Saturday 31 January 2015


The Viennese newspaper, Neue Freie Presse, had a daily column bringing its readers up to date on the little things that matter. First, naturally, readers wanted to know
  • What the empress was up to: She was staying in balmy Biarritz till the end of the year. Other members of the royal family apparently preferred Nice, where they stayed at the Hotel des Anglais, in case you are wondering. Next item:
  • Promotions: No doubt you will be interested to know that Hygienic Assistant Dr. Lidemann was promoted Hygienic Concipist, whatever that is. Good for him, I say.
  • Conferences: Representatives of European railroads met and agreed on a train schedule for the summer. Whew, just in time to plan the 1897 summer holiday. Also, they gave out freebies to conference participants: leather briefcases, containing a map and a tourist guide of Vienna.
  • An appeal to the German-Austrian Bicycle club, warning them of “the imminent danger of the club being drawn into partisan politics and its dangerous divisive effects.”
  • A plug for giving the Cross of the Legion of Honour to the actress Sarah Bernard. The president very diplomatically “expressed his admiration for the artist but made no promises.” The columnist of the newspaper, however, noted that
  • Women are not well represented in the ranks of those decorated with the Cross. Only a handful had been honoured so far, but to give the honour to Sarah Bernard! Next thing, less talented actresses will want a Cross too and might get it on account of having friends in high places. “And we know how many friends the ladies in the arts have if they are beautiful. Then the Cross of Honour would turn into a prize for beauty.(Source: Neue Freie Presse,  11 December 1896)

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