Wednesday, August 22, 2012

René Bine - Two Sundays in Vienna

René Bine is studying medicine, but he's also interested in music and art so Vienna is a great place for him to be. His first-hand accounts are so detailed that you really get a sense of what it was like to be there. As always, the messages are written on the front of the card since the postal service did not allow messages to be written on the address side at that time. 

It's autumn 1904, and René has been out with good friends Tillman, Paul, and Hirschler. Paul and Hirschler were almost certainly classmates Paul Biber from UC Berkeley Medical School and Lee Hirschler from the University of Virginia Medical School, but I'm not sure who Tillman was.

Sunday evening Tillman, Hirschler, Paul + I sat in the Volksgarten from 9:15 11:30 drinking beer + listening to one of Vienna's best orchestras. It is a very nice resort, in Louvre style but larger. Many eat dinner there for the music starts 4 P.M. + it is wonderful how people begin to go home at 10 P.M. (music stops 11:30)

Sunday afternoon from 5 to 6:30 we witnessed a great socialist demonstration against the Mayor who elected by them proved traitor to the Socialists. Celebrated his 60th birthday, but to carry out the proceedings the Rathouse (city hall) had to be walled off by police to keep the crowd away. No one would come within 2 blocks of " + over 1500 Police were on duty there. Crowd were only once in danger of charging + were easily quelled.

Note: The mayor that René Bine refers to was Karl Lueger, founder of the Christian Socialist Party, and a man known for his anti-semitic rhetoric. 

The second card is from another Sunday concert at a different location a week or two later.

Sunday afternoon we went to the Ronacher Café [not Ronacher Theater] + there listened to about 3 1/2 hours to music performed by Johannes Müller + orchestra. Strauss, whom we heard last Sunday, may be a greater man, but I prefer Müller's band. I am perhaps prejudiced by the fact that Ronacher Café is but 1/2 the size of Sophie Saal therefore more cozy, warmer + the music reaches all parts. Everybody sips coffee, chocolate or beer but the audience is most quiet during the time the orchestra plays. We enjoyed it so we forgot all about dinner till 8 P.M.. We then went + found a very fine restaurant "Kellerei zum St. Stephan" + I tell you we enjoyed a good dinner, Tillie, Paul, Hirschler + I. We were all at home at 10.

The message continues with the beginning of a sentence: "Hirschler...", but I don't think I have that next card.

There are more though. The adventures of  Dr. Bine continue on Friday.
To read some of the previous Dr. Bine posts, click here.


  1. They are wonderful cards and wonderful descriptions, I would like to know what he had for these 'good' dinners.
    The name Grillparzer rings a bell from my days of studying literature, but I never knew he had such a splendid monument.

  2. Those messages are so interesting that I forgot to look at the pictures!

  3. Have you placed all of these cards on a map of Wien yet, Christine? These two cards are in the same park I think. It might add some clues to Rene's habits and his choice of cards. I bet Google Maps could do it.

  4. Mike,
    I haven't done that, but it's a great idea. Really, I think I should take a trip to Vienna and retrace his steps. Don't you think that makes better sense? :)



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