Barbatta Valley, 13 March 1893

Early in the morning, there was a vivid commotion going on in the camp at Dakna Bagh, which was to be dismantled and moved 10 km South-east to the Barbatta valley. The dismantling of such a large camp like ours takes quite some time and thus started already at dawn. Two hours before the departure, our tents were jiggled so the idea of rest and sleep became impossible. Firstly, they dismantled the cooking and dining tent, then the other dwellings and finally ours. In a long row stood the pack camels to be burdened with the tents. Each camel carries on one side the canvas rolled around the tent poles and on the other side the stakes in a large bag. The elephants are saddled, the draft animals put in front of the carts on which is the baggage and the tent equipment. What doesn’t find a spot in the carts is carried on the strong shoulders of numerous coolies.

Finally the caravan was ready to depart — a long colorful vivid column which we could observe from the height of our riding elephant. In the front, in goose steps, all elephants with haudas, then the camels with their burdens, then the coolies with objects of all kind on their poles, not excluding object for the most intimate purpose. Guarded by an armed escort follow the carts drawn by the most miraculous teams. Here one sees four ox and bull teams. There a two animal team formed by a bull and a cow shares the path and the burden. There a meager young head of cattle  is exerting itself  to draw a cart; on each vehicle a Nepalese official, called Babu, is throning over; there sits proudly the cook, well nourished as  it behooves,  Here bed blankets are fluttering out of a cart upon which guinea fowl is gaily cackling; Death bringing rifles are stored in intimate togetherness with cooking tools in this vehicle. That one carries the box with the literary utensils, the transportable wine cellar and all of Hodek’s poisons. Now and then one of the wagons will get stuck in the loose earth of the path and has to be laboriously freed by an extra team. After many dangers the column arrived in good order at the new camping location where the soldiers of the escort are quickly setting out the space and the tent city is quickly built in a charming spot of earth in the shadow of mighty shala trees.

On the camping site we were met with the good news that tigers were in the jungle where we hunted two days before. The shikaris asked to go out as an advance to confirm the tigers and if so, close the circle. We were expected to await good news and then follow on riding elephants; in the meantime we did what we could not abstain from, that is, we enjoyed eating breakfast. After the end of this, one after another of our entourage disappeared into his newly built home to enjoy a sweet rest. Soon the whole camp was in a gently sleep.

Suddenly we were shaken up — the news floated from tent to tent: six tigers are confirmed. All ideas about rest and sleep were at an end. Everybody rushed out of the tents, jumped into the saddle and off we went in the swamp region where a closed circle was already waiting for us. Here the six tigers were soon reduced to a single one, although an extremely strong specimen that received the elephants venturing into the jungle with a roar, immediately stood up and ran around in the high grass without becoming visible. Finally I fired into the thicket where I had falsely expected the tiger. Wurmbrand followed my example, missed until Clam, whose elephant was attacking the tiger wounded the tiger and finished it off with a shot.

Under a gorgeous sunset — the Himalaya, with a strong tempest coming up above it, was shining in livid colors — we returned to our forest camp.

Links

  • Location: Barbatta Valley, Nepal
  • ANNO – on 13.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. Die Neue Freie Presse uses the Monday issue to continue Franz Ferdinand’s recap. In Switzerland, meanwhile, Emperor Franz Joseph paid a visit to Geneva.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Die Tochter des Herrn Fabricius“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing  „Gringoire“.
Franz Ferdinand's trip is continued until 22 February.

Franz Ferdinand’s trip is continued until 22 February.

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