February 7-23rd. I received a message from Dr. Kemmerling, that I must go to Merapi. I don’t understand why. I came here in the rain. I already consider myself, in spirit, to be “at home,” how much I’ve gotten used to this place, how much I’ve come to know it. The elevation here is 1000 m.; the temperature is a wonderful +18 degrees.
I was writing my report. I received a money transfer. It’s nice, since I didn’t have any left, just like last year.
On Friday, February 10th, I found two Russians: former musicians from the Fedorov opera, who live in the Louise Villa, not far from the Muntilan. They grow local potatoes. At first it was difficult for them, since newspapers began to write that there were two Russians in the village engaged in Bolshevik propaganda.
In the evening, some Javanese came to the post with music and 3 female dancers. Here they dance mostly with their arms and fingers; it’s rather unique. We made merry until 12 o’clock at night.
Then I sat at home, since my foot was hurting, and it swelled around the heel in that old chafing place. I have no instruction, and I don’t know what else to do. I felt sad. I want to go to Sumatra soon. I’d even go to New Guinea.
I’m sitting around, drawing, studying Dutch, admiring the marvelous mountains. I have discovered in myself a big flaw here. I like to work fast, but here everything is done slowly. Today my mandri pointed this out about me. I must rid myself of that “Russian” habit …
I received news from Dr. Kemmerling: I am to stay here the entire month.
February 18th. I went to the volcano. Since last night the volcano has been restless and has been spewing rocks. In the morning it was covered by clouds. Even back on the road, I heard loud bangs at the summit. At 10 am, my coolie and I took a camera to the place where the rocks had rolled down to. I sat for 40 minutes: nothing was visible. I had just begun to descend when the bangs sounded again. It was 10:45. I had already descended to the bottom of a deep ravine at the Blonkeng River. The coolie looked back and cried out, “The gas is already close. We need to run.” Indeed, black clouds of gas were approaching, rolling down from the volcano. For five minutes we ran along the stream. I stopped and began to take snapshots, to the horror of the coolie. We arrived at the post. My Ivan [my assistant] was awfully worried about me. He had a temperature of 40 degrees, and he was ready to run out to look for me.
Today one cannot see the top clearly, but the lava stopped not far from the place where we had previously been. One can see that the greenery is covered in ash. It’s interesting that the volcano was somewhat active on the 18th of December, the 18th of January, and now on the 18th of February. The next day I went exploring. The volcano spat out rocks and ash, which buried the bottom of the Senova River. Boulders with a diameter up to 2.5 meters were hot. The limbs of trees bowed under the weight of the ash. The ash was 15 cm deep and up to 100 degrees.
February 24th-25th. Selo Village. We left Maron at 8 am and arrived here at 5 pm (we took a break for 1.5 hours). The weather is nice. We went to the volcano but there was a fog, and nothing was visible. This edge of the mountain experienced an ashfall up to an altitude of 1700 m. We sent for a tent, in order to spend the night in the crater. I’m not sure it’ll be successful, since the weather is rainy. I am unwell.
March 1st. Klaten. Took an automobile, through Bojolali and Solo (Surakarta), to here. In Solo we stopped at the hospital, at the nurses’, and were stunned: such a quaint institution with kind nurses. Klaten is a nice little town with a redoubt (an old fortress). Overall, anywhere is better than Batavia. At night there was a dreadful hurricane.
March 3-6th. Maron. I returned here via Djordjia. Ivan and I are alone. I received notice that there the plague is near, in the village. This is a really bad place, in Muntilan, Bojolali, and Magelang, up to 1000 people a month have gotten sick, and there are incidents with Europeans. I’ve calculated that if I stay here until the 1st of April, then I’ll have 550 guilders in savings, though this will apparently remain a dream. As of now I have 100 guilders.
I received a telegram to go explore the place where there was a flood of the Opok river. It means that I’ll have to go to Djordjia, so all my plans are unravelling. In hotels you can’t cut down very much on your expenses.
March 6th. Around 2 o’clock there was another “landgir” (lahar), i.e, streams of water coming down the volcano sweeping through the gorge of the Blongkeng river.
March 7th. Djordjia. Hotel Mataran. A letter came from Dr. Kemmerling with a check for 332 guilders and a notification of a money transfer for 700 guilders for travel. This means I won’t be going to Batavia any time soon.
March 8th. Pondok. Today I went to investigate the causes of the flood. On the night of February 28th, the water overflowed the banks and rose to a height of 1.5 meters. I stopped by Mr. Husman’s, the proprietor of the sugar plantation. He’s been here for 18 years and still dreams of visiting his homeland.
March 9th. Djordjia. I returned here and met a young, charming German from Batavia named Stern (a former artillery man, wounded). He’s to go with me to Merapi, and I’m to show him everything.
March 10-23rd. Maron. I finally received a registered letter from General Miller’s wife in Paris. She wrote that my poem was forwarded to the Grand Duke himself in the South of France. This pleases me greatly, since now I know for sure that the Grand Duke is alive.
I went to explore the Senova River. The boulders are still hot, like an oven. What an intense source of energy: it has been 21 days since the eruption.
I drew old volcanoes for a book with illustrations.
The Bolsheviks want to take Khabarovsk. That means Vladivostok will fall as well. When will this all end! For five years the Russian lands have been ruled by bandits. What else are they to be called? In one month they kill more people than all the tsars for the past 300 years. Maybe I’m already fed up with Maron, with its daily rain and fog. If I had any money, I’d go to Europe.
I set up a chin-up bar.
March 25th. Djordjia. I received a telegram stating that I can go back. If I could stay to the end of the month, I would have 500 guilders, but now I won’t even have 400.