Schlagwort-Archiv: train

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.

Links

  • 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 — Banff, 8 September 1893

As the train that was to drive us on the Canadian Pacific railway through the Rocky Mountains was only set to depart towards 11 o’clock in the morning, I quickly went to see two fur traders who also offered stuffed animals. This happened to a lesser intent for acquisitions but more to get a cursory overview of the fauna of Northern Canada. We saw here mighty sea lions from Vancouver island, Wapiti antlers and heads, buffalo horns, mule deer whose heads with the hanging ears made them resemble mules, blacktails — the latter two species noticeable for their short but very strong pearled antlers whose numerous ends were turned upward and forward — mountain sheep and white mountain goats; among the birds were various Arctic loons and Northern long-tailed ducks, geese and white-headed sea eagles.

One of the two traders, a German named Zimmer, is an original character: He calls himself Indian doctor and carries the title of „professor“ in his ads. His medical activities however is limited to giving the most unbelievable medicines and mixtures to the Indians in exchange for furs. These are mostly not tanned and of a quite deficient quality. The shop presents a state of extreme disorder. The oiled furs are piled up, among them are medicines and healing herbs. An engraving showing a life-sized Emperor Wilhelm is hanging above a pile of mammoth bones and wapiti antlers; some thick-bellied spiders and scorpions are grouped around a Prussian Pickelhaube; various dogs and rabbits are milling around in all rooms. Finally I still started to buy some things and came to an agreement with the old man who owned also beautiful furs of grizzly bears, sea otters and mountain goats. At the end, he grabbed a bleached wapiti antler and said to us: „Whoever among you is the Royal Highness, I offer this as a present.“

We left Vancouver on the daily passenger train of the Canadian Pacific Railway to encounter one of the most interesting railway lines of the world. This railway leads across the whole of Canada from Vancouver to Montreal and forms the quickest connection between the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean, crossing first the most beautiful parts of North America, namely the famous Rocky Mountains, the American Switzerland, before it descends into the almost endless prairies. Then it leads North of the Great Lakes and finally reaches its Eastern destination of Montreal; the length of the railway including the side tracks is 4677 km.

The government transferred 1140 km of completed railway lines valued at 33 million dollars to the company without compensation and handed it 25 million dollars in cash in order to build this enormous line as well as land of 10.116 km2 which will in perpetuity free from taxation and fees. In 1884 the company was further awarded 22,5 million dollars. The total cost of the Canadian Pacific railway were 250 million dollars. In 1884 the top of the rocky mountains was reached from the East by the Kicking Horse pass and in the following year the connection to the line leading to Vancouver was established.

What enormous difficulties had to be faced for this audacious enterprise! The high mountain ranges with their steep slopes, the avalanches and rock slides, the numerous rivers and gorges and not the least the climatic conditions seemed to stop the advance of the audacious engineers. Technical marvels had to be created in areas where near and far no human being was living, apart from some nomadic wild Indian tribes. The track laying sons of the 19th century were in some areas the first White people to set foot in valleys and mountains that were now to become the location for a triumph of modern technology. The construction was eased only by the fact that it was not difficult to supply and transport the material as the mighty cedars provide excellent wood for rail road ties. Water and stone was missing nowhere. In contrast labor was very expensive as it could only procured with difficulties. The struggle against nature was constant.

Our train consists of a long row of sleeping cars that are equipped with seats that can be turned down at night to form beds which are a bit short but overall quite nice. A central corridor connects all wagons so that one can circulate freely in the full train. As no restaurant wagon can be taken along due to its weight on the steep passages of the rocky mountains, from time to time such a wagon is attached to the train. The observation car permits a better view of the beautiful nature than from the compartments so that those who do not fear the nasty coal dust and the cold have a splendid sight from this wagon. A mighty locomotive with strong headlights and a plow mounted in front pulls the train. For some stretches a second and yes, even a third machine have to be added. Guard houses, barriers and other safety installations are unknown here. Three hours before the actual passage of the train a man on a hand car drives along the line to clear away any obstacles and report them. What eventually happens later is left to the attention of the train driver and — good luck.

The otherwise so well equipped sleeping and parlor cars also have their disadvantages: The windows are low and small due to the upper folding beds, so that one always has to stoop deeply to have a look on the passing scenery. The known ruthlessness of the Yankees makes that the agreeable opportunity of free circulation through all wagons is lessened by the fact that everyone is running here and there, romping and shouting children create a constant chaos and there is always a draft.

Fortunately the railway director had assigned me my own wagon so that I had not to endure this and also was not affected by the otherwise general prohibition of smoking. Usually there is only one class of wagons but there are also so called colonists‘ wagons attached that form a sort of second class.

First the railway track follows alongside a long sea arm that reaches far inland and out of which cheerfully jump salmon while herons stand on the shore and fish and small quacking flocks of ducks fly up. Then the track turns into a small plain that extends over a cultivated area of meadows along the shores of the Fraser or Thompson rivers. Soon however a fresh invigorating air is blowing towards us. The mountain lands engulf us. On both sides we see green heights that are ornamented with a full complement of forests. Now and then a small calm sea or a small river is glittering in the dark green space.

The further we advanced the higher the mountains rose. Mighty rock formations are overhanging and the valley walls were moving close together, the valley getting narrower. wir Unfortunately we soon passed through a zone of burned trees whose bare erect trunks are sad reminders about the senseless destruction for the railway construction. The fires created then were often carried further by the winds and took on horrible dimensions, burning whole ledges and mountain tops so that we drove for hours through regions where the forests were dead. Now and then the destruction has spared a small spot where like an oasis in the desert a beautiful green patch looks down upon us. Now too one can see pillars of smoke rise from forest fires caused by hunting Indians or other forest rangers. How many millions of the most beautiful trees have been thus destroyed in vain!

About an hour later the train reached a station. These stations actually serve only to restock the water for the locomotive boilers around which in time small settlements of workers or trappers grew. Some miserable wooden hovel with two or three rooms always claims the name of „hotel“. Mostly poor or rather depraved looking fellows, a short pipe in the mouth, stand around the station and observe the travellers in the carriages with curiosity.

At nearly every station I left the carriage to refresh myself with the gorgeous mountain air that we found truly exquisite after the numerous hot days spent in the tropics.

Unfortunately we were pursued by unfavorable weather. It rained for nearly the whole day ad the mighty peaks of the rocky mountains were almost continuously engulfed in fog and clouds. We passed through many tunnels and many narrow gorges created by steep rocks standing very closely, while below us Fraser River, a true mountain child, was crashing down into the deep and its splashing revealing the snow water by its milky white color. Automatically it reminded me of our our Enns, that features in some parts a similarly splendid wild water. On the rocks and stones at the shore one often sees crouching Indians who are with a rare calm and endurance fishing salmon. The animals caught are cut into strips and hanged on poles in small open huts and smoked. Hundreds of these smoke huts with beautiful red salmon flesh are visible alongside the river.

Towards the evening the rain stopped, the fog lifted and the mighty forms of the mountains become visible. On the heights we could see the first snow. The mountain suddenly changes completely in character that — if this comparison is permitted — reminds of African forms: sandy ledges without any undergrowth and sparsely covered with pine trees create quite a desolate impression. High and steep rock walls, irregularly layered and all appearing in yellow rise up into the air while in the valley only miserably meager herbs grow.

Until it became completely dark we were driving through such a bleak monotonous landscape.

Links

  • Location: Glacier Park, Canada
  • ANNO – on 08.09.1893 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 „Freund Fritz“

Nikko — Yokohama, 22 August 1893

As the merciless railway administration had been only willing to provide a special train at no other hour than at 5 o’clock in the morning, we had to get out of bed early to say good-bye to Nikko. At 11 o’clock in the morning we were back at the station of Yokohama which rises in the North-east of the city on land reclaimed from the sea.

Situated like Tokyo in the province of Musashi, it has grown to its current importance out of an unimportant settlement on the West side of the Tokyo bay. Since it had been declared a treaty port in 1859, it thus was opened up for trade with Europe and America. The glory to have breached the system of isolation from foreign trade inaugurated by Ieyasu and enlarged by his nephew Iemitsu belongs to the Americans and especially to Commodore Perry’s expedition in 1854 that ended with the opening of the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate for American trade. Since then Kobe, Osaka, Nagasaki, Hakodate, Niigata and Yokohama have been opened overall as treaty ports and for settlement by foreigners so that the latter settle here in specially designated city quarters and are allowed to travel in the surrounding area of nearly 40 km without special permits.

Instead of Yokohama, by the way, at first Kanagawa, a bit to the North, had been designated as a treaty port but was replaced by Yokohama because of Kanagawa’s location on the Tokaido and thus the thereby always threatening conflicts between the foreigners and the samurai entourage of the traveling daimyos. Yokohama today plays the principal part among the treaty ports as the junction of all steam ship lines that connect Japan to Europe on the one hand and America on the other hand, as a destination for nearly all warships that enter Japan and numerous trading ships and coastal vessels of all kind.

Yokohama, counting 143.000 inhabitants, is quite rightly the point of contact of Japan with the West and the East, the point of entry and departure of trade. This is the reason for the international character of the city which is expressed both externally and in its population.

A quay road built at considerable cost runs alongside the harbor. Custom houses and other mercantile establishments like depots and loading docks serve trade. Nearly 3 km wide extends the foreign settlement in the harbor which has been rebuilt after a fire in 1866 larger and more beautiful, criss-crossed by broad well tended streets and containing residential houses, banks, offices, clubs, hotels and consulates. Numerous foreigners, by the way, only have set up their business location in Yokohama while they have built their residences in a crescent-shaped hill range called Bluff to the West of the city in order to breathe sylvan air and enjoy the beautiful view upon the harbor.

The predominant population are naturally the Japanese but the colony of foreigners, mostly Englishmen and Americans. is large enough to be noticeable in the streets as a leading factor of urban life, so that during a stroll through the city one meets foreigners everywhere, not in the least the sailors landing from the warships who look for relief from the deprivations of long sea voyages.

Even though I had requested to spend my time in Yokohama Incognito and thus to forgo the Japanese entourage, the rickshaw I used to wander through Yokohama and do some shopping was followed immediately by he police prefect, a police official and two reporters which caused understandable commotions in the streets. After other attempts to get rid of this entourage had been in vain, I sought help by using a ruse by going to the Grand Hotel, breakfast there and then leave by the small rear door and take another rickshaw. But the pleasure of the liberty won did not last long. The police soon had been on my tracks and finally arrived at full pace, so that I could only call Sannomiya on the phone. He was soon on the spot and freed me from the undesired entourage. Barely a quarter of an hour later, the procession had again assembled like shadows following my heels. I even believe to have observed that one among the entourage was writing down carefully every object that I bought. Finally I rushed on board not without enjoying the company of a police official following me in a barge.

For the acquisition of those objects I was looking for, Yokohama was not quite an enjoyable place. Even though the number of shops is legion, it was quite difficult to find something matching my tastes which had apparently been developed and refined by the stay in the actual factories of the Japanese art industry, namely in Kyoto. Yokohama’s shops are filled with curiosities in the true sense which is targeted towards the foreigners, especially the Americans who are only seeking to buy some characteristic objects of the country and whose demands have apparently not been quite so beneficial for the local production.

When I offered my opinion to some merchants, they admitted the correctness of the observation but added that it was precisely the mediocre goods if they are only large, colorful even loud and quite baroque that made them bestsellers for America and also for England, while the stylish, discrete and tasteful and thus more valuable objects are little sought.

In the evening I had invited some of the gentlemen of our embassy as well as the Japanese entourage to a dinner on board where songs from home made all guests merry.

Links

  • Location: Yokohama, Japan
  • ANNO – on 22.08.1893 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 „Der fliegende Holländer“.

Tokyo — Nikko, 20 August 1893

In front of the small Catholic mission church where I attended mass the pupils of its nuns assembled for me. The nuns provide excellent service for the education of the children but reasonably keep the Japanese costumes, the usual Japanese greetings and other external traditions. The small musumes are all dressed alike and look very cute. The mother superior, Mater Domitilla, a dignified old lady has been staying for a long time in Japan doing her pious and useful job.

At the visit I paid to the archbishop of Tokyo, a kind Frenchman, I learned from him and a missionary also present many interesting details about the country and its people, but unfortunately also that the propagation of the Christian religion was not showing the desired progress in Japan as the Japanese did not possess much religious sense and are mostly very apathetic in terms of matters of believing.

Until now the number of festivities was so compact that I had not yet found the opportunity to visit the shops of Tokyo. This was to be made up today, the first free day. During my stroll I saw a good part of the city whose enormous extent only now became clear to me but the first impression did not change that the city is behind the other visited Japanese cities as far as originality is concerned. Everywhere pieces of Europe pushed out in a not very stylistic and inharmonious way. The streets one of which measures more than 7 km are too long and have a tiring effect.

Tokyo`s shops, namely the Curio Shops, offer a great variety of objects and thus a rich selection. One believes that all original treasures have already been discovered and bought and still finds new forms and totally unknown objects once more.

In bronze, lacquer, porcelain, wood and paper all the holy animals appeared and especially frequently the dragon that is predominant in Japanese myth, symbolism and art. We also frequently encountered the country`s coat of arms too, namely the schematic flower of the Chrysanthemum, Kiku, and the coast of arms of the house of the Mikado that is formed by the leaves and flowers of Paulownia imperialis, Kiri.

In one of the shops I noticed a wavelike moment of the floor, the walls trembled and the water in the aquariums splashed upwards high into the sky — apparently I lived through one of those earthquakes that strike Tokyo so often and I thought that the underground forces did not want me to leave before they had shown their terrible powers but only at a moderate level thus causing interest but not having a devastating effect. In a distant part of the city one of my gentlemen also noticed the movement of the earth.

Unfortunately I did not have time to buy silk of which it was said that Tokyo was especially rich, as I wanted to pay a visit to our ambassador Baron Biegeleben in the Tokyo Hotel before my departure. It is a first class hotel that is owned by a Japanese and managed by Japanese but still was worthy to be placed in a line with any hotel in England or Switzerland.

The short time that I still had left in Tokyo I used to visit a Japanese theater that is laid out somewhat like our great singing halls. Opposite the entrance is the great stage. The space for the audience is divided into boxes, floor and galleries whereas the first two are divided by half-a-meter high boards in square fields each of which offers space for four to six persons. Banks and chairs don`t exist, everyone is sitting on the floor. The occupants of the boxes, whole families or groups install themselves comfortably in view of the length of the performances —  they last from noon to 10 o’clock in the evening — and bring food and drink.

The theater offers room for ca. 3000 people, and all of them smoke, without any distinction among the sexes. Everywhere there are fireboxes with glowing coals and the matches are only thrown on the ground. The orders of the fire police did not seem to be very demanding which should be the case given that the buildings are made only out of wood, straw and paper. Instead of almond milk, lemonade or similar refreshments that are common at home, here they sell rice, fruit and sake. The continuous rustle of the fans, crying children and the beating of the pipes creates ongoing and varied noise that has quite a negative impact on the art enjoyment.

The quite spacious state is very primitive in matters of changing the scene as it only involves the turning of a disc that has various decorations. The orchestra consisting of only a few musicians sits at the height of the first floor next to the stage in a cage-like space out of which now and then unmelodious sounds reach our ears. To the right and left of the floor and along the full length of it are two board runways called flower paths that lead to the stage. These are used for the entrance and exit of armed groups but also serve for the movements of the actors who act and speak from these runways. During the long breaks, the elegant part of the audience moves to the surrounding tea houses and only return when the play continues to the theater.

The themes of the pieces played in the Japanese theater are mostly taken from the national history which offers inexhaustible themes in the continuous wars among the daimyos. Heated fights, murder, killings and harakiri, that has now gone out of practice, are the climax of most dramatic development. But the presentation of popular life and moral plays are not missing if one may call them thus. Is a piece too long or too tragic in its conclusion, then arbitrary cuts are made and individual acts from other plays inserted. Only men perform as actors but are very good at playing the female parts in voice, posture, gestures and dress. It is not necessary to highlight that we did not understand much about the plot of the piece that was played. It was a piece of the category of a jealousy drama and resulted in an intense fall-out of the lovers according to the gestures and the looks of the actors. Apparently the action was very sad as the audience was visibly moved. Namely the female part of the audience was drenched in tears and at times loud sobbing was heard. But soon we had to tear ourselves away from the play in order to drive to the distant station of Uyeno where the Imperial princes and the ministers had assembled to say good-bye to me.

The railway forms an arc in a Northern direction crossing well tended land until Utsunomiya, where it turns towards the Northwest to reach the for Japanese holy grounds of Nikko. From the shores of the Tone-gawa to just up to Nikko there was an alley of Japanese cedars that was in a class of its own and made a great impression in the darkness of the night, covered in shadows. A pious man who was to poor to pay for a bronze lantern at the sanctuaries of Nikko is said to have planted the alley. Where we today quickly rolled on railtracks, under the Tokugawa shoguns the Reiheishi moved on the road named after him, the envoy of the Mikado who had to present offerings in the mausoleum of Ieyasu at Nikko.

At 11 o’clock in the night we arrived in Nikko where despite the advanced hour there were curious people in great numbers who watched the nearly endless line of djinn rickshaws that winded liked a snake from the station to the Nikko hotel more than 2 km away which is situated in the gully outside of the temple city, close to a temple grove and provided a fitting place to rest for us.

Links

  • Location: Nikko, Japan
  • ANNO – on 20.08.1893 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 a ballet and Viennese waltzes.

Mijajima to Kyoto, 7 August 1893

At dawn I rushed quickly to the Shinto temple to see it also in daylight and visit again the gallery of votive images. Then we embarked again on „Yaeyama“ and left Mijajima to the sound of the gun and board salutes of the two warships remaining behind. The island of Mijajima will have a safe place in my memories among the highlights of the journey up to now.

The weather clearly favored us. The day was gorgeous and we could fully dedicate ourselves to enjoying the scenic impressions presented by the inland sea with its world of islands. Innumerable today too, fishing boats covered the sea but they were more prudent than the vehicles we had met yesterday. They moved out of the way of „Yaeyama“ already at great distance as soon as they heard the shrill sound of its steam whistle.

The coast of the province of Aki and the islands between which we had been squeezing us through displayed during the first two hours of our journey the same imprint as the mainland and the islands we had passed the day before. Green mountains and rocky formations of original nature formed here too the foundation of the scenery. In time, however, the heights and slopes change in character as they become more and more bare and the vegetation retreats and is replaced by yellow stone whose bright shine gives the landscape a peculiar coloring. It is as if the entrails of the mountains and hills became visible — probably a sad consequence of the excessive deforestation whose disadvantages had been recognized too late as one could see from the attempts made at reforestation of the soil that had become unproductive instead of profitable. From deck we could perceive the regular lines of young plants that had not yet succeeded but only are a first step towards reverting the damage. In many places there are lime rock quarries that provide valued building material.

„Yaeyama“ had to cross many narrow passages until we landed in front of Mihara in the province Bingo where we disembarked and, having said good-bye to the ships‘ staffs — at Mihara lay two large Japanese warships —,  rushed to the train station.

Mihara forms the current terminal station of the Sanyo railway line which would in the near future be extended along the Northern coast of the inland sea to Shimonoseki and  connected by a steam traject to the Moji-Kumamoto line. The landscape passed by the railway has at first the same characteristics we had seen already from the ship looking at the coast. The rather less pleasant views of the deforestations were compensated by the spectacle offered by the sea and its picturesque bays.

Full rows of salt works along the sea cost can be seen. The biggest part of the plain is devoted to rice cultivation. Here too the reforestation of the bare ledges has been started and they already have a slim green layer but unfortunately the plants suffer from the dryness — a cry of agony is heard all over the country about the drought which caused even larger river beds to dry up. In time the landscape appears in friendlier forms, the hills are covered with woods, Japanese cedars, spruces and bamboo were waving to us and finally we entered a landscape which we had grown fond of in its real Japanese qualities.

In the rich trade and port city of Onomichi as well as the smaller villages alongside the railway line, the tracks lead straight through the middle of the city if not ot say through the houses. The houses stand so close to the railway that one could speak with the inhabitants without problem out of the compartment windows. The inhabitants, however, do not let themselves be disturbed by the thundering train in their daily activities. Naturally I stood at the window and could observe thus many funny and even comical family scene. Close to Onomichi lies the temple of Senkō-ji, famous in all of Japan for its panoramic view over a great distance. It is a pity that we could not enjoy these sights!

In front of the station of Fukuyama, the capital of the province Bingo, we saw on a hill a castle built in pagoda style of the former daimyo, the current count of Abe, which looks like it was in an exceptionally well preserved condition. A similar castle is situated in Okayama and has been restored to the former daimyo, the current viscount of lkeda. According to the original program we would have stayed overnight in Okayama, but I preferred to continue without break on to Kyoto to stay longer there. Still the whole city was decorated with festive flags and a crowd of thousands thronged around the station where the dignitaries and delegations in large numbers had assembled. The mayor of Okayama greeted me with a longer speech and presented me with a collection of beautiful photographs that showed the city, individual spots in the surrounding areas, all kinds of scenes of daily activities and types.

At all the other stations we stopped, by the way, the local administration, the school youth and the fire brigade as well as the officer corps where a garrison existed made an appearance to greet me so that I could have imagined myself to be a mighty ruler who is travelling in his own country in view of all this honorable receptions. Driven by the desire to ease the burden of courtesy and hospitality as much as possible, I had made a request, as stated, to make the journey up to Yokohama as an incognito or at least reduce the festive receptions to a level of what is minimally necessary. But it was evidently regarded as very important to escort me with the biggest ceremonial pomp across the country.

When my tiredness finally began to claim its rights, I went to bed and soon slept deeply so that I missed the splendid reception in Kobe enriched by a firework at 11 o’clock to which also the staff of the ships anchoring here had been invited.

Links

  • Location: Kyoto, Japan
  • ANNO – on 07.08.1893 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)“.

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“.

Lucknow to Calcutta, 28 March 1893

On the familiar line we rushed towards Calcutta. Everywhere the fruits in the field were ripe and people were hard at work to harvest crops and fruits. The heat had considerably increased and was nearly intolerable within the wagons. The atmosphere  lay sweltering and sticky in the country-side that extended itself in a melancholic  gray in gray in our sight. A hot wind  whirled thick clouds of dust into the air — thus the Indian plain made a quite desolate impression during the time of our departure.

Links

  • Location: Mughalsarai, India
  • ANNO – on 28.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed until 2nd April, the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater until 1st April.

Sohela to Lucknow, 27 March 1893

Even though the railway was only being constructed, as already stated, and only the base layer had been rather sloppily, nevertheless a train was put on provisional rails that took us and our baggage at a slow speed from Sohela up to the border river of Sarda where the railway bridge was being completed. Here our baggage was carried by coolies across a pontoon bridge nearby while we reached the opposite shore in a boat guided by a railway engineer. This proved to be a difficult task as the gentleman knew very little about naval matters and sent the boat twice into sand banks in the middle of the river so that we were stuck amidst the waves until wading coolies managed to liberate us out of this unedifying situation.

At the other shore a special train was waiting that took us, after everything had been loaded, on the line of the Rohilkund Kumaon Railway to Lucknow. A heavy storm raged in the sky with thunder and lightning and the first drops of rain started to fall when the train departed, First the railway crossed beautiful jungles, similar to those we had found in Nepal, with teak and shala woods. Then the landscape changed to the monotonous character of the Indian plain. We passed the time with sleeping and reading until we arrived towards 7 o’clock in the evening at Lucknow. As we had to change wagons and the transfer of the baggage made an immediate departure impossible, we used the pause to a stroll in the mild night in which the moon was shining brightly.

At  11 o’clock we entered the train that took us without interruption first on the line of the Oudh and Rohilkund Railway via Jaunpur and Benares to Moghal Sarai and from there on the line of the East Indian Railway to Calcutta.

Links

  • Location: Lucknow, India
  • ANNO – on 27.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed until 2nd April, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the comic opera „Freund Fritz“.

Dakna Bagh, 8 March 1893

From Agra we took in a North-western direction to Aligarh the East Indian Railway, from Aligarh in North-eastern respectively Eastern direction the Oudh and Rohilkund Railway. At 6 o’clock in the morning we arrived in Bareilly and turned into the narrow gauge line of the Rohilkund Kumaon Railway which took us to the terminal stop at Pilibhit from where our grand expedition to Nepal would start. The morning was clear and sunny. Just after we had left the station at  Bareilly, the outlying mountains waved at us in a blueish haze. How happy I was to be able to greet mountains with green woods. Their sight lifted my spirits to the same elevated level as when I traveled towards Darjeeling. Soon emerged behind the outlying mountains the honorable peaks of the Himalaya mountains, gleaming white, full of ice and snow. A stark contrast — the yellow parched plain out of which rose the steep blueish gleaming outlying mountains and behind them, shining widely, the rising peaks of the Himalaya in majestic calm.

Already at 9 o’clock we arrived at Pilihhit where we were received by Mr. Macpherson, the collector of the district who supervised the arrangement for the transport to the camp. The closer we came to the Nepalese border, at first in carriages, the more luxurious became the vegetation until we drove through dense woods. A tree — shala tree (Shorea robusta), coveted for its wood — caught my attention due to its similarity to our oaks. Grass as tall as a human, as long as it had not been burned down, offered many excellent places to hide for the game as numerous clearings might suggest.

After each interval of about 10 km,  the horses were switched and after around 30 km the wagons were exchanged for elephants. The road went, having crossed a clear deep stream, soon across thick grass jungles and patches of woods, soon past single large trees under which meager withered cattle spent their poor existence. Numerous skeletons and vultures circling above indicates that a large number of them dies in the open jungle.

Arrived at the Sarda river which forms the border between Nepal and the British territory, we were received by the English resident in Nepal, Colonel H. Wylie, who was in charge of our expedition. Along the shore of the river stood an impressive number of 203 elephants that would serve us as riding and driving animals during the whole of our Nepalese hunting expedition.

Having crossed the river, I inaugurated my hunting expedition. On a sand bank in the river, three huge crocodiles were laying there which I tried to approach in vain as they disappeared into the water before I was close enough to shoot. Instead I bagged a beautiful ruddy shelduck.

It was as strange as spectacular to watch the 203 elephants cross the border river in a row. The river carries clear mountain water, is deep and rapid, similar to our Enns or Steyr. The water reached up to the back of the tallest elephants. the smaller ones had to swim. Here too the elephants proved their intelligence in sloping diagonally against the strong current. Without accident did the caravan arrive on the left shore and now we were in Nepal, the hunting el dorado where we would spend three weeks as a free hunter. In an area barley touched by civilization, in the midst of the wilderness where nature knows no bounds, where everything develops, grows, perishes without the regulating hand of man. Here we would hunt predators and observe animal life in the jungle. Full of the best of hopes we stepped on Nepalese ground. We had looked forward to the expedition during our whole trip and during much festive occasion our thoughts went longingly to the hunting camp and the tigers.

The first impression already was very favorable and promising. The majestic landscape so different from the mostly monotone Indian plain — in the background mountains, jungle everywhere — and a tent camp to my heart’s content were expecting us. There were no flower ornaments, no gardens with water fountains, no stone and mosaic decorations. Each of us had a small practical tent with a bed, a chair and a table, enough space to store the baggage, rifles and munitions. Around the tents camped large number of shikaris, the elephant and camel drivers and coolies who had to set up and pull down the camps. There, under mighty trees that offered shade, on a spot the people called „Dakna Bagh“ we set up camp and were hospitably received.

The state of Nepal is a strange and usually little known country that borders in the north on Tibet, the large neighbor of China, in the west and south on the Indian Northwest Provinces, in the east on Sikkim. Like Bhutan, from which it is separated by Sikkim, Nepal has retained its independence up to the present day from the Anglo-Indian Empire which rules over the whole Himalaya area with the exception of Nepal and Bhutan and thus controls the strategically important passes to Turkestan and Tibet. This fact has not been changed by Nepal’s recognition of an English suzerainty nor has the presence of a large number of Nepalese warriors, Ghurkas, among the sepoys in the Anglo-Indian army — 15 percent of the whole sepoy contingent of 110.000 men according to the last census. These Ghurkas or Khas, as these sturdy warlike highlanders of East Nepal, the district Ghurka, are called without distinction about the different races they are part of, only serve outside the borders of their homeland and, a small contingent of 1500 men apart which are regulated by the treaty of 1888, they only serve as volunteers under the English colors.

The English count the wiry, agile, fast marching and persevering Ghurkas among their best troops. The English soldiers especially the Highlanders get along splendidly with their Nepalese comrades. They are said to be especially gutsy and brave and attack with cold steel, their sharp curved knives, a way of fighting they prefer to than anything else.

The British resident in Nepal has, compared to the large power of British residents in the other Anglo-Indian states, little externally visible influence. He is, for example, restricted to keep within a range of 25 km around the capital of Nepal, Katmandu. He is not allowed to venture beyond this limit without special arrangement. The roads from and to India is assigned to the resident by the maharaja.  Anyhow Nepal by its location, formation and composition as well as the warlike nature of its inhabitants provides a very valuable fortress against any attacks to the Anglo-Indian Empire from the North-east, so that the British rulers of India do all in their diplomatic art to keep a good relationship with Nepal — which one day may still end with an occupation of this state.

The geographic location of Nepal is also very special. In the north, it borders on the large bare plateau between the Himalaya and the trans-Himalayan territory. It forms a 700 km long stretch that is but around 150 km wide. The northern border of it is protected by the main mountain range of the East Himalaya with Dhaulagiri as its western and Gaurisankar as its eastern end. The southern border of Nepal descends to the Ganges plain to the Tarai belt with its jungles and swamps.

Between the two borders, the actual place of Nepal seems to be a labyrinth of rocks, steep hillsides and deep gorges, in which only the outlying area of the Himalaya, the middle elevations of the mountains, the ridges and river valleys are inhabited and cultivated. In the numerous valleys that feed and fertilize the the rivers leading to the Ganges plains  they practice terrace cultivation and grow barley and also wheat. In the area that descends towards India, even rice is grown. Some areas, like the around 20 km long circular valley  in which lies Katmandu, the most important commercial place in the country, and Nayakot, the former winter residence of the princes of Nepal,  are known for their subtropical vegetation, gorgeous fruit gardens and rich woods at higher elevations. Iron and copper wares as well as paper from the fiber Daphne cannabina, resins and other forest products, furs, opium, wool, cloth, salt,  turquoise and gold powder, as well as small excellent horses and finally musk from the  once numerous musk deer (Moschus moschiferus) are besides agricultural products the main goods produced and exported out of Nepal. Trade links are strong both with Tibet, as well as with Northwest India even though it is burdened by all kinds of tariffs and taxes and the transport of goods over many of the passes is very difficult. In the year 1892, imports to Nepal were valued at 11,759.314 fl. in Austrian currency and exports out of this country amounted to  10,071.685 fl. in Austrian currency.

The geographic set-up of Nepal is in its details still little known as the maharaja who has an understandable aversion to cartographic surveys impedes the entry of Europeans and especially of scientists. Seldom only has a scientist managed to enter here an the largest part of the roads in the interior of Nepal have been explored only by disguised Pandits sent by the Anglo-Indian government. These natives are used to survey and explore areas closed to Europeans.

The Area of the state is estimated to be around 154.000 km2, the number of its inhabitants — census has to be replaced here by estimate — approximatively 3 millions.

The inhabitants of Nepal are a mixture of peoples in which the Tibetan element predominates but one finds much Aryan blood too. Especially the Ghurkas, or Khas claim even if this mostly wrong, to be true Hindus and to be members of the warrior caste of the Kshatriya. The type of the Nepalese is almost exclusively Mongolian.

Of Tibetan origin were the princes too who were part of the Newar people who was, residing at Kirtipur next to Katmandu, were dethroned by the Ghurkas in 1707. The current ruling Ghurka house of Sahi claims to be descendants of the Rajput princes of Udaipur — whether this correct is another matter.

The Newars who live in the middle of the country around the capital are even today the most pure national element of Nepal. The political aspirations and the customs in the south and th west of the country are mostly of Hindu, the one in the north and east of Tibetan origin.

From 1792 on, after an unsuccessful campaign of the Ghurkas against Tibet, it was nominally part of the Chinese Empire for a short time and since then a tributary of it and has sought a close relationship with England which, however, led to bellicose complications with it (1814), which ended with the cession of the territories of Kumaon and Garwhal, all in the west of the country. The East-Indian company was also permitted at that time to engage in transit trade through Nepal to Tibet.  Of Nepal’s history one must further mention the war they made on Tibet in 1855 and the enlargement of the Nepalese territory towards the Brahmaputra (1867).

In lieu of the current maharaja, still a minor, Adhiraj Bikram Jamshir Jang (born 1874), the first minister Bir Jamshir Jang Rana Bahadur assumes the responsibility of governing. The elevated rank of the minster in Nepal is said to be a dangerous and mostly short one as ministers die a violent death after they have been in office for some time. There are numerous small parties in Nepal and if the minister of one party has been inconvenient or his influence has become to strong according to some at the court, he is simply killed.

The maharaja has an army which consists according to newer sources of 17.000 regular soldiers equipped with Enfield rifles and 13.000 irregular troops. The income of the prince are around 11,550.000 fl. in Austrian currency.

The capital and residence city Katmandu, in its architecture almost completely of Tibetan origin, has 70.000 inhabitants and lies in the middle of the county, 144 km distant from the closest railway station.

The territory in which we were intended to hunt for two weeks is the above mentioned Tarai region, a small swampy plain between the border river of Nepal, Sarda, and the outlying mountains of the Himalaya and known for its wealth in forests. On the order of the maharaja, even the tigers are in some way spared. Not without difficulties is it possible to get a permission to hunt in this hunter’s paradise. Usually only every second or third year is a large hunting expedition mounted which travels across the region for a few weeks.  In the last hunting expedition participated the since deceased Duke of Clarence; earlier the Duke of Orleans and, in the year 1875, the Prince of Wales have hunted here. The British resident of Nepal, whose intervention grants from time to time permission for English sportsmen to hunt in the border regions, stays often during the winter months here to try his luck in hunting.

Unfortunately the best hunting grounds of the country is notorious for the fever that is common there and scarcely populated as the population is being decimated by illnesses of all kind. The government does its utmost to repopulate the land, divides up land without charge and promotes establishments in all kinds of ways but up to now without achieving notable results.

Hunting expeditions of a size such as this one require to supply many humans and numerous animals which is especially difficult. We had to provide for 1223 men and 415 animals, including 203 elephants! If one considers that every day an elephant needs around 75 kg of straw or grass as well as bread and grains and that that food itself has to be transported from afar, one can conclude about the necessary size of the apparatus that can provide the daily provisions of the camp. The demands for our kitchen can only be met from Pilibhit, that is at a distance of 41 km, as the hunting grounds only supply what game we catch.

The arrangement of the hunts is organized by the resident together with an unle of the maharaja called Kesar Singh, and his son Prem Jamshir. The last one had been sent by the maharaja for this purpose.

As there was still time es when we arrived at Dakna Bagh, I asked to hunt in the surroundings of the camp. The resident then immediately ordered 50 elephants prepared for a hunt. In the area were we were one can only hunt with elephants as the jungle is much too high an thick for a pedestrian to penetrate or even drive out animals.  On the order of „line“ all elephants assembled in a straight line in only a few moments, the animals standing pretty close together. The shooters in their haudas are placed at certain intervals. Despite some irregularities in the terrain and numerous obstacles the line advances at full speed almost as it is the case in a well organized rabbit hunt in Bohemia.

Negative is only the known difficulty of shooting securely out of the hauda. Usually the circumstances don’t permit to have the elephant come to a stop. Thus the shooter has to fire while the huge mass is in motion. Only if one shoots with a ball which would otherwise be too risky, one calls the mahaut with the word „Rok“ (Halt), even though, as we have already experienced before, the hauda keeps moving despite the elephant stopping his motion. Thanks to the practice in the earlier hunting camps I managed to fire after a few days even with balls from a walking elephant.

The hunter’s success is highly dependent on the mahaut and on his comprehension of the hunter’s intentions. With the help of my very limited vocabulary of Hindi — rok halt, deihne right, beine left, sidah straight on, bohut acha very good, chelao quick etc. — the shooter tries to make his desires understandable to the mahaut who translates the wishes if he agrees with them to the elephants with the help of different tools_ Shouts and admonitions, kicks with the legs behind the ears, hits with a stick or even pricks with a pointed Kaschwar. If the mahaut does not agree with the hunter, he often starts a long but to us incomprehensible speech which concluded in the mahaut’s will being followed. Any force to make the mahaut follow the hunter’s orders only creates all too quickly discontent and anger in the mahaut’s chest or has the man who knows about his own importance break out in loud laughter in which the other mahauts join in and use unmistakable gestures to show their contempt of the hunter. At the beginning the hunter is the object of much scrutiny by the mahaut. If the shooter shows himself competent in the use of the rifle and a good shot, he starts to trust him and do his best to help him shoot out of a good position.

The hunt undertaken yielded an Indian hog deer (Cervus porcinus), multiple vultures, falcons and francolins, as well as a jackal.

Enchanted by this splendid spectacle of the setting sun’s rays upon the dramatically illuminated mountains we returned to the camp when it became dark.

Links

  • Location: Dakna Bagh, Nepal
  • ANNO – on 08.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater plays “Die Eine weint, die Andere lacht“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing  the opera „Die Rantzau“.

 

Jaipur to Agra, 7 March 1893

The loading of the numerous baggage on to the train proved to be an interminable affair, so that our special train could only depart at 9 o’clock in the morning. From Jaipur we were on the way to Agra and then to the hunting camps in the territory of Nepal.

The success of the previous train hunts made me devote the whole day to this original sport and therefore I stood with Clam on the platform of my wagon when the train departed eastwards on the line of the Bombay Baroda and Central India Railway by the way of Bandikui and Bhartpur towards Agra. Shooting at full speed on all game that became visible, I killed in this manner 208 pieces, among them vultures, falcons, partridges, sand grouses and a large number of wild pigeons.

Towards evening we once again reached the territory of the maharaja of Bhartpur, where there was an abundance of nilgais. As we had already bagged many nilgais despite the maharaja’s prohibition to hunt them, I could not resist the temptation to shoot some more of this giant antelopes even less so now as someone passing through the territory of  Bhartpur than when I used to be a guest of the maharaja. The conductor of the train who was known to us as a passionate hunter — a fact revealed by his unusual dress choice of a hunting dress for a train director — had a train attendant act as a look-out with a spyglass on the roof of a wagon. This arrangement excellently proved itself as suddenly, in the midst of the thickest jungle, the train stopped and the train attendant rushed down and alerted me to a herd of nilgais grazing about 500 m distant from us. I descended from the wagon and sneaked up on them and bagged a strong beautifully colored male who was immediately packaged up and put into the wagon. The train dashed on again only to stop a half an hour later. Wurmbrand wounded a male nilgai but we couldn’t find it. Shortly before it became dark I sneaked up on two males and was lucky to bag them both. Thus we left the territory of Bhartpur with a catch of three nilgais in the hope that this time too our poaching would remain a secret to the maharaja.

ln Agra we had to switch trains. We found the seaman again who we had left there due to his illness with fever. As he had not recovered much we expedited him directly to Calcutta. Here too we sacked John and a second Indian servant, both of which had distinguished themselves by their laggardness.

We also took leave of Dr. v. Lorenz,  who was to go from Agra to Calcutta and then to Vienna, and continued our journey.

Links

  • Location: Agra, India
  • ANNO – on 07.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater plays Schiller’s “Kabale und Liebe“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Orpheus und Eurydike“.