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Excerpt from Mark Twain, A Biography Vol II, Part 2
From CXCII. "CCV. Speeches That Were Not Made"

It was hinted to Mark Twain that spring, that before leaving Vienna, it would be proper for him to pay his respects to Emperor Franz Josef, who had expressed a wish to meet him. Clemens promptly complied with the formalities and the meeting was arranged. He had a warm admiration for the Austrian Emperor, and naturally prepared himself a little for what he wanted to say to him. He claimed afterward that he had compacted a sort of speech into a single German sentence of eighteen words. He did not make use of it, however. When he arrived at the royal palace and was presented, the Emperor himself began in such an entirely informal way that it did no occur to his visitor to deliver his prepared German sentence. When he returned from the audience he said:

"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 has 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."

Contributed by Paine, Albert Bigelow


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