrote to Auguste Wilbrandt-Baudius (Mrs. Adolf von Wilbrandt).
“I am rested-up again, & am young again; & as my first pleasure I wish to thank you in the best & heartiest words for taking half my burden off my shoulders, & for so stirring the hearts of those people with the beauty & pathos of your reading; & for saying those gracious things of me.”
Sam asked if she would send the lines so he might keep them for memory’s sake [MTP]. Note: Sam had shared
the platform with Auguste on Mar. 8. See entry.
Sam gave a charity reading of his sketch “The Lucerne Girl,” to a fashionable audience. He described how he had been interviewed and ridiculed. A fragment of his introduction survives under the chapter title, “A New German Word” Mark Twain’s Speeches, 1910, p. 55; the complete text is lost:
I have not sufficiently mastered German to allow my using it with impunity. My collection of fourteen-syllable German words is still incomplete. But I have just added to that collection a jewel—a valuable jewel. I found it in a telegram from Linz, and it contains ninety-five letters:
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.