Vol 3 Section 0303

1899                                                                            253

such a celebrity to leave Austria after meeting everyone who was anyone, yet not seen by the head man himself, was tantamount to an international snub. Goluchowo was listed in Sam’s Vienna address book, and the two men were present at many receptions and other gatherings. It wouldn’t have been protocol for the Emperor to directly invite an audience with a lower personage, but to do so through his intermediary kept a sense of royal propriety. Dolmetsch gives the details of the meeting:

Mark Twain … went to meet [the Emperor] at the Hofburg promptly at one o’clock on the afternoon of Thursday, May 25, 1899. Mark Twain arrived in correct court dress—swallow-tail coat, pin-striped trousers, silk hat, white gloves, and all—in Equipage (horse-drawn carriage) provided him for the occasion by Ambassador Harris. Twain entered the Hofburg from Heldenplatz where he was met by two footmen who conducted him to the portal. There the Pfortner (porter) handed him over to another pair of footmen who conducted him up two flights of stairs and through several rooms to an anteroom where he was met by the Obersthofmeister (grand master of the court), Prince Alfred Montenuovo, who accompanied him into the emperor’s study and formally presented the American guest to his majesty [306-7].

Various accounts of the meeting reported an audience of from 15 to 20 minutes. Supposedly Sam had memorized a speech in German, which he promptly forgot [Dolmetsch 308]. Paine, on the other hand, simply puts forward the idea that the Emperor’s informal manner was such that “it did not occur to his visitor to deliver his prepared German sentence” (of 18 words) [MTB 1078-9]. During the meeting, Sam praised Vienna, while Franz praised America’s behavior in the recent war with Spain, and helped Sam when his German faltered. Sam had expected a group audience with the Emperor so a private face-to-face time was a complete surprise [Dolmetsch 307-8].

How astonished I was, therefore, when I was informed the monarch would receive me in a private audience. I perceived a special kind of courtesy in this not for my humble self but much more for the country I belong to and a goodwill gesture toward the literary circles of my nation. This honor springs from the same spirit that prompted the message from Emperor William to my ailing colleague, Rudyard Kipling, the spirit of pure courtesy that really values the realm of letters which both allies in such high measure contain [307]. Note: curiously, Sam did not make a notebook entry about the meeting. Perhaps his private feelings and his old animus respecting royalty would have contradicted remarks meant for diplomatic and public release.

After the audience Sam was escorted back out the way he’d come in, observing the time-honored tradition of not turning one’s back to royalty. Sam took Ambassador Harris’ carriage back to the Krantz Hotel, where reporters from leading Vienna papers were gathered to question him about the audience. Sam’s responses would appear the following day in “lengthy coverage” by both Fremden-Blatt and Neues Wiener Tagblatt [307]. Paine reports some of Sam’s remarks after the audience, likely taken from newspaper reports:

We got along very well. I proposed to him a plan to exterminate the human race by withdrawing the oxygen from the air for a period of two minutes. I said Szczepanik would invent it for him. I think it impressed him. After a while, in the course of our talk I remembered and told the Emperor I had prepared and memorized a very good speech but had forgotten it. He was very agreeable about it. He said a speech wasn’t necessary. He seemed to be a most kind-hearted emperor, with a great deal of plain, good, attractive human nature about him. Necessarily he must have or he couldn’t have unbent to me as he did. I couldn’t unbend if I were an emperor. I should feel the stiffness of the position. Franz Josef doesn’t feel it. He is just a natural man, although an emperor. I was greatly impressed by him, and I liked him exceedingly. His face is always the face of a pleasant man and he had a fine sense of humor. It is the Emperor’s personality and the confidence all ranks have in him that preserve the real political serenity in what has an outside appearance of being the opposite. He is a man as well as an emperor—an emperor and a man [1079].

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