Bibliography Texts

What Happened On Galápagos?

The Truth of the Galápagos Affair
As Told By A Lady from Cologne

Margret Walbroel Wittmer

“Between settlers, scoundrels and an Empress . . .”

Dedicated out of gratitude . . .
[to Captain Allan Hancock]

Abridged and Translated from the German
Was Ging Auf Galapagos Vor?
By Sydney Skamser
© 1989 by Sydney Skamser

This document was retyped from a carbon copy of the abridged English manuscript translation commissioned by Captain George Allan Hancock in 1936, and a bracketed number provides a cross-reference to the corresponding page of that manuscript. The original translation by Mr. Sydney Skamser, as well as the German edition from which it was derived, are believed to be in the archives of the Allan Hancock Foundation in Los Angeles, California.

Ellipses indicate locations where portions of the original German text were omitted in the translation. Editorial changes within the present document are limited to minor factual clarifications, correction to a proper name, insertion of a missing word, illegible copy, etc. Such changes are enclosed in brackets.—JW.

Table of Contents
Part I (this page) Part II (next page)
The End of the World? Harry in Mortal Danger Burro is Fired At The Hunt for Non-Existent Animals
Within Reach of Floreana Grand Hotel Floreana Christmas on Floreana Dr. Ritter's Writings
Arrival and Visit to Dr. Ritter Childbirth in the Wilderness Velero III Drops Anchor Dr. Ritter Ailing
The March into the Interior The Baroness Comes to See Rolf Peaceful Island Sea Water Drinkable?
Breaking Ground War On Floreana Ritter's Dental Practice No Trace of Lorenz and Nuggerud
Herta Dies A Beautiful Row Plundering Dr. Ritter's Chickens Die
Sunday with the Colonists Lean Days Five Months Without Rain Meat Poisoning
The Tragedy of the Galápagos Begins Mail from Germany Lorenz Moves In The Death
Notes in my Diary: October 15, 1932 A Short Legal Procedure Our Wish Becomes Reality Lorenz and Nuggerud Also Dead
Pleasant Guests, New Friendships The Galápagos Treasure The Sensation Floreana in Pictures
New Troubles and Some Anxiety Philippson Returns Before Lorenz' Departure Suspicion
NOTES: [n] = Page number in typed mansucript.
Black border = Sections written by Heinz Wittmer.
Stealing in the Bay Tragic Balance
Dryness and Dampness The Investigation
Out of Heinz Wittmers' Diary The “Thumb Sucker”
More Irritating Happenings Vacation Trip to Germany
The Trunk The Crossing
Three Persons Missing The Tragedy of Marchena


The End of The World?

Heinz Wittmer closed the book. There it lies on the table . . . a magnet? . . . a decoy? . . . Perhaps. The words on the cover are: “Galápagos-The End of the World” [William Beebe's Galápagos: World's End].

The end of the world? No! The beginning—a new beginning in a new world—a new life for Heinz, Harry and me. Harry is only 13; a fine boy—full of youth's enthusiasms. Why shouldn't he enthuse over the idea? Face slight—full of boyish dreams—bursting with questions. Just think—wild animals, the pampas, a hut we should build ourselves . . . an adventurous “Robinson” life.

His father, also enthused, begins to make plans. They ripen slowly, becoming ever clearer until finally in the spring of 1932 they are complete and we know, that:

Close to the equator, west of the state of Ecuador, lie the Turtle or Galápagos Islands. One of these—not very large—is called “Floreana.” Several hills rising about 1800 feet above sea-level. Lava-extinguished volcanoes; hard, loamy soil; a bay on the west side and one on the north; plains covered with impenetrable bush; lemon and orange groves; two poor roads; a little sweet water; some swamp-land; several dilapidated caves once used by pirates; the house of two German emigrants: Dr. Ritter and his feminine companion—all this is “Floreana.”

We picture a small cabin on the hill-side, a vegetable garden, several domestic animals. We think about the loneliness—of our liberation from an every-day, humdrum existence—an existence that seems to bring us so little happiness. We think of the hard work to come and we look at our hands. I take Wittmer's hands. I know they [2] are good hands—and strong. I trust those hands . . . and Heinz trusts me. This trust in one another is much—is everything. The whole world lies enclosed therein. I will not disappoint this man whose hands I hold. I want to help—dig in with him. We are three comrades . . .. But perhaps that is beginning to sound a bit pathetic.

Weeks go by. Everything is carefully thought over. We already know the Galápagos Islands almost by heart; we can tell about them by the hour—just as though we had spent part of our lives there. If one of us says something that isn't true, the other two instantly put him right with almost religious earnestness.

At last the time comes.

The freight steamer “Baarn” leaves the locks of Rotterdam. We stand at the rail and watch the coastline disappear under the horizon. Such a leave-taking is hard.. . .

Herta, our female shepherd dog, comes bounding toward us and the pangs of leaving are pushed aside. Romping after come Lump and Wolf—her two six-months old pups. They want to play with us. It's all right—perhaps it is better so. One can stand the parting better.

Fourteen days of sea and heaven and then off in the distance something rising out of the water: the Azores. Again only sea and the blue sky above it. Some sea-sickness. Porto Rico is the first New World port we touch. Then comes Curaçao, Colon and the Panama Canal. Six hours of glorious scenery—virgin forests, steep hills, etc., and again we find ourselves on the silent ocean. The ship turns south toward Guayaquil, a large port of Ecuador, where our first sea voyage comes to an end.

For his kindness and much good advice we make the ship's engineer a present of Wolf, one of the pups. While we are packing who should [3] he bring in but the agent of the steamship line—a German named Klein. Klein is unable to contain himself and abruptly bursts forth:

“Tell me—are you people crazy? . . . going to the Galápagos Islands to live?! . . . Has this Dr. Ritter fooled you too with that stuff he writes? Do you really believe he lives on 'locusts and honey?' Don't make me laugh! He likes his roasts as much as any other German—only he eats it oftener. You'll find heaps of American tin cans at Dr. Ritter's place. And he doesn't lack liquor either! . . . Don't be taken in by him.”

And so on in a steady stream. We try to protest but are unable to get a word in edgewise. Finally we quit trying. It's clear that there is no advice for us here.

A motorboat takes us into port. At the customs office we have difficulties on account of the dogs. It seems they can't be passed through without an examination by a local doctor. The certificate of the ship's doctor is worthless. An attempt to slip by with the dogs fails, so leaving our baggage in the customs office, Heinz, in company with an Austrian, goes looking for a veterinarian. They finally reach the address of one, but he's out and so the two return. The officials refuse to release the dogs under any condition so there is nothing to do but shut them up in a small toilet room in the customs building. Immediately thereafter the concert begins—the poor beasts whining and yowling in canine complaint so as to touch a heart of stone. But the loud, heart-rending recital falls on deaf ears. The doctor finally sends a young man to inspect the eyes of the dogs. He quickly returns—highly excited. His “inspection” had consisted of peering at the dogs through a crack in the door, so afraid was he of Herta. But at last we have our certificate and can set our two canine virtuosos free. At our lodgings, the landlord, on seeing the dogs, [4] cries out “no perro, no perro” and the upshot is that we have to find ourselves another place to stay.

At mealtimes there are many plates and little food. In Germany one serves meat, potatoes and vegetable on one plate. Here they have a special plate for every dish and every accompanying trifle. At the end of the meal each guest has used from ten to fifteen plates—with about one bit of food on each. At the end is served the national dish: rice prepared in fat and served with highly-peppered beans. We try to fill up on that but leave the table still hungry.

The days of planning, inquiring, running around, etc. turn out to have a certain charm for us all. Heinz tries to find out all he can about our destination so as to have as clear as possible an idea of what lies before us. Reliable information is almost impossible to obtain—the mention of “Floreana” meeting with wholesale shrugging of shoulders. The closest thing to an expert opinion comes from the German consul. He advises us not to go to Floreana. There are practically no possibilities for making a living there and its connection with the mainland too unsatisfactory to make a living in some business way. It's true that Dr. Ritter has cultivated about one hectare of land (about 21/2 acres), but he has to buy feed for his chickens. And the lonely life could hardly be called a rosy one . . ..

It is an earnest warning—and yet, after all is said, we have to admit that Floreana and only Floreana comes into consideration. We want to get away from business, industry, the usual life. We want to start from the ground, raise all our own food and provide ourselves with everything we need—entirely alone.

The certainty that on the yet-unknown island I shall give birth to a child is the deciding factor. It calms Heinz to know that there in our new home there will be the chance for expert advice and perhaps [5] assistance from a doctor and fellow-countryman when the crisis arrives.

We need beans, rice, oil, corn, onions; we must have tools, garden implements, sun hats and much besides. The business motto here seems to be: “Get all you can out of foreigners.”

We quickly notice it and confine our purchases to the Indian quarter. Here we receive better treatment—the Indians doing everything possible to help us. They drag out Indian weapons, wonderfully-carved bows and arrows, stone axes, animal and snake skins and even a smoked, shrunken head! Naturally we buy only useful things: machetes (bush knives), picks, garden tools, etc. For Heinz and Harry big sun hats and for me a genuine Panama. Of course the Indians look out for themselves during the buying but we don't find them nearly so cold as the business people in the mixed sections.

The only ship traveling between the islands and the mainland is the 100 ton motor-sailboat “Manuel y Cobos” [sic Manuel J. Cobos]—due to leave in three days. First class is 20 American dollars per person.

The start of the voyage is put off an extra three days. “Mañana” and “possible” seem to be the words most used here. However, on the 29th of July, followed by two porters, we and the dogs go on board. The ship is full up—people everywhere. I am astonished at the primitive conditions aboard the ship. My cabin is about six feet by four and one-half. Two bunks, on which I find dirty mattresses without sheets or blankets, comprise the furnishings. No provision for fresh air so the door must be left open. I share the cabin with a Danish woman and her four year old son. She is on her way to Santa Cruz, one of the Galápagos Islands, to look for a husband. Harry and Heinz [6] have a cabin near the ladder leading down to the engine room. Their door must also be kept open for with it closed the smell from the engines is too strong to be borne. So through the open door comes the spray from the rough sea even onto the beds. Many people leave the ship before the actual sailing but enough remain. These make themselves at home on the middle deck—each hunting up a comfortable spot in which to set himself down. After the usual dramatic good-bys, the rest of the natives remaining behind leave and toward evening the Manuel J. Cobos sails down the Guayas.

Sharks swim around the ship. The trip to Chatham, the main island of the Galápagos archipelago, lasts five days. Again I am seasick. The food is bad and the cook, a young negro, uncleanliness itself. For the first class passengers there is a toilet handy. For those in second class there is none—those who possess receptacles simply and matter-of-factly sit themselves on the rail.

On the morning of the fifth day, Chatham looms up out of the fog. The governor, a likable person with the rank of Major comes aboard, and after greeting the first-class passengers, allows the unloading of the ship to proceed. The immediate continuation of the ship to Floreana being a little doubtful, we take part of our luggage and spend the night in a tent on land, much preferring that to another night on the Cobos. Glorious and untroubled are the days we spend here. Early in the morning Heinz and Harry go fishing in our collapsible boat. In a short time enough fish are caught to last all day. Unfortunately, the fishing tackle we brought from Germany is too weak and much of it disappears forever. Now and then we gather some oranges from trees along the wayside.

Usually the crossing from Chatham to Floreana takes only one night—the ships always leaving in the evening because of the wind. [7] However, sailboats don't take kindly to schedules and oftener than not it turns out otherwise.

Within Reach of Floreana

Our new boat is 24 by 9 feet, without covering or weather protection. On this boat at 6 o'clock in the evening of August 22 go the captain, an Indian named Olaia; the crew of three Indians, a member of the military police and the three of us—besides dogs and poultry. The boat is packed full of our things and we find ourselves places, as well as we can, in the bow of the boat. A strong wind drives us rapidly southwest—the waves slapping over into the boat. We all bundle up to keep warm and dry, putting on as many garments as possible. Harry had rolled himself in a blanket like a mummy and snuggled down between the piles of luggage. I sit on the outside of the boat and get the full force of the waves, but changing places is out of the question—every inch of space is taken up. Several days ago there was a spring tide—that's why the sea is ruffled and unruly. It is a trying experience; this time even Heinz is seasick.

The hours drag by. No one thinks of sleep and we breath a sigh of relief as, by the first morning light, we can just make out the hills and mounds of Floreana. Our crew is trying its best to steer the boat for the landing place when suddenly the wind dies down and the current, which is against us, is too strong to enable the men to bring the boat into the bay. Night comes on and we are driven strongly to the west—all attempts to reach our goal ending in failure.

We spend two days on the open sea. It hasn't occurred to us to bring along emergency provisions and the crew is in the same fix; they have brought just enough for a short trip. Next thing is a few biscuits and a cup of coffee have to last all day. However, one [8] of the finest human qualities asserts itself: “comrades in need” and the captain and the crew, turn and turn about, pass up one of their own meals—consisting of beans and rice—to make it easier for us.

In all such emergencies, it is heart-warming to find that human beings don't take from one another by force but share what they have with man and beast.

It is the miserable garúa time of the small rains. Unceasing falls a penetrating, drizzling rain. It begins punctually at 6 o'clock in the evening. What the sea did before is now done by the rain—not a thread remains dry. The sailors have built Harry a little hut out of packing material as a protection against the weather so that he rests in comparative comfort.

The third night approaches and we near the island of Isabela. The sailors decide to stop over and finish some business so we lay to in a small bay near the settlement of Villamil and drop anchor.

An immense rock, shaped like a coffin cover, extends in front of the island and as far as the eye can see are blocks of lava. These blocks are so sharp-edged that if one should slip or fall on them one would likely suffer deep cut-wounds. How the natives are able to clamber around barefoot over them is a puzzle to us. It must be that due to continually going barefoot the feet become toughened to it.

The owner of the settlement, a Señor Gil, in company with a German—Herr Kubler—comes toward us. We hear German again and receive a hearty invitation to lunch; a kindness and a treat after three anxious days and nights on the ocean.

Countless turtle shells are lying about everywhere and bear witness to the industry of Señor Gil, who sells the oil from the creatures. Of these turtles, whose ages range from 5 to 600 years, we [9] hear the following:

When the Spaniards discovered the Galápagos Islands, they found crowds of turtles and iguanas on them—hence the name “Turtle” or “Galápagos Islands.” The iguanas—that grow so big and fat—have almost disappeared from Floreana but there are still many on Isabela. Land [sea?] turtles also come in constantly—increasing numbers here. They too are fat and taste so good—no chicken ever tasted better. Some of these creatures weigh as much as 150 (sic) pounds. They have long necks and smaller heads than turtles found elsewhere.

Herr Gil offers us 75 hectares of land to remain on Isabela. Isabela, he says, is much more productive than Floreana, the soil easier to work and the hunting better and more diversified. Heinz refuses with thanks. Happily, there is no resentment because of his refusal—in fact as the wind turns in favor of a continuation of our voyage, Herr Gil declares himself ready to accompany us to Floreana.

Nine people in a boat; two dogs, three hens, and the giant turtles that Herr Gil is bringing along for the Major—along with a hundred-weight of dried fish—that smell so good—and a thousand pounds each of coffee and salt.

In spite of the lack of room, it gradually becomes comfortable. A ship's stove is fashioned out of an empty tin box and a roast placed therein. We boil coffee on it too and roast bananas and yucca in the ashes. It all tastes excellent. We talk and sleep the night through as well as we can.

In the first gray dawn we approach Floreana and drop anchor in Black Beach Bay.

Our goal is reached! The voyage from Chatham to Floreana had taken five and a half days.

We wait on the boat until the sun rises. We are impatient and [10] time drags, but what with questions and relatings even these last few hours pass by. As the sun comes up at last there lies the island, covered with mist as with a grayish-white veil. The coast looks black and forbidding and there is nothing green to be seen. Here and there we see patches of sand between the lava blocks.

Heinz, Harry and the livestock are landed first. The landing boat is small and wobbly and rises about eight inches out of the water, so passage through the strong breakers is only possible due to the cleverness of the sailors. The landing place is designated by a stake with a pail on it. Right and left are lava blocks over which scurry red and black crabs. A seal snortingly leaves his resting place. A pelican in his nest refuses to be disturbed and gazes curiously at all these untoward happenings. Herta, barking joyfully, lights out after two wild donkeys who disappear screaming into the bush.

I am brought to land last. What I first see is not very encouraging. Gray and brown are the dominating colors. The grass is dried up and the bushes leafless and thorny. Loamy soil—dry as powder.

The tent is set up and wood gathered so lunch can be cooked. By the time all our baggage is landed it's noon. Gil, the crew and Heinz do a little reconnoitering and pick some oranges. Gil's father once intended to settle here. Remnants of buildings can still be seen.

Arrival and Visit to Dr. Ritter

At a turn in the way, Heinz tells us later, the party meets a man of medium height dressed in a linen suit. Gil and Olaia immediately greet him as Dr. Ritter. He saw the ship from his garden and figured it must be the new colonists—advance news of whom had been brought him by another ship.

[11] He asks if we have any mail for him and Heinz is glad to be able to answer in the affirmative. We beg him to wait until we unpack. His mail, as another's property, has been extra-carefully wrapped and stowed away.

In the meantime, Harry and I have made a fire and cooked lunch. Several papayas—a melon-like fruit with juicy, yellow pulp is a welcome addition to our meal which consists mainly of boiled rice. After five days of short rations, the meal is a relief and we eat heartily.

Our mood while eating is a happy one. Heinz airs his opinion of Dr. Ritter—whom he found a little reserved. That's understandable since our coming could prove disturbing to the doctor. However, Heinz is of the opinion that we'll get along with each other and by and large he is satisfied.

Dr. Ritter had asked many questions—wanting to know if we had some connection with a newspaper or other publication or intended doing any writing. Heinz was able to answer “no” to all these queries with a clear conscience, after which the doctor became noticeably more agreeable. Frau Koerwin, says Heinz, I'll have to meet and size up for myself.

I am eager to meet a German lady out here in all this loneliness and do my best, after the long sea voyage, to make myself presentable. I put on a white dress, a pink pullover and don my panama hat. Taking along the mail, Heinz and I set out for Dr. Ritter's residence “Friedo.” On the way I tell myself that first impressions are important and can have the most far-reaching consequences.

Dr. Ritter and Frau Koerwin come to meet us. The doctor is very polite. The first words of Frau Koerwin are something of a shock: “Oh, but you are finely dressed! Do you always dress so fine?” No words [12] of welcome, nothing warm, no intimate questions—nothing but words of appraisal that betray her real feelings. I try not to let her see my complete understanding and answer that here, as in Europe, I shall always strive to look my best for a visit; adding—jokingly—that I too will likely wear the inevitable apron while working. From there on we are decently cordial with one another. Fruit is served and we must talk much about Germany. Then we are shown the garden; to us, of course, of paramount interest. Here I see for the first time all the things that I myself wish to plant, tend, harvest and prepare. Dr. Ritter has actually planted bananas, papaya, cocoa and date palms and raised European vegetables. In the chicken yard, 20 hens are cackling. All in all an impressive achievement, this “Friedo” that Dr. Ritter has created out of a desert of thorns. Heavy lava blocks that had been removed from the garden land are mute evidence of how hard he worked.

During the stroll we talk about many things and it strikes us that both the doctor and Frau Koerwin are being careful to bring their respective educations into the proper light. For instance—Frau Koerwin asks me: “What do you think of Nietzsche?” . . . Have we emigrated to Floreana to discuss Nietzsche? Heinz has a smattering of knowledge but is not exactly a philosopher, so it isn't long before the fact that we belong to the “uneducated” is accepted.

We had other reasons for coming to Floreana than those of Dr. Ritter. We wish to be simple colonists and our equipment is not Laotse, not Nietzsche, but perseverance and the will to work. We are not seeking an out-of-the-way corner in which to concoct sensational theories. We seek peace—even though the hardest kind of work comes with it.

Both Heinz and I feel rather out of place at Dr. Ritter's and [13] can't help but feel that we are not entirely welcome. Finding it difficult to pretend, we prepare to leave. Dr. Ritter offers to accompany Heinz next day to the pirate caves where we intend to find temporary shelter.

We say good-by and hurry back to Harry, whom we find so fast asleep that we are unable to awaken him. We fix ourselves something to eat and sit awhile by the flickering fire in front of the tent—talking and gazing out over the sea.

Mulling it all over, we begin to feel that we can hardly blame Dr. Ritter for his coolness. He could hardly be expected to fall on our necks—three perfect strangers. Nevertheless, something seemed to be lacking. Knowing, as they did, of our long sea voyage they might have stressed the intellectual side of life a little less and the human side more. We would be the last to refuse to bow down to knowledge and wisdom. So for the present we [I?] determine not to force myself [ourselves?] on the Ritters. Perhaps time will mend things and eventually bring about a warm friendship between the Ritters and ourselves here on this lonely island. While so talking we notice that the mosquitoes are becoming troublesome and go into the sleeping tent.

So here we are—on Floreana. Camping on an unknown beach; cut off from the rest of the world for an indefinite period. Oddly enough, with all these thoughts we feel no anxiety and sink into a long, splendid and deep sleep.

On the morrow, Sunday, we are awakened by donkeys braying. We start up . . . and then remember where we are and why. In spite of the damp, foggy [morning?], we all take baths in the ocean—in water too shallow for the sharks to reach us. Then Sunday breakfast: rice with fruit and coffee.

[14] The March Into the Interior

Heinz and Harry prepare to go with Dr. Ritter to the pirate caves. Heinz carries a pack and the plants, sugar cane, bananas, and pineapples that we had brought with us. Harry carries our three hens, feet bound together, around his neck. He looks like “Papageno” and we smile but Harry doesn't mind—he just grins with us and trudges on ahead.

When the two return, they tell of how they loaded everything on Dr. Ritter's donkey “Burro” and journeyed, at the donkey's leisurely pace, up the hill through the thorn bushes. Heinz had his altitude meter along and at Dr. Ritter's had measured 450 feet above sea level, while at the caves a height of 900 feet was reached. On the way they noticed some stunted trees breaking the monotony of the bush growth—sometimes, thought rarely, an acacia tree. At about 600 feet the scenery suddenly changed. At this level trees predominated: lemon trees mostly and some orange trees—a relief after the monotonous jungle of thorns, these dark leaves and moist, yellow fruit. In one of the lemon groves was heard the bellowing of wild cattle, but they kept out of sight. There above the rain boundary, it began to rain and didn't stop all day. The march continued—over meadows and through lemon groves and after about two hours of marching the caves were reached. There were three of them, hollowed out by human hands and many times had they served as shelters or dwelling places in the past. In one of the caves was a fireplace hewn out of the cave wall and some furniture—two chairs and a table. This last cave was destined to be our temporary home.

In front of the entrance, says Heinz, stands an acacia tree and nearby five orange trees so that we already have fruit trees in our future garden. About 300 feet distant a well bubbles out of the rock, [15] a happy circumstance. Through many years on constant flowing, the water has hollowed out a wide, deep basin around which has grown up a luxurious growth of ferns. Crowns of venerable trees cast shadows over the place, and altogether it is an ideal spot. From here one can see for a distance of about three miles to the sea.

During the trip Heinz and the doctor get to know one another better, and Dr. Ritter appears relieved to learn that Heinz really has the theoretical and practical knowledge and ability so indispensable in making a living on the Galápagos Islands. Dr. Ritter also points out an aguacate [avocado] tree, another source of food for us, growing close to the caves. The fruit, pear-like in appearance, ripens a few days after picking and can then be eaten. The pulp, nut-like in taste, is taken out of the parchment-like shell with a spoon and can be flavored with sugar or pepper and salt—according to the individual taste.

Arrived at the caves, our things were unloaded, the donkey “Burro” laden with fruit and the three traveled leisurely back to Dr. Ritter's farm “Friedo” again. And late in the afternoon Heinz and Harry, full of new ideas and plans, returned to the tent on the beach.

As a surprise dessert, I have made biscuits our of carmotten, a potato-like fruit—a present from Herr Gil. This bulbous, knobby fruit, sweet, thicker and mealier than potatoes, I had sliced and cooked in hot fat until brown all over. They taste like fine cakes and my menfolk are so hungry that I have to make three batches.

Unwilling to trouble Dr. Ritter further for drinking water, we decide to move into our cave dwelling immediately. We take only the immediate necessities—the tent and the balance of our luggage is left on the beach to be picked up later, little by little.

So, on this our second morning on Floreana, we begin the climb, each of us carrying as much as he can. The going is slow. Heinz is [16] obliged to wait for Harry and me time and again. It starts to rain again and thick clouds lie so close to the tree tops that we can hardly see ahead. If finally gets so bad that we can no longer see our way and get lost; and it is two o'clock in the afternoon before we finally reach our goal.

We take a short rest and look around at our new home and wonder if we have come to a fool's paradise. We only have to stretch out our hands to get ripe fruit to eat and we do it. But we find we also have a craving for fresh meat. Well, why not? Heinz takes his gun and sits down to wait where he saw a wild pig several days before. After about 20 minutes, the first pig comes out of the bush. Heinz fires and misses. Ten minutes more and another appears, but Heinz lets him go without shooting. Almost on his heels comes a third one that Heinz drops with a shot in the breast. Heinz cuts the pig up with a machete while Harry and I clean the cave, build a fire and prepare some bean soup. As Heinz appears on the scene with the pig's head—intended for Dr. Ritter—he is astounded to find our one-room home already quite livable. The table is covered with a table cloth. The mood is festive, the air moistly warm and the aroma of the bean soup very pleasant. The soup lacks only meat to be perfect, and Heinz and Harry go after it, returning shortly, each carrying half of the pig still dripping blood, over his shoulder. It's all thoroughly cleaned and enough cooked and we have a wonderful meal with a fruit salad for dessert.

After eating we undertake the unaccustomed task of skinning the pig. We get through with it and Harry is dead tired—not to be wondered at after the strenuous day—so I make a place for him to rest on one of the stone benches cut into the cave wall and he turns in.

Until 4 o'clock in the morning, by candle-light, there is boiling, roasting and smoking of meat until finally Heinz and I are [17] overcome by sleep. I leave a ham boiling slowly over a small fire the rest of the night so that we can have boiled ham for breakfast.

Blending in with Harry's snoring, the fact that our dear dogs prefer raw ham to cooked is completely forgotten. Anyway, on our awakening, it's only too evident that Herta and Lump have been enjoying the ham while we slept. Our breakfast looks quite different from what we had expected, but we take it in good humor.

After breakfast Heinz starts back to the coast—taking half of the pig and the head along for Dr. Ritter to show our gratitude and willingness to be friends. The doctor, who claims to be a vegetarian, had asked for “meat for his chickens” when Heinz happened to mention that he understood something about meat-cutting. At Friedo, Heinz requests the use of the donkey “Burro” in order to more quickly transport our stuff from the beach to the cave. Dr. Ritter listens to the request and hesitates and Frau Koerwin calls out an evasive answer from nearby. Just why isn't clear, and Heinz has no intention of pressing them for a favor they seem unwilling to grant. So he is obliged to carry what he can on his back, leaving the biggest part of our baggage on the beach, exposed to all sorts of possibilities.

So we are settled for the time being and proceed systematically with what there is to be done. These first days are filled with hard work, but they are happy ones—beginning days auguring well for the ultimate success of our big plan; that, through progress and setback; storm and accident; little by little at last was to result in tangible achievement.

Breaking Ground

It will be a beautiful memory throughout our lives—how we would sit evenings by the flickering fire discussing our day's work, making plans for the next day and saying to each other “If only the loved [18] ones at home could see . . .” or “Do you still remember? . . .” Often tears would come, but it wasn't homesickness—we were too wrapped up in one another and felt our duties to one another too keenly for that.

We want fresh European vegetables as soon as possible and so we start to break ground. However, the weather is unfavorable—it rains all day and we are forced to adopt a system, as follows: From 5:15 until breakfast, land is cleared; after breakfast the debris is cleaned off and after lunch, Heinz and Harry make trips to the beach to pick up some more of our things.

The soil itself is a blackish clay, about eight inches deep, mixed with humus. Below this upper layer is pure clay or sand. Stones of all sizes are everywhere—also the thick thorn bushes. Heinz does the first rough work with a pick, after which I finish the job with hoes and other garden tools. Harry fells trees and chops down bushes with gusto, making a clearing. The plants brought along we have temporarily set in the earth until we have a place ready for them later. In an especially prepared corner of the garden, lettuce, tomatoes, celery and cabbage seeds are planted. Everything is done with care and forethought, since our supplies are limited and replacements would be hard to get.

Almost every day from our cave we can see pigs wallowing in a swamp about a mile away. And since, in the second week of our residence here pigs have disappeared from the neighborhood, Heinz decides to go hunting for one in the swamp. The way there, through a ravine filled with boulders and covered with a thicket of thorns through which it is almost impossible to force a passage, tells Heinz that the return trip will be a tough one. Lump, the pup, goes along too but soon returns—the going being too rough for him. Fog and rain make things worse and nothing comes of the hunt and after three hours of aimless wandering, Heinz is glad to find his way back to the cave. So we are [19] forced to get along without fresh meat, but don't suffer from the lack; when one does manual labor everything tastes good even though it be short on variety. Heinz is depressed by his failure and says that he'll never again leave the cave without a compass, for here above the nice weather boundary getting lost is likely to be the rule rather that the exception.

The climate here gives rise to some odd habits. When I go downhill to visit the Ritters, I journey the first 500 feet clothed in a thick woolen dress. at this point I remove the dress, hang it on a tree to be picked up on the way back, and continue down dressed for a warmer climate. Heinz borrows an idea from the Indians and blazes the trail on trees and bushes as a protection against losing our way and to aid in keeping our bearings straight generally.

Herta Dies

Today is Thursday of the second week. Heinz shoots a wild steer in the lung and returns to the cave to fetch the dog. He is agreeably surprised to find Dr. Ritter visiting—bringing eggs, bananas, papayas and seeds for us. We are pleased to learn that he came because he had heard nothing from us and his pleasant manner warms our hearts. He offers to help Heinz locate the steer he shot, but finding it in the dense thickets turns out to be hopeless and they give it up—though unwillingly. Ritter invites Heinz to drop by whenever he goes down to the beach and leaves again from Friedo.

Evenings by the hearth fire, several cattle are heard bellowing nearby, but shooting in the darkness is out of the question. The vicious wild dogs have also made their presence felt. Trying to protect our well against their habit of polluting it, we had placed two traps and two animals have already been caught in them. They were killed by Heinz.

[20] A few evenings later the vague outline of a dog is seen by a projecting rock. Heinz shoots quickly because during recent nights the dogs had done a lot of damage in our garden. The next morning, to our utter consternation, we find that the dog fired on was our dear, loyal Herta. She had gotten loose without our noticing it.

It is our first sad experience—the dog was my special pet. However, nothing can be done and from now on little Lump becomes the apple of our eyes and is watched and pampered.

Dr. Ritter, of his own free will, offers the loan of Burro and makes us a present of a lot of bananas. The donkey is a welcome help and we're glad to be able to remove our things more quickly from the beach. On the return trip Heinz spots a bull and fires. After a short flight the animal drops in a heap. It's late in the day so Heinz just opens the carcass and leaves it—intending to return next day for meat and fat.

We reckoned without the wild beasts, however, for as Heinz arrives there next day he finds dogs and pigs all around it. The entire insides having already been pulled out and eaten. Heinz cuts off a shoulder and brings it to Dr. Ritter, who then comes along to help cut up the animal and the flesh, fairly divided with Dr. Ritter is then brought to Friedo. Our half I cut in strips for smoking and drying. By evening it is only half finished and my hands are full of cuts, so Heinz and Harry pitch in and help out and finally, late in the night, it's all done. The smoking is more of a success this time and outside of the hide—which lay too long in the rain—nothing goes to waste.

In the garden, corn is coming up but the birds eat most of the young sprouts so we have a new worry. The same with the peas, gourds, [21] cucumbers and radishes that come out next. That weeds grow apace goes without saying and no one can complain for lack of work.

I notice more and more the signs, pains and troubles of my own special condition. It is the sixth month.

On Thursday, September 15, 1932, Dr. Ritter again offers us the use of his donkey. Harry takes him and starts for the beach, Heinz to follow shortly after. Harry and Burro agree to disagree and the donkey has a stubborn fit—suddenly refusing to go further and trying to escape into the thorns. Poor Harry finally has to let him go. It's a great misfortune, especially since the pack-harness becomes unbuckled during the tussle and the animal could easily get himself caught fast in the bush and die of thirst or starvation. Dr. Ritter is notified at once. We blame ourselves bitterly, but needlessly, for who should appear a few days later but Burro—harness intact and all—walking along as if nothing had happened. Heinz says he is going to lead Burro himself in the future.

From Dr. Ritter, for five sucres, we have bought three more hens because our own refuse to lay. There is a wild free-for-all as the new hens are put in with our own, but after all have had their fill of fighting they decide to put up with one another. The certainly are a comical sight now that it's all over. Anyhow, to our great joy, at least one of them starts laying.

Today, September 16, we are celebrating Harry's thirteenth birthday. As a special treat I have made his favorite dish, “bananaschaumei” (banana-foam-egg). To make it, bananas are squashed with egg yolks and later beaten egg-white is mixed in so as to make a sort of pudding. One would have to see Harry's face while eating it to truly appreciate the creation. We also have pancakes made from otoi. The afternoon is spent playing cards and making plans and all of us enjoy the day thoroughly.

[22] Having no intention of spending all our time on the island in a cave, we talk of building a house. The cave was to be only a temporary haven and now with the rain seeping down through the porous lava-stone it is a disagreeable place to live in. Heinz wants to build a log house—having run across some trees growing decently straight to use as building material.

Now comes plans. A good site for the house is found about 120 feet from the well.

We find more and more work to do. Thanks to the dampness and sharp stones our shoes are about gone, so out of a hide we found we attempt to fashion some sandals. They aren't much of a success but they have to do and we have fun in the making of them.

At Heinz' last visit, Dr. Ritter had proposed that they make a trip to the so-called “Post Office Bay”; perhaps a ship has been there and left some mail. This second bay lies on the north side of the island and is preferred as a landing place by the ships to the rougher Black Beach where we landed. The route overland to Post Office Bay is much worse than the way to our familiar beach and considerably longer, the round trip taking much more time. At Post Office Bay the two travelers find a once-occupied, now empty wooden house, several sheds, the rails of a narrow-gauge railway and a layout for drying fish. Six years before, says Dr. Ritter, some Norwegians had tried to set up a fishery here and lay out some plantations. Unable to make it go, the company broke up and scattered. A Norwegian sea captain lived in the house next—leaving one day on a boat trip from which he never returned. Since then the house has remained empty and anyone who sees anything he can use in or about the house simply helps himself.

A beautiful strip of sandy beach 450 feet long marks the bay and near to this beach stands a stake on which is fastened the post barrel which gives the place its dignified name. No signs of an office. No one lives here—one reason, likely, for this is because there is no sweet water anywhere near here. The doctor and Heinz are disappointed at finding the barrel empty and as for outgoing mail, all they can do is leave their letters in the barrel in the hope that some passing ship will stop and pick them up. Heinz realizes that he will have to come here occasionally to leave and pick up mail and decides he can make the journey in our collapsible boat by water from Black Beach after this.

From the bay, Heinz brings back a fish net. It turns out to be handy for protecting our plants from the sparrows.

The garden will have to be fenced in for during the night the cattle often trample to ruin all the previous day's work. Barbed wire, from earlier settlers, is still laying around. This and the stakes, which we must cut, we have to transport on our backs. We'd sure like to catch and train one of the half-wild donkeys to do all this carrying for us.

Sunday With The Colonists

The 25th of September. Sunday again, again sunshine—the weeks fairly fly. For breakfast: orange rice, baked otoi sliced, and banana pulp. One should always know when it's Sunday and we have decided to keep Sunday apart from the other days. We can't take our bible and go to church but we can use the day for rest and recreation. Out of our box of books we choose ones that appeal to us and bury ourselves in them or take turns reading aloud—during which time I can always find something to keep my hands busy, be it darning, patching, or making the little garments for the coming first-born. This problem, as time passes, assumes greater and greater proportions.

[24] On Sunday, too, we have the most time with which to deal with a plague. Dr. Ritter had already told us of the sand fleas, but since there was no sand where we lived, we hadn't paid much attention. Today, in deep wounds on the legs and soles of their feet, Heinz and Harry find sand fleas—lots of them. These fleas, very tiny to begin with, prefer the toes or soles of the feet and bore their way deep into the skin, where they grow to the size of a grain of pepper. Removing them—my job—is a small operation and very painful.

Yesterday, while gathering oranges, Heinz watched two little pigs busily engaged devouring oranges lying around on the ground and tried to trap them. The attempt failed so today, instead of young pig, we have something new: finely-ground dried meat mixed with onions, dill and marjoram spices. “It tastes like liverwurst” claims Harry, smirking in satisfaction.

One afternoon, on the usual way to the beach, we hear unusual sounds—almost human voices. Heinz creeps forward and sees three bulls walking in a circle and seemingly conversing with one another. A shot breaks up the conversation and one of them rears up—then all three disappear into the bush. Next morning, a short distance away, Heinz finds the bull—a big fellow and again we have a feast. By evening, all the meat is either packed in salt or hung to smoke. Dr. Ritter receives his share and loans us his donkey again for transporting baggage.

This time Frau Koerwin tells us about her trip out here and about earlier settlers: Schmidt, Brenner, Schimpf and Gocker, who lived for a time on the island, were unable to live in harmony with one another and behaved badly toward Dr. Ritter.

The Tragedy of Galápagos Begins

Today, as I review once again the notes in my diary, the newspaper [25] clippings, photographs, etc., the memory of it all seems like the recollection of a bad dream. Newspapers of all lands busied themselves with us. From hard-working settlers, living quiet lives far from all civilization, we have become “interesting people”—a universal breakfast topic. It was all so exaggerated, yet for us who lived through it all, the simple truth was terrible enough. We ask ourselves today how such terrible things could have happened.

But I must tell it all in the order in which it occurred; of the part played by the letters we wrote to Germany; of the unfolding of tragic events from that fatal day, the 15th of October, 1932 until with the departure of Frau Koerwin after the death of Dr. Ritter, Floreana once more became an isle of peace.

Notes In My Diary: October 15, 1932

Visitors today. After lunch, Lump starts barking and we hear several people approaching. The first to appear is [our] friend Hager of Chatham whom we great warmly. He brings a certain Herr Schimpf—an earlier resident of Floreana—along. Behind the two comes a woman riding a mule—accompanied by a young German of about 28 who seems very concerned over the lady. She is introduced to us as Baroness Bousquet of Paris. Last comes the captain of the ship that brought our guests. The lady asks to be lead at once to the well.

Frau Baroness seems very tired and nervous and we invite here to rest awhile in our tent. Lorenz, her constant companion, enters the tent after—it seems he is also in need of rest. Anyway, he remains absent. Herr Hager tells us that the Baroness and her party intend to remain on Floreana. Two more men, a Berliner named Philippson and an Ecuadorian called Valdivieso came with her from Paris. These last two had remained behind at the landing place. The Baroness comes well supplied; she even has two cows with calves—bought on Chatham—and two [26] donkeys.

During a conversation after the siesta, the lady asks to be allowed to live near us. Heinz, against his better judgment, allows himself to be talked into it and offers here a spot in our orange garden near another and smaller well.

The captain sells us 100 pounds of rice for 11 sucres (about 70 cents) and since it is too late to go after it, the Baroness offers to have her other two men still in Post Office Bay take care of it and Heinz can pick it up later. The newcomers don't care to visit Dr. Ritter, so Heinz takes charge of his mail.

A temporary place near us provided, the caravan, after our offering of fruit salad, begins the return trip. Madam doesn't wish to remain here above, saying she wants to return to the wooden house in the bay at once, but she takes the way to Dr. Ritter's and we later learn that she spent the night there.

At Dr. Ritter's, Frau Bousquet must sleep in a hammock and finding it too cold for her, she has Lorenz build a fire in the house, into which after a short time, they both disappear. Frau Dore is displeased and there is an argument. Several days later, Lorenz and Valdivieso arrive bringing the cows and calves and set up a tent in our orange garden.

During the night Heinz shoots a bull that is trying to get into the garden. We find him next day about 300 feet distant, good in meat and fat and Heinz brings Dr. Ritter his part—along with the mail we had for him.

The 25th of October, 1932. Yesterday, Heinz and Harry went in the boat to Post Office Bay to get the rice we bought. There they made the acquaintance of the remaining member of the Baroness' part—a man about 25 years old of Jewish type named Philippson. Philippson was very busy writing and the Baroness said he must finish his work that [27] day. She gave Heinz a copy of a Guayaquil newspaper in which he read an article telling just why they all came to the island. It seems they plan to build a hotel—Philippson and Lorenz being architects.

Late in the evening, Heinz and Harry return and we have much to think about. The hotel idea seems too ridiculous and the newspaper story looks like a “gag” to fool us and we try to figure out the real intentions of the Baroness but what lies behind it all can only be guessed at. Our minds are no longer at ease but all we can do is wait and see what happens.

We discover an odd tree—called a ciruelo [plum tree]—on our property; a tree on which leaves come out only after the plum-like fruit has appeared. The aguacate tree also has this specialty—bearing fruit twice a year. We now have no end of fruit and vegetables and have already had many meals of bush and climbing beans . . . the changes in our diet become ever richer.

October 31, 1932. It seems as though the Baroness prefers to remain below in the wooden house rather than move up here into the tent. So Lorenz and Valdivieso are the only ones we come into contact with.

Our house-building goes ahead slowly but surely. The finding, choosing, hauling and preparing of the tree trunks takes much time.

Pleasant Guests, New Friendships

November 9, 1932. Visitors again. The Norwegian planter, Estampa of Santa Cruz, arrives bringing along a world traveler name Franke. We learn that Dr. Ritter had refused to guide them to us and that there is trouble in the wooden house.

In a small motor-sailboat, a gift of the well-known millionaire Astor, Estampa and Franke had made the voyage direct from Santa Cruz to Floreana. Franke intends to remain on the island and write down his travel experiences—hoping to live either with us or with Dr. Ritter.

[28] Chance had brought them first into contact with the newcomers. They asked for shelter and were refused. Then to Dr. Ritter's where they also received the cold shoulder and were advised to go to us. However, both of them realize that with my condition—eight weeks from confinement—that permanent guests are out of the question, so they decide to call it all a pleasure trip. So, with their Indians, they start back—happy at the chance to shoot several animals on the way. They spend the night in the bush and next morning, carrying the calves they shot in sacks, march in high spirits the rest of the way to the beach.

The newcomers, on sighting them, come running and threaten them with revolvers—claiming that “their property” was being taken. Philippson and Valdivieso wreck the landing boat, thus preventing the visitors from reaching their ship.

Both men were courageous, yet they yielded and fled with the Indians; Estampa to Dr. Ritter and Franke to us—gasping out the whole story. He begs Heinz to row him and his party out to the ship in the collapsible boat. Heinz doesn't hesitate long, though he realizes he is running the risk of arousing the resentment of the newcomers as well as taking a chance in the open sea in such a small craft. But the situation is fraught with danger and something must be done, so next morning Heinz and Harry, in company with the rest, go down to the beach leaving me all alone—the only human being within reach being the strange Lorenz, who must be regarded as belonging on the side of the enemy.

Heinz finds the hidden boat, floats it and takes Franke to Estampa's ship first. Franke is supposed to steer a course directly for Friedo and pick the others up but, knowing nothing of navigation, he fails so Heinz has to row Estampa out also to direct the ship. The Indians are [29] then taken on board.

Dr. Ritter had at once written a complaint to the government agent in Chatham, the Major, describing the incident and asking that the newcomers be forced to leave the island. Estampa is to see that the Major gets it.

Meanwhile, I sit in the cave. As long as it is light I worked in the garden. The evening meal is ready and the two are still absent. As it gets darker I go from mere worry to boundless fear. With Lump on my lap, looking understandably up into my face, I listen for every little sound. The minutes lengthen into an eternity. What if the boat should capsize? . . . If sharks . . .

The stars glow, the sound of the breakers comes dully to us, the wind whistles outside. I run outside and back in again. Nothing but wind and a deep silence. Then suddenly, my nerves in shreds, a “Hello.” Was I hearing things? No—once again, clearer: “Hello” and Lump and I are almost overcome with relief at the sight of them. Yes, that was a horrible day.

On November 14, 1932, our house is so far along that we are able to move into the kitchen and a couple of rooms. In all, we intend to have three bedrooms, a kitchen and a living room. The kitchen and my bedroom are roofed with sugar cane straw like the roofs in Westphalen. It seems to be rainproof. The walls of my bedroom are covered with cloth and altogether it is nice and livable. Our beds are like those used by the army—posts with crossbars upon which are straw-filled mattresses made of sturdy, bright-colored cloth—in the daytime places to sit and at night beds one quickly becomes accustomed to.

In the kitchen, Heinz has built a fireplace out of stones within which he has arranged wires for smoking meat, and a side smoke vent out [30] of lath smeared with clay to take care of smoke and kitchen odors. It is amazing what Heinz can do with primitive means—my kitchen is actually one with shelves, sideboards, table and chairs.

In the living room Heinz intends to build an extra large fireplace with still more fixtures for smoking and preserving meat.

Running across Lorenz, now all alone up here, we invite him to coffee at our “housewarming.” He tells us he is sick of island life and has already talked with Dr. Ritter in regard to leaving Floreana. It seems the rest of his party regard him as being just good enough to take care of the cows and pigs. He is compelled to bring fresh water from our well to Post Office Bay every day—three hours going with a heavy burden of water and three hours returning with heavy loads of other things. Now he also has orders to bring fresh milk every day—no one can enjoy rice without milk. It is very moving, the way the poor fellow tells about it all but he is German and can change things if only he makes up his mind to it.

New Troubles and Some Anxiety

We haven't much desire to load ourselves down with other people's troubles; we have plenty of our own. The new cock doesn't crow any more and the hens have stopped laying. It's probably too damp in the cage so now with all the other work Heinz has to think about building a dry, airy chicken house. Worms get at the tomatoes too—ruining leaves and buds. All this is more important to us than the troubles of the sociable Lorenz.

November 22, 1932. Heinz shoots a donkey. Yes, donkey meat is edible—really quite a delicacy. Tastes something like deer. We are unable to bring the animal in before nightfall and decide to stand watch, turn and turn about, to keep the wild dogs and pigs away. Harry offers to take the first shift and, dressed in a thick training [31] suit and sport vest, starts off—gun on his back, basket of oranges on his arm and Lump on a line. Going to relieve him later, Heinz finds both Harry and the dog leaning against the dead donkey, fast asleep. However, it seems to have served the purpose; Harry and Lump just kept watch in their own way.

Heinz had shot another donkey to get the oily fat. Dr. Ritter receives a ham and a rib cut.

Heinz had talked with Dr. Ritter regarding my coming confinement and asked his help. Dr. Ritter's answer was: “Come and get me when the crisis is really there—I don't want to have to sit around your house all day.” Very friendly. What could Heinz do? He doesn't want to have to leave me alone for hours at the critical time and Harry sees too poorly, loses his way too easily to go alone. And what if it happens at night? It is a great disappointment but Heinz has to content himself with some advice Dr. Ritter gives him “just in case” on the way.

In the second week in December, so many cattle try to break into the garden that Heinz has to drop work on the house and everything else and start building a strong fence. One morning about 10, while Heinz, after late watch the night before, is still sleeping, a powerful white bull slips noiselessly into the garden where I am working. One glance and then, terror-stricken, I race into the house and make a grab for the gun. Heinz awakens and takes it from me and the bull is killed.

The cattle outside find it increasingly difficult to find green food. Orange season is almost over and only lemons are left—they ripen all the year around here. Strange thing: one sees blossoms and fruit at the same time on every tree.

This constant vigil, night after night, is too hard on us all, so Heinz is right in dropping everything to build the fence.

[32] Harry in Mortal Danger

Again it's Harry's turn at night watch. Usually we let him have the watch from 8 to 12 so that he can sleep the rest of the night straight through. I relieve him myself at 12 and at 3 Heinz relieves me—watching the balance of the night.

On this night Harry leaves alone at 8, while Heinz and I are still at dinner. The lookout is now in place about 1500 feet down the hill from the house where the animals usually break in. Harry must have just reached his post when a loud bellow is heard. “Well,” says Heinz, “things are beginning early tonight. I'd better go right out and chase those beasts away.” He takes his gun, whistles to Harry and as the answer comes back, calls “Don't shoot, I'm coming.” The bellowing is heard again—it sounds like two animals fighting. Cupping his hands, Heinz yells loudly: “Lay low—I'll shoot in amongst them.” He shoots and immediately afterward hell breaks loose. Five big steers, crazed with fury, come charging down the hill straight toward Harry. Heinz cry of “Get down flat on the ground” is lost in the thunder of hoofs and the roars from wild throats but Harry sees his predicament himself and drops flat—just in time to let the wild herd pass over his inert form without, thank God, seeing it. One of the last of them catches the poor fellow in the hip with a flying hoof, but only lightly. All five animals had sprung out of the undergrowth at exactly the spot they had always tried to break in before. We hear the bellowing for hours—growing ever fainter in the distance. Harry soon recovers from his experience and is able to laugh and joke about it—shortly returning to the lookout to take up watch again. One has to know these beasts to realize how dangerous they are. They make for a person on sight, trying to sink their horns into him and watching a fight between two of these savage creatures is enough to freeze the blood in one's veins.

[33] Harry's experience is unusual, yet something that could happen to any of us any and every night. But sitting out there in the quiet of the night has its own charm: the heavens either brilliant with stars or covered with a heavy, velvet curtain of darkness in time of rain. Out of the bush come frightful sounds—pigs squealing, donkeys screaming and cattle lowing; it's like a concert in the loneliness. One is sitting quietly when suddenly a three foot mound starts moving toward one—quickly identified, however, as a harmless turtle. Rats scurry around continually and occasionally one hears how a wild cat has captured a rat and is slowly torturing it to death. Perhaps a strong fence will soon release us from all these troublesome nights. At least we hope so.

Grand Hotel Floreana

The Baroness has left the log house in the bay—coming with Philippson up here to the two others. Work on the “hotel” is about to begin. We say nothing—knowing in advance what will come of it all.

First a square log wall about three feet high is erected. On top of this for another three feet the tent—all cut up for the purpose—is stretched and the whole drafty structure is then covered over with corrugated tin. This is the “first step” of a hotel that will likely never be completed.

Recently the Baroness spoke with Dr. Ritter about the visit of the Englishmen and during the conversation it seems my condition was discussed. Anyway, the Baroness informs me, through Philippson, that she is willing to send a message to Dr. Ritter for us, if necessary, but for us to be sure it's not too soon.

In this month we begin to think of Christmas, so dear to all Germans and in preparation I have been experimenting—trying to bake things out of corn meal. So far it is quite a success. When we [34] landed here I had no idea we would ever have such a wealth of things to eat; I have even managed to make liverwurst and Bologna sausage.

Harry, before so slender, had become so big and strong that he can lift one hundred pounds with ease.

The “wigwam” of the newcomers lies between 1500 and 1800 feet distant and whole days pass without our hearing from one another. We try to keep out of their way.

Heinz surprises Dr. Ritter expertly cutting up an ox that has been shot—a strange task for one who preaches vegetarianism and remarkably well done for one who is supposed to know little about meat-cutting.

Frau Dore says that the only possible way to keep a lasting peace between man and wife is for the husband to have nothing to do with the wife's work. How can people call that a “problem?” Peace . . . that's something we always have. Each day we see what there is to be done, spend but little time talking about it and take all extra work through weather damage with good humor. “Peace” with us means “respect for the burden of others.” It was true then and is still true today. Where one had an unusually hard job to do the others jump to help—willingly and as a matter of course.

Childbirth in the Wilderness

It becomes more and more evident that I will not be able to do my share of the work much longer; it's all I can do to dig out the sand fleas. Seventy-five was the booty on one day . . ..

The year nears its end and in a few days there will be another little being to wait on and care for.

On the 30th of December, 1932, I feel the first pangs and tell Heinz who is worried but calm. I should lie down but prefer not to and I keep busy with little things to distract my mind. Heinz wants [35] to send for Dr. Ritter but I refuse to let him—we'll get along somehow without his help. The usual things happen: water is boiled and clean linen made ready—every preparation is made for the coming ordeal. But we wait in vain. Poor Harry feels alone and abandoned during these anxious hours and busies himself outside as well as he can or tries to kill time in his room. The night passes by flickering candlelight, as only lingering hours pass.

On the morrow, December 31, I feel better—strong enough to get up and bake cakes and other dishes for the following day—New Year's. Heinz bags three ducks which I pluck, clean and roast.

Sunday, January 1, 1933—New Year's Day. We are all very depressed. I can no longer talk and several times I have been unable to suppress hoarse screams. I am but vaguely aware of what is going on around me. Heinz sends Harry and Lump away, hoping it will all be over by the time they return. But time passes without any noticeable progress. I gradually become almost unconscious and finally nightfall is here again.

At last, three o'clock in the morning, the child is born—crying lustily and taking its time for its entrance in the world. At 3:50 our youngster can be washed and the father puts a jacket on him, bundling him up and lays him by my side; and almost at once mother and child sink together into a deep sleep.

Heinz and Harry can once again breath freely. Heinz realizes that he must now fetch Dr. Ritter, who comes at once and is a great help to us—a thing we shall not forget.

Generously, Dr. Ritter waives payment for his services. If we would show our appreciation, he says, we can bring him a pig and some dried meat occasionally—a thing we promise gladly.

On January 5, 1933, I am already sick of lying around and in spite of Heinz' remonstrations I get up. I can just make it and have just [36] gotten myself a bit in order when Dr. Ritter and Frau Dore Koerwin come to visit us, bringing Harry and the little one a date-palm, a can of milk, 30 eggs and a bottle of cane sugar. We receive the visit in a holiday spirit. It is certainly heart-warming to know that in spite of all the differences in opinions and characters, people are able to share one another's joys and sorrows—we have “company” and rejoice in the fact. We are able to make the milk into a gruel for the child quite readily. There is something amiss with the mother's milk these first days. . . . The visit doesn't last long; Dr. Ritter says they really must leave and the two of them go into the “wigwam” of the newcomers, where they remain a long time.

With the little one and myself things go well enough. I am not spared the usual childbirth troubles, but thanks to Heinz' gentle care we soon conquer them. One evening, to make things worse, the roof—recently damaged by a heavy tropical rain—starts to leak badly, water simply pouring into several of our rooms. It's disagreeable, but after all I've been through, not particularly disturbing. Heinz and Harry start repairing the damage at once and during the work we make Harry a proposition: he shall be the one to choose a name for the new baby. The effect our words have on him is something we'll never forget as long as we live. His eyes sparkle intensely and next he is incapable of saying a word; his typical behavior when deeply moved. Hesitatingly—bit by bit—the answer finally comes:

“If I am to choose a name for him, then he shall be called ‘Rolf’.”

So, my little man is to be called “Rolf.” Baptism? . . . Unfortunately, we have to dispense with that unless the rain from heaven, coming through the roof and often splashing our little Rolf could be regarded as a symbolic substitute. A genuine baptism ceremony could hardly have been more of an event than that of Harry choosing a name for his half-brother.

[37] Gradually our own lives and that of little Rolf become woven together and he becomes to us a constant source of joy and happiness—every movement, every mealtime, even his outcries providing endless material for conversation, brightening our lives and making even work a pleasure.

In the middle of January an American ship sails into the bay and a boat with visitors lands. We learn later that they visited the newcomers without coming to visit us.

Little Rolf is doing nicely. After the third day, just the mother's milk was not enough for him, so he also had to be fed some fruit. Now, after 14 days, besides mother's milk, he gets carrot and banana porridge and as far as we can tell it tastes real good to the little fellow.

The Baroness Comes to See Rolf

Signs and wonders on our lonely isle. One morning in January Lorenz comes to us offering the hide of a cow that had died as a present from Frau Bosquet. Heinz gives him half a pig in return and Lorenz, talkative as ever but today without the fearful undertone, tells us that “Valdi” has left the wigwam forever. There had been a row with Philippson. Valdi openly vowed his intention of earning his keep either with Dr. Ritter or with us, but this was denied him and he was forced, heaven only knows by what means, to “transfer” himself to the log house in Post Office Bay—there to wait until a ship can take him away from the island. Until a ship arrives, Lorenz must bring him his meals daily.

We listen to it all without taking sides but are unable to refrain from shaking our heads.

On the very next day, Madam appears. She is unusually friendly and says that all the discord and misunderstandings of the past were directly traceable to the deceitful Valdi. She has now disposed of [38] him and feels sure that complete harmony will govern the future. She brings a little dress and jacket for Rolf, things that were brought from Lorenz' Paris store, in return for which we present her with some vegetables and seeds.§

§ It's unlikely the clothes came from Paris. The Wittmers and the Baroness' party both spent time on Isla San Cristóbal before reaching Floreana. Margret was about four-months pregnant at the time, and when the Baroness arrived a few months later, perhaps Karin Guldberg Cobos forwarded clothes worn by her infant son Dagfin a year or so earlier. Perhaps the Baroness “forgot” to mention Karin, or actually concocted the fable of bringing the gifts all the way from Paris.

The second wonder takes place on the 28th of January, 1933. On this day we have truly important company. Dr. Ritter guides a party of Americans to us—the explorer, Captain G. Allan Hancock with his staff of well-known scientists: Dr. Waldo L. Schmidt, professor of the Washington Museum and others, several of whom speak German. Besides having the prestige that goes with great fortune, Captain Hancock is endowed with intellectual, spiritual and physical qualities such as few men possess and surrounded, as he is, by men of a corresponding quality, we can well understand Dr. Ritter's pride when he introduces them to us. There is much happy relating and a quick trust in one another so that we are able to forget that it has to do with one of the great ones of American finance. It is a truly big day for us.

Hancock was much impressed with Dr. Ritter's flight from civilization and so hunts him up time and time again. Perhaps he sees in Dr. Ritter's life only an interesting experiment but he also gives him credit for his accomplishments on his farm Friedo. We notice too that it inspires his respect to see what we ourselves have been able to do in less than half a year. Hancock is the owner of an American oil company that has its own railroad. He also possesses a school for flying, with 26 planes; a cattle ranch; a chicken farm with a day's production of 20,000 eggs and further—he is the owner of some giant plantations.

A passionate music lover and intensely interested in things scientific, his wealth makes it possible for him to cater to these things and to surround himself with some of the greatest authorities in geology, [39] biology and ornithology. Month-long trips of exploration bring him to every port, coast and island in the Pacific and that's how he found Dr. Ritter.

Captain Hancock pursues his explorations in the yacht Velero III—especially built for scientific purposes.

Naturally, we feel highly honored at having Captain Hancock and his party with us, and it makes us happy when Dr. Schmidt presents us with a glass of preserved figs. We have no figs as yet and so it is an especial treat for us.

Dr. Ritter then guides the party to the newcomers, who are richly bestowed with gifts. The next day, Madam brings us a table cloth and some gauze bandages—things Mr. Hancock left for us.

War on Floreana

On the 4th of February, 1933, war breaks out between Dr. Ritter and the newcomers. It was to be expected. Accompanying Captain Hancock and his party to the coast they had passed by Friedo where they saw piles of groceries of all kinds, several pairs of shoes, tools, etc.—all gifts from Captain Hancock to Dr. Ritter. This aroused jealousy and the next Sunday someone went to Friedo, probably with the intention of asking Dr. Ritter to divide. It's evident that they didn't get very far . . . Both sides give us a full account of the affair.

We also have our irritations. While drilling a hole in a little bed he was making for Rolf, Heinz broke his one and only wood drill. And that Dr. Ritter has no drill that he can loan out is another irritation to us.

Then a setting hen eats the eggs given to her to hatch and again we have a thing we aren't exactly happy over.

Like everybody else, we have our good and bad days. We now seem to be in rather a serene period. Lump, the intelligent German shepherd [40] dog has chased a young pig into a cave and has cornered him there so that we are able to capture him. It is all very comical, especially Harry, who is building a pen for the little animal and goes around with the notion of starting to raise pigs. But his joy in his new possession is short-lived—the pig breaks out and is never seen again.

On the 7th of January, happily whistling, Heinz heads for Black Beach Bay to go fishing. Going to the place where the boat is always hidden he finds it gone—vanished without a trace. Concerned, he goes to Dr. Ritter and asks him if he has seen a ship come in recently, since the boat could have been picked up and taken along by sailors. Dr. Ritter says no, and adds that he would surely have seen it if there had been one. Besides the boat, a roll of mesh wire that Heinz brought from Post Office Bay is also missing. It is all very disagreeable and Heinz is simply furious.

We still have trouble with our roof. We are writing in the middle of February 1933 and it has rained solidly for a week. The rain tears the untanned hides apart and these pull out the pegs and nails. It is a nuisance but there is nothing we can do but keep repairing it until the rain stops and we can build ourselves a solid stone house. This is Heinz' dream. He intends to use our present wooden house and the cave as places to store food, etc.

The 22nd of February brings more visitors. It seems some newspaper has been fed some “sensational” news items; who sent them is not known but it may have been acquaintances. This time it is a Herr Rader and a Herr Vinzenz from Santa Cruz. Rader, a Dane, is the head of a stock company that has acquired land on Santa Cruz on the speculation that the Galápagos will soon belong to America.

Rader has actually come here to offer, in all seriousness, Madam his services as architect in the erection of the hotel. Madam falls [41] for it to the extent of examining and discussing plans.

The rainy season disappoints us—the rain, off-schedule, suddenly ceasing to fall just when it's most needed. We have to water the garden ourselves but it doesn't seem to be enough and soon the growing things, especially the vegetables, stop growing. The ciruelo tree, however, is a joy; we take two pails of fruit from it daily out of which I make marmalade. Otherwise it looks as if the well-known “Schmalhans” were our chef. We've looked for several weeks now and not an animal is to be seen. The vegetables I can only boil and season with salt and pepper.

A Beautiful Row

On March 16, 1933, there is another row on Floreana. Philippson sees another yacht lying in Black Beach Bay, that of the millionaire Astor of New York. Philippson goes down, helps himself to Herr Gil's boat, (Gil just happens to be on Floreana whiling away some time), without bothering to ask permission, rows out to the yacht and presents Mr. Astor with a written invitation. In Post Office Bay, ever since a short time back, invitations have been fastened to trees stakes, etc.—invitations to visit the “Hotel Paradise.” Red painted signs point out the way. But Mr. Astor doesn't accept; he takes the invitation, reads it and then gives it back.

Philippson goes at once to Dr. Ritter and says: “it is known that Dr. Ritter has been warning all visitors away from the newcomers and has been saying things about them.” The next time it happens, Dr. Ritter will receive a beating from him—Philippson.

This time Dr. Ritter blows up and, strong as he is, throws Philippson head first out the door.

It becomes more and more comfortable on Floreana.

[42] Raw weather sets in. Storm! The hides are blown off the roof and at last we have some rain. Unfortunately, too little. Dr. Ritter has finished with the banana harvest and is now enjoying himself with some new clothes, etc. given him by Mr. Astor.

We are supposed to be hiding a sick donkey that escaped from the newcomers and Philippson comes to us and demands that we give it up. He becomes insolent and abusive and Heinz finally throws him out—as Dr. Ritter did before. From then on we are rid of him.

Lean Days

Our store of fat diminishes constantly; since the middle of April the condition has become more and more critical.

At last Heinz finds a dead steer—the body still warm; choked to death on a lemon that got stuck in its windpipe, as Heinz found after opening it up. So now we again have fat in the house and I can bake cakes out of yucca, karmotte, and pumpkins. Harry eats on a “big stomach.” He always is a good eater—which is not to be wondered at when one sees the amount of work he can do. Sparrows plague our garden and leave us practically no peas to harvest. Also, the mosquitoes begin to torture us as soon as darkness sets in, and we have to crawl into bed under the mosquito netting to escape them.

Heinz and Harry have already gathered quite a pile of stones, and daily we cut and pound them until they are of a usable shape. It's a sort of sandstone that we find up here, and is easily broken. The house walls are to be 27 inches thick at the base and 9 inches at the top. At the height of 6 feet, a ceiling is to be put in so as to leave a place upstairs where Harry can sleep and also to provide more storage space. The roof is to be steep and the rafters close together. Things are soon to begin.

[43] Mail From Germany

On May 12, 1933, we celebrate Heinz' birthday. Harry and Rolf present him with bouquets made up of yellow margaritas, asters, Japanese carnations and roses that I myself raised. The day passes beautifully and Heinz, now 42 years old, is very happy with us.

Then comes an unusually happy day—the 17th of May. In the afternoon, about 4, we hear several “Hellos.” Strange voices. I stumble outside and see a panting Indian running toward me. “Good day, señora,” he says, “there is some mail for you in the house of the Baroness.”

How I ran! In the wigwam are several members of the crew of the San Cristóbal (our old Manuel J. Cobos), and two boxes and a sack of mail for us—all from Cologne. Letters, newspapers, all sorts of things. The Major from Chatham is there too because of Dr. Ritter's complaint, but Madam and Philippson had gone for a walk so he just turns around and goes back without doing anything about it. It doesn't interest us much, what with the mail and all. The men are so nice—carrying everything over to the house for me. I can hardly wait. Where to begin? The boxes, of course! The contents are like things sent from heaven—cloth, seeds, books, a baby's outfit, now too small, for Rolf and some chocolate; all things we packed and shipped over six months ago. It took all that time to reach us here at “the end of the world.” We are all quite mad with joy and for the first time I forget about dinner. Need I add that tears flow?

Letters and newspapers contain some mad things about the Galápagos. Astonished, we read of an “Empress of Floreana” who, out of a court of twelve noblemen and adventurers, has created a “terror regiment” and has had Dr. Ritter taken prisoner and led away in chains. It is a horrible thing to read.

[44] Where did all that come from? We discuss it later with Dr. Ritter—laughing heartily of course. Dr. Ritter thinks it the work of Herr Franke, who took that way of getting even with the Baroness for his ill-treatment at the hands of her people. It is a joke that even Madam laughs at—as we learn later. She is astounded to learn that she has been made an “Empress” somewhere in the world without knowing a thing about it herself. Who was responsible for all the exaggerations and misstatements will likely always remain a mystery. But then it is unimportant.

A Short Legal Procedure

On the 30th of May, 1933, the Major of Chatham arrives again, to settle the Estampa-Franke case. Seven men strong they march to the wigwam—a Dane named Kurt Arens [Knud Arends] acting as interpreter. The boundaries are at last drawn and Madam is given the right to four square kilometers, which must have seemed too much to her, for she sets the stakes marking her property quite a distance short of the boundaries set.

The Major visits us also and we ask him to see that the birth of Rolf is registered. Since a new Major is installed on Chatham every half year, it will likely be some time before we get the certificate.

The Major leaves shortly, the entire “governmental investigation” lasting only a day and a night, and he invites Madam and Philippson to go along with him to Chatham—as a pleasure trip and so that they can buy some groceries. The invitation is accepted. Heinz informs Dr. Ritter of what has taken place and the doctor is worried and asks, with justice, what will come of it all, since it is very likely that someone will show Madam the complaint he had written because of the Estampa-Franke affair. The excitement mounts so high that there are scenes between Dr. Ritter and Frau Koerwin.

[45] On June 7th, 1933, Madam returns from her trip, bringing two dogs and ten chickens bought in Chatham. She is accompanied by Knud Arends, the Major's interpreter, who has been out of work for a while and has been engaged by Madam for 90 sucres a month.

Our new neighbor, Herr Arends, visits us and tells us that a donkey belonging to Madam has gotten loose and asks Heinz to be careful and not shoot at it. We take a liking to Arends. His job is that of official huntsman and that hunting isn't exactly a pleasure is a thing he has already found out for himself, but he wants to stick it out until he has enough money to return to Denmark. Dire need forced him to take the job; he was employed on Chatham for a year and a half and then, for some unknown reason, discharged.

Rolf now has two teeth and cries a lot. As I look at him I get to wondering what it will be like for us here in 10 or 15 years. The children must go to school sometime and the nearest school is likely on the mainland. Also, they must have some means of earning a living. The possibilities of making money here on the island through some commercial connection, should we wish, are ever present but the question of education is not so simple. However, all this is still far in the future. We shall have to solve many problems in the years to come, but so beautiful is our life out here at times that for the present I prefer to pretend that time is standing still. One direct result of all the thinking about education is in its application to our everyday life; many times we find ourselves wishing that we had paid more attention in school and at home and learned many things more thoroughly.

We have hides and don't know how to tan them; sugar cane and no knowledge of how to convert it into sugar; we get dirty and use up our soap and now the question is, how is soap made? Vaguely, we recall something about fat and ashes mixed—a souvenir of the clay soap we [46] used during the war. After much experimenting, I finally manage to make soap that is usable. The tanning question is solved very simply. We put the cleaned hides to soak for three months in a barrel in which is the juice of several hundred lemons. They come out a beautiful, light-colored leather.

The slow but sure progress made in the building of our new stone house makes Heinz happy. The walls are finally high enough and it's impossible to describe with what pains and hard work each separate stone was dug out, transported, prepared and placed. Now comes the second half of the job. After a long search, Heinz finally finds a reasonably straight tree growth. About 800 of these trees are cut, stripped, cut into usable nine-foot lengths and carried on his own and Harry's shoulders to the building site. With an ax and a heavy club we endeavor to split these tree trunks into two equal parts but many go to waste since only those with a straight grain split as desired. After building the frame of the house with round logs, the half logs are placed on if flat side down as close as possible together so as to make a flat ceiling surface. The upper half-round surface is then covered and filled with clay—the final result being a practical protection against rain and moisture.

The San Cristóbal, due the beginning of July, is way late. We hope for mail from home but out here one learns patience. “Perhaps tomorrow.” “Mañana.” This South American way of talking, of looking at time, is tolerantly smiled at by us. What difference does a day, a week or even a month mean to the natives or those who become acclimated? We have too much of the European feeling for time. “Mañana!”

Little Rolf must be weaned; I get too weak. I actually succeed in replacing the mother's milk with a diet of grated meat, crushed corn and raw eggs.

[47] One of the banana trees we planted begins to blossom. Some others stand where they don't get enough water and have to be moved—this halts the growth for a time.

Today, the 28th of August, is the anniversary of our arrival on Floreana. A year has passed. We can today, with a just pride in ownership, pace off quite a plantation; out of nothing we have built a temporary shelter and see a real house nearing completion. When we came here, there was no little Rolf and anxiety over what was to come weighed heavily on my mind; now we have a sturdy little fellow who has brought us many happy hours. The day gives us occasion for much reminiscing before the fire. Things Heinz and I have forgotten are still vivid in Harry's mind and his “Do you remembers” give us many things to laugh at.

Soon the ceiling of our new house will be finished and we can move in—so do we console ourselves with the lack of things in the present house.

A German journalist named Boecker [Werner Boeckmann] bobs up, coming by the long-awaited San Cristóbal and bringing the longed-for mail with him. He has eaten with the newcomers and now comes to spend a short time with us. He takes some snapshots of us and promises to bring some copies when he returns in a few weeks. He tells us that at the Baroness' he partook of two chickens and that he and the Baroness had a delightful chat during the meal.

The Galápagos Treasure

The newcomers go in for strange activities. Evenings, by lantern light, ground is dug up. It is not to be taken too seriously—someone is likely digging for the fabled “treasure” believed by many to be buried in the archipelago.

[48] The story of Galápagos is as follows: Pirates once used the islands, especially Floreana, as a base for their marauding expeditions. They brought cattle, pigs, chickens, etc. to the island so that in case of siege by police or military forces they wouldn't be forced by hunger to surrender; hence the abundance of these creatures on the island. We already know of the murders and killings; often between the pirates themselves there was bloody strife. For this reason, many believe pirates often hid their loot in some well-chosen spot and today many greedy people hunt up the island to search for this “treasure.”

Boeckmann actually returns on the first of October, 1933, accompanied by his brother-in-law, Linde. This time the two intend to explore the island thoroughly. We receive the promised copies of the snaps taken and some mail. Boeckmann had done some shopping for Madam in Guayaquil so he and Linde don't stay long with us. While they remain on the island they intend to live at Dr. Ritter's because they can see the ships come in from there and don't want to miss the San Cristóbal. Our own mail for Germany Heinz is to bring to Friedo on one of the following days. We finish our letters and Heinz brings them to Friedo a few days later and on his arrival finds things in a state of excitement. Naturally, something unusual has happened again.

As Boeckmann and Linde left us they were invited on a hunting trip to the pampa, a part of the island as yet unknown to us. It just happened on this trip that Frau Bousquet shot at a calf at the same time an Ecuadorian soldier fired at a pig. The animals escaped unscathed, but Knud Arends sank to the earth badly wounded—the whole thing happened in a split second. The bullet entered the abdomen and seemingly remained there because no exit mark was visible.

Yet Arends lived. He cried out, bled profusely and was laid out on the bare ground while Boeckmann and Linde ran to fetch Dr. Ritter, who [49] made an examination and did everything possible for the wounded man.

For three days and nights, carefully nursed by Madam, Arends lay on a mattress on the pampa waiting for the San Cristóbal that is to take him to Guayaquil so that the bullet can be removed. Philippson is to accompany him. On the 5th of October, the San Cristóbal comes to pick up the island visitors and take them to Chatham. Philippson sees that Arends reaches Guayaquil.

There is another scene because of the Arends affair. As thanks for his help with Arends, Madam and Lorenz bring Dr. Ritter a donkey load of gourds and cabbages. Dr. Ritter refuses to accept and the two others, with hurt expressions, pile the things carefully before the door of Friedo and leave.

We now have our new house, almost as nice as a house in the suburbs at home, although of course many conveniences are lacking. A space 12 feet by 15 feet is divided into: a living room, 9 by 12; a room 6 by 6 and a kitchen of the same size. The living room contains a home-made corner sofa that serves as a bed at night and a couch of our own make serves the same purpose in the smaller room. Harry has a sleeping room on the second floor. Later we plan to build on a workshop and an addition to the kitchen. . . . We already feel much better than we did in the old wooden house.

The inner arrangement of the new house satisfied me completely. In the old house we had to make the best of things, make it as livable as we could while here in the new place we are able to live in comparative comfort.

Now for some curtains. I cover the window openings with fine mosquito netting, which must serve as window panes. Then I hang up some pretty curtains. The effect is pleasing. Later Heinz intends to smooth off the rough stone and cover it with rupfen. One can already see how well it will look and we are filled with a feeling of jubilation.

[50] The garden is coming along beautifully. We already have an overabundance of cucumbers, beans; white, red and savoy cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, radishes, and beets. So the food problem is taken care of for the present and now and then we can take a day off.

So one Sunday Heinz and I make an excursion on foot to the unknown pampa. It turned out to be a splendid trip of discovery; wide meadows sloping into wide gullies, grazing cattle, etc.—the whole picture seeming familiar and making us feel as though we were nearing Ulm in upper Bavaria. We find a small well too—in fact the only thing we don't find is the way back and must search hours for it, often crawling on all fours through the thorn bushes until at last, more by accident than otherwise, we find ourselves in our own orange grove, relieved and happy to recognize familiar surroundings.

Two little pigs who crossed our path, must have believed it. We carry them home on a pole and so as a climax to our trip we must needs perspire freely—myself especially, because I am no longer used to such heavy burdens.

We just arrive when Lorenz comes. He has caught a donkey with lopped ears and wants Heinz to take a look at it and tell him if it's Dr. Ritter's Burro. What should we do? After a little hesitation I talk Heinz into going along—perhaps with a few words a degree of harmony can be restored.

Heinz went and on seeing it was of the opinion that the donkey was a wild, much neglected animal—hardly Dr. Ritter's Burro. It seemed to Heinz that it was the first animal with lopped ears he had ever seen. Madam voiced her disappointment and dissatisfaction with the island life. She is fed up and wants to leave.

In the beginning of September Lorenz, with his laden donkey encounters Dr. Ritter who recognizes the animal at once as his Burro.

[51] The animal was so used up that Heinz had failed to recognize him—somehow he had completely failed to notice the lop ears. Madam surrenders the beast without a protest.

It's strange that in spite of being tired of island life, Madam continues to have things brought up from the bay. And yet, we do have a feeling that she is trying to get away.

Philippson Returns

The next day the yacht of a beer brewer anchors in the bay and Madam goes on board and is taken along toward the mainland. In Chatham the yacht meets the San Cristóbal on which Philippson is returning so Madam changes ships and comes back with him to Floreana.

She was gone eight full days and returns bringing two donkeys, a male and a female, and a colt. Exercising her natural inclination to be witty at times, Madam names the female donkey “Empress,” the male “Hans” and the colt “Paradise.”

Arends has been lucky. The bullet had not caused any infection and could be removed.

Visiting Dr. Ritter's again, we find that they knew nothing of the Baroness' absence. It's a happier gathering this time. We make some strong mustard out of lemon juice and mustard seeds and there is much to laugh at. Dr. Ritter is especially droll—tasting it, screwing up his face into a grimace and saying, “It burns like poison.”

Day by day it becomes more comfortable in our new house. In the meantime Heinz has made a non-rickety table in his new workshop. One can hardly believe what a blessing a firm table can be—something we've always taken for granted in Germany. It is decorated with a tablecloth and looks really distinguished.

Wanting to find something with which to upholster some of our furniture, [52] on Sunday, November 23, 1933, Heinz and I went into the bush to gather some braid-like growths that grow on lemon trees. Lump made use of the opportunity to do some hunting and scared up a wild cow. The animal was in a rage at being disturbed and turned suddenly towards me. Transfixed with terror, I found myself unable to move. The savage beast was only a dozen feet away when Heinz dropped him with a shot in the head. The whole experience was such a shock to my nerves—I was almost overcome with fright—that I was sick in bed for two weeks.

Part II