Henry VIII.; thirty-eight RED squares. (Fig. 24.)
That is Henry VIII. suppressing a monastery in his arrogant fashion.
Edward VI.; six squares of YELLOW paper. (Fig. 25.)
He is the last Edward to date. It is indicated by that thing over his head, which is a LAST--shoemaker's last.
Mary; five squares of BLACK paper. (Fig. 26.)
The picture represents a burning martyr. He is in back of the smoke. The first three letters of Mary's name and the first three of the word martyr are the same. Martyrdom was going out in her day and martyrs were becoming scarcer, but she made several. For this reason she is sometimes called Bloody Mary.
This brings us to the reign of Elizabeth, after passing through a period of nearly five hundred years of England's history--492 to be exact. I think you may now be trusted to go the rest of the way without further lessons in art or inspirations in the matter of ideas. You have the scheme now, and something in the ruler's name or career will suggest the pictorial symbol. The effort of inventing such things will not only help your memory, but will develop originality in art. See what it has done for me. If you do not find the parlor wall big enough for all of England's history, continue it into the dining- room and into other rooms. This will make the walls interesting and instructive and really worth something instead of being just flat things to hold the house together.
----- 1. Summer of 1899.
THE MEMORABLE ASSASSINATION
Note.--The assassination of the Empress of Austria at Geneva, September 10, 1898, occurred during Mark Twain's Austrian residence. The news came to him at Kaltenleutgeben, a summer resort a little way out of Vienna. To his friend, the Rev. Jos. H. Twichell, he wrote:
"That good and unoffending lady, the Empress, is killed by a madman, and I am living in the midst of world-history again. The Queen's Jubilee last year, the invasion of the Reichsrath by the police, and now this murder, which will still be talked of and described and painted a thousand a thousand years from now. To have a personal friend of the wearer of two crowns burst in at the gate in the deep dusk of the evening and say, in a voice broken with tears, 'My God! the Empress is murdered,' and fly toward her home before we can utter a question--why, it brings the giant event home to you, makes you a part of it and personally interested; it is as if your neighbor, Antony, should come flying and say, 'Caesar is butchered--the head of the world is fallen!'
"Of course there is no talk but of this. The mourning is universal and genuine, the consternation is stupefying. The Austrian Empire is being draped with black. Vienna will be a spectacle to see by next Saturday, when the funeral cort`ege marches."
He was strongly moved by the tragedy, impelled to write concerning it. He prepared the article which follows, but did not offer it for publication, perhaps feeling that his own close association with the court circles at the moment prohibited this personal utterance. There appears no such reason for withholding its publication now.
A. B. P.
The more one thinks of the assassination, the more imposing and tremendous the event becomes. The destruction of a city is a large event, but it is one which repeats itself several times in a thousand years; the destruction of a third part of a nation by plague and famine is a large event, but it has happened several times in history; the murder of a king is a large event, but it has been frequent.
The murder of an empress is the largest of all events. One must go back about two thousand years to find an instance to put with this one. The oldest family of unchallenged descent in Christendom lives in Rome and traces its line back seventeen hundred years, but no member of it has been present in the earth when an empress was murdered, until now. Many a time during these seventeen centuries members of that family have been startled with the news of extraordinary events--the destruction of cities, the fall of thrones, the murder of kings, the wreck of dynasties, the extinction of religions, the birth of new systems of government; and their descendants have been by to hear of it and talk about it when all these things were repeated once, twice, or a dozen times--but to even that family has come news at last which is not staled by use, has no duplicates in the long reach of its memory.