three hours, took a short drive, then returned to the House,
and sat out the rest of the thirty-three-hour session.
To merely stand up in one spot twelve hours on a stretch
3i 8 STIRRING TIMES IN AUSTRIA
is a feat which very few men could achieve ; to add to the
task the utterance of a hundred thousand words would be
beyond the possibilities of the most of those few ; to super
impose the requirement that the words should be put into the
form of a compact, coherent, and symmetrical oration would
probably rule out the rest of the few, bar Dr. Lecher.
III. CURIOUS PARLIAMENTARY ETIQUETTE.
In consequence of Dr. Lecher s twelve-hour speech and
the other obstructions furnished by the Minority, the
famous thirty-three-hour sitting of the House accomplished
nothing. The Government side had made a supreme
effort, assisting itself with all the helps at hand, both lawful
and unlawful, yet had failed to get the Ausgleich into the
hands of a committee. This was a severe defeat. The
Right was mortified, the Left jubilant.
Parliament was adjourned for a week to let the
members cool off, perhaps a sacrifice of precious time ; for
but two months remained in which to carry the all-important
Ausgleich to a consummation.
If I have reported the behaviour of the House intelli
gibly, the reader has been surprised at it, and has wondered
whence these law-makers come and what they are made
of; and he has probably supposed that the conduct ex
hibited at the Long Sitting was far out of the common,
and due to special excitement and irritation. As to the
make-up of the House, it is this : the deputies come from
all the walks of life and from all the grades of society. There
are princes, counts, barons, priests, peasants, mechanics,
labourers, lawyers, judges, physicians, professors, merchants,
bankers, shopkeepers. They are religious men, they are
earnest, sincere, devoted, and they hate the Jews. The
STIRRING TIMES IN AUSTRIA 319
title of Doctor is so common in the House that one may
almost say that the deputy who does not bear it is by that
reason conspicuous. I am assured that it is not a self-
granted title, and not an honorary one, but an earned one ;
that in Austria it is very seldom conferred as a mere com
pliment ; that in Austria the degrees of Doctor of Music,
Doctor of Philosophy, and so on, are not conferred by the
seats of learning ; and so, when an Austrian is called
Doctor, it means that he is either a lawyer or a physician,
and that he is not a self-educated man, but is college-bred,
and has been diplomaed for merit.
That answers the question of the constitution of the
House. Now as to the House s curious manners. The
manners exhibited by this convention of Doctors were not
at that time being tried as a wholly new experiment. I
will go back to a previous sitting in order to show that the
deputies had already had some practice.
There had been an incident. The dignity of the House
had been wounded by improprieties indulged in in its presence
by a couple of the members. This matter was placed in
the hands of a committee to determine where the guilt lay
and the degree of it, and also to suggest the punishment.
The chairman of the committee brought in his report.
By this it appeared that in the course of a speech, Deputy
Schrammel said that religion had no proper place in the
public schools it was a private matter. Whereupon
Deputy Gregorig shouted, How about free love !
To this, Deputy Iro flung out this retort Soda-water
at the Wimberger !
This appeared to deeply offend Deputy Gregorig, who
shouted back at Iro, You cowardly blatherskite, say that
The committee had sat three hours. Gregorig had
320 STIRRING TIMES IN AUSTRIA
apologised ; Iro had explained. Iro explained that he
didn t say anything about soda-water at the Wimberger.
He explained in writing, and was very explicit : 4 1 declare
upon my word of honour that I did not say the words attributed
Unhappily for his word of honour, it was proved by the
official stenographers and by the testimony of several deputies
that he did say them.
The committee did not officially know why the appa
rently inconsequential reference to soda-water at the Wim
berger should move Deputy Gregorig to call the utterer of
it a cowardly blatherskite ; still, after proper deliberation,
it was of the opinion that the House ought to formally
censure the whole business. This verdict seems to have
been regarded as sharply severe. I think so because Deputy
Dr. Lueger, Biirgermeister of Vienna, felt it a duty to soften
the blow to his friend Gregorig by showing that the soda-
water remark was not so innocuous as it might look ; that,
indeed, Gregorig s tough retort was justifiable and he
proceeded to explain why. He read a number of scandalous
post-cards which he intimated had proceeded from Iro, as
indicated by the handwriting, though they were anonymous.
Some of them were posted to Gregorig at his place of business
and could have been read by all his subordinates ; the others
were posted to Gregorig s wife. Lueger did not say but
everybody knew that the cards referred to a matter of
town gossip which made Mr. Gregorig a chief actor in a
tavern scene where siphon-squirting played a prominent
and humorous part, and wherein women had a share.
There were several of the cards ; more than several, in
fact ; no fewer than five were sent in one day. Dr. Lueger
read some of them, and described others. Some of them
had pictures on them ; one a picture of a hog with a mon-
STIRRING TIMES IN AUSTRIA 321
strous snout, and beside it a squirting soda-siphon ; below
it some sarcastic doggerel.
Gregorig deals in shirts, cravats, etc. One of the cards
bore these words: Much-respected Deputy and collar-
sewer or stealer. 1
Another : Hurrah for the Christian-Social work among
the women-assemblages! Hurrah for the soda-squirter !
Comment by Dr. Lueger : I cannot venture to read the
rest of that one, nor the signature, either.
Another : Would you mind telling me if . . . Com
ment by Dr. Lueger : The rest of it is not properly
To Deputy Gregorig s wife : Much-respected Madam
Gregorig, The undersigned desires an invitation to the
next soda-squirt. Comment by Dr. Lueger : Neither
the rest of the card nor the signature can I venture to read
to the House, so vulgar are they.
The purpose of this card to expose Gregorig to his
family was repeated in others of these anonymous missives.
The House, by vote, censured the two improper
This may have had a modifying effect upon the
phraseology of the membership for a while, and upon its
general exuberance also, but it was not for long. As has
been seen, it had become lively once more on the night of
the Long Sitting. At the next sitting after the long one
there was certainly no lack of liveliness. The President
was persistently ignoring the Rules of the House in the
interest of the government side, and the Minority were in
an unappeasable fury about it. The ceaseless din and
uproar, the shouting and stamping and desk-banging, were
deafening, but through it all burst voices now and then
that made themselves heard. Some of the remarks were of
322 STIRRING TIMES IN AUSTRIA
a very candid sort, and I believe that if they had been uttered
in our House of Representatives they would have attracted
attention. I will insert some samples here. Not in their
order, but selected on their merits :
Dr. Mayreder (to the President). * You have lied!
You conceded the floor to me ; make it good, or you have
Mr. Glockner (to the President). Leave ! Get out !
Wolf (indicating the President). There sits a man to
whom a certain title belongs !
Unto Wolf, who is continuously reading, in a powerful
voice, from a newspaper, arrive these personal remarks from
the Majority : Oh, shut your mouth ! Put him out !
Out with him! Wolf stops reading a moment to shout
at Dr. Lueger, who has the floor but cannot get a hearing,
Please, Betrayer of the People, begin !
Dr. Lueger. Meine Herren [ Oho ! and groans.]
Wolf. That s the holy light of the Christian Socialists !
Mr. Kletzenbauer (Christian Socialist). Dam nation !
are you ever going to quiet down ?
Wolf discharges a galling remark at Mr. Wohlmeyer.
Wohlmeyer (responding). You Jew, you !
There is a moment s lull, and Dr. Lueger begins his
speech. Graceful, handsome man, with winning manners
and attractive bearing, a bright and easy speaker, and is
said to know how to trim his political sails to catch any
favouring wind that blows. He manages to say a few
words, then the tempest overwhelms him again.
Wolf stops reading his paper a moment to say a drastic
thing about Lueger and his Christian-Social pieties, which
sets the C.S.s in a sort of frenzy.
Mr. Vielohlawek. You leave the Christian Socialists
alone, you word-of-honour-breaker ! Obstruct all you
STIRRING TIMES IN AUSTRIA 323
want to, but you leave them alone ! You ve no business
in this House ; you belong in a gin-mill !
Mr. Prochazka. In a lunatic-asylum, you mean !
Vielohlawek. It s a pity that such a man should be
leader of the Germans ; he disgraces the German name !
Dr. Scheicher. It s a shame that the like of him should
Strohbach (to Wolf). Contemptible cub we will
bounce thee out of this ! [It is inferable that the * thee
is not intended to indicate affection this time, but to re-
enforce and emphasise Mr. Strohbach s scorn.]
Dr. Scheicher. * His insults are of no consequence. He
wants his ears boxed.
Dr. Lueger (to Wolf). You d better worry a trifle over
your Iro s word of honour. You are behaving like a street
Dr. Scheicher. l It is infamous !
Dr. Lueger. And these shameless creatures are the
leaders of the German People s Party !
Meantime Wolf goes whooping along with his news
paper readings in great contentment.
Dr. Pattai. * Shut up ! Shut up ! Shut up ! You
haven t the floor !
Strohbach. The miserable cub !
Dr. Lueger (to Wolf, raising his voice strenuously above
the storm). You are a wholly honourless street brat!
[A voice, Fire the rapscallion out ! But Wolf s soul goes
marching noisily on, just the same.]
Sehonerer (vast and muscular, and endowed with the
most powerful voice in the Reichsrath ; comes ploughing
down through the standing crowds, red, and choking with
anger ; halts before Deputy Wohlmeyer, grabs a rule and
smashes it with a blow upon a desk, threatens Wohl-
324 STIRRING TIMES IN AUSTRIA
meyer s face with his fist, and bellows out some personalities,
and a promise). Only you wait we ll teach you ! [A
whirlwind of offensive retorts assails him from the band of
meek and humble Christian Socialists compacted around
their leader, that distinguished religious expert, Dr. Lueger,
Biirgermeister of Vienna. Our breath comes in excited
gasps now, and we are full of hope. We imagine that we
are back fifty years ago in the Arkansas Legislature, and we
think we know what is going to happen, and are glad we
came, and glad we are up in the gallery, out of the way,
where we can see the whole thing and yet not have to
supply any of the material for the inquest. However, as
it turns out, our confidence is abused, our hopes are
Dr. Pattai (wildly excited). * You quiet down, or we
shall turn ourselves loose ! There will be cufKng of ears !
Prochazka (in a fury). No not ear boxing, but
genuine blows !
Vielohlawek. I would rather take my hat off to a Jew
than to Wolf !
Strohbach (to Wolf). Jew flunky ! Here we have been
fighting the Jews for ten years, and now you are helping
them to power again. How much do you get for it ?
Holansky. What he wants is a strait-jacket !
Wolf continues his readings. It is a market report now.
Remark flung across the House to Schonerer : Die
Grossmutter auf dem Misthaufen erzeugt warden !
It will be judicious not to translate that. Its flavour is
pretty high, in any case, but it becomes particularly gamy
when you remember that the first gallery was well stocked
Apparently it was a great hit. It fetched thunders of
joyous enthusiasm out of the Christian Socialists, and in
STIRRING TIMES IN AUSTRIA 325
their rapture they flung biting epithets with wasteful
liberality at specially detested members of the Opposition ;
among others, this one at Schonerer : Bordell in der
Krugerstrasse ! Then they added these words, which
they whooped, howled, and also even sang, in a deep-voiced
chorus : * Schmul Leeb Kohn ! Schmul Leeb Kohn ! Schmul
Lceb Kohn ! and made it splendidly audible above the
banging of desk-boards and the rest of the roaring cyclone
of fiendish noises. [A gallery witticism comes flitting by
from mouth to mouth around the great curve : * The swan-
song of Austrian representative government ! You can
note its progress by the applausive smiles and nods it gets as
it skims along.]
Kletzenbauer. Holofernes, where is Judith ? [Storm
Gregorig (the shirt-merchant). This Wolf-Theatre
is costing 6,000 florins !
Wolf (with sweetness). Notice him, gentlemen ; it is
Mr. Gregorig. [Laughter.]
Vielohlawek (to Wolf). You Judas !
Schneider. Brothel-knight !
Chorus of Voices. East-German offal tub !
And so the war of epithets crashes along, with never-
diminishing energy, for a couple of hours.
The ladies in the gallery were learning. That was
well ; for by-and-by ladies will form a part of the member
ship of all the legislatures in the world ; as soon as they can
prove competency they will be admitted. At present, men
only are competent to legislate ; therefore they look down
upon women, and would feel degraded if they had to have
them for colleagues in their high calling.
Wolf is yelling another market report now.
German. Shut up, infamous louse-brat !
326 STIRRING TIMES IN AUSTRIA
During a momentary lull Dr. Lueger gets a hearing
for three sentences of his speech. They demand and
require that the President shall suppress the four noisiest
members of the Opposition.
Wolf (with a that-settles-it toss of the head). The
shifty trickster of Vienna has spoken !
Iro belonged to Schonerer s party. The word-of-
honour incident has given it a new name. Gregorig is a
Christian Socialist, and hero of the post-cards and the
Wimberger soda-squirting incident. He stands vast and
conspicuous, and conceited and self-satisfied, and roosterish
and inconsequential, at Lueger s elbow, and is proud and
cocky to be in such great company. He looks very well
indeed ; really majestic, and aware of it. He crows out
his little empty remark, now and then, and looks as pleased
as if he had been delivered of the Ausgleich. Indeed, he
does look notably fine. He wears almost the only dress
vest on the floor ; it exposes a continental spread of white
shirt-front ; his hands are posed at ease in the lips of his
trousers pockets ; his head is tilted back complacently ; he
is attitudinising ; he is playing to the gallery. However,
they are all doing that. It is curious to see. Men who
only vote, and can t make speeches, and don t know how
to invent witty ejaculations, wander about the vacated
parts of the floor, and stop in a good place and strike
attitudes attitudes suggestive of weighty thought, mostly
and glance furtively up at the galleries to see how it
works ; or a couple will come together and shake hands in
an artificial way, and laugh a gay manufactured laugh, and
do some constrained and self-conscious attitudinising ; and
they steal glances at the galleries to see if they are getting
notice. It is like a scene on the stage by-play by minor
actors at the back while the stars do the great work at the
STIRRING TIMES IN AUSTRIA 327
front. Even Count Badeni attitudinises for a moment ;
strikes a reflective Napoleonic attitude of fine picturesque-
ness but soon thinks better of it and desists. There are
two who do not attitudinise poor harried and insulted
President Abrahamowicz, who seems wholly miserable, and
can find no way to put in the dreary time but by swinging
his bell and by discharging occasional remarks which
nobody can hear ; and a resigned and patient priest, who
sits lonely in a great vacancy on Majority territory and
munches an apple.
Schonerer uplifts his fog-horn of a voice and shakes the
roof with an insult discharged at the Majority.
Dr. Lucger. The Honourless Party would better keep
still here !
Gregorig (the echo, swelling out his shirt-front). * Yes,
keep quiet, pimp !
Schonerer (to Lueger). Political mountebank ! *
Prochazka (to Schonerer). Drunken clown !
During the final hour of the sitting many happy phrases
were distributed through the proceedings. Among them
were these and they are strikingly good ones :
< Blackguard !
< Brothel-daddy !
This last was the contribution of Dr. Gessmnn, and
gave great satisfaction. And deservedly. It seems to me
that it was one of the most sparkling things that was said
during the whole evening.
At half-past two in the morning the House adjourned.
The victory was with the Opposition. No ; not quite
that. The effective part of it was snatched away from
them by an unlawful exercise of Presidential force
328 STIRRING TIMES IN AUSTRIA
another contribution toward driving the mistreated Mino
rity out of their minds.
At other sittings of the parliament, gentlemen of the
Opposition, shaking their fists toward the President,
addressed him as Polish Dog. At, one sitting an angry
deputy turned upon a colleague and shouted,
You must try to imagine what it was. If I should
offer it even in the original it would probably not get by
the editor s blue pencil ; to offer a translation would be to
waste my ink, of course. This remark was frankly
printed in its entirety by one of the Vienna dailies, but the
others disguised the toughest half of it with stars.
If the reader will go back over this chapter and gather
its array of extraordinary epithets into a bunch and examine
them, he will marvel at two things : how this convention
of gentlemen could consent to use such gross terms ; and
why the users were allowed to get out of the place alive.
There is no way to understand this strange situation. If
every man in the House were a professional blackguard,
and had his home in a sailor boarding-house, one could still
not understand it ; for, although that sort do use such
terms, they never take them. These men are not pro
fessional blackguards ; they are mainly gentlemen, and
educated ; yet they use the terms, and take them too.
They really seem to attach no consequence to them. One
cannot say that they act like schoolboys ; for that is only
almost true, not entirely. Schoolboys blackguard each
other fiercely, and by the hour, and one would think that
nothing would ever come of it but noise ; but that would
be a mistake. Up to a certain limit the result would be
noise only, but, that limit overstepped, trouble would follow
right away. There are certain phrases phrases of a
STIRRING TIMES IN AUSTRIA 329
peculiar character phrases of the nature of that reference
to Schonerer s grandmother, for instance which not even
the most spiritless schoolboy in the English-speaking world
would allow to pass unavenged. One difference between
schoolboys and the law-makers of the Reichsrath seems to
be that the law-makers have no limit, no danger-line.
Apparently they may call each other what they please, and
go home unmutilated.
Now, in fact, they did have a scuffle on two occasions,
but it was not on account of names called. There has been
no scuffle where that was the cause.
It is not to be inferred that the House lacks a sense of
honour because it lacks delicacy. That would be an error.
Iro was caught in a lie, and it profoundly disgraced him. The
House cut him, turned its back upon him. He resigned
his seat ; otherwise he would have been expelled. But it
was lenient with Gregorig, who had called Iro a cowardly
blatherskite in debate. It merely went through the form of
mildly censuring him. That did not trouble Gregorig.
The Viennese say of themselves that they are an easy
going, pleasure-loving community, making the best of life,
and not taking it very seriously. Nevertheless, they are
grieved about the ways of their parliament, and say quite
frankly that they are ashamed. They claim that the low
condition of the parliament s manners is new, not old. A
gentleman who was at the head of the government twenty
years ago confirms this, and says that in his time the parlia
ment was orderly and well-behaved. An English gentle
man of long residence here endorses this, and says that a
low order of politicians originated the present forms of
questionable speech on the stump some years ago, and
imported them into the parliament. 1 However, some day
1 In that gracious bygone time when a mild and good-tempered spirit
332 STIRRING TIMES IN AUSTRIA
adoption of the motion ! And only a few heard that. In
fact, when that House is legislating you can t tell it from
You will realise what a happy idea it was to side-track
the lawful ayes and noes and substitute a stand-up vote by
this fact : that a little later, when a deputation of deputies
waited upon the President and asked him if he was actually
willing to claim that that measure had been passed, he
answered, * Yes and unanimously It shows that in effect
the whole House was on its feet when that trick was sprung.
The Lex Falkenhayn, thus strangely born, gave the
President power to suspend for three days any deputy who
should continue to be disorderly after being called to order
twice, and it also placed at his disposal such force as might
be necessary to make the suspension effective. So the House
had a sergeant-at-arms at last, and a more formidable one,
as to power, than any other legislature in Christendom had
ever possessed. The Lex Falkenhayn also gave the House
itself authority to suspend members for thirty days.
On these terms the Ausgleich could be put through in an
hour apparently. The Opposition would have to sit meek
and quiet, and stop obstructing, or be turned into the street,
deputy after deputy, leaving the Majority an unvexed field
for its work.
Certainly the thing loc ked well. The government was
out of the frying-pan at last. It congratulated itself, and
was almost girlishly happy. Its stock rose suddenly from
less than nothing to a premium. It confessed to itself, with
pride, that its Lex Falkenhayn was a master-stroke a work
However, there were doubters men who were troubled,
and believed that a grave mistake had been made. It might
be that the Opposition was crushed, and profitably for the
STIRRING TIMES IN AUSTRIA 333
country, too ; but the manner of it the manner of it ! That
was the serious part. It could have far-reaching results ;
results whose gravity might transcend all guessing. It might
be the initial step toward a return to government by force,
a restoration of the irresponsible methods of obsolete times.
There were no vacant seats in the galleries next day.
In fact, standing-room outside the building was at a premium.
There were crowds there, and a glittering array of helmeted
and brass-buttoned police, on foot and on horseback, to keep
them from getting too much excited. No one could guess
what was going to happen, but every one felt that something
was going to happen, and hoped he might have a chance to
see it, or at least get the news of it while it was fresh.
At noon the House was empty for I do not count
myself. Half an hour later the two galleries were solidly
packed, the floor still empty. Another half-hour later
Wolf entered and passed to his place ; then other deputies
began to stream in, among them many forms and faces
grown familiar of late. By one o clock the membership
was present in full force. A band of Socialists stood
grouped against the ministerial desks, in the shadow of the
Presidential tribune. It was observable that these official
strongholds were now protected against rushes by bolted
gates, and that these were in ward of servants wearing the
House s livery. Also the removable desk-boards had been
taken away, and nothing left for disorderly members to slat
There was a pervading, anxious hush at least what
stood very well for a hush in that House. It was believed
by many that the Opposition was cowed, and that there
would be no more obstruction, no more noise. That was
Presently the President entered by the distant door to
334 STIRRING TIMES IN AUSTRIA
the right, followed by Vice-President Fuchs, and the two