Never before nor since the two seasons spent in Vienna have we encountered so many ways of finding entertainment and pleasure. Also we fell in love with the Viennese and made many dear friends among them. But the sad day of parting had to come and the tears fell in abundance. Was life to be one long series of farewells? The station seemed full of our beloved friends, and among them most distinguished men and women. My sister and I did not hide our feelings, but wept frankly with all the tragedy and youthful suffering in our hearts. While the inexorable revolution of the wheels started our journey we knew we were gazing on those dear faces for the last time [MFMT 214].
Gabrilowitsch left Vienna the day before we did and there was no hope of an early reunion.
Further farewells must be said at the station to other friends as we stood there realizing we might never meet again, I remember seeing my father’s eyes fill with tears. The group was composed mostly of boys and girls, and he said quite seriously:
“The tragedies of maturer life cannot surpass the first tragedies of youth” [My Husband Gabrilowitsch 8].
Among the crowd sending off the Clemens family was Theodor Leschetizky, and Adolf von Wilbrandt, author of the tragedy, The Master of Palmyra
The family traveled to Prague, Czechoslovakia, some seven hours by rail, 156 miles, arriving about 10 p.m. They stayed with Prince Thurn und Taxis at his country estate outside of Prague. They would rest there for four days [Dolmetsch 312].
F. Kaplan writes that “At the last moment, rather than risk rough seas, they took the train to Prague, Nurmburg, Cologne, Brussels, Calais, and then the ferry to Dover” .
Scott writes of the stay near Prague, “Here they had an excellent view of the country life of the Bohemian noblilty” . Note: Albert I, the eighth Prince of Thurn und Taxis (1867 -1952), was then a single man. He was referred to as “your serene highness,” and would marry in July, 1890, make 8 children: serenity thereby lost.
The NY Times ran “Mark Twain At Vienna” on the front page:
MARK TWAIN AT VIENNA
He Sees Emperor Francis Joseph [sic] in Special Audience.
VIENNA, May 25.—Emperor Francis Joseph received Mark Twain (Mr. Samuel L. Clemens) in special audience this afternoon.
The Emperor displayed the keenest interest in the literary work of Mr. Clemens, and remarked also that he was much gratified to observe “the efficiency of the Americans from a military standpoint.”
Mark Twain told the Emperor that he had come to the audience with a carefully prepared German speech, but had forgotten it the moment he entered the reception hall. This caused Francis Joseph great amusement, and he replied: “Don’t trouble yourself. If you can’t say anything in German, say it in English, and I will translate it for you.”
The Emperor proceeded, during a twenty-minute interview to help Twain through the difficulties of German, felicitating him all the while upon his progress, and finally taking leave of him in the kindliest manner. Mark Twain leaves Vienna to-morrow for a four months’ stay in England.
May 27 Saturday – The Clemens family rested at Prince of Thurn und Taxis’ country estate outside of Prague [Dolmetsch 312].
The New York Times, p BR351, ran an article about Sam’s desire to have his reminiscences published 100 years in the future:
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.