Schlagwort-Archiv: September

Banff, 9 September 1893

No longer anything like an African landscape — we are just below the region of eternal snow and disembarked for breakfast at Glacier Hotel station where a wonderful mighty glacier is laying in front of us, so close that we could almost touch it with our hands — the surprise was not small. This is the so called Great Glacier of the Selkirk mountains, towered over by Sir Donald at a height of 3600 m, which is part of the Selkirk mountain range opposite of which extends the snow covered Gold Range. All around we saw splendid views of scenery, snow mountains, deeply cut valleys and gorges, splashing streams and gushing springs as well as gorgeous Alpine vegetation.

Unfortunately there was again heavy fog mixed with cold rain so that the peak of Sir Donald and the other high mountains were not visible to us. We however did not care as we were again close to the mountains, the highest regions and glaciers, are feeling good and light, while we could see great views pass in front of our eyes that however were, like the day before, insulted by the sight of the destruction of forests as the journey went often through woods that had become the victim of fire. Above the forest line rise mighty rocks. primary formations with rare imposing forms where peaks are close to other peaks and everywhere the firn and glaciers are glittering, illuminating the crevices and small valleys. The cold weather during the last days  has produced fresh snow and the mountains look as if they had been frosted, after the fog had finally lifted a bit.

During the winter countless avalanches must thunderously make their way down to the valley as the numerous avalanche paths demonstrate by the snapped trunks of the strongest trees and the huge rock boulders that are widely scattered. The railway tracks are everywhere protected against avalanches and rock slides by wooden galleries so that one is driving for many kilometers through tunnel-like wood constructions whose defensive quality is reinforced by wedge-like avalanche breaker made out of wooden blocks and tree trunks.

The train rushes past dizzying slopes and many a steeply falling gorge in whose depths glacier waters rampage. It then continues over bridges that consist only of wood despite the abyss they pass over. The railway administration however intends to replace these sometimes too delicate constructions with iron frames and we already saw a few of them in the state of construction. The higher we came the more I found reasons to admire the rare audacity of the great construction of the Canadian Pacific railway line. If an entrepreneur in our country tried to build curves, surpass height differences and build bridges etc. in a similar manner like here, these audacious ideas would be squelched by the administration already during the project phase.

Towards noon we arrived at a quiet narrow valley where fire had not yet raged and the dark green spruces and pines cover the area like a carpet. In the valley basin peat bogs have formed being irrigated by the arms of a small river and are covered with a similar yellowish sour grass as in our moors. Ardent fishermen catch especially many salmons and trouts in this region. In Field situated at 1231 m above sea level where the whole valley is filled with a rubble moraine and where Mount Stephen at 3200 m with its ragged rocks towers over the station we rested at noon. During all my voyages I have never seen a mountain of this height that rises almost vertically as a giant block completely abruptly and without escarpment or base mountains.

In the middle of the mountain’s height sticks out a silver mine that looks almost like it is glued to the steep walls. The mine was just getting developed. One wanted to extract the ore with a small rail track line but even the American enterprising spirit and their modern technology failed to overcome the difficulties caused by the rocks of the old mountain giant. Thus the structure remained incomplete.

Higher and higher the railway tracks led upwards, pulled and pushed by three machines puffing and huffing until we finally drive through a ravine where a waterfall is crashing down and arrive at Stephen Station at the highest point above seal level of all tracks of the Pacific railway line, namely at 1610 m. The sun has mercy with us, splits the fog and clouds and permits to see the huge panorama of the wide ranges with their glaciers and firns at just the right moment.

The greatness of this moment is unforgettably imprinted into my memory. The sublimity of the quiet image praising the forces of nature in such a powerful language creates a deep impression. Nevertheless I believe that the mountain landscape of the Rocky Mountains, despite its imposing mass and its unique forms, can not stand its ground in comparison to our Alps. It indeed may in some parts seem more attractive thanks to the originality of its beauty and more interesting thanks to the bizarre forms and greater thanks to the development of its masses and the huge dimensions than the Alps. But the incomparable attraction and splendor of the fresh and heart-warming flora of our mountains, the enchanting contrast between the earnestness of the high rising primitive rocks and the youth of the vegetation cover of mountains and valleys is missing in America’s mountain back bone. Everywhere the sad remnants of the former forest destroyed by the flames are disturbing me as does its earnest almost evil character caused by the dark color of the forest remains. So the mountain range in the New World that we are crossing and climbing over seems old and ageing in contrast to the youthful Alps of the Old World.

Above the forest line where at home dense nutritious grass is growing that forms excellent strong fodder for the cattle and game and forms like shining green bands between the rocks, one can see here only bare rocks or tufts of yellow dry grass that looks not very picturesque. I don’t want to talk about the Alpine huts with its singing inhabitants and the farms surrounded by blooming meadows, the yardlands and huts of the woodcutters that provide the Austrian Alps with such a delightful vivid character as here there is nothing but complete wilderness and except from a few railway officials and workers at the stations there is no human soul living in these quiet heights and deeply cut valleys. It is no wonder to us that we had seen no animals from the railway. Not even a predator was circling above us and not one sound is interrupting the festive even eerie silence. I am otherwise in fact a great friend of virgin nature where civilization has not yet entered but the Rocky Mountains go too far in their lack of civilization and thus create an impression of desertion and deadness.

At Kicking Horse Pass we saw multiple small mountain lakes and crossed the provincial border between British Columbia and Alberta as well as the great watershed between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. A rapidly flowing murmuring little stream that sent its water eastward recalled a happy thought in me that I was getting more and more closer to my beloved home.

During the journey we also passed the camp of the Stoney Indians that lay close to the railway tracks with their characteristic tents that are kept upright by numerous poles arranged in a cone. In front of the camp stand and linger redskins of both sexes, the first we saw face to face. Their hairstyle is still traditional but unfortunately these children of the wilderness wear in part European clothes, an aspect in which they are not unlike our gypsies.

Finally the mountains retreated a bit, the valley grew wider and we reached Banff, a sulphur bath and summer resort in the middle of a Canadian national park. The settlement located at the railway station consists of about fifty wooden buildings that have been built only for the foreigners. Everywhere there are Curio Shops and other shops in which the curiosities of the country are offered for sale. A short coach drive took us to the hotel also owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. It was in fact located on the most beautiful spot of the whole region but built in a quite tasteless style. During the summer months many foreigners make a pilgrimage to this place for a cure or recreation. Banff is in fact a very young creation but enjoys great popularity as the panoramic view from the hotel and especially from the large wooden terrace is truly delightful revealing the mighty mountains and glaciers that sometimes rise in quite adventurous forms.

The season was already over — the temperature was only at 6° Celsius — so that only a few late guests were staying at the hotel that was built completely out of wood and in such a light way that every step within the building was reverberating in all floors and in all rooms. An American woman advanced in years is selling to the foreigners the strangest curiosities made by the Indians. These all seemed to be of recent vintage and looked like forgeries.

Just after the arrival we drove in a big coach to a valley basin surrounded by big rocks whose colossal walls astonished us and then on to warm sulphurous springs of which there were seven within a radius of 3 km. One of these thermal springs was gushing out of a natural basin while another is to be found in a crater of a formerly active but now quiet geyser. To this second spring led a subterranean narrow path to a grotto in which only a tiny opening supplies daylight out of which once the jet of the geyser rose.

In the mean time it was evening and a quite fresh air was blowing towards us when we returned to the hotel to rest after the day’s labors.


  • Location: Banff, Canada
  • ANNO – on 09.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Des Teufels Anteil“.

Vancouver, 7 September 1893

We had to stay a day longer in Vancouver to give the hunting organizers time for their preparations for our expedition into the Canadian Rocky Mountains and I thus planned for today to hunt in the vicinity of the city with a hunting expert and kill a grouse or some other animal. The expectations about its results were very divided. Some said that we would encounter game, most however proclaimed that the right season for this was already over. My undertaking seems to have been enough to displease the heavens — already early in the morning it started to pour down and a cold wind blew and howled over the roofs  so that the hour of departure had to be delayed until the rain had begun to relent. Then we drove out of the city in a high light carriage with three of my gentlemen and the hunting expert who was dressed very impractical in an immaculate black salon dress and equipped with thin half-boots and a black hat.

Our path first led to a long wooden bridge across a sea arm, then continued along a gentle mountain ledge that at first was covered only by burnt dead forest but later was stocked with luxurious beautiful trees especially on the opposite side. Across a second bridge we reached a large island that carries the lovely name of Lulu Island and is settled rather densely by farmers. Between the forest lots were fields primitively cultivated with potatoes, oats and barley. Agricultural machines were buzzing everywhere, while cattle and horses were grazing on small meadows — the first true meadows we had seen for nearly a year. The farmers‘ houses were in no way different from those in Vancouver.

We had reached the scene of today’s action and the hunting expert advised us to range at the edge of the sea through the reed but stayed behind for good reason given his half-boots. The reed was not especially high but was difficult to cross due to the many intervening streams. Just at the beginning of our journey we saw, out of reach, some geese and ducks lift off from the sea but then the location seemed dead. A great bittern and three  common snipes constituted our total catch as we later only saw a single one of the promised ducks fly over our heads. Instead we encountered plenty of dead salmons with dark red meat that were partly floating on the water surface and partly had been swept on land by the high tide.

As it had started to rain again on this unsatisfactory expedition, returned to the hunting expert and asked about his further plans. A local expert was called and assured us that in the island region there would be plenty of grouse and pheasants. He indicated multiple fields and depots as the best hunting grounds. We went to these in the pouring rain after having eaten a snack in a barn. In a forest lot overgrown with tall ferns we found not a single living being — it was then said that the grouses must be in the fields as they were not in the forest. Thus we assiduously rushed criss-cross across the oat fields but also without results as before in the forest until finally the hunting expert explained that the farmer had apparently shot the grouse himself and we thus were unlikely to encounter such game. We thanked him very much with some winged words for this belated friendly information and mounted completely soaked into our carriages to return to Vancouver where we made preparations for our departure and ended the day with a truly bad dinner.


  • Location: Vancouver, Canada
  • ANNO – on 07.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Margarethe (Faust)“.

Vancouver, 6 September 1893

Vancouver is of a fully American vintage as the area now covered by the city had been dense jungle in 1885 that had to make way for the small but rapidly growing settlement. Six years after its foundation, the settlement could already be declared a city which now has 20.000 inhabitants and is besides the capital Victoria the most important city of British Columbia as the endpoint of the Canadian Pacific railway and starting point of the transoceanic steamer lines to  Japan and China continuously gains in importance and is in pole position in the fish and wood trade of the North.

The construction stages of Vancouver followed the often described American pattern: first roads, then electric lighting and finally domestic buildings. The latter, incredibly sketchy and for the most part built out of wood can be divided into two groups: They are either „practical buildings“ and thus nothing more than boxes for keeping humans and their possessions or they are „beautiful buildings“ that resemble with their turrets, bays and red paint, an output of a complete lack of taste and constructed in villa style, the houses children put together out of the material from the well known building block kits. These villas are often surrounded by tiny gardens of only a few square meters where the lawn is well tended and appears in a luxurious green. Cities such as Vancouver consist of a core of houses that contain shops and public buildings. Having passed through them, the regular rows of houses end as often only one or two buildings stand in a long-winded avenue with an overblown name. In between is land for sale and the roots of chopped giant trees and the remains of burned trees emerge out of the dense weed.

Such a community makes for a very chastening impression as it immediately shows that its inhabitants are only directed towards profit, the quick earning of money and organize their lives only according to this task and are bereft of the sense for beauty or comfort. What is not profitable, public structures, avenues etc, is mostly discarded. Instead the electric railway whizzes through the streets and many thousands of telegraph and telephone wires are hovering over our heads.  Everybody rushes to do business, urges and hastes. One does not see happy faces. Friends rush past each other without a heartfelt greeting as this would cost them time. Sometimes dubious figures or ragged Indians can be seen in the streets whereas the latter offer a disgusting sight in their degeneration totally ruined by the consumption of fire water and in nothing resemble their proud ancestors, the former owners of this land.

The streets in the most central part of the city of Vancouver are covered with tarmac, all others with much dirt. The sidewalks consist of strong planks of the most beautiful cedar wood. Public buildings have been constructed according to the local taste very quickly and in no less than pleasing form such as the  court of justice, multiple schools etc.

The largest landmark of Vancouver is Stanley Park, a reserve Reserve on a peninsula surrounded by sea bays which still has part of the gorgeous ancient trees that are protected here from profiteering utilization.

The path to the long wooden bridge that connects Vancouver to the park over a sea arm shows on both sides how the splendid jungle are cleared here. A ruthless war of annihilation is undertaken against these 500 to 600 year old cedars, thujas and Douglas fir trees that have reached a height of more than 100 m and a circumference of the trunk of 8 to 10 m and now have to make way so that space can be cleared. The most gorgeous wood that would represent a fabulous value at home is used here to almost exclusively as fuel for locomotives. In most cases a forest is burned down as the saw and the ax are not working fast enough. It hurts to see these mighty patriarchs of the wood be destroyed in vain and on thousands of hectares to see only the remains of former beautiful stocks as withered trunks rising into the sky that are charred at the bottom.

Fire kills these giants that are then, if necessary, cut down and completely burnt. The digging out of the roots means the final step of making the soil fit for agriculture. The cleared ground then remains fallow for multiple years before it is plowed and cultivated. In the whole surrounding area of Vancouver is full of smoke and glimmer. Everywhere one hears the ax strike and even there where there is currently no prospect of starting cultivation at the moment the wood is still burned down by fire in the mean time so that the obstacle is removed for all future eventualities.

After these images of destruction the eye refreshes itself by the sight of the splendid forest of the Stanley Park, the trunks full of ancient force that had set roots here hundreds of years before and under which only the elk and the bear moved while only rarely the steps of a redskin or the call of a wapiti interrupt the deep silence. Now there are everywhere beautiful paths and English inscriptions that prohibit hunting or any kind of destruction and announce the names of various parts of the park. Pale ladies drive around under the the trees for a stroll or arrange picknicks under the shady tree cover. Many of the tree giants has grown over-mature in time, its trunk foul in the interior and the tree top dead but it still remains standing for a human lifetime, imposing by its huge dimensions. One of these dead colossi has a circumference of 12 to 16 m, so that 12 persons can comfortably be accommodated in its interior. We see here cedars, thujas, Douglas and other fir trees, especially the beautiful balsam fir (Abies balsamea) with blueish-gray leaves on the lower side as well as spruces.

Even though the giant trees stand in rather close proximity and thus permit little light to penetrate, the undergrowth is extremely luxurious. We meet here  particularly tree and bush species that are common in Europe too such as maple, alder, hazelnut, poplar, willow etc. Noticeable is the mighty growth of the raspberry and blueberry bushes that form almost small trees and from which one could even make cuttings. Long moss and lichen hang picturesquely from the lower tree branches and the thick entanglement of the undergrowth. The park is enlivened by the numerous channels and bays where one can spot large salmons jump into the air. The mountainous mainland of Canada on the opposite side creates an effective background for the park.

As there was no game in the park despite the hunting prohibition, a zoo has been created at the exit — apparently as a replacement —  in which two American black bears (Baribal, Ursus americanus), two beautiful sea eagles with snow white heads and tails as well as a much harried monkey were living in their cages.

After this truly enjoyable excursion I returned to the city to watch for some time the  outstanding games of some members of the Lawn Tennis Club. I would have gladly joined the game but I lacked the courage given the skills displayed here.


  • Location: Vancouver, Canada
  • ANNO – on 06.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Aida“.


Vancouver, 5 September 1893

After the beautiful evening, a dense fog appeared as a herald of the close coast. Already at 4 o’clock in the morning fog signals of our ship given with the steam whistle and siren in five minute intervals. As one could hardly see from the middle of the ship to the fore, the commander did not dare to continue the journey but had the machine stopped and awaited the morning while continuously sending out acoustic signals. At dawn our identification signal was whistled and soon repeated by a fog horn of a signal station at the coast — a convincing proof for the precision of the navigation on board. At 9 o’clock in the morning we finally started moving again, an hour later veiled contours of mountains became visible and we now could drive again at full speed. In time, the rays of the rising sun pierced the fog so that more and more some contours of the coast, mountains and wooded slopes could be recognized.  Further signs of land was the copious driftwood we saw, among it mighty cedar trunks. Many white butterflies were fluttering around the ship and also small birds paid a visit to our rigging from time to time.

The fog lifted, blue spots became visible in the sky and we saw, even though there still was a layer of fog on the sea, quite clearly the quite high coast of the American continent and could perceive even with the naked eye mighty spruces, cedars and thujas whose high trunks rose straight up. Small white houses of settlers were gleaming under the dark green of the trees.

„Empress“ steered into the Strait of San Juan de Fuca that separated the British island Vancouver from the mainland of the United States, Washington state, so that we had at the same time territories of two states in front of us. The sun provided agreeable warmth and after a number of cool days the passengers were comfortably sunning on deck.

Towards 2 o’clock in the afternoon a trumpet signal announced that Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, had become visible and soon we anchored in the harbor. The city is situated on the South-east coast of Vancouver island and Victoria harbor entertains vivid trade and shipping as a mutual place of exchange for ocean and river steamers with the harbors of the Strait of Georgia and Fraser river. The bay offers a quite friendly view. Around the bay the city is built on a ring of green hills and islands. The city reveals at first glance its modern American character: the streets run straight, the houses are mostly built out of wood in a tasteless fashion, painted reddish and covered by a forest of pillars that carry a network of telegraph and telephone wires as well as the cables for the electric lighting. In the harbor, the masts and parts of the aft of the sunk steam boat „San Pedro“ protruded sadly out of the sea.

Our stay in front of Victoria lasted but one hour that was spent for the medical examination by the harbor administration and the embarkation and disembarkation of passengers. For this purpose the giant harbor wheel steamer „Yosemite“ whose beam engine towered over the deck approached the „Empress“ closely. Apart from the passengers embarking to Vancouver there were also a whole crowd of nosy persons on board and long before the steamer had docked, a lady shouted from it who among the travellers was the prince. But I did not grant her the pleasure of my appearance and thus she had to return on land without having seen me.

Right from the first approach to America we had be exposed to one of the plagues of this country —  reporters who are notorious for their unavoidable aggressiveness and wanted to interview us immediately. The departure of „Yosemite“ shut off this fruitless undertaking and we too hoisted the anchor, steering through a number of smaller islands that presented themselves quite picturesque with their beautiful trees breathed upon by the blueish mist of the evening air. In a small channel we encountered the maneuvering English Pacific Squadron, — consisting of the flagship „Royal Arthur“, a mighty armored ship of 7700 t, a corvette and two gunboats — intended primarily to protect the fishing industry in the Bering sea and which is stationed in Esquimalt, about 48 km South-west of Victoria.

In the Strait of Georgia we enjoyed one of those rare beautiful sunsets. The sun showed itself almost in a Nordic way as a  crimson ball in the foggy air before it disappeared behind the mountains of Vancouver island. The purple contours of the islands created a sharp contrast to the evening sky.

To recover the delays from this morning caused by the fog, we drove at full speed on all boilers so that we managed up to 18 sea miles per hour. The second captain told me with a smile that the the commander and the first machinery engineer had only recently been married and where doing their utmost to reach their home in Vancouver as quickly as possible. I found this marital bliss very touching and very agreeable for all passengers as we thus could expect to land already in the evening. Quite many maritime journey would come to an end more quickly if the ship captain only had been married recently.

We still had to pass through a narrow channel. Then we saw many electric lights that indicated the presence of a harbor nearby. At 10 o’clock in the evening the „Empress“ moored at a mole, on which I immediately, despite the darkness, discovered Imhof who was expecting the arrival of the ship and whom I was to meet here. What a joy to meet a good friend, after such a long absence from home, who comes directly from there to us! No wonder that Imhof still had to answer our questions deep into the night and had to give us all kinds of news. That he also brought the mail, made him doubly welcome.

The hotel we stayed in which was also owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company instantly showed the discomforts of American hotels we were already expecting: The bad or better said non-existing service, the annoying ban on smoking and the lack of salons and smoking rooms where one could while away some time after dinner. Finally the cooking. I am certainly no gourmand and count eating among the least of life’s pleasures. Anyhow I can not become friends with the English way of cooking that is used in America too. All roasts are prepared in the same manner „à Ia roast beef“ and are notable for their one and only taste, the vegetables are only boiled with water and another dessert than the inevitable pudding seems to be totally unknown.


Wiener Salonblatt No. 37 notes the safe arrival of Franz Ferdinand in Vancouver.

Wiener Salonblatt No. 37 notes the safe arrival of Franz Ferdinand in Vancouver.

At Sea to Vancouver, 26 August to 4 September 1893

During the first two days the weather was mild and agreeable, we could spend the time on deck in light clothing. Then we came into the vicinity of the Aleutian Islands and the region of the North and North-east winds which carry ice cold air from the polar regions so that the thermometer suddenly dropped to 7° C.  and the temperature difference was keenly felt. A few days ago we were exposed to 34° C.! All passengers put on winter clothes, furs or plaids and the air heating of the cabins was activated.

Life on board takes a rather regular turn. At half past 7 o’clock the gong calls to breakfast. The meals are eaten in a  beautiful spacious dining room. Otherwise we spend most of the day on the long deck. A very active committee consisting of the second captain and some passengers arranges a number of games which entertain the majority of passengers. Those who do not want to participate in the games sit, covered in plaids, in long cane chairs and read or run to and fro to stay in motion. These „runs“ are especially popular after the meals, namely among the English and American ladies who do almost incredible things. They would probably break the best records by running arm in arm of two or three persons with very long not always gracious strides and turning the edge of the deck unsafe.

During the first days my time was spent adding my travel recollections of our stay in Japan. Later I met more and more of our fellow passengers among whom there were some kind people. Opposite of my cabin lives an English painter who thankfully is able to speak French. He travels around the world for the third time, while his wife is undertaking this „small journey“ already for the eighth time. The turbulent life seems not to please the artist anymore. When we asked him if these numerous voyages of his wife were not burdensome, he answered: „Enfin, c’est une maladie comme une autre!“ Among the passengers on board is also a Prince Galitzin, who has lost an arm in Paris  in a rather prosaic way, a rich tea merchant with two blond daughters as well as a number of other ladies of various ages.

With a charming small American woman I play daily multiple games of tennis without being able to make conversation with her as she only speaks English. But we nevertheless entertain ourselves very well. Clam and another American woman are the partners. Our ground is actually terrible because it is much too small, about half the normal size and covered at 3 m in height. During the pitching movements we furthermore stand on shaky ground. We also have to always pick up the two available balls ourselves that roll around on the whole ship after each play so that there is always a small chase and search. This all does not disturb our pleasure to play tennis on the open sea.

Three other games I often participated in require a certain skill in throwing disks and rubber rings at certain numbers. Cricket, which the English would not miss, was always very agitated so that already on the first day a gentleman had broken a finger and two further players left the field of battle with injuries. A ball organized by the entertainment committee was a failure as nobody wanted to play music and dance at first and later when the Wagner enthusiast played a waltz, even though he considered this beneath him, only American couples began to dance so that the ball ended quickly. If all the ladies in the New World obey the custom of only dancing with their husbands, how boring must balls be on that continent!

Besides the games on deck, especially during the evenings, singing was honored both in individual and choir form. But due to the complete lack of good voices and the circumstance that the participants tended to sing off-key on principle the performance did in no way equal the effort put into it and produced no entertaining feasts for the ears.

With true English rigor the strict Sunday rules were executed. The paymaster performed a service. In the morning and afternoon endless chorals were sung. No game was allowed to be played. Even the Wagnerian had to stay away from the piano and when our hunters tried to play a harmless game of cards in the bar room, this was instantly prohibited. In the evening of 3rd September there was even a disputation between two Protestant pastors that the passengers listened to with devotion. One of them was Anglican, the other a Norwegian missionary, actually an unfortunate misshaped man who had lost nearly all the knowledge of European languages and customs during his six year stay in the interior of China and became the butt of jokes and taunts on board. Special hilarity was caused when he was photographed by Hodek in the costume of a Tibetan Lama.

Until 1st September the sea remained calm only a North-eastern wind produced some light ripples — weather conditions that are actually not to be expected during this season. The horizon was cloudy in the morning and the evening but the weather cleared up a bit up to noon. During the first nights we had beautiful moonshine. The color of the sea was no longer the beautiful blue or green that we were used to seeing. It was more of a leaden blue turning toward black.

A large number of various guillemots, seagulls and stormbirds were flying around our ship. Even a small representative of an albatross species showed up. But I could not determine these sky fliers more closely as there existed no sufficiently knowledgeable expert about the named bird species as this was a very unexplored and quite unknown field of ornithology.

On 30th August we passed 180 degrees longitude and now the 24 hours lost on our journey towards the East were recovered so that we countered two consecutive days of 30th August.

The ship covered 350 to 360 miles per day. In favorable winds, the sails were also set but this did not have a visible effect on the speed.

As mentioned,  the calm weather until 1st September changed and wind jumped to South-east and brought so high waves with it that even the giant „Empress“ was mightily thrown around even though the ship is well adapted for the sea and moves quite comfortably. Nevertheless all passengers became more or less sea-sick and when the weather did not calm down on 2nd September there was almost nobody else on deck beside me and my gentlemen. Staying on deck, by the way, was not very comfortable due to the cold and breaking waves. The next day returned us the sun and we had once more as beautiful a journey as earlier.

On 4th September, the next to last day spent on sea, a collection was made among the passengers and the amount collected was donated for crew games that were quite animated and offered the English sailors the opportunity to display their skills. The program covered 12 numbers among them an obstacle race over rope barriers and banks as well as through life-savers. The competitors had in the „Finish“ to crawl through a wind sail  strewn with flour and caused many hilarious scenes. Also a flat race,  a sack race, a tug-of-war and a „potato race“ were organized. In the latter those could claim a prize if they managed to be the first to to put a certain number of potatoes that had been distributed on deck into a bucket. Then followed cock fights,  a long jump etc.

After the dinner a festive air dedicated to captain Archibald and his officers composed and authored by the Wagnerian was performed by a mixed choir with dreadful dissonances.

Finally came the moment where I was pleased not to speak English as this lack spared me a bad fate. After the canons had ended,  the name of one of the gentlemen rang out among the circle: „Speak, speak“, so that the miserable chosen one could not but rise and give a speech. This custom was upheld until nearly all the gentlemen had spoken and the ship and the happy voyage praised sufficiently. When later everybody’s ship uncle Prince Galitzin with a friendly smile and some encouraging words awarded brooches and photographs of the ship to the ladies and gentlemen who had been the most skilful at the games, the speech torture was repeated for its uncomfortable victims.

Finally it was again time to sing but I fled as everybody was fully committed to mercilessly present all their complete repertoire and enjoyed the splendor of the cloudless starry sky on deck.


The Wiener Salonblatt No. 35 reports FF's departure from Yokohama towards North America.

The Wiener Salonblatt No. 35 reports FF’s departure from Yokohama towards North America.

  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Die Afrikanerin“.