<DIV><DIV><P>ONE</P><P>Tuesday, June 6, 1899</P><P>Vienna, Austria</P><P>Werthen refused to walk to the cemetery. He would show his respect to the dead by his presence at the grave site, but his damaged right knee, the result of a duel, kept him from making the two- mile pilgrimage by foot from the center of Vienna out to the Central Cemetery in Simmering, the recently incorporated Eleventh District, as hundreds of other dignitaries were doing.</P><P>A duel! My Lord, how blithely it played through his mind, but how improbable it would have seemed mere months before. As foreign to him as Swahili; as much an aberration to his staid existence as polite parlor conversation would be to a bushman.</P><P>A duel of words perhaps, verbal pyrotechnics before an easily amused judge; that had been his métier. But not a duel to the death; not the too- intimate warmth of an opponent’s back against his before beginning the mandatory fifteen paces. Not the cold feel of metal in his hand from a pistol. Not such an eccentricity for Karl Werthen, advokat superior of wills and trusts!</P><P>But he had done it, and done it well enough to explode his opponent’s cranium like a smashed pumpkin, spilling crimson blood and pinkish gray brains onto the green lawns of the Prater one chilly autumn morning. It had been a life- and- death struggle torid himself, his friends, and his beloved wife Berthe of a man who quite simply wanted to kill them all one fine day.</P><P>Werthen shook the evil memory of that brutal killing out of his mind, taking up position as closely as he could to the freshly dug grave site in Group 32A, plot number 27, just between the final resting places of Franz Schubert and Johannes Brahms. In operation for only a quarter of century, the Central Cemetery was already filling up. Five hundred acres, and soon the place would be a high- rent district, Werthen mused. Half the size of Zürich, as the Viennese quipped, and twice the fun.</P><P>Here at Group 32A were all the notables of musical history: those that had died since the cemetery’s opening in 1875, such as Brahms and Anton Bruckner, and those dead from an earlier epoch— Gluck, Beethoven, Schubert— their remains dug up and reinterred here in the 1880s. Missing, of course, were Papa Haydn, buried in Eisenstadt, and Mozart, and who knew where that poor wretch’s bones were.</P><P>No final resting place for Werthen in this group. No, his bones would molder in the Jewish plot near Gate 1.</P><P>Werthen had been dutifully at his office in the Habsburgergasse this morning when the crowds of mourners thronging the nearby Episcopalian Church had reminded him that this was the great one’s funeral. What the hell, he had thought. An outing. A show of respect for a true master. He told his assistant, Doktor Wilfried Ungar, that he would be back after lunch, and left before the priggish young man could make a comment. Ungar was the sort to flaunt his double degree in law and economics; even his intimates called him Doktor Doktor Ungar. Werthen could not complain, however. The junior lawyer had kept his firm going for the last few months with Werthen’s extended healing from his dueling injury and his subsequent reconsideration of what he wanted to do with his life. Lying in his recovery bed, he had felt like an adolescent again, facing the great questions of career and the meaning of life. A bullet in the flesh focuses one’s mind wonderfully on what ismost important in life. Actually, there had not been a lot of soul-searching involved: he’d begun his career in criminal law before turning to the more benign field of wills and trusts; he knew now he must return to his first calling in one form or another.</P><P>The crowds of mourners were only now reaching the cemetery after their long walk. Their route had been marked by gas streetlamps burning at midday. Businesses and schools had closed in order that the populace might pay their last respects as the funeral cortege passed by, the hearse drawn by four gray Lippizaners and accompanied by eight carriages full of flowers through the crowd- choked streets of Vienna.</P><P>It was unseasonably warm for early June. Werthen’s black serge suit soaked in the sun’s rays like a sponge. Sweat formed at his tight starched collar. He could imagine how uncomfortable those pilgrims were who had made the journey on foot; bad enough for him after a pleasant fiaker ride. Every able-bodied official, artist, musician, intellectual, and even a critic or two, had trudged along behind the coaches.</P><P>The sight of the funeral cortege approaching down the long lanes of the Central Cemetery reminded him of another funeral just last September; that of the Empress Elisabeth, so cruelly assassinated in Geneva. He felt a twinge in his knee at the thought, for her death and the wound were inextricably linked.</P><P>He brought his mind back to today’s events. People were jostling about him now, trying to get a good position to see the proceedings at graveside. An old and very diminutive gentleman who clearly had not made the trip on foot now crowded directly in front of Werthen, his rather unorthodox and impossibly high top hat completely blocking the lawyer’s view.</P><P>Pinned in on both sides with newly arrived mourners, Werthen had no choice but to tap the old man on the shoulder.</P><P>A red face punctuated by a heavily veined nose turned to confront him.</P><P>"Sorry. Perhaps you could remove your hat so I could see."</P><P>"Nonsense," the man spluttered and turned back to the grave.</P><P>The mayor had now arrived. Werthen strained to see around the shiny black hat as Karl Lueger, already a Viennese legend for his good looks as much as for his demagoguery, scrambled atop a makeshift platform. Werthen had a momentary impulse to squash the damnable stovepipe in front of him, for he wanted to get a good look at the mayor as he spoke. He could hardly understand his fascination with this Jew- baiting mayor, but there it was: Werthen like most of Vienna had been mesmerized with the man’s oratorical skill, his magnetism and charisma. Since taking office, Lueger, to his credit, had toned down his rhetoric, no longer blaming the Jews of the empire for every woe. He had initiated urban renewal projects, saw to the regulation of the Danube Canal and the completion of the Stadtbahn, the interurban rail, and initiated a form of welfarism for the citizens of the capital.</P><P>A hush fell over the gathered crowd as the mayor prepared to speak. At the same moment, Werthen, peering around the black column of hat in front of him, caught the eye of his old friend and client, the painter Gustav Klimt, standing on the opposite side of the grave from him. Klimt gave him a wink.</P><P>The painter, no giant himself— as broad as he was tall— towered over the man who stood next to him. Werthen recognized this smaller man as the director of the Hofoper, or Court Opera, Gustav Mahler, the youngest man to ever take the helm there, just thirty-seven when he arrived in Vienna two years earlier. They must have made the journey together on foot; Klimt, an eager walker, looked none the worse for wear. As he gazed at the pair of men, Werthen wondered when Klimt was ever going to pay his long overdue bill. Werthen now looked for the family members close by the graveside, but there were only distant members in attendance. Conspicuously missing was the man’s widow, Adele, and his brother, Eduard. Werthen found that decidedly odd.</P><P>"My friends," Mayor Lueger began in booming tones guaran-teed to reach the last rows, "we are gathered here today for a most solemn occasion. On the long mourning journey to this final resting place for our beloved maestro, thousands upon thousands gathered to bid a final farewell. Those Viennese citizens who took time off from their work, schools, and homes feel in their hearts <BR><BR><i>Continues...</i> <!-- copyright notice --> <br></pre> <blockquote><hr noshade size='1'><font size='-2'> Excerpted from <b>Requiem in Vienna</b> by <b>Jones, J. Sydney</b> Copyright © 2010 by Jones, J. Sydney. Excerpted by permission.<br> All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.<br>Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.