Schlagwort-Archiv: January

Colombo — Kandy, 6 January 1893

There is an old tale that Ceylon had once been the location of paradise where Adam and Eve had lived prior to the fall of mankind. If that is true, our ancestors had enjoyed a truly heavenly place. Those who have seen Ceylon will understand the size of the damage caused by the frivolous game with the apple. This island, embellished by the incredible attractions and wonders of the tropical nature, inexhaustible in its delightful imagery, blessed with an exhaustive creative force, lost for all mankind for the sake of a single apple! The richness in vegetation taunts all possible description, not a single spot resembles another one. At every step, every drive, I might say, at every turn of the way the images changed. Now there are palm groves, then giant bushes covered in lianas and orchids, then cactus-like Euphorbias with magnolia-like totally straight branches that captivated us. In between are flowers of the most colorful kind such as the purple red Gloriosa superba and a sky-blue Ranunculacee. Scintillating butterflies fly from flower to flower. Striped squirrels (Sciurus palmarum) run up and down the trunks, the most colorful birds, parrots, bulbuls, kingfishers, herons and bee-eaters cross the sky.

For today, a trip to Kandy, the old capital of the kings of Ceylon and the favourite spot of the present governor, was planned. The city of 20.252 inhabitants is 119 km distant from Colombo. At 9 o’clock, I went on land and through the guard of honor to the railway station of the fort where another honor guard was waiting. Most lovely to look at was a tame antelope with gilded horns – black buck of the English – that was a mascot of the music band.

The governor and his entourage and we mounted the wagons oft he Kandy railway which are very suitably and airily built and operated for the climate. Sinhalese act as railguards while the conductors and civil servants are Europeans. In spite of the large costs of the enterprise it is highly profitable thanks to the tea exports and the native predilection for train trips.

The railway tracks led first through thick banana and palm groves which alternated with extended rice plantations. The rice harvest which occurs twice per year had been completed shortly prior to our arrival and so the heavily watered and terraced fields were most fresh and of young green color. Everywhere there were buffalos standing up to their head in the water, surrounded by cowboys who looked almost snow-white from the distance. At Rambukkana station, the railway starts to enter mountain territory and the panorama changes. Ever steeper and steeper the railway tracks snake upwards. Tunnels and overhanging stone galleries follow, everywhere there are sources, brooks, rivers which descend in the fastest path towards the plain and greatly enliven the scenery. The eye is feasting on the blue mountain peaks and the deep-cut jungle valleys – it is, I might say, a Semmering-Bahn transposed into a tropical world. A high black rock cone standing tall beside the track has gained sad notoriety as a Tarpeian rock during the time of the kings of Ceylon of the Mahawani family, as these rulers pushed inconvenient prisoners down into the abyss to their death. Close to Kadugannawa station is a monument to Captain Dawson paying tribute to his construction of the first stage of the railway.

In front of Kandy, the rice fields are displaced by tea and cacao plantations which offer a pleasant impression with their deep green leaves.

At the station at Kandy we were festively received. A honor guard of native volunteers presented arms while a newly organized mounted guard of native noblemen rode on excellent ponies in front of our government carriage and behind it. All Kandy was outside. Thousands of Sinhalese and many Europeans stood at the roadside or on the verandas to greet us and welcome us most friendly.

Kandy is very picturesque situated in a greenish smiling valley and distinguishes itself through its clean houses and mild climate.

Near the ruins of the old royal palace, gigantic, strongly anchored walls with imaginative crenelations, was installed a towerlike triumphal arch built out of bamboo and palm leaves. On the other side of it was the fairylike garden of Government House or Pavillon. Bamboo and rubber trees of unimaginable height, covered in blooming lianas, form an alley that leads to the Government House. It is built in tropical style with wide stairs and large airy halls and offers a very pleasant stay.

I first paid my compliments to Lady Havelock and was then presented by the governor to a numerous delegation of native noblemen, the old hereditary nobility of Ceylon, where the following protocol was observed: I stood in the middle of the large hall while the individual members of the delegation came up singly, bowed deeply, the vice governor declaiming their names which were particularly long.

The costumes of these dignified, long-bearded men are most imaginative: On the head they wear a four or six-pointed flat red hat on which is fixated an agraffe with a jewel. The upper body is covered by a small jacket wrought in gold. On the breast hang different amulets and badges on golden chains which are often heavily trimmed with diamonds. Among the jewelry, I especially noted a flying eagle decorated with rubies and emeralds which is said to have been owned by a minister of the last king. In broad belts are knives with richly ornamented blades. The strangest part of their attire, however, was the way they cover their lower extremities. Firstly these are covered with white narrow trousers that reach down to the ankles, around which are wrapped 54 m of muslin – a task which requires more than two hours. This somewhat strange costume turns their wearers into comically walking pears.

After the parade we rested. At the start of the cool evening we paid a visit to Buddha’s tooth, the largest sacred site of the Buddhists. With ear-shattering tam-tam noises and drum music we were received by temple guards and high priests at the foot of the temple and led inside by a number of small stairs. In the entrance hall, numerous priests, all with heads clean shaved and clad in yellow Sarongs, were smilingly bowing standing at attention. After a few rooms with images from the life of Buddha I was in a square dark Sanctuarium lit only by a few lamps in which the musty smell of decomposing cut flowers, present in great number, flowed towards me. The high priest mumbled a few prayers and then showed me the tooth which lies in a large golden rose. The god Buddha must have had giant dentures because the tooth measures 5 cm in length and 25 cm in width. It has a dark chestnut brown color and is said to be made out of ivory smuggled in by clever priests after the original tooth had been burned by the Portuguese. Many pilgrims and processions arrive here to this sanctuary annually. The tooth is encased in six or seven tower-like covers made out of massive gold and decorated with gemstones, true masterworks. The whole is kept in a barred cage that contains also another object of value, a 12 cm high statue of Buddha made out of a single pure emerald stone.

We saw here also a second relic with many especially crystalline Buddhas as well as the temple library which keeps old Sinhalese writings etched into palm leaves. Then we drove to the 6 km distant majestic botanical garden of Peradeniya which exceeds everyone’s wildest expectations by its variety of plants and trees as well as its tasteful composition into groups. The tropical climate that supports the gardener’s art is capable of achieving nearly fairy-like outcomes. Peradeniya is said to be the most beautiful botanical garden in the world. That it is unmatched I can firmly believe. The chief gardener tasked me with planting a tree to commemorate my visit, as did the Prince of Wales and the Tsesarevich. The tree planted by the first has already reached a sizeable height. The orchid collection of the park is housed indoors with straw mats replacing glass windows to safeguard the plants from the intense sun rays.

Lady Havelock which we encountered in that part of the garden with her daughter invited us to a cup of tea in the garden pavilion.

At 8 o’clock there was a grand parade dinner in Government House in Kandy which was attended by numerous dignitaries and multiple ladies. Giant Indians with long spears were set up in the staircase as a guard of honor. The table in black and yellow was richly decorated with flowers. For the delicious meal, musically accompanied by the band of the 6th regiment that played lovely melodies, I sat between Lady Havelock and the German wife of our consul general Schnell, who was born in Calcutta. At the end of the dinner the governor declared a toast to the queen’s health, to that of our emperor and to mine, accompanied to the people’s hymn.

After the conclusion of the dinner, a religious procession called the Perahera procession, which is performed but once a year and which is attended by all the nobles of the land from the most distant places with their attendants and their elephants to create the largest pomp possible, started in the large forum in front of the Buddha temple. The glittering procession of the dignitaries, the nobles and the men, the majestic elephants, the gaudy play of the colors, the glittering and sparkling gold and gems, the activities of the crowd, the performance of fantastic dances, the magic scenery – all covered in a clear light of torches, turned it into a Arabian Nights fairy tale. The procession moved with a deafening sound of the drums past the Buddha temple on whose dais all guests of the governor and the members of the English colony had taken their seats.

At the front of the parade marched a beautifully ornamented giant elephant that carried a representation of the golden hull of Buddha’s tooth on a rich silk blanket. The giant was escorted by two smaller elephants, then about a hundred Sinhalese with colors and torches came. Then, surrounded by dancers moving in grotesque jumps, followed the nobles of the land in their dress sparkling with diamonds. In the procession of at least 800 to 1000 m length were assembled forty elephants ornamented in the most diverse of trappings. All houses up to the roofs and the whole large forum were filled with the mass of the united country folk which set up a captivating strange background in their red and white Sarongs and the disquieting changing illumination. Twice the procession passed by us. Then we returned home to the governor’s pavilion, enriched by the interesting day’s events.

Huts in Colombo, Ceylon

Huts in Colombo, Ceylon


  • Location: Kandy, Ceylon
  • ANNO – on 06.01.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Panama scandal in France is always a good topic to fill the pages, apart from the snow storm that is.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Krisen“ – a character study by Eduard von Bauernfeld; the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater presents a French opera „Der Prophet“.

Colombo, 5 January 1893

When I arrived a little too late on deck, Ceylon lay already only a few miles in front of us, so that we could clearly distinguish the palm tree woods at the coast on this beautiful morning. Clam, who had been up on deck since dawn, said to me that Adam’s Peak too had been a spectacular sight when it became visible between the suddenly parting clouds. I could unfortunately not partake in this view as, in the mean time, shrouds of mist covered the horizon again.

Numerous boats with Sinhalese approached us shouting “Hossani” and encircled our ship  while it entered the harbor. These boats are of the most adventurous form. For the primitive requirements of the Sinhalese boatmen a hollowed out tree trunk is sufficient, a sort of canoe on whose side is fixed a strong post with poles in order to keep the balance. If they use a sail, one of the boatmen shifts to the post to handle it from there. It is beyond belief how many persons can be carried on such a vehicle and how skilfully the Sinhalese manage to operate it. For short distances, they only use four linked posts which are set in motion by a board-type rudder. As totally similar boats are used in the South Sea islands, it is believed that this supports the conclusion that the Sinhalese are descended from the South Sea islands.

Colombo, the capital and the most important harbor of Ceylon has seen an extraordinary development since the British have occupied this island (1802) so favored by climate, vegetation and commercial location.

This can be measured by the current production, culture and trade relations of the island of Ceylon, once called by the old Taprobane and Singhala by the Indians. The island has a surface of 63.976 km2 and according to the census of 1891 3,008.466 inhabitants. The English blue books list the exports of Ceylon in the year 1891 as 51,449.772 fl. in Austrian currency the imports as 58,305.960 fl. in Austrian currency. The ship traffic in Ceylon’s harbors (Colombo, Point de Galle, Trincomali etc.) amounts to 5,696.940 t during the same year.

In the harbor of Colombo lay many large postal and passenger steamboats, multiple transport ships, one English gunboat and a Russian vehicle. As soon as we had anchored, we were greeted by the usual territorial salute which was answered by the land battery.

Then came our consul general in Bombay, Mr Stockinger, on board to join me for the duration of the journey in Ceylon and India and to present me with a large program organized by the governor of Ceylon. Shortly afterwards, governor Arthur E. Havelock presented himself, together with an adjutant. This highly educated man, having invited me to visit Ceylon and especially to an elephant hunt, knew many interesting facts about this majestic island and namely about Kandy to which he added reminiscences of his prior posting in Natal in a most attractive manner.

Shortly afterwards arrived Kinsky too who had been sent on a reconnaissance mission to India to prepare the journey across that country. Kinsky came directly from Calcutta and had suffered from bad weather during the whole passage to Colombo so that he arrived later than expected. He would from now on be, like Stockinger, part of our travel expedition.

To return the official visit of the governor I went on land where I was met at the landing bridge by the governor, the dignitaries of Colombo as well as a number of representatives of the native community. There was also a splendid looking honor guard of the 6th English infantry regiment present with beautiful tall people in fitting white tropical uniforms.

After I had inspected the honor guard, the governor presented me a number of native notables, then military dignitaries, churchmen, judges and other civil servants. Communication was restricted to silent hand gestures as I did not have sufficient command of English for a full conversation.

Through a sort of porta triumphalis made out of palm leaves, coconuts, pineapples, blooming flowers etc. with an inscription welcoming me we arrived at a four-horse governmental carriage which was escorted by a guard mounted on Australian horses. With their beautiful uniforms, the long lances and the colorful turbans, these choice soldiers looked very martial.

Behind the troops in line stood end to end, closely packed, a huge crowd – Englishmen, Sinhalese, Indians, Afghans, Malays wildly mixed together – greeted me with waving kerchiefs and inarticulate sounds. Especially my green wavy plume of feathers proved to be the object of curiosity for the Sinhalese youth as the boys of Colombo shouted, pointed and gesticulated at it with their fingers without interruption.

The guard of honor was ordered first by the regular military forces, namely infantry and artillery, then native artillery. The whole road was festively decorated.

After we had passed three more triumphal arches we finally arrived step by step at Queen’s House, the government building in which the governor does not reside as he spends all the time of the year at Kandy. This airy building, suitably adapted to life in the tropics, is reserved for festivities. A small ethnographic collection and delightful fresh flowers graced the reception room and the veranda from which we looked out into the garden which offered a glimpse of the wonder of the tropical vegetation we were bound to see during the following days. There stood a huge Ficus religiosa, yonder coconut and fan palms had put down their roots. Juicy green banana trees stretched their broad leaves into the air, Tamarix presented themselves covered in lianas, and everywhere gleamed the most beautiful and colourful flowers and blooms amidst which flew glittering bulbuls and frail butterflies.

In Queen’s House, I made the acquaintance of my newly recruited Indian servants, dark colored persons with long beards in a beautiful livery shot through with gold and covered with monograms. They were to accompany me during my whole time in India.

After we had changed our clothes, Sir Arthur E. Havelock had us served delicious refreshments, among them pineapple and mango fruits. We then made a sightseeing tour of the city with his adjutant Captain Pirie starting with the museum lying at one end of the city.

The most varied, interesting and strange impressions overwhelm the newly arrived on this journey. I didn’t know where to look, where to keep and where to stop looking. In the beginning I felt rather apprehensive and overwhelmed. Only with time, I managed to collect myself to observe and appreciate. Amidst the most luxurious tropical flora, the most beautiful and highest trees stood houses, bungalows, of the Europeans and the airily built huts of the Sinhalese. The Europeans living here, mostly Englishmen, most often civil servants and also some merchants, improve the surrounding of their houses with small gardens, an endeavour nature assists most willingly in this glorious climate.

The huts of the Sinhalese are poor. The people themselves are of a frail stature, also, it is said that they are not very industrious but of good nature. It gives the impression of big children living thoughtlessly from day to day. The clothes of the Sinhalese consist of the Sarong for the men, a large piece of red or white cloth which they wear around their waist while head, body and feet remain mostly naked. The women use beside the named Sarong a white cover or a picturesquely arranged cloth which they tighten as soon as a European is approaching. Children use as their only garment a small silver chain with a tiny heart or other amulet.

The facial expression of the Sinhalese is not nice; during my stay I could not discover a single pretty face among the women. The Sinhalese marry very early at the age of 12 to 14 years, are monogamous and are blessed with many children. The children are carried up to their fifth or sixth year by the mother, and namely by a peculiar manner in that they sit on the mother’s hip bone or more precisely, ride on it.

In front of the museum is a bronze statue of its creator, Sir W. Gregory who was governor of Ceylon from 1871 to 1877.

The ground floor rooms of the museum contain a rich ethnographic collection from all parts of the island of Ceylon, delicately crafted jewelry in gold and silver, different sets of weapons and knives, a large collection of grotesque masks that the natives use in their devil’s dances. In one of the display cabinets are healing masks with hideously distorted faces which, as a guide explained to me, are placed on the sufferer’s face to chase away the evil spirits and thus heal the patient. Depending on the type of illness, different masks are used. Particularly horrible is the grotesque mask against toothache which leaves no doubt about the artist’s intention to chase away the demon causing the pain. Whether he was successful, I could not obtain certainty about, otherwise I would have convinced a Ceylon dentist to practice his painless dentistry in Vienna to the benefit of suffering mankind, in spite of laughing gas and dental fillings. Also the numerous ship and boat models caught my attention as well as the rich clothes and the products of the Sinhalese local industry.

In the rooms of the ground floor one finds stone inscriptions on the walls whose origin is dated to the third century BC, colossal lions cut from stone, one of whom originating from Polonnaruwa is said to have served as a royal throne. Skillfully chiseled portal beams and other fragments of the temple of Anuradhapura and more.

Of particular interest were two models of which one represented a man the other a woman of the Vedda tribe which lives in the deepest jungle of Northern Ceylon, part of the original native population before the Sinhalese immigration and on the way to extinction. Also there are primitive weapons and other objects used by the natives. The savages themselves can almost never be observed. In an almost sick dread against all kinds of observation they know how to avoid to meet foreigners even for trade occasions on which they from time to time depend upon. Thus the natives deposit their trade objects – wild game – during the night at certain places in the woods which the Sinhalese recover by day and place their own trade objects of iron, cloth etc. there.

The first floor of the museum contains the zoological collection which consists solely of specimen from the fauna of Ceylon. Among the native species of birds I found so many animals that are common in Europe too. Especially numerous and in the most peculiar and colorful varieties are the genera of pigeons, kingfishers and water foil in general. Among the mammals, two genera of panthers as well as two different snake-eating types of mongoose with a strong resemblance to Ichneumon attracted my attention. A rich collection of butterflies forces even the layman to admire it.

After the museum visit we continued our trip through the most beautiful parts of the European city and the native quarters to the quay bridge. Streets according to our common understanding with closely arranged rows of houses exist in Colombo only straight at the edge of the sea and even then in limited numbers. In return, the city of 126,926 inhabitants ranges out park-like for many miles into the countryside.

The houses in the streets at the beach serve as shops and bazaars on the ground floor in which work and trade Sinhalese, Afghans and Muslims immigrated from India. The last group are easily recognized by their pudding-formed head covers made out of straw and are notable for their intelligence. They have managed to attract most of the trade business.

The Portuguese rule of Ceylon (1505 to 1656) lives on in many family names of the Sinhalese whereas the so called Burghers, mixed blood of Dutch and natives, are a reminder about the time of the Dutch occupation of the island (1656 to 1802). This is visible at a glance as the Burghers, while otherwise clad in oriental style, invariably wear a cap that resembles those worn by Dutch peasants. The only occupation of the Afghans is as knife grinders. The Tamils, people from Madras, perform the heavy lifting duties. All life is acted out on the street and like a kaleidoscope the turmoil and throng of the people is passing us by.

At noon, having returned on board, I received the members of the Austro-Hungarian colony, completed the letters to be sent home and went back on land again to do some shopping together with consul general Stockinger.

Towards evening a giant coach with four Australian horses, guided by Captain Pirie, led us to the 11 km distant Mount Lavinia, a resort the inhabitants of Colombo love to visit to catch the fresh air and sea breeze.

The journey of an hour is very picturesque. First one passes many small ponds, crosses bridges that fly over creeks and brooks and then traverses cacao and cinnamon plantations whose intense aroma discloses their presence from afar. These are encased by impenetrable high hedges of cactus-like Euphorbias, luxuriously blooming ferns, Rhododendrons and bamboo.

The excellent road continues through a never ending palm grove which offers shelter to many small Sinhalese huts. Everywhere are majestic trees, covered in lianas, such as the nutmeg tree, the mangosteen, the durian, the ebony trees (D. ebenum, D. ebenaster, D. melanoxylon), satinwood as well as the Egyptian Doum palm (Hyphaene thebaica), the Dracaena and so on. They offer refreshing shade, not a ray of the sun manages to pierce the canopy.

Close to the city, the houses of the Sinhalese are better built, mostly out of small bricks and boards, with a sharply pointed roof. The more one advances into the interior of the country, the poorer the houses become. Those are made out of clay. The land on which the house stands has to be acquired from the government. The needs of these people are small as only a small number of coconut palms are sufficient for survival so it is not surprising that the natives rely upon the blessing of heaven for their welfare and the majestic climate. A genre painter would find the most splendid subjects among the Sinhalese settlements: The whole family is lingering in front of the hut, a pater familias with a long beard at the top, at the side some old women looking like witches and furies, as well as a few young pretty women, most with a baby at their breast. The whole enclosed by the hopefully growing up youth in sweet communion with numerous dogs and cats in the sand as well as a colorful mixture of tools, pigs, zebus and empty coconuts.

The uncommon view of our coach irritated all the natives we passed; in large groups they stood and starred at us.

Lavinia is a large hotel in the European style, originally the villa of the governor Sir E. Barnes, which, situated on a bare hill, offers a beautiful view of the palm groves, the sea and Colombo in the distance. The temperature is here always a bit lower than in the city and a wonderful beach is inviting a swim. Sitting in front of the hotel, we whiled away the mild evening and enjoyed the view of the sea, the fiery picture of the sunset. The dinner partly French partly English partly Indian was notable by its colossal number and variety of dishes in which a wide range of animal and plant products with the most diverse sauces and aspic made their appearance. In our thirst for knowledge we tasted everything and had to pay bitterly for this the next day, having been used to much simpler fare during the long sea voyage.

The return drive to Colombo in the warm tropical heat was exquisite. The stars were twinkling through the palm groves, megabats flew slowly above our heads, countless brightly luminous fireflies soared like will-o‘-wisps in the canopy. Enchanted but also truly tired from the first day passed in the tropics we sunk quickly into deep sleep in our cabins.


  • Location: Colombo, Ceylon
  • ANNO – on 05.01.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The snow storm continues to vex Vienna. Most railway lines are negatively affected, especially international connections. Warsaw reports three cholera deaths as well as multiple sick patients.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing Georges Ohnet’s Der Hüttenbesitzer (Le maître de forges); the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater presents a one-act opera Cavalleria Rusticana as well as a ballet Rouge et Noir.

At Sea to Colombo, 4 January 1893

Towards noon we could see the shape of Indian mountains in the mist clouded distance.

An entertaining sport is the hunting of rays which kept me on the bridge at that hour. Seven of these flat, nearly 2 m long creatures swam portside by us at such a little depth that I could distinguish the dark brown backs from the greenish white fluorescing underside and hoped to hunt down one of them. At first I tried it with a shotgun – to no effect whatsoever then with a rifle shot which very finely painted a large ray. Unfortunately, the all too fast speed of the ship did not permit me to observe whether the bullet had killed it.

In the afternoon, the wind renewed itself, this time coming from the north. The sea became more violent and towards evening rather uncomfortable. The ship rolled greatly and the whole deck was repeatedly flooded by the sea.


  • Location: near India
  • ANNO – on 04.01.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Neue Freie Presse notes that Vienna is fighting against heavy snowfall that is interrupting traffic. Coachmen, workers and the homeless are suffering greatly from the exposure to the snow and the low temperatures.
  • The Pope sent the Austrian Emperor telegraphic New Year’s greetings. In Paris, meanwhile, the government prohibited all revolutionary public meetings in the city and the provinces.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater performed Emile de Girardin’s 1885 comedy „Lady Tartuffe“ while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater offered Luigi Manzotti’s ballet „Excelsior“.

At Sea to Colombo, 3 January 1893

Quietly, SMS Elisabeth floats across the blue sea at a velocity of 12 miles per hour. We were wishfully expecting the arrival at Colombo. Near the evening, the lighthouse of Minicoy on the Lakedives became visible and with the telescope we could distinguish some of the Coral Islands of the Lakedives and Maledives group.


  • Location: near Minicoy, Indian Ocean
  • ANNO – on 03.01.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. Das Vaterland informs about the escalating trade war between France and Switzerland. After the failure of coming to a trade agreement, Switzerland starts charging import duties on key French products such as wine. The beneficiaries of this small trade war will be the Italian wine producers.
  • The United States of America is already preparing the inauguration of its new president Grover Cleveland on 4 March 1893. Incidentally, Grover Cleveland had been president once before from 1885 to 1889, so the ceremony is a repetition for him.

At Sea to Colombo, 2 January 1893

I was still in deep sleep in my cabin when the officer of the watch awakened me with the surprising message that our corvette “SMS Fasana” had come in sight. Quickly I went to the bridge where we could see the corvette move toward us with full sails. Everyone on SMS Elisabeth was very excited and, by and by, all had come on deck, the standard was hoisted, boats were readied. It was a matter of offering greetings to a piece of homeland, one of our warships, returning comrades who had circumnavigated the globe and unfurled our proud flag in far away seas.

The valiant “Fasana”, that felicitous sailing ship, one of our mission fleet, has already undertaken repeatedly hard and dangerous transoceanic journeys and always splendidly proved its value. This time, her performance was bound to attract the common admiration of all the maritime world. The corvette managed to survive one of the most heavy typhoons in all oceans with but limited damage, while large steamboats such as the P. & O.-Steamboat “Bokhara” had sunk.

„Fasana“ greeted us with a flag parade, a 21 gun salute and a rigging salute (“Wantensalut”). We stopped our machines while Fasana bracked back and I went over with a boat on board of the corvette. There I was received bit her commander, Captain Ripper, who introduced me to his staff, including the twenty embarked cadets among which was a Mannsfeld. The interesting journey of Fasana offered much to talk about, especially the stories about the typhoon in which our hardy sailors had shown their glorious mettle and skill. In the heaviest storm and most intense rolling of the ship, the crew had to change the topsail, while the water splashed across the deck and the corvette lost two of her boats. In order to give us a better understanding of the action performed under such trying circumstances, a changing of the topsail was demonstrated.

In the ship’s rooms, which we visited in all its parts,  were many objects from Japan from the recent journey.

Of eminent interest is the machine of “Fasana” which used to be on the frigate “Schwarzenberg” and had been in action during the battle of Heligoland and the battle of Lissa.

Deeply moved we took leave from our comrades. Gun salutes and Hurrahs resounded while both ships resumed their courses, “SMS Elisabeth” towards the south, “Fasana” towards the north”. There flies one of the ships into the distance, towards far away destinations while the other, barely saluted, disappears to rejoin her homeland after a journey of sixteen months! With full sails, illuminated by the morning sun, resembling a gull flying above the clouds, the corvette disappears quickly from our view. The uplifting impression that the 700 compatriots had made in the meeting of two ships of our war fleet in the waves in the midst of the ocean lingered on for a long time in my heart.


  • Location: Arabian Sea
  • ANNO – on 02.01.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The beginning of the year was used in most capitals to assemble the diplomatic corps for receptions at the respective courts and governments. A special report in the Neue Freie Presse deals with the state of school instruction in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

At Sea to Colombo, 1 January 1893

In the morning the captain and the older officers of all charges paid their respect and delivered the official new year’s greetings. Then our dignified boatswain and the master gunner visited me to the same purpose in the name of the crew. After church service (mass), with the issuing of the orders of the day, promotions of the crew were proclaimed.

Today I finally succeeded to catch a flying fish on the bridge.

The humidity of the air is increasing despite the ongoing Northeast Monsoon so that the psychometric difference amounts to only one degree.


  • Location: Arabian Sea
  • ANNO – on 01.01.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. On the cover of the Wiener Salonblatt is Archduke Leopold Ferdinand, fellow traveler on Franz Ferdinand’s trip who is soon to be sent home due to persistent misbehavior. The weekly account of the trip in the Salonblatt dated 21 December tells the stories of Franz Ferdinand’s adventures in Port Said.
Archduke Leopold Ferdinand

Archduke Leopold Ferdinand