In the morning at 7 o’clock we arrived in Calcutta and were received by the military secretary of the vice king and his adjutant at the station. These gentlemen escorted us to Government House where I was greeted by the vice king who was visibly pleased with the satisfying conclusion of my Indian journey.
The morning was fully spent with ordering the packaging and dispatch of the treasures intended to be sent home that had been bought in India. I then went to the city to do some shopping and namely to complete my collection of photographies of the places visited. Towards noon I paid a visit to Lady Landsdowne and took lunch with the vice-royal pair. Our gracious hosts and we were then photographed as a group.
I also paid a visit to poor Beresford, who fell badly a few days before, to say good-bye to him and took leave from my dear travel companions at Calcutta station, consul general Stockinger, who had escorted us during all the voyage in India and was now bound for home. We regard Stockinger not only a very gracious and charming companion but also a very thorough expert on India where he has made great contributions for our country during his ten years‘ stay here, while always showing a keen and enduring interest for all aspects of India.
After a two hour drive through an area criss-crossed by numerous streams and swamps, we finally arrived in Diamond Harbour where I was received by the ship’s commander v. Becker to escort me in a lateral canal in the gala boat to „SMS Elisabeth“ which anchored at Hugli. I was very glad to see our beautiful ship again after an absence of one and a half months and to stand again on a piece of native ground. The anthem was played, the crew was assembled in the salute positions and the guns thundered when I embarked. On board I was greeted by the gentlemen of the staff who had many interesting events to tell from their long voyage from Goa, Colombo, Trincomali to Calcutta, the places where „Elisabeth“ had called.
Only after sunset did the muggy weather relent a bit and a fresh wind offer some cool air, when we were united to a good-bye dinner on the afterdeck with the English gentlemen. The cook Bussatto made his best efforts, the ship band played the most beautiful melodies so that regardless of the impending separation from our travel companions there was soon a very good mood and everybody expressed the hope to see one another soon, compensating for the pain of separation. Still we were unhappy to see Kinsky as well as the English gentlemen, General Protheroe, Captain Fairholme and Mr. Crawford depart as we had become used to their company during the shared trip crossing India from here to there and sharing impressions and adventures. We had so much grown together as a group of companions that the separation felt like a painful rift of a common band. The friends from whom we were soon to be separated were not only agreeable companions but had made important contributions to the success of the voyage: Kinsky had made careful preparations, the English gentlemen led with care and insight all journeys and expeditions in the relentless pursuit to make the voyage a true pleasure.
The four Sowars, native cavalry NCOs of General Protheroe’s brigade who had participated in the whole voyage and had admirably comported themselves as well as performed their duties rigorously, namely guarding the baggage and the rifles, had come on board too They couldn’t be more astonished about the splendid ship — they had never seen a warship before — the ship band delighted them very much. Showered with presents the returned to the land.
When Kinsky, General Protheroe, Captain Fairholme and Crawford after a heartfelt good-bye pushed off from the ship towards midnight, I had the signal lights ignited and the English anthem played. With three shouts of hurrah the voyage companion departed into the dark of the night.
- Location: Calcutta, India
- ANNO – on 29.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
- The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed until 2nd April, the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater until 1st April.
Franz Ferdinand is leaving India, in good health. Wiener Salonblatt 2. April 1893, p. 4