But he was also attracted to the dark side of life: the filth of the prisons, the opium dens, the slaughterhouses and the execution sites. In June, he headed for a particularly gruesome destination: New Caledonia, an enormous prison at the time.Spiegel covers a newly published diary of Franz Ferdinand, the man later killed by the "shot heard 'round the world".
Some 8,000 prisoners lived on the island, crammed into 50-man barracks. Already when he arrived in the port, the future heir to the throne gazed into the grim faces of criminals building quay walls and breaking rocks. Others toiled in the nickel mines. If an inmate managed to escape into the forest, he was usually killed by the natives. Every fugitive brought a 25-franc reward.