Schlagwort-Archiv: hunting

Tanggeng to Buitenzorg, 26 April 1893

At 1 o’clock in the  night the rain finally relented a bit. A short time after the joyful message arrived that it would be possible after all to cross the river as it had rained not as much up in the mountains and the water was falling fast. This message was naturally received with great pleasure. At half past 3 o’clock in the morning we were already ready to mount but as the natives did not seem to be early risers  it took some time until our night caravan started moving. As the horses needed first to be saddled, the drivers awoken and finally lanterns and torches were missing without which it would be impossible to move in the pitch-black night. Energetic sometimes not very courteous words helped to assemble the drowsy people in the place and some time after 4 o’clock in the morning we were riding one after another out of Tanggeng with a torch bearer spaced between every fourth or fifth rider. The expression of torch bearer is somewhat euphemistic as the torches were but burning kindling — naturally once again made out of bamboo!

The heavily swollen Tji Buni was crossed over a bridge; then it went up into the mountains where we often had to dismount as the horses had trouble moving over the smooth steep trails while they were burdened by riders. Thus we advanced reasonably and when we came to the ford at the next river whose crossing was said to be especially dangerous, it was already dawning so that we noticed with real joy how much the water level had fallen in the mean time. The crossing thus did not prove especially difficult. The horses still sunk down deep into the water but reached without troubles the other shore. As quickly as the mountain streams on Java rise into torrents, as quickly the water drains off,  so that the river soon took his usual course. The next and last ford was strangely a bit lower than the first time we crossed it.

After we had successfully crossed a number of rivers  namely Tji Buni, Tji Lumut and Tji Djampang, our mood improved greatly as the most beautiful part of the ride now lay in front of us, namely the route of Tji Djampang to the plantations in Sukanagara.

While climbing a ridge I discovered on a tall tree covered with all kinds of climbing plants multiple monkeys of which I bagged one specimen.This one had a rare, very beautiful long-haired grey coat similar to that of a silky pinscher, a black face and black extremities. After I had handed over the bagged monkey to a coolie and had ridden on some distance I heard again on a tall tree the voices of monkeys and saw a group of the large black Budengs that were sitting quietly in the branches. In spite of the height at which the animals were, I shot and bagged with four shots one of the monkeys, an especially large male that seemed to be the leader of the tribe. The monkey had just crushed down with a heavy fall from a branch, when the whole group started to move vividly. The monkeys jumped wildly around in the branches and rushed from tree to tree. Partly they used lianas that connected the different trees as bridges partly they jumped the wide distances to the next tree, holding on to its trunk only to rush on in an instant. Having lost their leader, the monkeys did not seem to know where to flee and jumped around without a plan so that I succeeded in bagging another six beautiful specimens.

In Sukanagara we were hospitably received again for a short time by Mr. Vlooten. Not yet 3 o’clock in the afternoon, we happily arrived at Tjibeber station. Our horses had performed admirably as we could not spare them in order to arrive on time and thus were required to continuously drive them on the long bad route.

That part of the baggage that had already reached its destination was quickly loaded onto the wagons. The rest of the baggage had not reached Tjibeber and was to be sent after us the next day. At the set hour our train whisked us away to Buitenzorg.

Midway in the route, Mr Kerkhoven, Baron van Heeckeren and Mr. Borrel left the train to return to their plantations. The three gentlemen had been very pleasant hunting companions during the whole expedition thanks to their natural and jovial character. I had learned to esteem them greatly and thus saying good-bye was very heartfelt.

In Buitenzorg whose main street was still populated by many pedestrians I entered the palace of the governor general where we dined talking about the expedition to the camp about Tjipandak.

Links

  • Location: Buitezorg (Bogor), Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 26.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Die Zauberin am Stein“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Die Rantzau“.

Tjipandak, 23. April 1893

As it had stopped raining — apparently honoring the fact that it was our final day in Tjipandak, I left the camp at the earliest time in the morning, despite the till ominous outlook at dawn, to hunt for peacocks on the way to the Banteng hunt. I did not see any peacocks though and just shot a Javanese jungle cock. It proved to be fatal that on this hunt I had to restrict myself to gestures with my Malay guide which was unsuccessful. Again and again, while he showed me his respect in the local manner by crouching and raising his hands in the air, he led me incessantly in circles and scared off all game with his gesturing.

Reunited with the gentlemen of my entourage we rode a new route that was in no way less difficult and had as many bad passages as those of the earlier hunting days. We were only spared having to wade through the river. The route went up and down the hills until it was finally declared that we had arrived at the hunting position where we noticed that it was the same one where Mr. Borrel had killed a Bateng three days before. This time, however, the drive would come from the opposite direction, probably to deceive us with this little stratagem. So I did have little hope to be successful right from the beginning.

As the sun was burning intensively, I had a screen built out of palm leaves behind which I sat down with my whole arsenal of guns and talked with Hodek. The hunt covering actually only a small area still lasted for a full three hours, which led me to the presumption that the drivers too had spent some time in the „shadow of a cool thinking space“. Towards noon, heavy rain fell and we were completely wet within minutes.

After a long wait the hunters and drivers finally snook up individually and tol about fresh tracks but could not offer more precise descriptions. The expedition thus was totally without result in terms of big game and especially Bantengs. The local hunters are used to hunt much later than the current season precisely as a successful catch is unlikely at present. Finally Mr. Kerkhoven told us that in this hunting ground many signs of game had been identified such as huts, tracks etc.

Despite the hunt’s failure — our actual goal — I will never regret this expedition; as I have gained an understanding in the culture of this still undeveloped region of Java, enjoyed myself seeing the splendors of the tropical jungle and spent a few agreeable days in our cozy hut camp at the shore of the beautiful Tji Pandak.

In the evening Hodek took some photographic images. Then we hunted until the approach of darkness and bagged a few specimens for the ornithological collection. Unfortunately, there were two cases of illness. Wurmbrand suffered from the effects of a heavy cold so that he could not participate in the hunt today, while again one of our crew was struck by heavy fever.

Links

  • Location: Tji Pandak, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 23.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Der Traum, ein Leben“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Don Juan“.

Tjipandak, 22 April 1893

Rain, nothing but rain. Already during the whole night the heavy drops of rain hit the palm roofs of our huts and it trickled through now and then, so that the already wet possessions were completely soaked. Black clouds were hanging low in the sky as if the sky had opened up all sluices. As soon as the rain relented a little bit, a new downpour followed with an intensity unknown at home. In such conditions it was impossible to think about hunting, as the river was so swollen that it seemed impossible to cross it. The drivers and the hunters too could not have been motivated to move and enter into the thicket. Thus we had to be patient and spent the day with weather observations that however provided only very regrettable results.

As it happens in such cases we spent the time in eating in short intervals and complained extensively about the weather and the vexed rainy season. The water in the river rose so much and, by the way, the push back of the sea was noticeable in the waves of the river too, that we feared about our bathing hut and had to protect it.

As expected the harsher consequences of the bad weather did manifest themselves. One of our servants was struck by a heavy fever due to the constant wetness in which we are living and it its expected that we will see more sick cases.

Only after 5 o’clock in the evening the rain started to diminish a bit, so that we decided despite the great humidity to undertake a small hunting tour in the vicinity of the camp. I climbed a hill above the huts where palm groves extended between Alang grass areas. I bagged multiple doves, among them especially fruit doves. In the distance I also saw two monkeys and a beautiful but unfortunately very timid Javanese peacock sitting on a barren palm tree. The attempt to get closer failed as the thicket that separated me from it proved completely impenetrable. In fact sneaking up on game is nearly impossible here due to the noise involuntarily caused by any movement. I did not manage to bag a Javanese hornbill either of which multiple flew high up above the trees during the day.

From the hill I hunted down to the sea coast. There I met the other gentlemen and returned to camp only after it was completely dark.

Links

  • Location: Tji Pandak, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 22.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Neue Freie Presse features a correspondent report in Calcutta about FF’s hunt in Nepal dated from 4 April 1893.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Bürgerlich und romantisch“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the ballet „Die goldene Märchenwelt“.

Tjipandak, 21 April 1893

The outlook of catching Bantengs was not very good. Mr. Kerkhoven did not feel well in the morning and decided to stay in camp. Our chief hunter, the Mohammedan Haji, had received news that his daughter had died during the night from fever, an illness that had broken out only nine hours before. The poor man immediately departed to his far away home village to attend the funeral of his dead child.

Thus  we rode under the guidance of Baron van Heeckeren into the hunting ground where we had already hunted the day before and where we would hunt on the opposite ledge of our hunting stands of the day before. The drive again took up three hours. I had a very beautiful stand with good open space. In front of me lay a valley which looked very inviting, but unfortunately nothing emerged out of it. I believed however once hearing noise of breaking. The drivers too claimed to have seen a Banteng. As no shooter noticed anything, this bull must have been a mythical one.

The heat was not as sweltering hot as the day before but still  severe, so that upon my insistence another drive was improvised. The drivers ignited the grass from all sides and entered a certain distance into the jungle  but soon re-emerged out of the thickets. Due to the tiredness of the drivers and their lack of engagement this drive too ended without success.

After the usual bath while wading the river we were already at 4 o’clock in the camp where we failed to meet Mr. Kerkhoven as he had gone out for a peacock hunt, a good sign for his recovery.

It still seemed to early to stay at home and thus we picked up our pellet guns and hunted in the thickets close to our camp to complete the ornithological collection. Even though it was very difficult to advance in the jungle and the nearly impenetrable Alang grass so that we had to struggle at nearly every step, we nevertheless bagged in a relatively short time a quite respectable quantity of birds, among them some interesting species such as the multi-colored Javanese pink-necked green pigeon (Osmotreron vernans); then the green imperial pigeon (Carpophaga aenea); furthermore brown large cuckoo dove (Macropygia emiliana); lineated barlet (Cyanops lineata), red minivets; Java sparrows (Munia oryzivora) and multiple specimens of a glittering dark-green glossy black mynah (Calornis chalybea), as well as various species of swallows. In the evening Mr. Kerkhoven returned from his hunt with a beautiful Javanese peacock hen.

When we assembled in the camp, a heavy rain comae down, that even pierced the roofs of our huts. Still we passed the time in a  very cozy manner: Our hunters yodeled and Hodek presented famous poems of Stieler in Upper-Austrian dialect.

No wonder that I was taken by a quiet reminder of homesickness, that in the midst of this gorgeous tropical world my thoughts flew towards my home, that many memories of the beautiful days spent in Upper Austria were recalled — especially now were recalled when spring entered into the land at home and nature starts blooming anew after the winter’s rest, the ground starts ornamenting itself with young grass and the mountain cock high up in the mountains, sitting on an old weathered fir tree starts singing his amorous song until the hunter’s bullet throws him off, the shoot echoing like thunder breaking against the mountain face and the joyful shout is sent down to the valley veiled in mist.

In the tropics nature reveals to the astonished eye the luxurious splendor of its wonders, intoxicates the senses, when we feel surrounded by the jungle’s magic in the sweltering mugginess — in the mountains at home, nature is met veiled by its poetic charms, talks to the heart when we look up out of the dark coniferous woods to the firns bathed in a hint of pink, announcing dawn.

Links

  • Location: Tji Pandak, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 21.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Kriemhilde“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Der Troubadour“.

Tjipandak, 20 April 1893

The ground for the Banteng hunt today was considerably farther away than the one the day before. Only after a three hour march did we reach our destination. The ride during which we had, like the day before, to cross the river multiple times lead almost continuously through Alang grass without the need to overcome any especially difficult terrain obstacles. Only one time there was a very steep gorge to pass which seemed impassable for horses but which our local nags overcame in a truly admirable way, as they slided and glided, sitting on their rear legs, down into the gorge without accident and then climbing almost vertically up out of the deep again while we on foot were only getting across with difficulties over the stone plates and the smooth clay underground.

During our ride I saw on a hill in the distance the head of a deer rise out of the tall grass. The attempt to sneak up to the shy game was unsuccessful.

This time too the drive pushed towards forests down in the valley but the hunting positions were taken up along a ridge. Mr. Kerkhoven first positioned me at the lowest level and had the intention to put one of my gentlemen in the closest upward position. By a mistake of the native who Mr. Kerkhoven had sent back with the order of this arrangement it was Mr. Borrel and not one of my gentlemen who took up position next to me. I sat under a tree and had to suffer during the three hours of the drive much exposure to heat as the tree offered no shade, even more so as it deemed necessary in the interest of the hunt to keep very quiet. Thus I could only sit quietly and envy the legions of ants that were running up and down unimpressed by the heat. The open space around the position was very limited.

After the lifting shot I heard a strong breaking that could only be the result of large game but soon everything was quiet again. Some time afterwards my neighbor fired a shot then I saw and heard nothing more than the monotonous rattles of the drivers in the defensive line.

Finally at the end of the drive, Mr. Borrel approached me and apologized vividly that he had shot a Banteng bull, convinced that the piece would not come into the range of my rifle. How correct this was I could not assess. In any way, I was not much pleased that neither I nor one of my gentlemen had had hunter’s luck and looked with much shooter’s envy upon the capital bull that distinguished itself by its remarkable size and strength.

Much taller than our strongest cattle the Banteng stands on high legs. Its mighty head is ornamented with upward pointing crooked horns. The top skin is glittering black. The extremities below the knee are white as snow. When a Banteng moves through the thicket, one can hear from afar the breaking and crackle of the branches that are crushed by the animals. In the forests which we were passing through today we found everywhere large quantities of broken and dry bamboo sticks — apparent marks of the mighty Bantengs.

Mr. Kerkhoven who stood there somewhat annoyed that the bull had been killed not by me but Mr. Borrel had seen a Banteng cow in the distance. Wurmbrand too saw three animals that crossed at a great distance. Even though there was time to continue the hunt, the retreat was sounded because a heavy storm was brewing on the horizon and our hunting master feared that a heavy rain would make crossing the river impossible. But the storm cleared up and we only were touched by a few rain drops.

As hunters, drivers and dogs were already lost and thus the hunt was over for today, we wanted to use the remaining time after the return to the camp to fish in the river. It was not an especially beautiful way of fishing that we were practising. We namely used dynamite which all of our rational fishermen would have found abhorrent, but we wanted mostly to know whether there were any fishes in the river and if so of what species. Here too the natives had claimed that the river contained crocodiles. Thus dynamite was the quickest and safest means to answer these questions.

The river was closed off a few hundred paces downstream with a net. Then the Dutch gentlemen started adjusting the dynamite cartridges while my hunter as a former NCO of the engineer corps had to provide them with help and advice.  With the greatest calm they were handling dynamite and fuses in our dining hut After they had prepared everything without causing a rightfully feared explosion, the cartridges were hurled into the river after their fuses had been lighted. The explosion followed soon afterwards but for the present without the desired success as no fish appeared on the water surface.

We, I and some of the gentlemen, had in the mean time gained control of a vehicle composed out of two canoes bound together by bamboo and were expecting to find some fishes. As we took it upon ourselves to guide the vehicle with bamboo sticks, we played a miserable role as our double boat either was turning in a circle or with a loud crash hit the shore, so that we attracted the attention of the natives who had remained on land and generated general merriment. We did not catch any fishes but instead Clam fell head first into the water at a very deep spot while in the midst of busy rowing and touched the underside of a canoe with his head but was rescued out of the river by a united effort.

After this intermezzo we considered it advisable to desist from testing our nautical skills further but disembarked in order to observe the next effects of the exploder on land. As for quite some time no aquatic animal became visible in the river, we finally returned home.  Half an hour later, a native brought us a basket filled with dead fishes and told us that many hundreds of fishes were being washed down the river without a possibility to catch them as the people with the nets had already gone away. My knowledge in ichthyology were unfortunately insufficient to determine the specimens precisely that had become victims of the dynamite. One of the fishes with a remarkable red coloring of the scales could be possibly classified as a barbel.

Links

  • Location: Tji Pandak, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 20.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „De Widerspänstige“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Carmen“.

Sindangbarang to Tjipandak, 19 April 1893

A consequence of the unwelcome Ramelan feast was that we, unfortunately, were absolutely unable to get our horses in the morning and neither horse keepers nor coolies nor village elders could be found. Everybody was still at rest after the joys of the day before and we were finally  starting to move towards 6 o’clock in Sindangbarang, despite being ready for departure since half past 4 o’clock. Sleepily the caravan moved towards the sea.

The ride in the soft sand of the dune was very attractive as the prescribed route led almost all alongside the coast and we had the wide blue sea with its mighty waves crashing into the shore to our right and the green coastal hills on the left. The morning before sunrise was agreeably cool and the fine water mist of the crashing waves was refreshing us and the horses. After two hours the tide increased more and more and the outliers of the waves were splashing under the feet of our horses. The crashing waves on the Southern coast of Java that approach in giant waves from the open sea only to foamingly break against the insurmountable wall is one of the noble sights of nature which the eye never tires to look at, which the memory will forever preserve. Enormous, boundless, holy is the power of the elements; how small and weak is man in comparison!

Thousands of crabs were running back and forth on the warm sand in which we found large pieces of pumice which the sea has disgorged and which are said to come from the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883.

Near a cadaver of a dead horse I observed a sea eagle with a fully white breast and head in the same color. Later I saw a second specimen sitting on a barren palm tree.

At one place rocks were barring the way to the beach so that we had to take a detour deep into the shore land- Even there we were faced with many obstacles, especially the rather wide Tji Udjong (Oedjong) that lay in such turns that we had to cross it three times in a very short distance. The first time on an improvised raft on which the horses were loaded too. the other two times wading across whereas we were submerged rather deeply in the water. An especially stubborn pony jumped from the raft into the river and swam happily to the other shore so that this intermezzo had no other disadvantage than the fact that the rider of that pony had to sit on a water-soaked saddle.

The wading of the river offered a pretty view due to the depth of the water: In front rode always our local guide, then followed I on my white mare which by the way behaved very sensibly in the water, then the other gentlemen and at the end the hunting baggage train on ponies which advanced partly swimming partly splashing and sometimes only keeping the head above the water.

We became in fact completely wet during each crossing but considered this an agreeable bath as the heat was intense. The sun mean very well, it sent its vertical hot rays down upon us. The temperature was today for once suitable for an equatorial zone!

Again at the beach we finally turned after a ride of 20 km to the north and stood after a short while in front of the camp in Tjipandak which we would occupy during the next few days. Something more habitable and cosy one could not find. With loud shouts of joy and appreciation we greeted Mr. Borrel, a  friend of Kerkhoven, who had rushed ahead a few days before to create this camp here. At the shore of the glittering blue Tji Pandak that rushes similar to a mountain river were huts between green trees, built airily completely out of bamboo while  palm leaves formed the walls and the roof. In the center of the camp stood some kind of platform on poles under a palm leaves roof which was to serve as our dining room. To the right was my accommodation, to the left those of my entourage. In the background were huts intended for Hodek and the servants. For the horses there were provided open barns. In front of the camp there was a small hut in the water to allow taking a bath or sunning oneself without the danger of catching a sunstroke.

This was all but just the right kind for a camp in the jungle. Mr. Borrel had fully taken into consideration the climatic and local relations and left out every unnecessary comfort; one could thus live completely out in the open but was protected against the sun and enjoyed the agreeable refreshing night thanks to the river nearby.

Thus we intend to live truly in an Arcadian way in our small valley cut off from the world. The hours not devoted to hunting we wanted to spend in conversation and rest in the dining hut, dive from time to time into the water of the mountain river whose clear cool water offers a delicious bath and would refresh us. No mail, no telegraph, no steaming locomotive would interrupt the pleasant calm. I greet you, virginal nature that surrounds us here in such a lovely manner! Today still, a hunt was planned. The result of my desires namely should be to bag a Banteng and bring its splendidly horned head back as a trophy.  Bantengs (Bos sondaicus) which live in herds are truly the largest wild cattle of the present era in the Indian islands, Siam and Burma. Mr. Borrel reported that all was ready and placed himself as a guide on a Sandelhout pony  at the front of the column. Close to the camp fresh tracks of Bantengs had been found and thus two drives were to be undertaken from there. The ride to the place was again very tiring for the horses as we had to pass over very steep ridges and the river had to be waded across three times. The first two crossings went rather well, at the last one we had to go so deep into the rapidly flowing water that the small ponies came across only with difficulties.

The ground we wanted to hunt in had a different character than the areas we had up to now crossed. The formation, however, was the same, but here the highlands cut by valleys and filled with gorges was not covered equally with woods anymore but had extended green areas  with Alang grass between patches of woods. Apparently large forest fires had raged here some time ago and laid bare the ground in numerous places.

This spot was the favorite place of the Bantengs that stay in the thickets of the woods during the day and venture out towards evening to those spots where the Alang grass offers saplings for grazing.  The only possible art of hunting Bantengs here is the drive, a chase through the impenetrable thickets is not possible. After the end of the rainy season, that is the beginning of May,  the natives ignite the dry Alang areas so that then the game can be easily discovered in forest clusters and confirmed. Drives can then be immediately undertaken. Unfortunately my presence on Java was still during the rainy season, which made hunting extremely difficult due to the tall and still green Alang grass. The discovery of game was nearly impossible and even game that emerged out of a thicket was only visible from a few paces away in the tall dense grass — The Alang grass was in many places so high that not even a horse could be seen in it, the points of the grass stalks could even rise higher than the head of a rider.

Hunting Bantengs is performed in the current era in the following matter: The drivers surround a clearing and defend it in creating great noise with bamboo rattles after the lifting shot, while individual hunters enter into the clearing and as soon as they have found a track, send out the dogs that will bark as soon as they discover the game. If this method is unsuccessful, all are ordered to advance into the clearing if this is possible but usually without much success due to the hunting methods used everywhere in the southern regions.

Disorder, carelessness and waste of time by the drivers was very noticeable today. In a systematic and correct drive it should not have been too difficult in my opinion to bag some Bantengs. But then this rare species would soon go extinct. Apparently it is only due to the deficiency of the hunting organization that this mighty wild cows had not yet been eradicated.

As our chief hunter served a Mohammedan preacher (Haji) who was considered the best authority on hunting matters here and forcefully took charge of the affair.

The first drive ended completely without a result. Originally it was intended to follow-up the first drive with a second drive but Mr. Kerkhoven believed to desist as the drive had made all game escape so that there was no hope to achieve better results in the second attempt. Thus we returned, crossing the river three times again, to our palm huts where a meal cooked by a Javanese cooking artist was awaiting us. After the conclusion of the meal we went to rest at an early hour of the night.

I was already sleeping when a loud noise woke me as close to my rest an animal voice was heard. I jumped up and soon noticed the animal whose sounds had awoken me so abruptly. It was a gecko, one of these large lizards whose loud screams might mislead a novice to  think that it was a large animal. The light of a few matches which I had quickly ignited chased away the intruder that did not appear again during the night.

Links

  • Location: Tji Pandak, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 19.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Das Heiratsnest“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Der fliegende Holländer“.

Cianjur, 16 April 1893

This regent too wanted me to enjoy a hunt. He therefore invited me to a deer hunt in his favorite private hunting ground Panoembangan. Cianjur was still asleep when we left the small town. Only here and there a Chinese was visible who was just opening his shop. But the tireless escort was already in the square and accompanied us at a brisk gallop which again put some of the gentlemen in a tough situation. After only a few Paals (1 Paal = 1506.9 m), their up to then considerable number of riders had reduced itself to a minimum as some had been separated from their horses and others did not manage to guide their horses past the houses along the road.

This time we did not use the large government carriage as in earlier occasions but a very light hunting wagon with a roof which was much faster but had the big disadvantage of being built only for the short legs of the natives and we thus were sitting in a very uncomfortable position.

First the road led across the plain through a valley of many villages and numerous rice paddies. Then we turned to the north-east and reached a mountainous terrain which contained besides a few plantation mostly savannah of alang and forests.

In this mountainous terrain we advanced naturally much slower than in the valley below despite the exertions of our ponies. Some inclines could only be conquered with the assistance of an army of coolies who pushed behind each wagon, heaving and dragging while the coachmen were shouting and cracking their whips.

Strange were the numerous bamboo bridges of the roads we drove through. At a glance these filigrane constructions seemed not to look very trustworthy, as the trusses were only about 30 cm strong bamboo poles while the cross beams are even thinner. There are no pillars, the bridge hangs freely over the valley or river on bamboo ropes that are tied on both sides to trees.  Solid bridge fillings is missing too. It is replaced by woven bamboo fibers that resemble a mat. If a wagon is driving over such a bridge, the whole construction is swinging and creaking alarmingly even though the elastic material is said to have great lifting power. The Dutch resident seemed to be of a different opinion and not have much trust in the bridges in his residency as he asked us repeatedly to leave the carriage and pass the bridge on foot. Very naive was the behavior of the coolies: In the opinion to reduce the strains upon the bridge, about fifty guys carried the wagons across.

After a drive of three hours we finally arrived with our horses completely spent at the regent’s delicate hunting lodge built out of bamboo. The friendly owner offered us first a snack and use the time it took to eat to make final preparations with the hunters.

On a mountain ledge we saw an immense crowd of drivers who were beautifully assembled from the valley up to the top of the mountain.

The hunting ground was this time a mountain range without trees, completely covered in tall thick alang grass through which the drivers were to march towards us. Along a foot path on the ledge we were assigned raised stands all made out of bamboo that offered a view upon the grass jungle. The brave people had decorated my raised stand with crossed flags in black-yellow and red-white. As much as I appreciated the attention, I still asked to remove the flags as it would chase away the game.

I took up position at the outward right flank; next to me were the other gentlemen of my entourage. At a sign from the regent the drive started with the terrible noise of the drivers who advanced concentrically from the hills toward our position.They happily used their bamboo rattles which jumped up and down the whole line like platoon fire. Strangely the drive advanced in complete order even if at a very slow pace.

Just at the start of the hunt I saw an animal and a a calf cross at a large distance; after a while they came a bit closer in full flight and I managed to kill the animal. When the drivers had approached to about 800 paces, a strong animal and a spike became visible that collapsed after fleeing from my shots and died. Finally — the drivers were already close to the dais — a good deer escaped out of a bamboo thicket and fled just in my direction. Hit by my fire, it collapsed.

The other shooters had not killed anything; Wurmbrand shot in vain at long distance at an animal while one of the other gentlemen saw the game flee before he had even arrived at his hunting position.

The six-ender antler of the deer I killed was still in velvet. The deer on Java as well as those in India seem not to have a season for casting the antlers as at the same time there are deer with totally used up antlers, deer in velvet and those that had cast off their antlers.

Questioned about the reasons for the meager result of the hunt the native hunter explained that the current time period was not very favorable for a deer hunt as the abundant rain had led to very tall grass which made the finding of game and the hunt much more difficult.

By the way, the big game has already been mostly killed in the whole of Java. Hunting is free, the Javanese nobles are eager hunters and everywhere everything is mercilessly hunted that comes into view. The quantity of game that the island originally had may be assessed by the following:  When 25 years ago a Dutch resident visited one of the provinces of central Java, the native regent organized a hunt in which 1200 pieces of game were killed on a single day.This fact was reported to me by an eye witness who also said that the area was foul for weeks afterwards as the killed game could not be removed due to a lack of manpower but left behind on the spot.

At the end of the hunt all the drivers, more than 2000 men in numbers, streamed to my dais and started upon the sign of the chief hunter, a small old man, into a deafening cheer that nearly made the air tremble. The four bagged pieces were laid out beside the dais and soon I was standing in a a downpour of hats as the densely packed crowd had thrown their straw or bamboo hats into the air in order to applaud again.

Even more original was the procession to the hunting lodge. This procession was led by uniformed minor officials who performed a jig in front of the game carried on poles like King David did in front of the ark of the covenant. Then followed  the 2000 drivers, in whose midst I was quasi wedged in, all of them shouting and crying and making noise with bamboo rattles. A stranger who encountered this procession would think that a legion of madmen had escaped out of the madhouse and was enjoying their regained freedom. At the hunting lodge, the exaltation fortunately stopped.

Links

  • Location: Cianjur, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 16.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Wiener Salonblatt mentions that FF has set course for Java from Singapore on 11 April 1894.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Das Heiratsnest“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Margarethe (Faust)“.

Garut to Cianjur, 15 April 1893

A mountain range densely covered in alang and close to Garut, about an hour’s drive distant from here, contained numerous wild boars. The regent, a keen friend of the hunt, had arranged a boar hunt in that mountain range, anticipating my intentions. According to the program, there was to be a hunt there.

Thus we drove at the earliest and as fast as possible our four pony team was able to run to the spot where the riding horses were ready to take us to the hunting ground. Here too we found heavily undulating terrain so that once again the coolies had to push the carriage in steep places or brake it in order to ease the burden of drawing the carriage for our bravely galoping small horses. Arriving in a very deep cut valley I noticed with astonishment the presence of many hundreds of people who had all come with kin and children and occupied the surrounding heights in picturesque groups in order to observe the spectacle of a princely hunt.

Everyone was in their Sunday best, the local hat on the head. Clever merchants had created a whole bazaar in which they sold food and drinks to the people. On a ledge of the valley, a bamboo house had been built which was richly decorated with flags in our and the Dutch colors as well as flowers and  garlands. On the dais on the first floor I should take a seat on a fauteuil in green velvet and send my shots at the boars from there as if I was an ancient Roman emperor who had set his mind to hunt in utmost comfort. The impression that this was an imperial hunting ceremony was reinforced my the decoration of the approach road to the house; this road had been most splendidly decorated as a via triumphalis with an honor portal, flag staffs and groups of flowers. In the side rooms of the house, cup-bearers were doing their duty but it was not Falernian wine but sparkling champaign that was flowing in streams. A music band out of our sight played during the hunt and performed our anthem in fortissimo.

The valley and the ledge opposite us had been cleared and surrounded with a thick bamboo fence which led up to the house so that the boar hunt was apparently limited to an arranged killing and thus not a true hunting enterprise but more of a popular feast that amused me greatly by the comic preparations and the pretension of calling this a hunt. Drivers in great numbers led by a native dignitary were waiting on the opposite ledge for the signal to start the hunt and as soon as it was given entered with infernal cries and shouts into the tall grass where they released a pack of about forty hounds of all kinds of breeds. Immediately the spectacle started as the dogs had soon found the boars and barking, were chasing around in the undergrowth. The undergrowth was despite the clearing activities still so thickly filled with tall grass, bamboo trees and ferns that we could see even the strong boars only for a few moments. Every now and then a boar stood its ground and defeated many dogs that returned wailfully to their masters.

The first victim of my rifle was a brash young boar which I discovered on the other ledge and shot like a chamois. Actually the shots were interesting and in no way easy as the game was very flighty and only visible for a few moments on the steep ledge or in the deep valley. The young boars were no larger than hares and offered at a distance of 100 paces opportunities for beautiful shots.

Extremely entertaining were the incredible fear of the drivers and their leaders about the harmless boars. If a boar came close to a hero or, pursued by the dogs, tried to break the line, the drivers and the dignitaries were quickly up on the trees. It was an overwhelmingly comical sight when a dignitary wearing all the glittering insignia of his office was fleeing from a crying young boar and in his already funny uniform climbed up a slim palm tree as fast as a monkey, so that the palm was bending under the unexpected load. If there was no danger, the drivers advanced in true oriental manner without order and plan in the area. The dignitaries followed with swords drawn. The dogs were entertaining themselves in some corner to hunt for young boars and naturally bite them so that many could be bagged only in the pieces that remained.

In total I shot 21 pieces, but among them only one good boar. The boars were of a completely different type than ours; they are smaller, have a completely naked rind and only around the snout it had a kind of whiskers with thick bristles as well as very pronounced cheekbones and a much longer pointed snout. The teeth were fitting to the body size much smaller. The natives distinguish two types: the field and the woodland boar  (Sus verrucosus and Sus vittatus); but I could not see much difference in their main attributes.

A young boar was captured in a large wood pile. We bound the animal’s feet together and sent it in a rucksack directly to the ship in the harbor of Tandjong Priok where it would probably display its special ferocity and would be a hard test for the taming powers of my animal  keeper Biaggio.

The hunt had ended, the people started cheering in an unarticulated way and I left the scene of this funny boar hunt in some sort of ceremonial procession. During the drive back to Garut — the cloudy sky at the beginning of the hunt ha fully cleared —  I enjoyed the splendid sight upon the crater of Papandayan.

In the afternoon we said good-bye to the friendly Garut and drove the same evening to Cianjur where I was very hospitably received in his house by the regent, a kind man who carried the title and name of  Raden Adipatti Prawira dij redja. The palace was festively illuminated. To illuminate the inescapable bamboo sticks were used, grouped in bundles and decorating the triumphal portal and facades to great effect. The hollow bamboo sticks were filled with oil in which a burning wick was swimming. Such a stick will burn for hours.

The regent seems to be a passionate hunter too as he showed his rifles with pride as well as the heads of his bagged deer  (Cervus hippelaphus), of Bantengs, the wild cow of the Indian islands, and of rhinoceroses. As a living piece of booty of a Banteng hunt, there was a tame Banteng bull captured as a small calf and now enjoying his life that seemed to be the special favorite of the regent who personally was feeding it every day.

A second passion of this dignitary is painting. But his success in this pursuit are rather not outstanding and the outcome of his art of such a quality that even a jury of the Salon des refuses in Cianjur would have to shake their heads. Nevertheless the noble born master from Cianjur has sent some of his works to the exhibition in Chicago.

The world exhibition at Lake Michigan seems to have gone to the head of this brave Javanese. Everywhere it was said that he had sent this or that to the distant America. Mr. Kerkhoven has even sent a whole Javanese village there in which gracious Javanese girls will sell tea from their master’s plantation.

To the black coffee after the dinner appeared a whole flock of dancers, one uglier than the other, all fervently masticating betel and making us so tired by their boring rhythmical dance that I quickly went to our bed.

Links

  • Location: Cianjur, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 15.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Der Hüttenbesitzer“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Merlin“.

Batavia, 11 April 1893

After 6 o’clock in the morning I had myself woken up and immediately went to the bridge as we were expected to land in Batavia in half an hour. The sky was very cloudy and the temperature on deck very agreeable. As earlier I was here too pleased to be disappointed that my fear of having to endure much heat in the tropical but especially in the equatorial regions did not manifest itself. After all, it was quite tolerable, except for the lead chambers, that is the cabins, where the temperature namely during the night were almost unbearable.

The first we saw of Java were the two extinct volcanoes Salak (2215 m) and Gede (2962 m) that are located just above Batavia or, better said, south from a spot above Buitenzorg. More and more one could distinguish the green coast and the beautiful harbor Tandjong Priok where the masts of many ships became visible. The pilot came on board and guided us into the inner harbor. At that moment the merchant ships anchored there hoisted their grand flag dressing.

Having anchored we offered the territorial salute which was answered by  a land battery. Close to us lay three Dutch warships, that is the habor guard ship „Gede“, the cruiser „Aceh“ and the armor deck corvette „Sumatra“, all officers and the crews stood on deck to watch our arrival and out of many gunports, female heads were peeking, armed with glasses and opera glasses.

First arrived our consul Dirk Fock on board and soon thereafter, sent by the governor general, lieutenant colonel Nepveu to welcome me and present the program for the stay in Java.  The discussion of that program presented the range of sights of this beautiful island and the large number of excursions one can undertake there.  As my voyage around the world had so many other locations to cover, I was forced to constrain my program in Java for the short duration  of 14 days. After long negotiations we succeeded to determine what could be managed to see during such a time span which repeatedly meant to rank the most interesting spots behind the spots most worth seeing and at the same time easily accessible.

Now it was important to be ready within an hour, having packed all baggage and given all orders as the special train to Batavia was set to depart already at 10 o’clock in the morning. Strangely, this was achieved. At a quarter to 10 o’clock we steamed to the railway station Priok where a large crowd had gathered, mostly Chinese and Malays, as well as a few Europeans. A police guard whose duty it was to guard Batavia and its surroundings lined the road.  It was a really comical company, mostly elderly Malays wearing some sort of circus uniform and a head cloth and were armed with hacking knives and lances. As a form of salute the held the lances high in front of the face and made hideous faces.

The Javanese railways fortunately have open view carriages; in one such carriage we sat down and arrived in Batavia half an hour later after a drive through a friendly land, past many canals. At the station we were received by the governor general of Dutch East India, Dr. C. Pynacker Hordijk, as well as the resident of Batavia province, Jonkheer van Schmidt auf Altenstadt, and the gentlemen assigned to me, artillery colonel De Moulin and captain Fabius.

For the drive into the city I used the four horse team of the governor in which I sat down beside him. The driver of this strange carriage, a coffee-brown Malay was wearing a white-red uniform with golden laces. The headdress of the driver made him look quite funny as he wore a very large lacquered top-hat under whose brim the stiff tails of the cloth wrapped around the head in the local manner loosely peeked out. Behind us stood two servants in a similar uniform on the rear foot board, holding a golden sunscreen on a long staff over our heads.

While my first impression of Batavia was very pleasing as we were driving in the middle of gardens and palm groves where almost everywhere there were clean settlements inhabited by Malays, I liked the city even more. Seen from the station, there were nice single story buildings enclosed by gardens on the right and left of the road. These houses are inhabited by Europeans and are built airily in conformity to the climate and had a cosy character.

Our arrival was attended by a large crow of Chinese, Malays, Javanese and Europeans in front of the houses and in the street. Colorfully intermingled they vividly showed their interest in u. I had for the first time the opportunity to see the airy outfit used, it is said, by the European women here in the whole of Java. As a dress they use the Sarong, a large piece of cloth, tied picturesquely around the waist that falls down like a gown, The upper body is veiled in a cut linen jacket. This very simple outfit fits the temperature and climatic conditions well. Especially the younger wearer of this dress look great in it and all female members of the European families use it and also the upper class society is wearing it during the day until the hour when the dress is changed for dinner. Until the 12th and 13th year, the girls make do with a baby-like camisole. As the body of a child develops faster in a tropical climate than in countries with a temperate climate, the new arrival is faced with the strange view of girls in this dress who seem to look almost like adults.

In front of the house which the government had rented for my accommodation there was a large triumphal arch made out of bamboo and blooming palm branches, decorated in our colors and those of the Dutch tricolore.

The one story house, as almost all buildings on Java as this island is prone to earthquakes, lies in a small garden on one of the most active roads in Batavia. Noisy and grinding the steam tramway rushes past from the morning to the evening, on the canal nearby small bamboo rafts are rocking melancholically. The interior of the house is also influenced by the Javanese style. Behind the large covered veranda is an extended room which serves both as a dining room and parlor and contains the entrances to the different individual chambers. The windows and doors seem not to be ever closed even during the night. Instead there are folding screens. The rooms are all high and airy. The floors are covered with straw mats, the canopy beds that provide rest are spacious, long and wide but are so hard that they recall the beds in our mountain huts. Apparently, the experience with the local hygiene forces the Dutch for whom in general nothing tops domestic comfort to spend the night only on hard beds.

The sky was cloudy, the temperature was muggy even tropical. An hour after our arrival, a storm started with a flood like rain, though without cooling the air. It only increased the air’s humidity so that the disagreeableness of humid heat was experienced even more.

We discussed the program for the next days with the resident as well as the two gentlemen assigned to me and ate breakfast which was conspicuous for its long duration. Even though we were served by no fewer than 16 old Malayan servants who were decorated with the local long-eared head cloths, the dinner seemed to go on without an end due to the slowness of the service.

Then  appeared Mr. E. J. Kerkhoven, the owner of large tee plantations in Singapore in the residence of Preang and an excellent hunter about whom I had already been informed at home and with whom we would undertake a hunting expedition of multiple days into the interior of Java.But at the start of our conversation with Mr. Kerkhoven it seemed as we had to cut this plan from our program as Mr. Kerkhoven, despite being a passionate hunter, and the governor general highlighted the difficulties of such an expedition and offered many reasons against it: bad communication. important physical exertions, cholera, malaria as well as other endemic mountain diseases etc. Our desire to visit the hunting grounds rich in game of Preang was clashing with the program that the governor general had planned for me in advance. I could not fully trace the different causes in favor and against which were mentioned during the discussion but it was nevertheless clear that each of the gentlemen had a different motive to paint the risks of this hunting expedition in the blackest of colors.

Finally I succeeded to allay all concerns, assisted by the clever and effective secretary general Sweerts de Landas, after I managed to particularly explain to the gentlemen that I was willing to abstain from all comfort in matters of hunting. Thus, an expedition of ten days to the southern parts of Preang was finally agreed upon. So Mr. Kerkhoven asked for a delay of five days to make all necessary arrangement, appoint hunters and carriers etc. This delay was granted and it was decided to use the time to visit Buitenzorg and other interesting spots in Java.

But I could already on this day pay homage to the joy of hunting  as the kind resident of Batavia had organized a crocodile hunt for the afternoon to which we started out as soon as the rain had mostly stopped. In the suburb of Weltevreden we crossed a long road which is inhabited only by Chinese. Here too in Batavia the „Yellow Flood“ is very noticeable. Among the 114.864 inhabitants are 27.279 Chinese.  Fixated on earning money like almost no other people and equipped with a subtle merchant spirit and a surprising frugality, these true Mongols have established a foothold not only in Batavia but in all other trading places on Java so that among a total population of 22,754.749 souls on Java — except for the army and the crews of the fleet — besides 46.631 Europeans, 13.995 Arabs, 2843 other Orientals and 22,449.553 natives 241.727 Chinese were counted.

The mistrustful and deceitful character of the Chinese,  their pure egoistical nature and their other traits make me abhor this even physically unsympathetic people even though I can not deny that they have their positive sides. Incredibly active and inventive in commercial affairs, very skilful in technical competences,  intelligent farmers and gardeners and where the primary extraction demands it and where it is advantageous to not shy away from heavy labor, the Chinese strive primarily to profit by any means from the competition in the exchange of goods and in financial business. Most are merchants and traders, partly as peddlers (Klontongs), shopkeepers, agents, partly as commission agents, retail merchants, government lessees, money racketeers, bankers. The remaining Chinese sustain themselves as handymen, domestic servants, clerks, coachmen, cooks until they too can, starting small first with goods bought on credit, become merchants as well and exploit their mercantile skills.

Scorned in the country and seen as enemies, as the persecutions in the prior centuries demonstrated — on a single day, 9th October 1740,  under the government of the governor general Valkenier, the agitated population had butchered over 10.000 Chinese — the Chinese have managed nevertheless in their strange tenacity to  hold their ground on Java and expand once more. The government shows them no favor but hits them with a special contribution, the queue tax, Bea Kondeh, forces them to live in segregated city districts and uses other rulings to restrict the fast growth of the Chinese on Java. Still and in spite of all this, the sons of the Heavenly Kingdom are partly as immigrants partly as natives – the latter are called Feranakan Chinese — have developed roots especially in the north of the island and even in the interior of the country.

Continuing on through the small alley we finally stood in front of the Kasteel (Fort), which today, preserved by the government in its old form, only is of historical value. It has been built by the East India company at the start of the 17th century and later been equipped with bastions, outworks, earth walls and fortification ditches that now have been levelled or filled in.

An important protection of the Kasteel during the time when it had been the citadel of Batavia was formed by the canals of the fortification system. As the Dutch had,  following the example of their homeland, in Batavia which is cut in two by the river Tji Liwung (Liwoeng) arranged a system of water canals partly to drain the city of water, partly to set up a dense network of shipping paths. Thus Batavia offers with its navigable canals and ditches, its shore constructions and the vessels which swim in the canals lined by tree alleys a view of a city where water canals are of great importance.

On one of the canals that led from the fort to the sea was a small flotilla of boats ready to take us, drawn by a steam barge, to the crocodile hunt. We sat down in the vehicle which was beautifully decorated with flowers and flags. The barge which was directed by a high government official in person started moving and we glided forward on the canal, swinging agreeably, refreshed by a glass of cooled champaign served by an uniformed servant and animated by the sights of the shore landscape that we were passing by.

A colorful packed crowd on both shores watched our journey with curiosity. Still appeared small settlements, now and then a Malay village, then fields of arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea), which provides the known nutritive flour, became visible. Swimming between these fields and low bushes we finally stopped at the mouth of a small natural side ditch which led into the midst of Tamarind and myrtle bushes and was in some way grown together with the jungle.

It looked to me as if there had been too much preparation to ease hunting crocodiles in this ditch. The bushes had been cut back, so that it did not limit our sight. Alongside the canal, barricades had been built in order to prevent crocodiles from escaping and upstream and downstream guards had been posted.

Right at the arrival at the canal I had noticed tiny points emerging out of the water, the eyes and nose ridges of some crocodiles but they quickly submerged and only some time later an especially strong specimen appeared again. I bagged the animal with a head shot. During its final convulsions it kicked out violently, sending water and dirt widely into the air until it finally turned a wheel for some minutes only to sink down dead. Now the native hunters threw a rope around its neck and drew it on land.

Then I marched up and down along the shore and soon discovered a second crocodile which had buried itself so deeply into the soft mud after my first shot had frightened it that I could only notice how the earth was moving alternating up and down. I fired by chance at the spot where I thought the animal’s head and soon a blood trail as well as the kicking around of the jagged tail in the mud showed that I had hit the crocodile. Then everything was quiet as the reptiles refrained from appearing again. They had hidden themselves under water in the deep mud and only after many people started hitting the water with long bamboo staffs and pierced the mud at the bottom of the canal, life returned to the canal.  The crocodiles were very much resented these operations and attacked the staffs snatching and biting. As soon as a head became visible I fired on the eyes and the cervical vertebra, the only vulnerable places of a crocodile, and thus managed to bag another six strong specimens, so that my total number came to eight crocodiles, each of which was longer than 2 m.

The coloring of the individual specimens was very different. It varied between black or greenish-gray and a clear yellow with black edges. What a thick and impenetrable skin and what hard skull a crocodile possesses, I could observe on a specimen that appeared at a distance of about 25 paces, while only its head was visible. I fired with my Express rifle, caliber 500, three times one shot after another upon the skull of the animal between the eyes. After each shot the crocodile dove without displaying any kind of wound, only to reappear on the surface again. The fourth shot finally hit close above the eye which made the animal turn and killed it.

After the animal had been drawn on land, I found upon close examination that the three bullets had not pierced but had bounced off the skull between the eyes like from armored plate without leaving more than a barely noticeable spot where I had hit it.

The killed crocodiles were stored in a boat that was towed by our flotilla and now we returned on the same path which we had used before driving through in the midst of the now brightly illuminated and therefore very picturesque Chinese quarter. Returned home we had to change clothes for the dinner at the governor general’s.

The governor general Dr. C. Pynacker Hordijk, whose residence is in Buitenzorg, owns in Batavia, the seat of the government, a beautiful one story palace, in which he and his wife were expecting me. In the large dining room decorated with coats of arms and the emblems of the homeland, there was unfortunately a muggy heat during the dinner that followed. I sat between the lady of the house and vice admiral Jonkheer J. A. Roell. This charming person told me all kinds of interesting things about the martial expedition of 1873 of the Dutch against the resisting and still independent kingdom of Aceh on Sumatra. At the dinner during which a military band was playing its melodies were also the commander of the Dutch East Indian army, lieutenant general A. R.W. Gey van Pittius, the secretary general Sweerts de Landas and other dignitaries among them many members of the council of India (Raad van Indie).

The dinner which was notable for its absence of toasting and circles was soon declared to be ended and so I could discuss the continuation of our voyage with the ship captain in my apartment.

Links

  • Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 11.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. Neue Freie Presse reports that FF bagged 15 tigers and 7 panthers in India.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Goldfische“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Die Rantzau“.
Franz Ferdinands Jagderfolge in Indien, Die Presse 11.4.1893

Franz Ferdinand bagged 15 tigers and 7 panthers in India, Die Presse 11.4.1893

Johor to Singapore, 7 April 1893

For today it was planned to visit Johor, the capital and residence of the sultanate Johor founded in 1859 by sultan Abu Bekr. In the sultan’s absence the heir apparent had invited me to enter the interesting kingdom of the sovereign Malay sultanate of Johor and after seeing the sights to hunt close to the city in the afternoon.

Accompanied by the Belgian consul general, my entourage and several gentlemen from the staff of „Elisabeth“ we set out of Singapore early in the morning in carriages. As the heat was not yet suffocating, the drive was very pleasant. On an excellent road we crossed the whole island of Singapore, first alongside the numerous parks of the city of villas and then through jungles and primal forests.

Astonished and captivated, our eyes were locked to the marvels which nature produced in its blooming children. While I might call the prevalence of palm and banian trees as characteristic for Ceylon, here there was a colorful changing variety of views. Bamboos, mango and durian trees line the road; behind them stand coffee and pepper trees. Then follows jungle out of whose impenetrable thickets sago and areka palm trees were rising as well as tree ferns. Numerous small Malay and Chinese settlements add lively colors to the rich green of the landscape.

The drive took around two hours to finally arrive at the end of the island and we could see the city of Johor in front of us, only separated by the small water road of Salat Tabras. The first sight of Johor is very charming. Out of a deep-blue sea rise green hills, on the left criss-crossed by the stream Sungei Tschat and ornamented like a park and crowned with bungalows. In the middle was Istana Laut, the sultan’s palace; on the right government buildings and the former seraglio of the sultan. On the left the small blooming city with its light red brick roofs. In between copses of trees an green meadows. Truly, if we didn’t know that a sea strait was in front of us, one might think of being at the friendly shore of an interior lake.

On the landing pier on the other shore we were received by two nephews of the sultan and I was escorted on a lovely barge to Johor’s shore where the first minister as well as all dignitaries and Europeans present were assembled. A pretty steam yacht of the sultan was anchored there. On foot we went to the palace where the heir apparent, a tall 18-year-old young man with a very sympathetic mien as well as a younger brother of the sultan received us. The palace is a long two story building whose exterior is without ornamentation while the interior has been decorated more tastefully and comfortably than the palace in Singapore. There is no shortage of guest rooms as the sultan is extremely hospitable  and every European who arrives in Singapore, especially if he is a naval officer, is highly welcome to visit him.

In a vestibule of the Istana, tea was served and the program of the day discussed. The key persons apparently were not completely in agreement about it. At the court of the sultan, multiple Europeans who had had a very lively past and must not have lived in peace with their neighbors but had explored their differences and pursued their own interests tried to gain a decisive influence upon the sultan. Among them lives a Swiss who has now a coffee plantation of the sultan’s and served as an organizer and interpreter during our stay. Besides other British persons, there was a Scot who had come to Johor as an engineer and now possessed a large steam saw.

The heir apparent seems to be under the influence of these strangers even though he otherwise exhibited a decisive character. He has been in that rank for only a short time as the sultan had earlier designated another of his relatives who was being educated in England as his heir but had declared this for void without much circumstance when the relative did not develop according to the sultan’s wishes and named him chief of police while the current heir was designated to be the successor to the kingdom of Johor.

After the conclusion of the discussion about the day’s activities a drive in a steam boat was undertaken and namely in the estuary which separates Singapore from the mainland. Firstly the ship drove alongside a small city, then past many plantations and finally we steered in between the jungle that reaches on both sides to the shore and forms a lovely frame for the sea strait.

Then followed a rich breakfast during which I had the opportunity to admire the golden table fittings and the golden tableware — opulently equipped luxuries of the goldsmith’s art which the sultan had had made in England. The household of Johor is generally equipped with the greatest luxury what, it is said, has led to an overburdening of the civil list of this ruler in combination with the other very expensive habits of sultan Abu Bekr. In a clever calculation of its own advantage, England knows, it is claimed, to keep its ward out of financial misery time and again.

The sultanate of Johor contains 24.850 km2 with around 300.000 inhabitants, among them 210.000 Chinese, and is thanks to the English participation very well administered.  The main sources of income of the government are from the importation of opium and alcoholic beverages as well as the export duties upon gambir, pepper and other agricultural products which by the way is the only tax the inhabitants of Joho have to contribute to.

The interior of Johor is covered with thick tropical jungle whether it is swampland or hilly terrain or mountain. Due to the influence of the nearly daily rain, the strong dew and the great humidity, one can find here a rich evergreen vegetation.

Palms such as the sugar rich Cabong palm, the coconut, the Sagound, the Areka palm trees and the gutta percha trees (Isonandra gutta), camphor trees (Camphora officinalis) and excellent wood for construction providing large tree trunks of the virgin forest are characteristic for the forest zone. Bushes that supply resin, oil and poison constitute the undergrowth of the jungles. The cultivated land is used especially for the production of rice, maize, namely however for pepper and catechin, the extract from the branches of the gambir bush (Uncaria Gambir), a Rubiacee, that contained a tanning agent.

The intense cultivation of pepper and catechin-gamber which is by preference done in the North-western province of Muar almost completely by Chinese is expressed in Johor’s exports as the two named products are the most important export goods. Imported is mainly rice, the main staple of the population.

Up to now only a few parcels have been converted to cultivation. The forests are in many places not and in the others only irrationally exploited, with the result that Johor’s jungles still contain many apes of the Gibbon family (Hylobates), then Semnopithecus obscurus etc., and also scattered elephants, rhinos, tapirs, bisons (Gaur), bears and even Malaysian tigers, as well as sambar deer and the small Kijangs (Cervus muntjac), then crocodiles, snakes and finally many birds.

The mineral wealth of Johor are still not explored with the exception of tin of which the whole Malaysian peninsula is especially rich as well as gold. The latter one is especially found around Ophir (Gunong Ledang), the tallest mountain in the territory of Johor, whose sharply rising peak we had already seen from the sea on April 5th.

All in all the sultanate of Johor which had entered into history as one of the tributary states of the once so mighty sultanate of Malacca but then had fought and achieved its independence and managed to keep its sovereignty to the present day, offered a very favorable terrain for the tasks of modern cultivation. Under Abu Bekr administration, culture and trade of Johor had made decisive progress on the way which alone can provide this small but richly furnished and favorably located country with enduring prosperity.

A deer and boar hunt was planned and thus we drove, having enjoyed the culinary fruits of Johor, on an excellent road inland across a very pretty landscape with numerous nice Malay settlements in whose small gardens the purging croton (Croton tiglium) formed the main ornament. We drove comfortably and rapidly. The carriages and the horse teams especially were excellent as the horse loving sultan had imported among others also a pair of outstanding horses from our country. We stopped at a police station, where the hunting party was expecting us led by the brother of the sultan, a very well nourished gentleman, as well as the deposed heir to the throne — two reportedly proficient hunters.

After a long discussion it was decided that we should take up position in an extended line while the drivers already in position would march through the jungle towards us with their dogs. Behind us they had formed some kind of net made out of bast slings which was intended to catch any escaping, wounded or missed game. Thus we stood in intervals of 50 paces each in the middle of tall grass and thick ferns with little open ground and were waiting for action. Hour upon hour passed and nothing appeared beyond a huge pouring rain that came down upon us with flash and thunder and restricted our view to a few paces and soaked our clothes within minutes.

The current and the former heirs as well as the sultan’s brother stood behind me soaking wet and finally declared that probably no game would come close to us now and thus it was better to return home. I quickly concurred and we were soon back at the police station where the organizers apologized for the failure and explained that they did not have sufficient time for the preparation for a more successful hunt. Despite our message that my arrival was imminent in Singapore and Johor five weeks ago, the Belgian consul general is said to have informed the court of Johor only recently about my visit, possibly because he had been constrained by having to represent four governments at the same time. The consul general also had not participated in the hunt but had asked me to use the time for a visit to the state prison, so that he failed to get his share of the downpour.

During the return drive I enjoyed the company of the heir apparent who told with delight about his time in Vienna which he had visited a short time ago as well about Frankfurt am Main where he had stayed for half a year. The sultan is very keen on Western culture and tends to send his relatives to Europe to obtain an education.

The gala dinner in the palace was attended by us, the prince, a large number of dignitaries and the prince of Pahang deposed by the English. This formerly independent prince of a kingdom of 25.900 km2 at the northern border of Johor had been simply dispossessed by the English because of alleged riots in his country and angry and sulking, he had retired to Johor where a marriage between his daughter and our host was to take place on the particular wish of the sultan of Johor; but the prince does not seem to agree to this plan and seemed for the present to be reluctant to agree. At the dinner I sat beside the prime minister, a friendly and knowledgeable old fellow with whom I had a good conversation thanks to the interpreter. He knew much about our country and about all our officers on the mission ships of our navy which had been guests here. In the absence of the ruler he is in charge of the government and is said to be a competent and active man.

The golden fittings which decorated the table were, if that was even possible, even more valuable and more splendid than those I had admired in the morning.. A rather good private orchestra of the sultan provided the musical entertainment and just after the dinner accompanied the Malaysian dances in which boys in girls‘ dresses were turning around in a circle as the female sex was excluded from public dances according to the ruling customs here. The spectacle was by the way rather without interest even though the poor boys gave their best.

After I had taken a heartfelt leave from the prince and the gentlemen in Johor, I visited also a Chinese gambling den which had been formerly established in Singapore and now was suffered here more than licensed to set up shop here. The Chinese enjoy gambling with a true passion, sacrificing the fruits of hard work and move on all holidays in whole caravans from Singapore to the gambling den in Johor. The gambling hall is rather cleanly equipped. At its side is a restaurant and an opium den. The game is a simple game of chance as one wagers upon four numbers and decides the game by a throw of a die.

As a dedicated enemy of games of chance who by the way neither finds entertainment nor interest in it, I received in this gambling den a truly vile impression. Nevertheless we tried our luck and returned in a splendid, mild tropical night on the same way we had come in the morning, minus the loss of a few dollars, on board of „Elisabeth“ where we arrived late in the evening.

Links

  • Location: Singapore
  • ANNO – on 07.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing a comedy „Verbot und Befehl“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing Richard Wagner’s opera „Die Walküre“.