[This article is edited to include only the portion related to Mark Twain]
AUSTRIA IN THE BALANCE
Mark Twain Sees an Opportunity.
Town Councils, as a rule, do not anywhere pass for seats of wisdom. But Vienna is unquestionably trying to carry off the [illegible] as a modern Abdera. What has been going on in the municipality for months is a continued warfare against common sense worthy of being sung by Mark Twain. With the eye of a connoisseur he perceived that here was a rare subject for his must and that it would not be difficult for him satiram non scribere on how a great city's affairs ought not to be administered.
The eminent satirist arrived here from Tyrol quietly about a fortnight ago, accompanied by Mrs. Clemens and their two daughters. He proposes to stay here some eight months with his family. One of his daughters is to take lessons of the celebrated piano teacher Leschetitzky, here father says, and undoubtedly it is true. But I am sure the secret object of his visit is to write a book on modern Abdera. A few days after his arrival he was laid up with "toothache in his toe," as he declared. On leaving his bed, his first visit was to me Town Council, to attend one of those sittings with their petty quarrels and scandals pour une omelette. And very well timed his visit was. He came in for a really typical scene, sure to be immortalized in one of his future writings.
Honors to the American Author.
He is working very much during his stay here, spending hours at his desk. But for some time he will publish nothing except the book now in press, and which will appear simultaneously in America and England.
Mark Twain is meeting with the greatest respect in Vienna. The utmost attention is being paid him by the press, the "Jewish press," of course, as the big Vienna dailies are called. The anti-Semitic papers have taken hardly any notice of his visit, which, however, as a matter of fact, has created quite a sensation. His movements are chronicled at length, and he is besieged by interviewers. Tonight a solemn Festkneipe, a kind of free and easy banquet is to be given in honor of the famous author by the Concordia, the society of Vienna authors and journalists.
The other day when he was inspecting the new Imperial Court Theatre orders were given to light up the whole of the magnificent building for the benefit of the visitor. He went all over it from roof tot he machinery under the stage, and said the splendor of the whole far surpassed is boldest expectations. To surprise the guest from over the seas, the inspector of machinery improvised a sea storm with thunder and lightning.
In order to take another look at the auditorium, lighted as bright as day, Mark Twain bent down over the front of the imperial box, in which he happened to be at the moment. Suddenly a loud cry of "Back!" unpleasantly disturbed his contemplation. A photographer was just seizing the favorable moment to take the inside of the building, and well nigh succeeded in sending down to posterity a picture showing the illustrious representative of democratic America in the Emperor of Austria's box. Mark Twain, being asked by the gentleman taking him over the theatre whether he had written anything for the stage, rejoined: "I made a play, but it would not play."
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