This is a holiday called ‘‘Frohnleichnahm,” and Emily and I arose at 5:30 and, without breakfast, we hastened over to the Stephansplace. On the way we bought a few Brodchen and two apples. The streets around the Stephans Kirche have been closed by a cordon of police to the general public, but our cards admitted us easily and we sat down and awaited the coming of the Emperor.
Punctually at 7 o’clock, a company of cavalry appeared, followed by four court trumpeters, then six carriages drawn by six horses, each in which the courtiers of the grand dukes had seats. All were dressed in gala uniform and it was a grand picture.
Then followed the Court Carriages with the Grand Dukes, and this was followed by a fine Gold Carriage drawn by eight pure white horses in which sat the good old Emperor Franz Joseph and the successor to the throne, his brother’s oldest son. The carriage was surrounded by his adjudant, six pages, two body guards and cavalry.
On account of this being a religious procession, there was no cheering but a general waving of handkerchiefs. The carriages drew up before the Church door, and the occupants entered the church where the service was held while we sat in patience and waited. Meanwhile we had plenty to look at.
Some men brought loads of grass and made a path on the street for the procession to walk on. In half an hour, about the head of the process, a number of monks appeared. These were followed by Capucini, Franciscans, Dominicans/Redemptorists and, after these, the different parishes of Wien represented each by two to four Banners and three to eight or nine priests (according to the size of the parish)—each one dressed in rich garments and carrying a crucifix. There were about 32 parishes represented.
These were followed by students of a theological school, the Magistrate and council of Wien, the singers of St. Stephans, Archbishops cabinet, Court Keepers of livery court singers, court pages, chamberlains, Grand Council Knights of the different orders, such as the “Golden Voiess,” Franz Joseph orden, etc. His eminence the Cardinal walked under a baldachin carrying the holiest, and he again was surrounded by assistants and guards.
This was followed by His majesty the Emperor on foot. The old gentleman looked spry and pleasant, and now followed the grand dukes, princes, Masters of Ceremony, etc., all on foot and in their different uniforms, Magyars, Hungarians, Bosniens, etc. The Austrian body guard and the Hungarian body guard and a company of infantry.
On the road, at three points the “Evangelium” was read. The road was lined by orphan children and societies. It took about half an hour before the head of the procession appeared again and entered the church to finish the service. Again we saw the old Emp. and some of his generals, also the Mayor of Wien, all looking pretty well tired from the long walk through the streets.
After the service was finished, the carriages drew up and the “Herrschaften” entered and drove off. An hour afterwards, the stands and been removed, and the street cleaned and opened to the public. Everything was done in such a neat and precise manner, no crowding around the procession, etc.
We found Mama at home sleeping peacefully on the sopha [sic]. In the evening, we all went to a garden for supper and a concert and took affectionate farewell of each other.
Editor’s note: Brodchen is a bun. Frohnleichnahm is the Feast of Corpus Christi.