Kategorie-Archiv: diary

diary entries of Franz Ferdinand

Stuttgart — Vienna, 17 to 18 October 1893

In Stuttgart was finally realized what I had dreamed about in the hunting camp at Tandur1 to hold my sister in the arms as a new wife in her freshly constituted home. But understandably I wanted to return home and thus the next day I rushed on home.

When the train reached the marking of the black and yellow boundary posts at Braunau and knew to be once again in Austria, my heart was filled with joy that increased all the more the closer the Orient Express approached, flying through the well known beautiful regions of Upper and Lower Austria, to the heart of the homeland.

In St. Pölten I celebrated a happy reunion with my parents and siblings and arrived in their company in Vienna at last.

Safe and secure I returned home after a long voyage around the world. Thankful to providence in my heart, I saluted again after a year’s time  — the old eternally young Imperial city.

Links

  • Location: Stuttgart, Germany and on 18 October, Vienna, Austria.
  • ANNO – on 17.10.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Ein Nachtlager Corvins“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing „A Santa Lucia“ and the ballet „Die verwandelte Katze“.
  • The Neue Freie Presse reports that Franz Ferdinand did not meet anyone in Paris and stayed in the Grand Hôtel under the incognito of Count Wartholz.
Franz Ferdinand visits the Eiffel tower in Paris.

Neue Freie Presse reported that Franz Ferdinand visited the Eiffel tower and stayed at the Grand Hôtel in Paris.

Neue Freie Presse reports about Franz Ferdinand's reunion with his family at St. Pölten. He apparently has lost weight - lanky ("schmächtig") is not a favorable descriptor.

Neue Freie Presse, 18 October 1893, reports about Franz Ferdinand’s reunion with his family at St. Pölten. He apparently has lost weight – lankier („schmächtig“) is not a favorable descriptor.


  1. While he already mentions the marriage of his sister at Tandur, it is the next day in Hyderabad on 24 January 1893 that he mentions the planned reunion in Stuttgart. 

Paris, 16 October 1893

The fog that had been pursuing us on the Atlantic Ocean still had an obnoxious consequence in Paris, as the „Bretagne“ failed to keep to its time table so that we were unable to make it into yesterday’s Orient Express. He thus had to accept the inescapable fate and stayed in Babylon on the Seine, whose charms known to me were not captivating me this time. In the evening we were to depart towards Stuttgart.

In Paris too the preparations for the reception of the Russian officers were in full swing everywhere. A hasty tour of the city to revive some memories was concluded with visits to the Louvre and the Morgue, the ascent of the Eiffel tower, a breakfast at Bignon’s and a drive through the Champs-Elysées and the Bois de Boulogne — that is the most that is possible in such a time frame.

Links

  • Location: Paris, France
  • ANNO – on 16.10.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Bürgerlich und romantisch“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Margarethe (Faust)“.
  • The planned arrival of Franz Ferdinand by train is reported in the Neue Freie Presse.
Franz Ferdinand's arrival in Le Havre and Paris is reported in the Neue Freie Presse, 16 October 1893, p. 5.

Franz Ferdinand’s arrival in Le Havre and Paris is reported in the Neue Freie Presse, 16 October 1893, p. 5.

Havre — Paris, 15 October 1893

We steered into the channel and again in the thickest fog but — „a good ship in its dark yearnings is well aware about the right way“1, so that „Bretagne“ managed to find her wet path and, using the steam whistle almost continuously, advanced without danger past the numerous approaching vehicles of all types crossing her route. Among them was also her sister ship that had set course for New York and passed „Bretagne“ very closely. Finally, finally — it had become lighter around the ship — in the distance appeared a white strip out of the ocean — „Land, land!“  we said to ourselves. The coast of France stopped the ocean waves and Havre welcomes the newly arrived in a friendly manner.

At 3 o’clock in the afternoon the anchor was dropped and shortly afterwards we stood on solid ground, European ground. One has to have travelled around the world for nearly a year to appreciate the joy that filled me at that moment.

The city was already dressed in festive bunting in honor of the officers of the Russian fleet that was anchoring at Toulon. The foreign sailors were excepted to arrive in Havre from Paris as the guests of France. Soon after the arrival we undertook a drive towards Trouville in the company of our consul Grosos and attended a dinner in the evening in Grosos‘ hospitable house whose wife gave us the honor in the most kind manner.

From Havre we went to Paris.

Links

  • Location: Le Havre, France
  • ANNO – on 15.10.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the drama „König Richard II“ in the afternoon and the comedy „Die kluge Käthe“ in the evening. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Die Rantzau“.

  1. A quip on a Goethe quote substituting ship for human: Ein guter Mensch in seinem dunklen Drange ist sich des rechten Weges wohl bewußt.“ (Faust: Der Tragödie erster Teil, Prolog im Himmel).  

At Sea to Havre, 8 to 14 October 1893

Aeolus promised much when „Bretagne“ ventured out into the sea but kept few of the promises. Our high expectations about an agreeable voyage were diminished more and more and finally totally shattered. It was as if we who had been happily been borne on the back of the oceans had to endure their huge forces once more before we could set foot on Europe’s old soil again.

The sky refused itself to be seen by us, as we drove in dense fog that partly fully obscured all views partly heavily impeded it with a few rare interruptions which required increased caution in navigation given the large number of Atlantic Ocean steamers on this route.

The sea was choppy during the whole voyage and at times even stormy. Wave upon wave rolled against „Bretagne“ that however as a charming French lady was not looking to turn things into a tragedy and danced in elegant movements over the menacing dangers. Unfortunately the living freight aboard danced with her and not always as gracefully and without consequences. But we were spared worse misery than seeing our suffering fellow travellers. At times, one might have believed that the angel of death had enclosed the ship with its dark wings when only we sea-proof world travellers appeared on deck and entered the bleak empty dining hall.

As soon as the sea had calmed down a bit, but only to recover its strength and to have us feel her moods again, there was a general resurrection on board and the persons assumed dead reappeared and every nook of the ship was filled with laughter, talk and lust for life, as the large majority of the passengers was of French origin. When even the clouds were cracked open for once, the activity on the ship resembled those of a mosquito swarm that disperses at the start of a storm only to reassemble at the first rays of the sun and fly up and down enjoying the light and the warmth.

Very exciting and interesting in a psychological analysis of the people were comparing the life on board of the „Empress of China“ among the English and here on board of the „Bretagne“ among the French. In the tight conditions of human relations on a ship the characteristic qualities of the two nations were distinctly on display like on a zooming mirror. As we Austrians were in our natural means closer to that of the French, even if a bit more earnest, it is no wonder that life on board was quite harmonic and that, despite the bad weather, we spent quite agreeable hours on board of the „Bretagne“. To be fair — it was not only the travel companions that produced lighter tones into the image of our fog-filled existence but also the outstanding equipment on board of „Bretagne“ that made life quite bearable, most notably in the first place by the excellent cuisine.

In combination with a good conscience, a good dining table — it might sound prosaic but is nevertheless true — is one of the prerequisites of a long sea voyage that keeps the soul in an equitable balance in order to tolerate worse events more easily and to appreciate agreeable ones more joyfully.  Especially thankful were we who had already travelled around the globe and thereby tasted all imaginable culinary output for the perfect creations from the cooking artist of „Bretagne“ and will keep the chef in good memory in recognition of our already too often severely tested stomach.

When „Bretagne“ was steering over the Newfoundland bank, we witnessed an interesting spectacle. Far in the distance one could see jets of water spout out of the sea and soon a dark shapeless mass was getting closer to the ship which finally revealed itself as whales. Eight or ten of these animals were circling the „Bretagne“ at such a shallow depth that we could not only clearly distinguish the shapes of the creatures but also some amateur photographers on board managed to take images of the colossi but without being able to recommend them to prior adopt a friendly mien prior. We vividly regretted not to be on board of „Elisabeth“, as in that case her rapid fire canon might have been used successfully for me to make my debut as a whale hunter.

During the first days of the voyage we were still able to contain our impatience to reach. The closer „Bretagne“ approached the destination of our voyage however, the greater became our inquietude until finally the expectation reached its maximum strain.

Ex Oriente lux! On 14th October late in the evening — in our yearning we had rushed ahead to the heart of our homeland — the light fire of the Scilly islands appeared far off in the distance, twinkling like a star and indicating the right course to the „Bretagne“. An indescribable feeling of joy overcame the mariners in view of the first greeting from the old continent. The light house rises, in roaring storms and weather, and sends its friendly, helpful saving light out into the dark night that like an angel overcomes the demon of darkness and enters by its rays into the mind of man.

Links

  • Location: At Sea near Newfoundland, Canada
  • ANNO – on 08.10.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the drama „Der Meister von Palmyra“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing Wagner’s opera „Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg“.
  • While Franz Ferdinand is already on his way to Europe, the Wiener Salonblatt informs its readers that he will next visit Philadelphia and Washington, DC.
The Wiener Salonblatt No. 41, informs its readers about Franz Ferdinand's visit to Philadelphia and Washington, DC. A visit to Independence Hall would have been quite unlikely. Anyway, Franz Ferdinand is already on board of the SS Bretagne returning to Europe.

The Wiener Salonblatt No. 41, informs its readers about Franz Ferdinand’s visit to Philadelphia and Washington, DC. A visit to Independence Hall would have been quite unlikely. Anyway, Franz Ferdinand is already on board of the SS Bretagne returning to Europe.

 

New York, 7 October 1893

Already at 6 o’clock in the morning, consul general Havemeyer came to accompany me for the tour of his farm in the West of New York. Through the empty streets we went to the Southwest of the city to the shore of the North Hudson River and from there with a great traject steamer to Jersey City where a special train was awaiting us.

These traject steamers are true monsters of which always a large number are crossing upstream and downstream. They can take in at once 10 to 20 wagons and multiple hundreds of passengers. The height of the deck corresponds to that of the dock or respectively the street so that the wagons pass directly on board and on land. Despite the early hour, there was already much activity on the river. Vehicles of all kinds were driving up and down, numerous mighty steamers of the transatlantic lines were moored in front of the big magazines of the companies. Downriver anchored two warships and multiple torpedo boats of the United States.

Just beyond Jersey City the train passes through a long tunnel and then enters into a wide swampy territory covered with tall yellow reed. Small open water areas and streams criss-cross it and some forest lots stand out like islands in the swamp that is currently being drained and filled in to gain land for cultivation. Then we came to a very friendly territory without any villages or factories. Its small woods, fields and orchards reminded me distantly about the lower lying regions of Upper Austria. This aspect as well as the wonderful, clear and warm autumn day presented the scenery in a very sympathetic light, namely because the forest was resplendent in all colors of the spectrum.

At the small station next to Havemeyer’s farm, a coach was waiting, drawn four spotless black-brown horses. At a brisk speed we drove through the autumnal landscape, past bedewed meadows and fields to the farm.

In front of the farm lies Havemeyer’s pheasant garden that allegedly is annually raising up to two thousand pheasants. Here we were to hunt and had equipped ourselves with a vast quantity of rounds, having the highest of hopes. When, however, instead of drivers, I only saw three pointers that were let loose for tracking the pheasants and ran around like crazy, and the forester, a Frenchman, did not seem to look like a „real hunter“, my expectations were very much reduced. Our results in fact were only three pieces shot and four pieces caught by the dogs which led the leader of the hunt to excuse the low result with the limited time available for the hunt, In another more distant part of the hunting territory there would have been a lot more pheasants. I however felt fully compensated by the fact that I could undertake observations of the tree during the armed promenade and admire the great varieties of oak species here. Next to the hunting lodge was the breeding farm and compounds in which more than a thousand pheasants were running around.

We soon forgot the failed hunt during the visit of the farm that consisted of a charming villa and great estate buildings next to extended agricultural lands. The villa’s site has to be called as exceedingly favorable as it offered a splendid view of the manor, the extensive meadows and the wooded hills. The villa had been built according to plans drawn by Havemeyer himself, is very comfortably and cosily furnished and mostly features wood panelling. Ivy and other climbing plants are entwined on the exterior wall of the building which is the owner’s proof that he has not lost the sense for tasteful domesticity after having gained millions. Havemeyer introduced his son-in-law to me who spends the whole year here in this bucolic idyll and is also in charge of its administration having an admirable understanding of the matter. He is a passionate farmer and spoke with enthusiasm about Vienna where he has stayed for quite some time.

As we had only an hour before the train departed, we could only visit the horse and cow stables that were equipped with great luxury and kept meticulously tidy. Havemeyer’s horses and in particular some specimens he had shown to us received our full appreciation. These are beautifully built, noble yet strong horses and for the most part output of local breeding except for some imported English half-bred horses. The cows were standing in a stable built in the form of a cross from whose center one could survey all pieces. Rich fodder was not missing so that the milk output is quite considerable. It is partly sent to New York, partly made into butter in a large room laid-out with porcelain tiles.

The condition of the surrounding fields, as far as it could be analysed out of a wagon, was very good, the soil seemed fertile, corn and rape stood in excellent shape. Though I believe that the profit from this farm whose aim for correctness and neatness, I might even say elegance, will probably be not great, a Croesus such as Havemeyer can enjoy the pleasure of such a venture without having to fear any damages. Between the estate buildings and the train station lies a larger zoo with a good stock of big game and deer.

During the return drive, Havemeyer provided interesting information about his industrial holdings. Especially important is his sugar refinery in Brooklyn that processes 1.814.400 kg of input per day what results to an annual output of 544.320 t on the assumption of 300 work days.

When we rushed at full speed over the dam of the swampy area, suddenly the locomotive experienced a defect and, despite the locomotive driver and the conductor constantly shouting All right“,  were unable to go forward or backward so that a passing express train had mercy with us and sent a machine to help at the next station. The machine brought us with a considerable delay to Jersey City.

Noon was already past and at 3 o’clock the „Bretagne“ on which we were to return to Europe was bound to depart. First, however, Havemeyer still wanted to offer me a breakfast at Delmonico’s. The seemingly impossible was nevertheless achieved. With true American speed our steamboat crossed the Hudson, the wagons sped through the streets at the fastest pace and before we could take notice, we sat on a richly set table that offered everything a gourmand could desire. We believed to be at Lucullus‘ table. The historic ragout of nightingale tongue was in fact missing but we were offered a dish that was prepared from oyster parasites, small crabs the size of peas that are found as rare guests in the oyster shell. When I add that about 100.000 oysters had to be opened to collect the necessary number of crabs for our breakfast, this gives a scale for the value of this certainly excellent treat that was followed by worthy other courses of the menu.

The friendly host and our ambassador accompanied me on board of the „Bretagne“. At 3 o’clock in the afternoon we left the harbor of New York and the New World, the last stop on our long voyage around the world, the heart filled with blessed homeward bound feelings.

I did not have the opportunity, in contrast to my original intentions, to really visit the United States, I had to restrict myself to fly through the enormous territory. Thus my impressions are not based on a deep understanding but could only collect impressions at the surface. Like the gushing and bubbling geyser reveal the secret forces in the interior of the earth, one may in other areas take the visible symptoms and make conclusions about the underlying reasons and causations. What I have seen of the landscape of North America, the huge mountains, the eerily jagged valleys, the endless plains, the enormous rivers and waterfalls, the lakes extending as far as seas, the unfathomable distances, the still noticeable elementary forces in the interior of the earth drawing their last breaths — all this carries the element of greatness in it.

But it is not a greatness that is cherished and embellished by an exaltation of dignity and poetry with which the son of the Old Europe is used to look out for and is touched by nature in the most delicate strings of the human heart — it is more the proud feeling of self-reliance of invincibility, an elementary force joined with a defiant belief into greatness that we are encountering here and the inexhaustible wealth of all kinds in the interior of the earth that nature is ready to defend from the greedy grasping hands but in this is challenging the humans to struggle for it. This battle is under way and nature is losing it. The giant Goliath lies slain at the feet of weak David.

If somewhere man has grown to meet a higher purpose, then it has happened in the United States. Here it was necessary to overcome the sky-high mountains, to cross it, to measure the plains, to make waters usable, to break the virgin soil for agriculture, to turn bare areas into living urban settlements — these great works had been achieved in an astonishing manner that deserves admiration. Man has grown on this battleground to the size of a giant, he has learned to extract one secret after the next from nature, to disarm her and turn those weapons against her.

The generation that has fought here a forever memorable struggle in human history and still continues fighting has met the same fate as the conquering peoples that subjugate others and force their compliance by the application of iron but adopt more and more of their means and customs and make them their own. The so different parts of the white population of the United States have today not yet been amalgamated into a homogeneous mass, yet still the inhabitants of the United States are already much distinct by their national characteristics from the peoples of the Old World.

The descendants of those Europe sent to the West who have led the broad stream of emigration are now foreign to us even though flesh of our flesh, blood of our blood. It is not the big water that separates the citizens of the Union from us but the nature of the country has produced the difference. She has assimilated her conquerors, equipped them with all the advantages and disadvantages that she are her own. Its quality of greatness is also part of the characteristic of the inhabitants of the United States and is undeniable but is however not rarely transformed into the bizarre, the grotesque, even the repugnant.

The most audacious ideas are born in the land of the rocky mountains and the Niagaras and executed with amazing skill, with insurmountable mastery in technology. Heroic entrepreneurship that is indeed often enough paired with unequalled ruthlessness creates again and again new paths, leading to the amassing of colossal fortunes but not rarely causes the ruin of thousands of existences and without letting morale stay mourning at the side line. Besides admirable creations of philanthropic minds one notices the most crass egoism that sees fellow man only as an object of exploitation but not as a being with feelings.

Conscientious efforts are faced at every step with competition from loud advertisements and inimitable humbug. Close to honest business, a wild dance around the golden calf is performed that here has taken the form of the dollar. Earnest striving to create ordered public administration and sustain them is all too often equalled by corruption in the leading circles that at times even invades the judges so that instead of an assured system of justice  one’s own initiative of the rawest form is used.

In all appearances that express the character of the population of the Unites States, it is — I repeat this — the pursuit of greatness the outstanding aspect while its various manifestations may at times even be repugnant they still remain always interesting. The struggle towards larger than life, the superman, lies in the citizen of the United States that has been inoculated by the surrounding nature. As they are missing the magic romantization, the humans lack the intimate charms of personality, of warmth as a being. The have given me the impression of cold individualism as I found them wanting in terms of kindness of their hearts as well as cosiness of their senses — only these treats make humans sympathetic, even though we might have many other reasons to acknowledge and may even admire them. The cultured peoples of the Old World are not sick with sentimentality. They too had to struggle for their existence but heart and feelings have not only suffered, namely in our beloved homeland, but are equal, mitigating, positive factors besides the calculating reason, next to the determined will.

A small tugboat towed the „Bretagne“ from its moorage, then the machines of the ship were put in motion and we drove downriver past the masses of houses of New York and Brooklyn, past the many ships in the Upper Bay, finally crossing between Staten Island and Long Island to the ocean past Coney Island.

Before sunset we were bound to enjoy a beautiful maritime spectacle as on that day the most important North American sailing regatta was held for the prize of the New York Yacht Club. The two best yachts of the United States of America and Great Britain, „Vigilant“ and „Valkyrie„, competed for the victory. During the whole day, New York had been in febrile excitement about which of the two would win the prize, an excitement that is always present if there is a competition between Americans and the English.

The regatta had just ended. Already the ships loaded with the spectators of this maritime feast were coming towards us and soon we could see for ourselves that the palm of victory fell into the hands of the United States, as the passing American steamboats had hoisted all their flags — a sign of national jubilee — and everywhere shouts of joy rang out, kerchiefs and hats were waved. We enjoyed this fleet revue as in a space of only a few hundred meters about more than two hundred steamers of all kinds, from cloddish Hudson steamers to delicate steam yachts, filled to the brim with humans drove past both sides of the „Bretagne“ in order to communicate the joyful news to their waiting friends. Each steamer tried to pass the other, even here the competitive spirit turned into a real struggle so that at time four or five ships abreast steamed  past us, while the people on board shouted and howled and some of the steamers fired off joy shots. Then the two towed competing yachts with shortened sails approached until after less than half an hour the complete crazy procession had finally passed us by and the ships were only visible as tiny points on the horizon in the direction of  New York.

At last the clouds from the smoking chimneys too disappeared out of sight and all around there was nothing but the smooth sea on which we drove on a North-eastern course, soon enclosed by the shadows of the coming night.

Links

  • Location: New York, New York, United States
  • ANNO – on 07.10.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Der kleine Mann“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing „A Santa Lucia“ and other pieces.

New York, 6 October 1893

During the night we drove at great speed past many cities and numerous large establishments noticeable by their electric lights that rushed like a flash past our compartment windows. When it became morning, we were driving alongside the Hudson river that we did not leave again until New York. Dense fog blocked the view on the opposite shore and only on our shore we saw many ships going up- and downriver.

At the station in New York and at Hotel Windsor numerous reporters were awaiting me whose efforts however proved in vain here too. I preferred to receive our ambassador and consul general Havemeyer during which the latter, one of the richest persons of New York, invited me to visit his farm the next day.

A closer inspection of our baggage showed the wretched condition caused by the rough treatment by the American railways. No less unpleasant was the fact that the mail due had not arrived, so that we had to give up hope to receive the with certainty expected mail before our just impending departure.

It would be impossible to consider it a true visit of New York as we could only intend to catch an overview on the fly, an instantaneous picture. To this purpose we steered first to the Pulitzer Building with its World’s Office near to City Hall Park in the center of the older part of the city. This was the office space of one of the largest newspapers that was born here every day in a print run of half a million copies. The palace-like building rises 94 m high into the air with 17 floors and is crowned by a mighty cupola. From here one gains an excellent overview of the city from the spot where in 1624 the Dutch West Indian Company had founded the first permanent settlement that has grown into the largest and richest community of the New World and is second only to London as a trading and finance center. Together with Brooklyn, Jersey as well as some suburbs it has 3.5 million inhabitants.

Like a plastic plan the complex of cities lies in front of us. First New York proper on Manhattan island that is enclosed by the North River or Hudson and the East River. To the East rises Brooklyn, to the West, Jersey City, in between extends the wide-ranging Upper Bay with the colossal Statue of Liberty, a gift of the like-minded French Republic, on Bedloe’s Island. In the distance one can see Staten Island and Coney Island that almost seemed to disappear in the  mist. In the harbor and in both rivers ships of all sizes and nations were mingling, from the small sailing cutter and the five mast ship to the fast bowers and the Atlantic Ocean steamers.

While the lower and older part of the city has been built in an irregular pattern, the streets narrow and crooked, above 13th street, regularity with traffic veins crossing at right angles is celebrating its perfect triumph. Only Broadway, the old main street and artery of New York, extending from the South-east to the Northwest, and Central Park interrupt the monotony of the urban landscape. Nevertheless the city is imposing due to the greatness of its sobriety and the power of its dimensions — beautiful I can not call it.

Four elevated trains, tramways, buses and wagons of all kinds rushed through the streets and processed the enormous local traffic as did the numerous steamboats in the harbor and on the rivers. Flowing like dark streams, masses of humans creep into all directions of the extended city.

While we looked down from a vertigo inducing sky-high location upon the cities that prosper and grow, one experiences a sentiment of awe about the highest being that is living and ruling here — the almighty dollar!

The sketch of the city received from a bird’s eye view we managed to enlarge by forceful strokes by driving through some of the most important parts of the city. In an older settlement, the business life is united, here rules „business“ where millions are born. Broadway leads, like a funnel, these lovely children of the South to the upper regions of the city and society where the golden fruits are consumed in most convenient comfort, in princely splendor, in feastful luxury. The distance between production and consumption of the millions is only 8 km as that is the length from Broadway to Central Park around which boulevards continue.

In the lower part traffic rises to a level numbing the senses, a crazy chase in pursuit of happiness, of the dollar. The closer Broadway is to the uptown the more numerous, the more gleaming and the richer are the sales palaces and shops. This is the place of those who are wealthy enough to buy the treasures offered. Between 23th and 25th street, Broadway crosses Fifth Avenue, which at its Southern end also serves business purposes, that is the true center of the moneyed aristocracy, the millionaires and thus the heart of New York. Fifth Avenue has been spared up to from having an elevated railroad or a tramway. Stately private residences, proud palaces alternate here. It was also attempted to build artistically beautiful structures but without any success as the construction style is,   generally speaking, the same and the brown sandstone used as building material does not manage to produce an effect.

As a speciality of the appearance of the streets were the numerous bars that offer the clients all kinds of more or less mixed drinks. „Hoffmann’s house“ is contributing by showing its clients images of European artists that would have merited a more dignified location.

In the United States, they love in a case of overestimation of their worth and self-love to postulate every work, every invention, every institution to be the best, the greatest of the world and the slogan „the first of the world“ one encounters everywhere even though that label is not always correct.  Applied to the East River Bridge or Brooklyn Bridge, as it is also called, one can not deny the justification of such a superlative. We were in fact seeing the largest suspension bridge in the world. A masterwork of technology that connects New York and Brooklyn, is 1825 m long and 26 m wide. The bridge rises 41 m above the river level so that the ships could pass below it without having to take down their masts. In the middle, there is a pedestrian boardwalk flanked on both sides by railway tracks and two driving lanes. Driving at a trot, it took us nearly 13 minutes to get from one end of the bridge to the other.

The further journey completed the view of numerous noisy advertisements in flashy colors in all dimensions and forms that offered an impression of busy activity attaining its full capacity. The absence of gardens as well as green squares could not displace the feeling of sobriety that some statues could not undo, least of all that of Garibaldi.

Just after breakfast we visited Central Park, New York’s Prater, where the rich society shows up and meets in the afternoon. Proudly we were informed that the garden site, enclosed by a low stone wall, had been transformed out of a swampy and rocky terrain at a cost of 15 million dollars. The extended park appears to be a real refreshment of fresh green trees, among them namely numerous varieties of oaks, and lawns. The picturesquely arranged clumps of trees and clearances and multiple ponds, among the Croton Reservoirs, create much diversion.

The Mall, a broad lane enclosed by mighty elms and ornamented by a row of sculptures offers during the season the opportunity to show off in splendid drives in which the millionaires of  New York present themselves. The rent carriages and equipages were pulled by remarkably beautiful horses — an observation that I could already notice during our tour of the city. I also saw that even the horses of the freight carriages were good specimens. The carriages themselves, however, that rolled past us in the park did deserve my applause only to a lesser degree. While they were built luxuriously, they lacked both in appearance and elegance of form. Also I was not particularly delighted by the numerous riders and Amazons who were dashing by towards uptown and downtown.

The dinner we ate at Delmonico’s on Madison Square, a restaurant of the undisputed first rank and famous in wide circles that offered us not only roast beef and lamb chops but exquisite products of French cuisine. Distinguished guests were crowded in the elegant rooms.

We ended the evening in the Koster and Bial’s variety theater, that was connected to a restaurant. We attended a show that is similar to what is offered in the Viennese Ronacher establishment and were quite pleased to see three female singers, apparently from Austria, perform the „Blue Danube“. Less inspired were we by a ballet shown at the end that had a party at the court of Louis XIV as a scheme. The decoration and performance was found as wanting as the female dancers most of whom had ended their youthful days quite some time ago.

Links

  • Location: New York, New York, United States
  • ANNO – on 06.10.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the tragedy „Othello“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Margarethe (Faust)“.

Niagara Falls — New York, 5 October 1893

In the morning I visited some of the numerous curiosity shops of the city that, given their prices, seemed to be set up to exploit the strangers. The more interesting Indian made objects are  exorbitant. The falls are present here in numerous photographic images, and I might argue that they look even more effective in the image than in nature. Stuffed animals in the most incredible positions seem to be a popular souvenir article.

For a panoramic view in all directions, a nearly 100 m tall iron tower has been built whose top one reaches with an elevator in only a few seconds. But here too one has to regretfully note that scenic attractions were missing and the eye is only glancing over a boring plain full of villages.

From Rapids Park on the Canadian shore one descends in a funicular railway to the rapids called Whirlpool Rapids. The huge water mass is heaving, creating huge waves, through the narrowing gorge and even takes on a convex form as it doesn’t find enough space. Here Captain Webb died in 1883 while attempting to swim the rapids. A successor who however had himself enclosed in a barrel for the same purpose succeeded in this daredevil venture. It is well known that Blondin crossed the falls on a rope.

In every aspect very interesting is the drive of the small steamboat that steers from the American shore at Prospect Park to close the Horse Shoe fall, so that the accumulated dense water mist is spilling around the whole deck. With great skill the captain drives as close as possible to the waterfall so that the small ship is dancing on the whirls and waves and the spectators are really blinded by the bright sunlight reflected in the spray. While the river has a dark green color in other places, here everything is white — the crashing masses, the water mist and the numerous whirls that are foaming like boiling water. The dull roaring noise booming into the ears from up close confuses the senses.

The steamboat is named „Maid of the Mist“ in commemoration of an old tale that says that the Indians used to sacrifice the most beautiful girl to the god of the fall every year. She was put in a canoe decorated with flowers and then sent over the fall to her death. When fate had selected a chief’s favorite daughter, the desperate father rushed after her and disappeared together with his child in the roaring fall. In time the tale was changed and embellished, the Indian girl was turned into a fairy who adopts those who die in the Niagara either due to their imprudence or voluntarily. Every year, the river claims numerous victims.

Prospect Point is a sightseeing spot with a protective stone wall in the eponymous park situated just at the edge of the American fall and offers the opportunity for the visitors to see  at their feet the huge water masses crash down over the rocks, dispersed into white mist. Walking Eastwards we reached the bridge that leads to Bath Island and from there on by a second bridge to Goat Island, that had numerous sightseeing spots and a rich tree vegetation, among which Terrapin Rock next to the Horse Shoe Fall was the most remarkable.

Links

  • Location: Niagara Falls, New York, United States
  • ANNO – on 05.10.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the tragedy „Die neue Zeit“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Aida“.
  • A song by Gareth Liddiard about Blondin crossing the Niagara on a rope and preparing an omelette:

Niagara Falls, 4 October 1893

The sleep was again severely interrupted by the heavy blows during the switchovers. In the morning we could again note the loss of multiple wine bottles and the injury of one of our serving Negroes who had been thrown against the wagon wall by the impact.

We had barely left Chicago on the Michigan Central Railroad towards our next destination, the Niagara Falls,  when we entered the territory of the states of Indiana and later that of Michigan. Near Detroit we crossed in the railway train the Detroit river on a large traject ship. The Detroit River connects Lake Huron and the smaller  Lake St. Clair with Lake Erie. And we finally reached at Windsor the territory of the Canadian province of Ontario.

The day was beautiful and the area quite charming as forests and forest lots alternated with farms, fruit gardens and fields. The trees were already bearing their autumn dress that was much more intensively colored than in our hemisphere and showed itself in the numerous oak and maple trees in a remarkably beautiful red varying from a light vermilion to a dark crimson and effectively contrasted by thee yellow and brown of the poplars and chestnuts. The fruit tress, among them a scarlet Ailanthus, were bearing fruits.

Despite these pretty images of which we could never see enough, I regretted not to spend the 4th October as usual high up in the Carinthian mountains in order to breathe clear air in my small hunting lodge and to enjoy pure nature, surrounded by the calling deer and hunting boys and bloodhounds and let the eye glance upon the incomparable landscape of our Alps. Man is thus devoted to his habits and misses what he cherishes.

The sudden stop of the train tore me out of my thoughts and everything shouted: „the Niagara, the Niagara“. The railway administration had arranged a stop of a few minutes to allow the travelers a view upon the fall that disappointed and disillusioned me in the first moment. Since my earliest childhood I had imagined this natural wonder that stood in stark contrast to its reality. The river falls in a completely flat area out of which rise cities, hotels and smoking factory stacks from a rocky ledge that is quite similar to a giant dam. Nevertheless I can not deny that this mightiest waterfall of the world has a quite great character that however loses much in my eyes by the absence of a scenic landscape. The dignified frame is missing in this picture.

The Niagara River is the outflow of the Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie and descending on its 58 km length by 100 m it develops a torrential velocity. At the edge of the fall the river bed is split by Goat Island and thus two falls are formed, namely the 322 m wide American and the 915 m wide crooked Horse Shoe or Canadian fall. The border between the United States and Canada passes straight through the middle of the Horse Shoe fall. Both falls together send 425.000 m³ water per minute downriver. Below the falls the river narrows and forms roaring rapids that one can watch from the high Cantilever Bridge of the Michigan Central Railroad, a freely suspended bridge that crosses the Niagara without any supporting pillars. About 90 m further downstream the Railway Suspension Bridge hangs suspended, a chain bridge that also carries below the railway tracks another bridge for the road traffic.

The train stops after having passed over the cantilevered bridge into American territory outside of the city of Niagara Falls that owes its existence to the foreign tourists and not to the few industrial establishments. Every year more than 400.000 visitors are coming here.

Soon we reached Queen Victoria Niagara Falls Park on the Canadian shore that, well tended with lush green lawns and ornamented with mighty trees, follows alongside the river for about 4 km and offers everywhere splendid views on the falls. Table Rock is the point from which the Horse Shoe Fall makes the most dramatic impression. With a deafening noise the water masses crash down while the fine water mist in which the sun weaves gorgeous rainbows is twirled up highly.

In a nearby house one receives a rubber dress that only leaves the face uncovered. Then one drives with an elevator down to the foot of the fall, passes first through a cave and then walks on a narrow runway between the rocks and the thundering water masses. It was a strange I might say constricting feeling to be in the midst of the roaring water and the rock wall. Our voices could not overcome the enormous noise. From time to time we received a douche coming down from a considerable height. The rocks here consist of sandstone and a very crumbly slate that was continuously shedding larger pieces so that the sense of security was much weakened while walking. On steps and ladders and frequent glitches on the slippery rocks we go down another 30 m,  and came again in front of the fall and could again enjoy the greatness of the spectacle greeted by another extended water baptism. Very effectively the rays of the setting sun produced a magic reddish illumination of the fall.

My name day was celebrated during dinner in the wagon and we then wanted to enjoy a pleasurable evening in the much praised Niagara Falls Music Hall. But the art on display was quite mediocre and the audience too of the lowest sort.

Links

  • Location: Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
  • ANNO – on 04.10.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Landfrieden“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing „A Santa Lucia“ and other pieces.

Chicago, 3 October 1893

A whole row of rail tracks, partly in parallel to our driving direction, partly divergent above or below it, indicated early in the morning that we were approaching Chicago. This colossal railway network is continuously extended. Broad tracks covered with rails are formed; on which the trains drive past one another at great speed, indifferent to whether they are passing through the vibrant city, cultivated land or the prairie. It is amazing that there are not more railroad accidents in view of the complete absence of railroad guards, barriers or other security features as well as a caste of officials who are seldom seen. At home, it would be impossible to send railroad trains at full speed through the streets of populated cities and limit oneself to the sign of the locomotive bell as the only warning signal. If on the one hand  there are sometimes made too many efforts at home in terms of personal security and the prevention of accidents and the traveling public is too much patronized, on the other hand, the system so popular here is still too „American“ to be worth copying.

Dirty suburbs, smoking factory stacks and impenetrable smoke clouds that hang over the city were the first impressions that we received during our arrival in Chicago. As I wanted to use the short time of my stay here fully and undisturbed to visiting the exposition, I deemed it necessary to leave the train without being recognized. When I saw a whole army of reporters with the necessary writing equipment in their hands walk towards my Pullman Car guided by an higher railway official in the arrival hall, I rushed through a few wagons and thus managed to escape without being noticed to get a carriage which would take me to the railway to the exposition.

Chicago was the first city of the North American East that I saw. Even though it is by far greater and mightier in its dimensions than the American communities we had visited up to now, I could, however, not find it pleasing. While the suburbs and the more remote districts very much resemble the already described cities in the West, in Chicago’s center, the wooden buildings are replaced by true monsters of houses that are, however, calculated for practical use only and also built without any expenses accommodating a sense of beauty. One house looks like the next one, only the number of floors is different. We saw buildings that had 15, even18 floors but without any ornaments or even the tiniest decorating detail. These giant apartment buildings that consist of a large iron frame with hollow brick fillings are sometimes very narrow in relation to their height which naturally precludes a harmonic effect from the first. Due to the smoke that emerges from the factory smoke stacks the buildings, the roofs and the streets have an unfriendly dark exterior that is still further reinforced by the dark red or brown paint of the buildings.

At the large Auditorium Hotel that forms the corner of Michigan Avenue and Congress street, we took the railway line that led alongside Lake Michigan to the exposition. A double pallisade wall filled in with stone blocks is tasked with containing the waves of the often quite violent lake at the shore but still the tracks of the railway specially built for the purpose of the exposition are often swamped to the height of one foot.

A large crowd was moving to the exposition since the morning hours and was being transported there with steamboats, trains or finally in coaches. The latter are especially popular among the sons of Albion that thus enter the World’s Fair to the sound of the whip and trumpets. The railway sends a train every five minutes; the transfer takes 20 minutes and ends on a wooden viaduct that offers a good overview of the exposition with its sea of halls and galleries, cupolas and towers.

If I want to first present an overall impression that the exposition made on me during my one day visit, I can not deny that it was quite splendid both in extent and arrangement as well in the architectural construction of the main objects. They wanted to surpass all previous expositions which was also achieved in the aspects mentioned. The exposition area of 278 ha is enclosed on three sides by the city and Lake Michigan on the fourth one. The main buildings are imposing by their fabulous size. Likewise the water constructions, the avenues and the traffic installations within the exposition even though the whole territory had been a bare desert a short while ago. Like everything the exposition also had its negative sides: The objects on display do not always fulfil the expectations. The visitor is exposed to much that is unnecessary and old stuff he has often seen before and many things of quite dubious worth. At times one recognizes the desire to fill the enormous large halls at any cost. Thus I found for instance a considerable space filled with badly stuffed animals and anatomical specimens — a transplanted natural history museum here whose reason of existence at this spot was quite questionable. Guided by the intention to present everything in the grandest scale that would only possible to be shown to the astonished world in America, one has sometimes succumbed to impostures that is looking out from under the shiny exterior cover. It can also not be left out to mention that the audience makes a visit to the exposition often not very pleasant by the ruthless behavior, pushing and rushing.

As the already indicated circumstances forced me to devote only a day to visiting the exposition, I intended to see as much as possible but especially the most outstanding buildings, then the sections that interested me most that is forestry and agriculture, ethnography and natural history. Even though a day was insufficient in comparison to the extent of the exposition, we nevertheless were able to get a general impression and managed to see the most important more closely by devoting the necessary effort. Any form of guide I had refused in order not to be dependent on the guide’s will and having to stay in admiration in a soap and perfume exposition due to the guide’s wishes. I thus rushed with the help of a plan to those objects I regarded to be the most worth seeing.

In the children’s pavilion, a spawn of the American need for sensations that lies next to the end point of the train, children in all stages of development from the newborn child to children aged ten or twelve years were on exhibit and the treatment and care of the American child was demonstrated ad oculos. That the rows of babies in cradles not always offers an aesthetic view does not need to be mentioned. Involuntarily I thought about my visit to Moscow where I had to march past the front of 3000 babies and their attending carers in the state orphanage to general hilarity. Naturally I also viewed the exhibited band in Chicago with a bachelor’s view who has obviously different sentiments faced with children than a young mother. Fortunately the exposition committee had made sure that one could see the living objects in their rooms only through large windows and thus the various intimate processes of raising children could usually be kept away from the spectator. Despite of this one had still enough opportunity to study these details closely.

More inspiring to me seemed the garden and fruit exhibition. The garden part is however quite inconsiderable except for the interesting Mexican cacti that were on display in all their varieties and forms. The fruit on view, however, was very remarkable both in quality and quantity. In the matter of cultivating fruit America has done excellent work during recent times, especially California that supplies outstanding fruit is in the lead. Unfortunately the peach and pear harvest of this country was already past. Instead in this nice and neat section a series of the most splendid apple and grape species were on view.

Wooded Island presents a garden criss-crossed by numerous gravel paths whose arrangement seems artificial due to the exaggeration of the art of gardening and offers an impression of tastelessness. Petrol motor boats and numerous other vehicles among them a few Venetian gondolas are driving in the surrounding laguna.

Coming from between the long-winded buildings of the mining and electricity exposition, one enters the main square of the exposition that presents a captivating an imposing view. In the middle of the square is a basin ornamented with fountains and statues on which are numerous boats. Around it rise the mighty buildings of the exposition area that is in effective concord with the architectural structure and exterior ornamentation. It is sad that these splendid building have been designed for only the shortest of time and will outlast the exposition for only a few months, as one can already see some damage on them. Each of these buildings consists of a colossal iron frame with wood fillings that have been plastered over with a very effective looking white stucco-like mass called „staff“.  This material, Michigan gypsum with additions of lime and jute fibers was also used to embellish all decorative sculptural works that improve the facades and even for the colossal statue of liberty that is 22 m high.

The most remarkable building is the administration palace crowned by a cupola. In its front stands a statue of Columbus while on its right are the machine then the agricultural halls, to the left are the electricity and the industrial halls. The casino and the music hall complete the square on the lake side.

Out of the basin extend two arms crossed by two mighty bridges of which the Northern one is connected to the laguna and which offer by this branching-off a pleasant spot for the eye to rest. The mentioned statue of liberty whose pedestal is grounded in the basin does not really fit in its gilded decoration and the badly proportioned forms to the imposing surroundings but even seems annoying which not only those with a sense for artistic beauty but also the most enthusiastic republican to whom the Phrygian cap is a holy symbol will admit. More tasteful is the presentation of the Mc. Mounies fountain, a colossal fountain in the form of a triumphal vehicle on which Columbia thrones and allegorical figures guide the rudder. On both sides are illuminated fountains and the basin is enclosed with pillars with animal statues in larger than life dimensions.

The most beautiful view on this great work erected during the shortest of time one enjoys from the bridges over the side canals. Despite the pouring rain and the nourished prejudices I could not refrain from admiring the offered view that was lessened only by the realization that this splendor would exist only for such a short time and not be guarded for the future.

Using the agricultural hall as a covered walkway I went towards the anthropological exposition but saw much on the way there. Thus in the show hall of the extensive cattle and horse exhibition that, by the way, I had heard that it offered nothing exceptional. Passing by numerous wind motors I make a stop at a model of the dwellings of the early cave dwellers of America. A rock has been modeled like nature with all its clefts and fissures and in its interior was a settlement at a smaller scale of those strange humans who ha built homes in caves that are similar to our castles. The cave findings are on display in a nearby museum. Among them are cadavers and human remains in well preserved states of mummification, domestic tools especially pretty clay vessels and flintstone weapons from this prehistoric era.

In the anthropological section I was interested namely in two groups: the Indian exposition and that of the excavations that had been made in all parts of America.The most captivating in the latter group were the findings from Mexico and South America, proof for the high culture and artistic skills of the Aztecs.

Among the exhibited object from Australia and the South Sea islands I recognized many well known objects. Thus a large image of one of the villages of the Papuans at Port Moresby, which vividly reminded me about the eager trade with the natives there. A proof that the grouping of the exhibition objects is not always systematically correct can be seen by the fact that in the anthropological section there were also besides human skulls, arrow heads and other objects from the stone age a sanitary bodice and playing cards from all countries of the world. On the first floor of the building were houses mostly natural history objects among them the life-size model of a mammoth found near Stuttgart. Strangely there were also a few antler and fur traders doing business in this room.

The anthropological is followed by the forestry exhibition that attracted my attention by its varied assortment of wood that come from the various states of America and are demonstratively presented in raw, cut and polished condition. Many of the jungle giants had to die to be shown here as a cut section, and next to the gigantic trunks of spruces an thujas lay also mahogany blocks that have mostly been sent by Mexico. The forestry exhibition is actually not one according to our understanding and I want to contradict the catalogue, despite its audacious claim that there never has been a forestry exhibition of a similar completeness, as there is missing any proof that here reforestation is taken into consideration as a replacement for the plundered forests. Giant trees and likewise cuts alone are not a proof for a rational forestry cultivation. And in many areas it would be necessary, even though North America certainly still ha enormous wood reserves, to care for the regeneration of the mercilessly exploited and devastated forest. Very timidly some of the industries that work with the splendid wood materials are also presenting their objects.

In an open space in front of the pavilion are models of Aztec dwellings and tall, carved idol figures of the Vancouver Indians. Inscriptions describing the horrible deeds of the especially feared Indian chiefs lured us in many of the tents in which we expected to see these novel-like figures or at least the remembrance of them. Instead these inscriptions only served as advertisements for the Indians quite advanced in civilization who offered various goods for sale in their wigwams.

The freight to the exhibition must have cost a fortune for one exhibitor and that is Krupp that has united in a pavilion monster guns, giant ship screws, mighty armor plates, steel cast and forged pieces as well as railway material. Even the transport of these objects from Essen to Chicago is said to have sunk huge sums and now the railway and shipping companies are refusing to undertake the return transport at fair prices, so that Krupp presented the whole exhibit as a present to the city of Chicago. What the peaceful pig raising citizens namely will do with the horrible war tools is however not easy to predict.

The remembrance of Columbus is cared for in the whole exposition which is given proof by a faithful reconstruction of the abbey of Santa Maria de la Rabida where Columbus made a stop on his journey on foot from Palos to Madrid and made the plan there which received the permission of the two kings. The abbey then was owned by the Franciscan order and was under the guardianship of  Juan Perez, Queen Isabella’s confessor whose influence did provide important services for Columbus. The monks of Rabida blessed the fleet of the audacious navigator before the departure and blessed it again when the great man returned to the port of Palos after the discovery of America. In the narrow rooms of the reconstructed abbey were exhibited numerous images and reliquaries remembering Columbus but there was such a crowding in there that we could see but little being pushed along by the masses.

The world exposition's Santa Maria

The world exposition’s Santa Maria (source: Gutenberg.org)

On the smooth surface of a basin the model of the „Santa Maria“ was swaying that had been built in the arsenal de la Carracca in Spain and transferred to Chicago. The flagship of Columbus as well as the models of its two compatriots, „Nina“ and „Pinta“ were built according to their true scale and presented themselves as true Spanish ships of their period with a tower-like aft structure as well as a high fore that one is used to see in pictures of the Armada.

The courage of the great Colon who had undertaken the audacious voyage into the unknown sea with such small ships is no less admirable than the astonishing fact that the vehicles managed to withstand the long and stormy ocean journey.

What a contrast is formed by the „Illinois“, the model of a United States warship anchored in Lake Michigan! It had been made in natural scale and completely equipped and manned and armed with all its offensive and defensive weapons. There is also a navy exhibition of the government on board. A dishonorable game contrary to my feelings as a soldier were made here by producing a show every afternoon of the officers and crew on board demonstrating exercises of guns, maneuvering with torpedoes and boats to a gawking crowd that has to pay for attending it. This is not compatible with the earnestness and decorum of being a soldier but demeans it to the level of a rope artist or vaudeville actor. In this country, a soldier does not enjoy the exceptional position and respect that is still assured, God be thanked, in Europe, and thus one may not wonder neither about the public display of the navy nor that on the federal parade ground a larger detachment of the army of the United States performs daily exercised for the spectators.

To recover a bit from the visit of the numerous halls I mounted an electrical train that rushes from the exposition square on a wooden frame and forms loops at its end points. Even though one mostly sees the roofs of the various buildings during this journey, it still offered the opportunity to get a survey of the full giant extent of the exposition area.

At the fishery exhibition — it is housed in a large building of a Spanish-Roman style with a richly developed cupola — we left the train and could quickly see that the content of this beautiful building did not in any way match its exterior wall. Only the aquarium is exceptional, as well as a educative Swedish collection with its boats and fishing equipment. In a large tank of the aquarium were the most diverse freh and salt water fish from the carp to the salmon trout,  catfishes, sharks, grotesque devil fishes, lobsters, crawfishes etc.

In the mean time we had developed a giant appetite but had to search for a long time before we found a restaurant whose sign in large letters of „Restaurant francais“ unfortunately did not match with what was offered. At least this had the advantage that we were not at all captured by the culinary delights and could devote our sparsely allocated time again to the exposition.

The industrial hall covering  123.400 m2 is the largest individual building in the world. The iron roof of the hall has a height of 62 m and is borne by 27 main arches with a span of 116 m. In terms of construction material 7.700 t of wood, 5.450 t of steel and 900 t of iron were used. The cost of the building amounted to 1,700.000 dollars. I limited myself to visiting only the Austrian section that displayed much that was remarkable, namely glass, porcelain, leather fashion goods by Förster and other art-industrial objects; for many of our industrial companies however the distance must have been too great and the chance of success too uncertain which I regretted but without feeling resentful.

The rainy weather improved toward the evening and the sun was shining brightly so that there was much activity in the avenues and gardens.

My next destination was the gallery of fine arts, a large middle wing that was united by pillar halls with two annexes to an imposing structure and was decorated with rich ornaments. In the middle of the building rises a colossal statue of Augustus. The art of all European countries is richly represented here and namely Austria’s artists had sent excellent works which I most often greeted as old acquaintances — thus Makart’s „Five senses“, portraits by Angeli, Brozik’s „defenestration“, the well known captivating scene from the Austrian North Pole expedition by Payer, the beautiful deer by Pausinger etc. In one of the rooms stands Her Majesty’s bust in a good likeness. Austria can be proud about this part of the exposition. The art of many other countries is unable to match the works from our home.

The remainder of the evening until the departure of the train I dedicated to Midway Plaisance, the main attraction for every visitor who seeks recovery and entertainment, being tired and awed from the greatness of the exposition. Naturally, everything here too is in giant dimensions as this entertainment venue in the grandest style forms a 2 km long boulevard on whose sides are an innumerable variety of booths, theaters, vaudevilles and restaurants, homes of savage peoples, panoramas etc. I might compare Midway Plaisance to an enlarged and extended Viennese Wurstelprater in which the cosiness and natural humour is replaced by the size and originality of the attractions.

Official Views Of The World's Columbian The world exposition's Congress Of Beauty on the Midway

Official Views Of The World’s Columbian The world exposition’s Congress Of Beauty on the Midway (source: Gutenberg.org)

The first pavilion is dedicated to the fair sex and titled „The 40 most beautiful ladies of all nations“. The rush to this much promising building is quite considerable and thus we too took tickets to visit this gallery of living beauties. In small cage-like boxes on a stage sat, were lying or stood women dressed in national costumes representing the different countries whose names were written in large letters below the sections. Here were the Swedish woman next to the fiery eyed Andalusian, the Turk next to the Chinese, the German next to the Japanese etc. to be seen. I could not refrain in the first moment to laugh out loudly as the arrangement of the cages gave the impression of a — sit venia verbo — Menagerie and my hilarity transferred to all those present after even some of the ladies joined in. Some of the „40 most beautiful ladies of the world“ who deemed their task an earnest one and seemed to be infused with the importance of their mission sent scathing glances toward the mocker, the majority however smiled and seemed pleased to have some interruption to the boredom of having to sit quietly and be starred at for twelve hours daily. While not all the ladies, and namely not „Austria“ and „Croatia“, might be counted among the most beautiful of the world, nevertheless some had remarkably pretty faces whose owners certainly merited a better fate.

American Tobacco cigarette cards 1893

American Tobacco cigarette cards 1893

The Greek woman sitting in the dress of beautiful Helen and in full awareness of her Greek profile sat on an ancient pedestal was recognized as being a former flower girl from Freudenau. Her answers to our questions were true Viennese and filled with the desire of the girl to return soon to her home. Another lady was also from Vienna where she had acted the year before as a champaign serving girl in the music and theater exposition. The Turkish girl who lay with multiple colleagues in an improvised harem on bulging cushions and whose rich costume and the flashy diadem were to complete the illusion seemed to have seen the light of the world in England. The visible joy that the Viennese girls had seeing a compatriot moved me much, but I soon had to escape to be spared a looming spontaneous ovation.

In Hagenbeck’s menagerie, built in circus form, there are daily shows that present quite excellent demonstrations in animal training and therefore attracts numerous spectators without having to use the otherwise so popular form of advertising. Four adult lions followed their tamer like dogs who at the end attached them in front of a wagon and drove around the arena under vivid acclaims by the audience. Also a lion could be seen that was very good at cycling. Remarkable is the peaceful coexistence of various animals in one cage that would pursue and fight one another in liberty. Thus an ice bear with tigers and monkeys, lions with fat pigs, panther with dogs etc. were housed next to each other as neighbors.

We walked from booth to booth some of which we left quite disappointed as the content offered did not match the ballyhooed promises. I did not visit the exotic peoples who I had already personally met in their homeland such as the Papuas. In friendly remembrance of the stay in Java, I had a look at our friend Kerkhoven’s Javanese village that, to my regret, did not seem to offer much attraction.

The world exhibition's entrance to Old Vienna, on the Midway

The world exposition’s entrance to Old Vienna, on the Midway (source: Gutenberg.org)

The theater productions all started so late that I could not attend one. Unfortunately I could not visit the much praised „Old Vienna“ given the ambassador’s opinion about certain relations of the Austrian section and had to make do with a pair of the famous Wiener sausages and some rolls that a friend brought to  me. It is satisfying to hear that „Old Vienna“ is said to do very good business and that the elegant world of Chicago is meeting here thanks to the excellent productions of Ziehrer as well as the good Viennese cuisine.

To trump the Eiffel tower, a giant reel in the form of a colossal iron wheel had been built on which wagons the size of a Pullmann Car have been attached and go up and down in a vertical circle as soon as the wheel is put into motion by a steam engine. With electrical illumination the iron monster from whose top one can overview the whole exposition presents an impression of a gigantic specter. After a slide also recalled memories of the Viennese Wurstelprater, we felt enticed to see the Lapps who led a quite dirty life in their earth huts and were just eating dinner but seemed to be very pleased about the belated visit.

If the central square in front of the administration building had made a splendid impression during the day, this was the case to a much higher degree at night, as they have masterfully managed to increase the total effect by gleaming and rightly placed illumination.  Thousands upon thousands of electric lights that followed the architectural contours and are reflected in the pool have been fixed to the buildings. From the ridge of individual buildings mighty projectors send out their blinding rays into the deep, the gushing cascades and the jets of the spring fountains glow — everything is alight, gleaming and glittering like the decoration of a magic ballet. I did not deem the hard-nosed sense of the Americans capable of orchestrating such a refined and truly beautiful light spectacle.

Returning to our rolling domicile, I finally received the long expected mail that had reached Yokohama with delay and tried to catch up with me all across North America.

Links

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • ANNO – on 03.10.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Ein Schritt vom Wege“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing „Wiener Walzer“ and other pieces.

Manitou — Chicago, 2 October 1893

Also during today’s long journey we had the opportunity to experience in a quite disagreeable manner the ruthlessness with which our Pullman Car was switched at all the crossing points. If a traveler dares to ask the locomotive driver or conductor for a more attentive treatment, he will be laughed at or receives the answer that nobody is forced to use the railway. As a proof of the force and intensity of the blows we received serves the case that nearly all our wine bottles were broken even though they had been well packaged and stored in wooden racks. The incessant use of the locomotive bells that serves as a warning signal gets on the nerves as the sound of the bell is striking similar to that of our passing bell.

During the night we passed through the great city of Denver that features numerous industrial companies. In the morning we no longer saw beautiful landscapes or canyons as we were driving Eastwards on the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad through the fertile area of the state of Nebraska, an endless plain. One sees corn and corn again that my please the farmer’s eye but in the length of time appears highly monotonous to the traveler. Numerous artesian aquifers are operated by wind motors and irrigate the fields. The farms and cities show the characteristics of a quick, overly hasty development and discomfort. The private houses  are unadorned except for numerous promotions and bill boards. Everywhere agricultural machines replace human labor. Herds 0f cattle and horses are roaming around.

In Lincoln, the capital of Nebraska, our ambassador lost his hat and baggage during the switch-over. Here too we received the disagreeable news that we would probably not find the baggage we sent ahead there on the day of our arrival in Chicago.  The much praised American railways look quite different if seen up close as when one believes the sugar-coated descriptions. And even in Italy I have not seen similar conditions such as here. Thus there is but a single baggage wagon on these enormously long trains and the baggage of numerous passengers is left behind if there is no space left without informing the passenger and it reaching its destination only 24 hours later.

Omaha, „the gate city“, is one of the main entrance way stations to the West and will be remembered for the onrush of the local reporters upon our wagon during our quarter hour stop. When I went out for a short time to catch some fresh air, I could only with difficulties escape from imminent interviews.  The intrusiveness here in the service of public opinion I could not have imagined it, even though the American press might have let one expect everything. Liberty of the press is interpreted here as fair game on fellow men whose most intimate private life is spared nothing and made public. The newspapers, from the largest to the smallest gossip rag are full of sensational news, of vilifications as well as spicy stories. In the political arena all means are used. That my person too had to undergo such treatment, that the readers were served with lies and bloopers of the most vile kind, I had to take note with indifference  which is the only dignified response for such actions.

Near Omaha, the rail track comes close to the Missouri, then follows its right shore for some time and finally crosses it on a high and long bridge which the train, already on the Chicago, Burlington und Quincy Railroad, passes over very slowly. The Missouri is a very languid river with numerous tributaries and dirty colored water.

No game enlivened the area. The wetlands however offered a pleasing view as they reminded us of our own wetlands where one can now hear the rutting call of the stags and every hunter is spending the most beautiful hours of the year. Oaks, maples, poplars, willows, in short all representatives of the wetland forests were to be seen here. Forest areas in small submerged grounds or valleys embellished the overall view of the area, even after we had already left the current of the river.

Links

  • Location: Omaha, Nebraska, USA
  • ANNO – on 02.10.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the tragedy „Die Braut von Messina“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Der fliegende Holländer“.
  • In contrast to Franz Ferdinand’s statements above, at least the digitized Omaha Bee is very respectful about the distinguished if reclusive foreigners.

 

The Omaha Bee mentions "distinguished foreigners" in Denver

The Omaha Bee of 2 October 1893 mentions „distinguished foreigners at Denver“ in the morning edition

The Omaha Bee 2 October 1893 in the evening edition includes a respectful account of the stop in Omaha.

The Omaha Bee 2 October 1893 in the evening edition includes a respectful account of the stop in Omaha.