ed 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 lied!"
Mr. Glöckner (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 momentous 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 favoring 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-honor-breaker! Obstruct all you 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 insult us."
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 reinforce and emphasize 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 honor. You are behaving like a street arab.
Dr. Scheicher. It's infamous!
Dr. Lueger. And these shameless creatures are the leaders of the German People's Party!"
Meantime Wolf goes whooping along with his newspaper-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 honorless street brat!" [A voice, "Fire the rapscallion out!" But Wolf's soul goes marching noisily on, just the same.]
Schönerer (vast and muscular, and endowed with the most powerful voice in the Reichsrath; comes plowing 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 Wohlmeyer'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 Scocialists compacted around their leader, that distinguished religious expert, Dr. Lueger, Bürgermeister 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 misplaced.]
Dr. Pattai (wildly excited). "You quiet down, or we shall turn ourselves loose! There will be a cuffing 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 Schönerer: "Die Grossmutter auf dem Misthaufen erzeugt worden!"
It will be judicious not to translate that. Its flavor is pretty high, in any case, but it becomes particularly gamey when you remember that the first gallery was well stocked with ladies.
Apparently it was a great hit. It fetched thunders of joyous enthusiasm out of the Christian Socialists, and in 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 lieb' Kohn! Schmul lieb' Kohn! Schmul lieb' 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 of laughter.]
Gregorig (the shirt-merchant). "This Wolf-Theater is costing six thousand florins!"
Wolf (with sweetness). "Notice him, gentlemen; it is Mr. Gregorig." [Laughter.]
Vielohlawek (to Wolf). "You Judas!"
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 membership 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.
Gessman. "Shut up, infamous louse-brat!"
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 Schönerer's party. The word-of-honor 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 attitudinizing; 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 attitudinizing; 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 front. Even Count Badeni attitudinizes for a moment; strikes a reflective Napoleonic attitude of fine picturesqueness -- but soon thinks better of it and desists. There are two who
do not attitudinize -- 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.
Schönerer uplifts his fog-horn of a voice and shakes the roof with an insult discharged at the Majority.
Dr. Lueger. "The Honorless Party would better keep still here!"
Gregorig (the echo, swelling out his shirt-front). "Yes, keep quiet, pimp!"
Schönerer (to Lueger). "Political mountebank!"
Prochazka (to Schönerer). "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:
This last was the contribution of Dr. Gessman, 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 -- another contribution toward driving the mistreated Minority 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 Magazine 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 professional 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 school-boys; for that is only almost true, not entirely. School-boys black-guard 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 peculiar character -- phrases of the nature of that reference to Schönerer's grandmother, for instance, which not even the most spiritless school-boy in the English-speaking world would allow to pass unavenged. One difference between school-boys and the lawmakers of the Reichsrath seems to be that the lawmakers 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 honor 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. Neverthe-
less, 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 parliament was orderly and well behaved.* An English gentleman of long residence here indorses 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. However, some day there will be a Minister of Etiquette and a sergeant-at-arms, and then things will go better. I mean if parliament and the Constitution survive the present storm.
During the whole of November things went from bad to worse. The all-important Ausgleich remained hard aground, and could not be sparred off. Badeni's government could not withdraw the Language Ordinance and keep its majority, and the Opposition could not be placated on easier terms. One night, while the customary pandemonium was crashing and thundering along at its best, a fight broke out. It was a surging, struggling, shoulder-to-shoulder scramble. A great many blows were struck. Twice Schönerer lifted one of the heavy ministerial fauteuils -- some say with one hand–-- and threatened members of the Majority with it, but it was wrenched away from him; a member hammered Wolf over the head with the President's bell, and another member choked him; a professor was flung down and belabored with fists and choked; he held up an open penknife as a defense against the blows; it was snatched from him and flung to a distance; it hit a peaceful Christian Socialist who wasn't doing anything, and brought blood from his hand. This was the only blood drawn. The men who got hammered and choked looked sound and well next day. The fists and the bell were not properly handled, or better results would have been apparent. I am quite sure that the fighters were not in earnest.
On Thanksgiving day the sitting was a history-making one. On that day the harried, bedeviled, and despairing government went insane. In order to free itself from the thraldom of the Opposition it committed this curiously juvenile crime: it moved an important change of the Rules of the House, forbade debate upon the motion, put it to a stand-up vote instead of ayes and noes, and then gravely claimed that it had been adopted; whereas, to even the dullest witness -- if I without immodesty may pretend to that place -- it was plain that nothing legitimately to be called a vote had been taken at all.
I think that Saltpeter never uttered a truer thing than when he said, "Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad."
Evidently the government's mind was tottering when this bald insult to the House was the best way it could contrive for getting out of the frying-pan.
The episode would have been funny if the matter at stake had been a trifle; but in the circumstances it was pathetic. The usual storm was raging in the House. As usual, many of the Majority and the most of the Minority were standing up -- to have a better chance to exchange epithets and make other noises. Into this storm Count Falkenhayn entered, with his paper in his hand; and at once there was a rush to get near him and hear him read his motion. In a moment he was walled in by listeners. The several clauses of his motion were loudly applauded by these allies, and as loudly disapplauded -- if I may invent a word -- by such of the Opposition as could hear his voice. When he took his seat the President promptly put the motion -- persons desiring to vote in the affirmative, stand up! The House was already standing up; had been standing for an hour; and before a third of it had found out what the President had been saying, he had proclaimed the adoption of the motion! And only a few heard that. In fact, when that House is legislating you can't tell it from artillery practice.
You will realize what a happy idea it was to sidetrack the lawful ayes and noes and substitute a stand-up vote by this fact: that a little later, when a deputation o£ deputies waited upon the President and asked him if he was actually
*"In that gracious bygone time when a mild and good-tempered spirit was the atmosphere of our House, when the manner of our speakers was studiously formal and academic, and the storms and explosions of to-day were wholly unknown," etc.-- Translation of the opening remark of an editorial in this morning's Neue Freie Presse, December 1, 1897.--M.T.
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 looked 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 of genius.
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 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 with.
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 an error.
Presently the President entered by the distant door to the right, followed by Vice-President Fuchs, and the two took their way down past the Polish benches toward the tribune. Instantly the customary storm of noises burst out, and rose higher and higher, and wilder and wilder, and really seemed to surpass anything that had gone before it in that place. The President took his seat, and begged for order, but no one could hear him. His lips moved -- one could see that; he bowed his body forward appealingly, and spread his great hand eloquently over his breast -- one could see that; but as concerned his uttered words, he probably could not hear them himself. Below him was that crowd of two dozen Socialists glaring up at him, shaking their fists at him, roaring imprecations and insulting epithets at him. This went on for some time. Suddenly the Socialists burst through the gates and stormed up through the ministerial benches, and a man in a red cravat reached up and snatched the documents that lay on the President's desk and flung them abroad. The next moment he and his allies were struggling and fighting with the half-dozen uniformed servants who were there to protect the new gates. Meantime a detail of Socialists had swarmed up the side-steps and overflowed the President and the Vice, and were crowding and shouldering and shoving them out of the place. They
crowded them out, and down the steps and across the House, past the Polish benches; and all about them swarmed hostile Poles and Czechs, who resisted them. One could see fists go up and come down, with other signs and shows of a heady fight; then the President and the Vice disappeared through the door of entrance, and the victorious Socialists turned and marched back, mounted the tribune, flung the President's bell and his remaining papers abroad, and then stood there in a compact little crowd, eleven strong, and held the place as if it were a fortress. Their friends on the floor were in a frenzy of triumph, and manifested it in their deafening way. The whole House was on its feet, amazed and wondering.
It was an astonishing situation, and imposingly dramatic. Nobody had looked for this. The unexpected had happened. What next? But there can be no next; the play is over; the grand climax is reached; the possibilities are exhausted: ring down the curtain.
Not yet. That distant door opens again. And now we see what history will be talking of five centuries hence: a uniformed and helmeted battalion of bronzed and stalwart men marching in double file down the floor of the House -- a free parliament profaned by an invasion of brute force.
It was an odious spectacle -- odious and awful. For one moment it was an unbelievable thing -- a thing beyond all credibility; it must be a delusion, a dream, a nightmare. But no, it was real -- pitifully real, shamefully real, hideously real. These sixty policemen had been soldiers, and they went at their work with the cold unsentimentality of their trade. They ascended the steps of the tribune, laid their hands upon the inviolable persons of the representatives of a nation, and dragged and tugged and hauled them down the steps and out at the door; then ranged themselves in stately military array in front of the ministerial estrade, and so stood.
It was a tremendous episode. The memory of it will outlast all the thrones that exist to-day. In the whole history of free parliaments the like of it had been seen but three times before. It takes its imposing place among the world's unforgetable things. I think that in my lifetime I have not twice seen abiding history made before any eyes, but I know that I have seen it once.
Some of the results of this wild freak followed instantly. The Badeni government came down with a crash; there was a popular outbreak or two in Vienna; there were three or four days of furious rioting in Prague, followed by the establishing there of martial law; the Jews and Germans were harried and plundered, and their houses destroyed; in other Bohemian towns there was rioting -- in some cases the Germans being the rioters, in others the Czechs -- and in all cases the Jew had to roast, no matter which side he was on. We are well along in December now,* the new Minister-President has not been able to patch up a peace among the warring factions of the parliament, therefore there is no use in calling it together again for the present; public opinion believes that parliamentary government and the Constitution are actually threatened with extinction, and that the permanency of the monarchy itself is a not absolutely certain thing!
Yes, the Lex Falkenhayn was a great invention, and did what was claimed for it -- it got the government out of the frying-pan.
* It is the 9th.--M.T.