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Title: A Woman's Journey through the Philippines - On a Cable Ship that Linked Together the Strange Lands Seen En Route
Author: Russel, Florence Kimball
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Woman's Journey through the Philippines - On a Cable Ship that Linked Together the Strange Lands Seen En Route" ***

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                           A WOMAN'S JOURNEY
                            THE PHILIPPINES

        Thanks are due Messrs. Harper and Brothers and the editors of
        "The Criterion" and of "Everybody's Magazine" for permission
        to republish parts of the chapters on Sulu, Zamboanga, and
        Bongao, respectively.



                       By Florence Kimball Russel
                    Author of "Born to the Blue" Etc.

               Boston, L. C. Page and Company--MDCCCCVII

                            Copyright, 1907
                 By L. C. Page & Company (Incorporated)
                  Entered at Stationers' Hall, London
                          All rights reserved

                      First Impression, June, 1907
                             Colonial Press

    Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co. Boston, U. S. A.

                               My Husband


   I.   Introductory Statements
  II.   Dumaguete
 III.   Misamis
  IV.   Iligan
   V.   Cagavan
  VI.   Cebu
 VII.   Zamboanga
VIII.   Sulu
  IX.   Bongao
   X.   Tampakan and the Home Stretch


    The Belle of Bongao
    Laying a Shore End in a Philippine Coast Town
    "Until eventide the summer skies above us slept, as sid the
        summer seas below us"
    A Philippine Coast Town
    Diving for Articles Thrown from the Ship
    "Hard at work establishing an office in the town"
    "Two women beating clothes on the rocks of a little stream"
    Church and convento, Dumaguete
    The Old Fort at Misamis
    "The native band serenaded us"
    The Lintogup River
    A Misamis Belle
    Laying Cable from a Native Schooner
    A Street in Iligan
    Market-day at Iligan
    "It was evident that he was a personage of no little importance"
    St. Thomas Church, Cebu
    Magellan's Chapel, Cebu
    Unloading Hemp at Cebu
    Grove of Palms near Cebu
    Releasing the Buoy From the Cable in a Heavy Sea
    Quarters of the Commanding Officer, Zamboanga
    Officers' Quarters, Zamboanga
    A Street in Zamboanga
    Street Scene, Zamboanga--native Bathing-place, Zamboanga
    The Pier at Sulu
    Natives of Sulu
    Moro Houses, Tuli
    The Moro School for Boys, Sulu
    Chinese, Moro, and Visayan Children, Sulu
    Soldiers' Quarters, Bongao
    Natives of Bongao
    Market-day in a Moro Village
    A Group of Moros
    A Collection of Moro Weapons

A Woman's Journey Through the Philippines

Chapter I


Life on a cable-ship would be a lotus-eating dream were it not for the
cable. But the cable, like the Commissariat cam-u-el in Mr. Kipling's
"Oonts," is--

    "--a devil an' a ostrich an' a orphan child in one."

Whether we are picking it up, or paying it out; whether it is lying
inert, coil upon coil, in the tanks like some great gorged anaconda,
or gliding along the propelling machinery into some other tank, or
off into the sea at our bow or stern; whether the dynamometer shows
its tension to be great or small; whether we are grappling for it, or
underrunning it; whether it is a shore end to be landed, or a deep-sea
splice to be made, the cable is sure to develop most alarming symptoms,
and some learned doctor must constantly sit in the testing-room,
his finger on the cable's pulse, taking its temperature from time to
time as if it were a fractious child with a bad attack of measles,
the eruption in this case being faults or breaks or leakages or kinks.

The difficulty discovered, it must be localized. A hush falls over the
ship. Down to the testing room go the experts. Seconds, minutes, hours
crawl by. At last some one leaves the consultation for a brief space,
frowning heavily and apparently deep in thought. No one dares address
him, or ask the questions all are longing to have answered, and when
his lips move silently we know that he is muttering over galvanometer
readings to himself. During this time everyone talks in whispers,
and not always intelligently, of the electrostatic capacity of the
cable, absolute resistances, and the coefficients of correction, while
the youngest member of the expedition neglects her beloved poodle,
sonorously yclept "Snobbles," and no longer hangs him head downward
over the ship's rail.

At last the fault is discovered, cut out, and a splice made, the tests
showing the cable as good as new, whereupon the women return to their
chiffons, the child to her games, and the men, not on duty, to their
cigars, until the cessation of noise from the cable machinery, or the
engine-room bell signalling "full speed astern" warns us something
else may be amiss.

In the testing room, that Holy of Holies on board a cable-ship, the
fate of the _Burnside_ hangs upon a tiny, quivering spark of light
thrown upon the scale by the galvanometer's mirror. If this light
jumps from side to side, or trembles nervously, or perhaps disappears
entirely from the scale, our experts know the cable needs attention,
and perhaps the ship will have to stop for hours at a time until the
fault is located. If the trouble is not in the tanks, the paying-out
machinery must be metamorphosed into a picking-up apparatus, and
the cable already laid will be coiled back into the hold until the
fault appears, when it will be cut out and the two ends of cable
spliced. After this splice grows quite cool, tests are taken, and
if they prove satisfactory, we again resume our paying out, knowing
that while the spot of light on the galvanometer remains quietly in
one position, the cable being laid is electrically sound, and we can
proceed without interruption.

As may be imagined everyone on the ship got to think in megohms,
and scientific terms clung to our conversation just as the tar from
the cable tanks clung to our wearing apparel, while few among us but
had wild nightmares wherein the cable became a sentient thing, and
made faces at us as it leapt overboard in a continuous suicidal frenzy.

The cable-ship _Burnside_, as some may remember, was one of the first
prizes captured in the Spanish War. She had been a Spanish merchant
ship, the _Rita_, trading between Spain and all Spanish ports in the
West Indies, and when captured by the _Yale_, early in April, 1898,
was on her way to Havana with a cargo of goods. There is little about
her now, however, to suggest a Spanish coaster, save the old bell
marked "Rita" in front of the captain's cabin. The sight of this
bell always brings to mind the wild patriotism of those early days
of our war with Spain, when love of country was grown to an absorbing
passion which made one eager to surrender all for the nation's honour,
and stifled dread of impending separation--a separation that might
be forever--despite the rebel heart's fierce protest. The _Rita's_
bell reminds one also of a country less fortunate than our own,
and sometimes when looking at it, one can almost fancy the terror
and excitement of those aboard the Spanish coaster when the _Yale_
swept down upon her on that memorable April afternoon. But it is a
far cry from that day to this, and the _Burnside_, manned by American
sailors, flying Old Glory where once waved the red and yellow of
Spain's insignia, and laying American cable in American waters, is a
very different ship from the _Rita_, fleeing before her pursuers in
the West Indies.

When the _Burnside_ left Manila on December 23, 1900, for the cable
laying expedition in the far South Seas, there were eight army officers
aboard, six of whom belonged to the Signal Corps, the seventh being
a young doctor, and the eighth a major and quartermaster in charge
of the transport. Besides these there were civilian cable experts,
Signal Corps soldiers, Hospital Corps men, Signal Corps natives,
and the ship's officers, crew, and servants. The only passengers on
the trip were women, two and a half of us, the fraction standing for
a young person of nine summers, the quartermaster's little daughter,
whom we shall dub Half-a-Woman, letting eighteen represent the unit
of grown-up value.

Half-a-Woman was the queen of the ship, and held her court quite
royally from the Powers-that-Be, our commanding officer, down to the
roughest old salt in the forecastle. Having a child aboard gave the
only real touch of Christmas to our tropical pretence of it. Everything
else was lacking--the snow, the tree, the holly and wreaths, the
Christmas carol, the dear ones so far away--but the little child
was with us, and wherever children are there also will the Christmas
spirit come, even though the thermometer registers ninety in the shade,
and at the close of that long summer-hot day we all felt more than
"richer by one mocking Christmas past."

Half-a-Woman was also obliging enough to have a birthday on the trip,
which we celebrated by a dinner in her honour, a very fine dinner
which opened with clear turtle soup and ended with her favourite
ice and a birthday cake of gigantic proportions, decorated with
ornate chocolate roses and tiny incandescent lamps in place of the
conventional age-enumerating candles, cable-ship birthday cakes
being eminently scientific and up-to-date. Other people may have
had birthdays _en route_, for we were away from Manila many weeks,
but none were acknowledged; modesty doubtless constraining those
older than Half-a-Woman from making a too ostentatious display of
tell-tale incandescent lights.

It was a very busy trip, everyone on the ship being occupied, with the
exception of the women who spent most of their time under the cool blue
awning of the quarter-deck, where many a letter was written, and many
a book read aloud and discussed, though more often we accomplished
little, preferring to lie back in our long steamer chairs and watch
the wooded islands with cloud shadows on their shaggy breasts drift
slowly by and fade into the purple distance.

Now we would pass close to some luxuriantly overgrown shore where
tall cocoanut-palms marched in endless procession along the white
beach; now past hills where groups of bamboos swung back and forth
in the warm breeze, and feathery palms and plantains, the sunlight
flickering through their leaves, showed myriad tints of green and gold
and misty gray; these in turn giving place to some volcanic mountain,
bare and desolate. Then for hours there would be no land at all,
only the wonderful horizonless blue of water and sky, the sunlight
on the waves so dazzlingly bright as to hurt the eyes.

But nearly always in this thickly islanded sea there was land, either
on one side or the other, land bearing strange names redolent of tropic
richness, over whose pronunciation we would lazily disagree. Perhaps
it would be but a cliff-bound coast or a group of barren islands
in the distance, bluer even than the skies above them; perhaps some
lofty mountain on whose ridges the white clouds lay like drifted snow;
or perhaps a tier of forest-grown hills, rising one above the other,
those nearest the water clothed in countless shades of green, verging
from deepest olive to the tender tint of newly awakened buds in the
springtime, those farthest away blue or violet against the horizon.

Golden days these were when Time himself grew young again, and,
resting on his scythe, dreamed the sunlit hours away. Until eventide
the summer skies above us slept, as did the summer seas below us, when
both awakened from their slumbers flushed and rosy. On some evenings
the heavy white clouds piled high in the west seemed to catch fire,
the red blaze spreading over the heavens, to be reflected later
in the mirror-like water of the sea. Then the crimson light would
gradually change to amethyst and gold, with the sun hanging like
a ball of flame between heaven and earth, while every conceivable
colour, or combination of colours, played riotously over all in the
kaleidoscopic shifting of the clouds. At last the sun would touch the
horizon, sinking lower and lower into the sea, while the heavens lost
their glory, taking on pale tints of purple and violet. A moment more
and the swift darkness of the tropics would blot out every vestige
of colour, for there is no twilight in the Philippines, no half-tones
between the dazzling tropic sunset and the dusky tropic night.

Then there were other evenings when the colours lying in distinct
strata looked not unlike celestial _pousse-cafés_, or perhaps some
delicately blended shades of pink and blue and mauve, suggested to
a feminine mind creations of millinery art; or yet again, when a sky
that had been gray and sober all day suddenly blazed out into crimson
and gold at sunset, one was irresistibly reminded of a "Quakeress
grown worldly."

And then would come the night and the wonderful starlit heavens of
the tropics--

                           "--unfathom'd, untrod,
    Save by even' and morn and the angels of God."

Every star sent a trail of light to the still water, seeming to fasten
the sky to the sea with long silver skewers; wonderful phosphorescence
played about beneath us like wraiths of drowned men luring one to
destruction; while in the musical lap of the water against the ship's
side one almost fancied the sound of Lorelei's singing. And then there
were starless nights with only a red moon to shine through cloudy
skies; and nights no less beautiful when all the world seemed shrouded
in black velvet, when the dusky sea parted silently to let the boat
pass through, and then closed behind it with no laugh or ripple of
water to speed it onward, breathlessly still nights of fathomless
darkness. The ship's master, burdened with visions of coral reefs
on a chartless coast, failed to appreciate the æsthetic beauty of
sailing unknown seas in limitless darkness, and either anchored on
such nights, or paced back and forth upon his bridge, longing for
electric lighted heavens that would not play him such scurvy tricks.

And there were gray days, too, which only served to make more golden
the sun-kissed ones; days when no observations could be taken with the
sextant, to the huge disgust of the officer in charge of such work;
days when the distant mountains loomed spectre-like through the mist,
their sharp outlines vignetted into the sky. Occasionally the fog would
lift a bit, just enough to reveal the rain-drenched islands around us,
and then suddenly wipe them out of existence again, leaving the ship
alone on a gray and shoreless sea.

As for amusements, these were not lacking, what with reading, writing,
bag-punching, and playing games with the small girl while under way;
and when at anchor there was always shooting, hunting, and fishing
for the men, and for us all swimming off the ship's side. This last
was often done in shark-ridden waters, to the great disapproval of the
ship's officers, some of whom would stand on the well-deck, revolver
in hand, while more than once a swift bullet was sent shrilling over
our heads at some great fin rising out of the sea beyond. On our
trip to and from Bongao, one of the Tawi Tawi Islands, on a wrecking
expedition to save the launch _Maud_, stranded there on a coral reef,
all the Signal Corps officers were at liberty, too, which made life
on the ship even more agreeable, the delightful experience being
again repeated on our return trip to Manila from Pasacao, Luzon.

When one considers that the ship laid approximately five hundred
knots of cable, and travelled over three thousand knots on the trip,
which does not include the Bongao wrecking expedition, it will be
seen how difficult the work was, in that in every instance, save from
Zamboanga, Mindanao, to Sulu, on the island of Sulu, we had to make a
preliminary trip, sounding and taking observations, before the cable
could be laid, the Spanish charts being worse than unreliable. Then,
too, a government transport dragged our cable with her anchor at one
place, a fierce tropical storm wrecked it at another, while careless
Moro trench diggers bruised it with stones at a third, which meant
many extra days of work for the Signal Corps at each of these places,
and for us idle ones a continuation of pleasant experiences, the
whole trip taking in all three and a half months.

Three and a half months of ideal summer weather from the last of
December to the middle of April, and real summer weather at that,
not the sham midwinter summer of the tourist who has his photograph
taken attired in flannels and standing under a palm-tree in California,
Florida, or the Mediterranean, only to shiveringly resume his normal
attire as soon as possible. The Philippine winter climate is quite
different, what some one has defined as the climate of heaven, warmth
without heat and coolness without cold, when men sport linen or khaki
continuously, and women wear lawns and organdies throughout the season,
with a light wrap added thereto at night--if it chances to be becoming.

In a few years it will be to these southern seas that the millionaire
brings his yacht for a winter cruise; it will be in these forests
that he hunts for wild boar and deer, or shoots woodcock, duck,
snipe, pigeons, and pheasants; in these waters that he fishes
for the iridescent silver beauties that here abound. It will be
on these sunlit shores invalids seeking health will find it, and
here that huge sanitariums should be built, for despite the tales of
pessimistic travellers, no lovelier climate exists than can be found
in Philippine coast towns from the middle of November until the last
of March. After that it becomes unbearably hot, and then one is in
danger of all kinds of fevers or digestive troubles, and should,
if possible, go to Japan to get cooled off.

Of course, even during the Garden-of-Eden months, one must take the
same care of himself that he would in any country, and most of the
travellers who write against the Philippine climate have, according
to their own statements, lived most unhealthfully as regarded diet,
shelter, exposure, and the like. During the hot season itself one
can get along very comfortably in the Philippines, if he makes it a
rule to live just as he would at home, only at half speed, if I may
so express it.

But aside from its possibilities for the leisure class, what a world
of interest the Philippines has in store for us from a governmental
and commercial standpoint! What a treasure-trove it will prove to
the historian, geographer, antiquarian, naturalist, geologist and
ethnologist. At every stopping-place my little note-book was filled
with statistics as to trade in hemp, cane-sugar, cocao, rice, copra,
tobacco, and the like. I even had a hint here and there as to the
geology of the group, but ruthlessly blue-pencilled out such bits of
useful information, and while it may not be at all utilitarian, rejoice
that I have been privileged to see these islands in a state of nature,
before the engineer has honeycombed the virgin forest with iron rails;
before the great heart of the hills is torn open for the gold, or coal,
or iron to be found there; before the primitive plough, buffalo, and
half-dressed native give way to the latest type of steam or electric
apparatus for farming; before the picturesque girls pounding rice in
wooden mortars step aside for noisy mills; before the electric light
frightens away the tropic stars, and dims the lantern hanging from
the gable of every nipa shack; before banking houses do away with the
cocoanut into which thrifty natives drop their money, coin by coin,
through a slit in the top; before the sunlit stillness of these
coast towns is marred by the jar and grind of factory machinery;
before the child country is grown too old and too worldly-wise.

Chapter II


Our first stopping place after a two days' trip from Manila was
Dumaguete, on the southeast corner of the island of Negros. We
reached there at seven o'clock on Christmas morning, and found it
a tropically picturesque little town, surrounded by forest-grown
hills, and built mostly of nipa, with the exception of the church,
_convento_, watch-tower, and _tribunal_, which were of wood painted
a dazzling white.

All day long men and boys, innocent of even an excuse for clothes,
hovered about the ship in _bancas_ or dugouts, chattering volubly with
each other in Visayan, or begging us in broken Spanish to throw down
coins that they might exhibit their natatorial accomplishments, and,
when we finally yielded, diving with yells of delight for the bits of
silver, seeming quite as much pleased, however, with chocolates wrapped
in tin-foil as they had been with the money, and uttering shrill cries
that sounded profanely like "Dam'me--dam'me," to attract our attention.

When a coin was thrown overboard every one dived for it with becoming
unanimity, and the water being very clear, we could see their
frog-like motions as they swam downward after the vanishing prize,
and the good-natured scuffle under water for its possession. Laughing,
sputtering, coughing, they would come to the surface, shaking the water
out of their bright eyes like so many cocker spaniels, the sun gleaming
on their brown skins, their white teeth shining, as they pointed out
the complacent victor, who would hold the money up that we might see
it, before they would again begin their clamour of "Dam'me--dam'me,"
and go through a pantomime of how quickly each personally would dive
and bring it up, did we throw our donation in his direction.

When the supply of coins and candies had been exhausted, some one
bethought him of throwing chunks of ice overboard, and as none among
the natives had ever seen ice before, their amazement may well be
imagined. The first boy to pick up a piece of the glittering whiteness
let it drop with a howl, and when he caught his breath again warned
the others in shrill staccato tones that he had been burned, that
it was hot, _muy caliente_, wringing his hands as if, indeed, they
had been scorched. Presently, finding that the burn left no mark
and had stopped hurting, he shamefacedly picked up the ice again,
shifting it from one hand to the other with the utmost rapidity,
and occasionally crossing himself in the interim.

Meanwhile more ice had been thrown overboard, and the rest of the
natives, not at all deterred by their comrade's warning, examined the
strange substance for themselves. Very excited were their comments,
those in the far _bancas_ scrambling over the intervening boats to
see with their own eyes the miracle of hard water so cold that it was
hot. They smelled and tasted of it, like so many monkeys, chattering
excitedly the while, and they rubbed it on each other's bare backs amid
screams of genuine fright, while many tumbled overboard to escape the
horrible sensation of having it touch their flesh, the superstitious
being reminded, no doubt, of all the tales the padres had ever told
them of hell or purgatory.

Some thrifty and unimaginative souls tied up their bits of ice in
cloths or packed them in small boxes, to take back to the village,
while others, engrossed in their examination of the strange substance,
transferred it from one hand to the other until, miracle of miracles,
it had entirely disappeared. Others, emulating the laughing people
on the big boat, put their pieces of ice into their mouths, but not
for long at a time, as the intense cold made their teeth ache; while
still others piously crossed themselves and refused to have aught to
do with so manifest an invention of the Evil One.

Meanwhile, despite the fact of its being Christmas, the Signal
Corps officers, men, and natives were hard at work establishing an
office in the town, digging a trench for the shore end of the cable,
and setting up the cable hut, packed in sections for convenience in
transportation. Thirty Dumaguete natives were employed at twenty-five
cents a day to help dig the trench and put up the hut, and they seemed
very willing in their work and thought the remuneration princely.

So heavy was the surf in the early morning that the officers and
soldiers going ashore had to be carried from the rowboats to the
beach on the backs of natives, but it fortunately calmed down enough
before we women went over in the afternoon to allow of our entering
Dumaguete in a more conventional manner.

Being a _fiesta_, the town was full of natives from the provinces,
all smartly dressed and all beaming with good-natured curiosity at
the advent of two and a half American women,--the only _Americanas_
most of them had ever seen,--and quite an escort gathered around
us as, accompanied by the officers of the post and those from the
ship not otherwise engaged, we walked down the dusty streets toward
the cockpits, where in honour of the day there was to be a contest
of unusual interest. At every corner came new recruits to swell the
ranks of our followers. "Merry Christmas," cried everyone in Spanish or
Visayan, and "Merry Christmas" we responded, though June skies bending
down toward tropical palms and soft winds just rustling the tops of
tall bamboos, so that they cast flickering fern-like shadows over
thatched nipa roofs, but ill suggested Christmas to an American mind.

The cockpit reached, we found it to be a rudely built circular shack
of nipa, fairly crowded with natives in gala attire, and a sprinkling
of khaki-clad soldiers from the post. Native policemen, in uniforms
that strongly reminded one of the _insurrecto_ insignia, showed us to
our seats, and a few moments after our arrival two fine cocks, matched
as nearly as possible in strength and weight, were brought into the
ring by their respective owners, while the onlookers discussed the
birds' relative points. The two cocks, still held by their masters,
were then allowed to peck at each other's combs until fully angered,
when they were put into the ring a short distance apart, and while
each owner held the tail feathers of his bird, the cocks made futile
efforts to reach each other, giving vent the while to derisive crowing.

The audience, after watching this performance a moment or two,
began making their bets, both individually and through the agency
of the "farmer," who, standing in the centre of the ring, cried out
chaffingly in Visayan to faint-hearted gamesters. Then circles were
drawn on the earthen floor of the pit, and the money put up on each
cock deposited in one or the other of these rings. At the end of the
fight some one appointed cried out the name of the victorious bird,
and the winners swarmed down into the pit where they collected their
money and the original stakes. There is never any cheating at such
affairs, a sort of bolo morality existing among the natives, and all
is as methodical and well-behaved as the proverbial Sabbath school.

It was the first cock-fight most of us cable-ship people had ever seen,
and it was hard to understand the wild enthusiasm of the natives when,
after unsheathing the steel gaffs on the roosters' legs, the birds
were allowed to make their preliminary dash at one another. For a
moment they walked around the ring with an excessively polite air, each
keeping a wary lookout on his antagonist, but frigidly impersonal and
courteous. One might almost fancy them shaking hands before the combat
should begin, so ceremonious was their attitude. Then there would come
a simultaneous onslaught of feathered fury. Again and again they flew
at one another, while the volatile audience called out excitedly in
Spanish, "The black wins--No, the speckled one's ahead. Holy Virgin,
give strength to the black!" In a very few moments one cock is either
dead, or perhaps turned coward before the cruel gaff of his opponent,
and victor and vanquished leave the arena to new combatants, while
the clink of coin changing hands is heard throughout the cockpit.

The first few fights we thought rather tame, and I, personally, had
to assure myself over and over as the bloody contestants were removed
from the scene of action, that such a death was no more painful and
certainly far less ignominious than when chicken stewed or _à la
Maryland_ was to be the ultimate result of the fowl's demise.

There was one little game-cock, however, who enthused even the most
dispassionate among us. He was small and wiry, and his well kept white
feathers testified to a devoted master. How impatient that absurd
little rooster was for the fight to begin, and how he struggled to
get off his gaff and go into the fray unarmed, the weight on his legs
seeming an impediment to action, and how insolently he strutted and
crowed before his antagonist, an equally well groomed gentleman of
exceptional manners, attired in a gorgeous suit of green and gold. But
handsome as the darker rooster was, the white one seemed to be the
universal choice, and heavy were the stakes in his favour, so heavy
that when, after a few minutes' fighting, his wing was broken, a
general groan went up throughout the cockpit, a groan which merged
into sullen silence when the poor little chicken fell before the
furious onslaught of his enemy.

Again and again the victorious green and gold rooster jumped upon
his prostrate foe, pecking now at his crop, now at his eyes, in a
perfect frenzy of triumphant rage, the little white fellow lying
so still meanwhile that everyone thought him dead. But suddenly
he struggled to his feet, and, despite the grievously broken wing,
whipped the big bully in a way to raise a cheer even from the hitherto
indifferent Americans.

As for the natives, they simply shouted themselves hoarse, and,
contrary to all precedent, jumped down into the pit, throwing their
_sombreros_ on high and yelling vigorously, "_Muy valiente gallo--muy
valiente!_" The little rascal had simply been sparring for wind, and
he seemed to wink an eye at us after having chased his vanquished
enemy to a corner, for, like the coward he was, the green and gold
rooster turned tail and ran at the first opportunity.

It is to be hoped that the _muy valiente gallo_ had his wing patched
up and lived to tell his tale of bravery to many a barn-yard chick--a
war-scarred veteran whose honourable wound entitled him to the respect
of all domestic fowl. But knowing Filipino nature, I am rather inclined
to think that the white rooster made a very acceptable broth for his
master on the following day, the flesh of fighting-cocks being quite
too tough for consumption in any other form.

On our return to the ship's boat we were accompanied to the water's
edge by a juvenile contingent of natives, some of them being our
friends of the forenoon, who returned any notice of themselves on our
part by a rapturous gleam of teeth and eyes. One of them, a youngster
of perhaps ten or eleven, who gloried in the euphonious name of Gogo,
was particularly assidious in his attentions, and would come close up
to us and say, "_I-ese--i-ese--dam'me--i-ese!_" going into paroxysms
of mirth the while, and wrinkling up his handsome little face at the
mere remembrance of the water so cold it was hard.

That night the shore officers took their Christmas dinner with us on
the _Burnside_, and a very jolly evening we made of it. The saloon
was entirely covered, ceiling and all, by American and ship's flags,
interspersed with palms, while over the sideboard were suspended the
American flag and Union Jack intertwined, this last in honour of our
two cable experts, both of them being Britishers. We women donned our
smartest frocks, the electric piano, slightly out of tune, did rag-time
to perfection, the _menu_ included every conventional Christmas dish,
and yet--and yet it was not Christmas, and all the roast turkey and
plum pudding in the world could not make it so. It was a very jolly
dinner, to be sure, well served and with charming company, but it
was not a Christmas dinner. Only Half-a-Woman's presence saved it
and the day from utter failure.

The next morning the presidente of the town, other officials, and some
of the leading men and women of Dumaguete made a visit to the ship,
and were voluble in their surprise at what was shown them,--the
electric lights and fans, the steam galley and ice-machine; the
cold-storage room, where one could freeze to death in a few moments;
the little buttons on the wall which one had only to touch and a
servant appeared to take one's orders; the wonderful piano that
"played itself,"--all were duly admired and exclaimed over.

But what seemed to please and astonish them most of all were the
bath-rooms with their white porcelain tubs, tiled floors, and shining
silver knobs, which one had only to turn in order to have hot or cold
water, either salt or fresh, in the tub, the basin, or the shower. Even
the electric piano failed to impress them as did this aqueous marvel,
and they crossed themselves and called on the Virgin and all her
angels to testify that verily the American nation was a mighty one.

The men were of course greatly interested in our gallant armament of
rapid-fire guns, and when the quartermaster, who is a crack shot, hit
an improvised target in the water several times in succession with a
one-pounder in the stern of the ship, the Filipinos were astounded,
and stared at him in even greater admiration than they had shown
for the formidable little weapon. Two shotguns of newest design were
also brought on deck, and while the native women were frankly bored
at this display of ordnance and preferred to talk about the way our
gowns were made, the men were delighted, declaring they never imagined
a gun could be broken in pieces and put together again so easily.

Before our guests left, lemonade and cake were served on the
quarter-deck, and it was really amusing to watch their faces as they
discussed the coldness of the drink, while the pieces of ice in their
glasses excited as much perturbation as the untutored savages had
shown the day before. One travelled lady, however, who had been to
Iloilo once and tasted ice there, drank her lemonade with ostentatious
indifference to its temperature, as became one versed in the ways of
the world, explaining to me with condescension a few moments later
that the Iloilo ice had been much colder than ours,--an item of
physical research which I accepted politely.

We women were asked innumerable questions as to our respective ages,
the extent of our incomes, our religious beliefs, and other inquiries
of so personal a character as to be quite embarrassing. They seemed,
though, to be very genuine in their admiration of us, and evinced
great interest in our clothes, especially those of the quartermaster's
wife, who, being a recent arrival in the Philippines, had yet the
enviable trail of the Parisian serpent upon her apparel. One heavy
cloth walking-skirt of hers, fitting smoothly over the hips and with
no visible means by which it could be got into, animated the same
inquiry from these people as good King George is said to have made
anent the mystery of getting the apple into the dumpling, a problem
of no little difficulty, as any one will agree. At more than one
stopping-place we were called upon to solve the riddle of that skirt,
and I verily believe that, being women, they were even more awed
at the thought of a garment fastening invisibly at one side of the
front under a very deceptive little pocket than at all the electrical
marvels shown them on the ship.

While in Dumaguete we were driven around the town and far out into
the country surrounding it, finding everything much more tropical and
luxuriant in growth than in Manila or its vicinity. There were giant
cocoanut-palms, looking not unlike the royal palm so often spoken of
by travellers on the Mediterranean, clusters of bamboo and groups of
plantains, flowering shrubs and fields of young rice, green as a well
kept lawn at home.

Picturesque natives saluted us from the roadway, or from the windows
of their nipa shacks; naked brown children fled at our approach, and
wakened their elders from afternoon _siestas_ that they might see two
white women and a yellow-haired child drive by; carabao, wallowing
in the muddy water of a near-by stream, stared at us stolidly;
fighting-cocks crowed lustily as we passed; and hens barely escaped
with their cackling lives from under our very wheels.

A native lazily pounding rice in a mortar rested from his appearance
of labour and watched the carriage until it became a mere speck in
the distance. Two women beating clothes on the rocks of a little
stream stopped their gossip to peep at us shyly from under their
brown hands. Weavers of _abaca_ left their looms and hung out of the
windows to talk with their neighbours about the great event. Heretofore
they had thought the Americans were like Chinamen, who came to the
country, yes, and made money from it, but never settled down as did
the Spaniards, never brought their families with them and made the
islands their home. But here were two American women and a little
girl--surely evidences of domesticity.

Everyone was friendly and peaceably disposed, everyone seemed glad
to see us, if smiles and hearty greetings carry weight, and there was
apparently no race prejudice, no half-concealed doubt or mistrust of
us. Yet in a few days thereafter that very road became unsafe for
an unarmed American, while the people who had greeted us with such
childlike confidence and delight were preparing a warmer reception
for the Americans under the able leadership of a Cebu villain, who
had incited them to insurrection by playing upon their so-called
religious belief, this in many instances being merely fetishism of
the worst kind.

This instigator of anarchy boasted an _anting-anting_, a charm
against bullets and a guarantee of ultimate success in battle, which
consisted of a white _camisa_, the native shirt, on which was written
in Latin a chapter from the Gospel of St. Luke. But notwithstanding
his _anting-anting_, and the more potent factor of several hundred
natives in his ranks, he was easily defeated by a mere handful of
soldiers from the little fort, and when last heard of by our ship was
lying in the American hospital at Dumaguete awaiting transportation
to Guam. His former army was _mucho amigo_ to the Americans, and
once again the pretty drives around Dumaguete were quite safe, and
once again the native, when passing an American, touched his hat and
smilingly said good day in Visayan, a greeting which sounds uncommonly
like "Give me a hairpin."

On the evening of our second day in Dumaguete, the natives of the
town gave a ball in honour of the cable-ship, at the house of one of
the leading citizens. There, on a floor made smoother than glass with
banana leaves, we danced far into the night to the frightfully quick
music of the Filipino orchestra. One would hardly recognize the waltz
or two-step as performed by the Visayan. He seems to take his exercise
perpendicularly rather than horizontally, and after galloping through
the air with my first native partner, I felt equal to hurdle jumping or
a dash through paper hoops on the back of a milk-white circus charger.

Their _rigadon_, a square dance not unlike our lanciers, the Filipinos
take very seriously, stepping through it with all the unsmiling dignity
of our grandparents in the minuet. The sides not engaged in dancing
always sit down between every figure and critically discuss those
on the floor, but while going through the evolutions of the dance,
it seems to be very bad form to either laugh or talk much, a point of
etiquette I am afraid we Americans violated more than once. Another
very graceful dance, the name of which I have forgotten, consists of
four couples posturing to waltz time, changing from one partner to
another as the dance progresses, and finally waltzing off with the
original one, the motion of clinking castanets at different parts of
the dance suggesting for it a Spanish origin.

At midnight a very attractive supper was served, to which the
presidente escorted us with great formality. As is customary, the
women all sat down first, the men talking together in another room and
eagerly watching their chance to fill the vacant places as the women,
one by one, straggled away from the table. The supper consisted for
the most part of European edibles, but there were several Visayan
delicacies as well, all of which I was brave enough to essay, to
the great delight of the native women, who jabbered recipes for
the different dishes into my ear, and pressed me to take a second
helping of everything. All of them ate with their knives and wiped
their mouths on the edge of the table-cloth, having Spanish precedent
for such customs, and all were heartily and unaffectedly hungry after
their violent exercise in the waltz and two step.

It was very late when we finally left the _baille_, amidst much
hand-shaking and many regrets that our stay in Dumaguete was so short,
while great wonder was shown by all that we should be able to sail at
daylight on the morrow, it seeming well-nigh incredible to the native
mind that so much could have been accomplished in so short a time;
for, despite the fact that we had been in Dumaguete less than two
days, everything was completed--a marvel, indeed, when one considers
the tremendous current which made the landing of the shore end a
hazardous proceeding.

To one who has never witnessed the difficulties of propelling a rowboat
through the heavy breakers of some of these Philippine coast towns,
it would be hard to appreciate the struggles of the Signal Corps to
land shore ends at the different cable stations. More than once men
were almost drowned in its accomplishment but fortunately on the
whole trip, despite many narrow escapes, not a man was seriously
injured in the performance of his duty. Once landed on the beach,
the shore end was laid in the trench dug for it, one end of the
cable entering the cable hut through a small hole in its flooring,
where after some adjustment and much shifting of plugs and coaxing of
galvanometers, the ship way out in the bay was in communication with
the land, through that tiny place, scarce larger than a sentry-box,
in which a man has barely room enough to turn around.

Each telegraph office, when finally established, looks for all the
world like a neat housekeeper's storeroom, with its shelf after shelf
of batteries, all neatly labelled like glass jars of jellies and
jams. It positively made one's mouth water to see them, and only the
rows of wires on the wall, converging into the switchboard, and from
thence to the operator's desk, where the little telegraph instruments
were so soon to click messages back and forth, could convince one
that the jars contained only "juice," as operators always call the
electric current.

When this work on shore was completed, the ship paid out a mile and a
half of cable, cut, and buoyed it, awaiting our return from the next
station, where, because of the inaccurate charts already mentioned, it
would be necessary to first take soundings before we could proceed to
lay the cable. These buoys, so large that they were facetiously called
"men" by the punster of the ship, are painted a brilliant scarlet,
which makes them a conspicuous feature of the sea-scape. Sometimes
a flagstaff and a flag are fastened to the buoy, and often it is
converted for the ship's benefit info an extemporaneous lighthouse
by the addition of an oil lamp attached to its summit.

That night at Dumaguete the swift current unfortunately swung our
ship's anchor past the buoy to which the cable was attached, so
that at daylight the next morning, instead of sailing for Oroquieta,
Mindanao, as we bad expected, the buoy was picked up and a half mile
of cable cut out, a new mile being spliced on in its place. When this
was completed we paid out the fresh cable, buoyed it, and started for
Oroquieta, which was to have been our next cable landing, stopping
every five knots for soundings and observations.

One of the officers with the sextant ascertained the angle between
two points on the coast, while other men, under the generalship of
one of the cable experts, took deep-sea soundings, not only that the
depth of the water might be known, but also its temperature and the
character of the bottom, so one could judge of its effect upon the
cable when laid, every idiosyncrasy of that cable being already a
study of some import to the testing department.

This deep-sea sounding is a very necessary feature of cable laying,
as unexpected depths of water or unlooked for changes in submarine
geography, when not taken into account, might prove disastrous to
the cable being laid. The sounding apparatus is of great interest,
being a compact little affair consisting of a small engine that with
a self-acting brake helps regulate the wire sounding-line as it is
lowered into the water, and after sounding heaves it up again. When
this weight touches bottom the drum ceases to revolve, due to the
automatic brake, and the depth can be read off on the scale to one
side of the apparatus. A cleverly devised little attachment to the
sinker brings up in its grasp a specimen of sea bottom, so that one
can ascertain if it be sand or rock, and whether or not it is suitable
for cable laying.

The next day lingers in my memory as a profusely illustrated story,
uneventful as to incident, and bound in the blue of sea and sky,
with gilt edges of sunshine. Before our five o'clock breakfast we
saw the "Cross hung low to the dawn," and at night, anchored near
our last sounding, fell asleep under the same Cross. The morning of
the next day was but a repetition of the morning before, even to the
early rising, for at our breakfast hour the moon had not yet turned
out her light, nor were the stars a whit less brilliant than when
we went to bed. "It's too early for the morning to be well aired,"
one of our cable experts was wont to whimsically complain at these
daybreak gatherings, but by the time we had finished breakfast the
night would have whitened into dawn, and before most people were
astir an incredible amount of work had been accomplished by that
little band of men, seemingly inured to fatigue and the loss of sleep.

All that morning on the way to Oroquieta the shore end of the cable
was paid out of the tank and coiled in the hold ready for instant use
when we should reach our destination. The music of the cable on the
drum, the voice of some one in authority calling "_Cobra--cobra_,"
to the natives in the tank, and their monotonous "_Sigi do--sigi
do_," half-sung, half-chanted, seemed an integral part of the day's
beauty. Even the natives themselves, guiding the heavy, unwieldy,
treacherous cable round and round in the water-soaked tank, that only
one turn should be lifted at a time, grinned affably and perspiringly
at those of us peering over the railing at them--grimy tar-stained
figures that they were, the sunlight bringing their faces out in
strong relief against the dark backgound.

That afternoon we anchored off Oroquieta, but the surf was so heavy
that it was felt unsafe to send one of the small boats ashore,
especially as no one knew the location of the landing. Strangely
enough, no boats of any kind came out to the ship, not even a
native _banca_, so that our intercourse with Oroquieta was purely
telescopic. Through our good lens we saw many a soldier, field-glass in
hand, looking wistfully in our direction. Other soldiers walked up and
down the beach on sentry duty, still others seemed to be standing guard
over a small drove of horses in a palm grove a little to the right of
the principal buildings, while many more lounged lazily on the broad
steps of the church, or, leaning out of the windows of the _tribunal_,
evidently used as a barracks, stared stolidly at the strange ship in
the harbour. That every man wore side-arms seemed an indication the
rebels were still rampant on the northern coast of Mindanao, and the
fact of numberless native boats passing by with a pharisaical lack
of interest in our presence spoke insurrection even more plainly.

Through the glass we all took turns in watching retreat, the
little handful of khaki-clad men standing at attention as the stars
and stripes fluttered down the flagstaff. Oroquieta was a lonely
looking place, built entirely of nipa, with the exception of the
inevitable white church and _convento_, so we were not sorry when the
Powers-that-Be decided it was a poor cable landing, and gave orders for
the ship to proceed to Misamis, Mindanao, on the following day. Early
next morning we weighed anchor, and, still taking soundings, arrived
off Misamis about ten o'clock, after a sail which one never could
forget, as the coast of Mindanao is rarely beautiful and much more
tropical than anything we had seen even on the island of Negros.

Chapter III


Long before reaching Misamis the old gray fort at the entrance of
the town was picked out by some one looking through the telescope,
and many were the theories concerning it. At so great a distance,
and with the hot sunlight shining full upon it, the fort might have
been a strip of white sand; later it was decided to be a _tribunal_
of unusual proportions, and at last when it loomed full upon us in
all the picturesqueness of its gray, moss-grown walls, with weeds
trailing in luxurious profusion from every crevice, we decided that
there lived the American inhabitants of Misamis. Soldiers gathered
under the roof of the nearest watch-tower to observe our entrance
into the harbour, while still others, unmindful of the blazing sun,
perched on the top of the wall and swung their feet over the side,
doubtless making numerous wagers as to the transport's name and its
business in so out of the way a place as Misamis.

Owing to the unreliability of the Spanish charts, the _Burnside_
anchored some distance out of the harbour, and just before tiffin
a boat-load of officers from the garrison came out to the ship,
accompanied by the titular captain of the port, a young chap who
also acted in several other official capacities, a sort of military
"crew, and the captain, too, and the mate of the _Nancy Bell_." After
tiffin the ship sailed into anchorage in the harbour of Misamis,
half-way around the old fort, which seemed to grow more picturesque
with every turn, till finally we could see the village of Misamis,
almost hidden in a bewildering mass of tropical vegetation. Our
numerous theories to the contrary, the old fort was uninhabited, save
by the ghosts of other days, remaining but a grim relic of the time
when Moro pirates swept terror to the hearts of all coast villages
south of Luzon. It was within those historic walls that the Signal
Corps decided to set up the cable-hut, and early the next morning
two parties were sent ashore, one to establish an office in the town,
the other to superintend the digging of a trench by native prisoners,
just outside the walls of the old fort.

Among these distinguished gentlemen was a so-called colonel of the
_insurrecto_ army who had been captured a short time before. The
colonel posed as an aristocrat, whose hands had never been soiled
by labour, and when his companions in confinement were turned out
to assist in making way for liberty by means of the cable trench,
he protested vigorously at the indignity, and averred that he was not
seeking the opportunity of reimbursing the American government with
pick and shovel for his enforced subsistence. He reiterated so often
he was an officer and a gentleman, that finally the American major
in command at Misamis mildly replied that self-appointed colonels in
self-appointed armies were not recognized by any government, and as
for his gentility, if it were the genuine article and not a veneer
like his title, it would certainly stand the strain of a little
honest labour. The arguments were cogent, and the hand of the law
more irresistible still, so the high ranking officer took his turn
in the trench with the other prisoners.

In the late afternoon we women went ashore and created even more of
a sensation than we had on the island of Negros. We were literally
mobbed by natives anxious for a glimpse of the first American
women ever seen in that part of Mindanao, and we walked up to the
Headquarters Building with a chattering, crowding, admiring horde
at our heels. There the officers held an informal reception in our
honour, to which all the socially possible of Misamis were invited,
and the native band serenaded us with such choice selections as "A
Hot Time," and "After the Ball," decidedly off the key, to be sure,
but with the best intentions in the world.

The Misamis women were charmed with their white sisters, and could
no more conceal their artless delight than so many children. They
laughed and giggled nervously. They gesticulated as they talked,
and shrugged their pretty shoulders with a grace taught them by our
Spanish predecessors. They patted imaginary stray hairs into place
in their sleek black coiffures, and settled _camisa_ or _panuela_
with indescribably quick and bird-like movements. Those of them who
could speak Spanish talked clothes and babies and servants, or smiled
politely at our mistakes in the language, laughing out-right at their
own futile efforts to speak English. They were astonished that the
quartermaster's wife should have attained the remarkable height of
five feet eight inches _so young_! Was it possible there were other
women in America as tall? Taller even? _'Susmariajoseph!_ But surely
that was a joke? One never could tell when these Americans were joking.

One of the officers presented the _Burnside_ women with some native
hats typical of the island, and the Filipinos were overcome with
surprise at our interest in such ordinary headgear. What were we
going to do with the hats? Wear them ourselves? Oh, no, we hastened
to explain, they were to decorate our walls in America, that all our
friends might see what pretty hats the Filipino people wear. Decorate
the wall with hats? What a very curious idea! They chatted volubly
over this idiosyncrasy, and even laughed at it, but quite decorously
so that our feelings might be spared. Suddenly one of them, a most
vivacious girl, and evidently the belle of the village, leaned over
and in persuasive tones suggested that we women leave our hats,
each real creations of millinery art, for their walls, at which
witticism they all giggled explosively and shrugged their shoulders
in rapturous appreciation of our confusion; all but the presidente's
wife, who looked shocked at such presumption and spoke to the younger
women warningly in Visayan.

She was a shy and rather fat old lady--the presidente's wife--and
seemed greatly impressed by any statistics translated into Visayan
for her information. Speaking Spanish but indifferently, she made
up for her linguistic deficiencies by a pair of eyes which let
nothing escape them; and she stared at us continually throughout
the afternoon, seeming to be studying this new species of woman
as intently as a naturalist might some strange butterfly under a
microscope. Whenever we caught her eye she looked away hastily as if
detected in an impropriety, and then furtively resumed her inspection,
taking in every detail of our wearing-apparel, from the real hats
upon our heads to the stout soled walking boots on our feet, the shine
of our patent leathers seeming to inspire her with more respect than
any other part of our costume.

The only other shoes in the room, excepting those worn by the
Americans and some few of the native men, were the proud possession
of a tiny girl eight years old. This fashionable young person boasted
also a European hat of coarse white straw stiffly trimmed with blue
ribbon and blue ostrich tips. That the feathers had a wofully limp,
depressed, and bedraggled appearance; that the ribbon was obviously
cotton; and the straw of the coarsest weave, in no wise detracted
from the glorious knowledge that it was a hat, a real hat such as
the _Americanas_ themselves were wearing. Sustained by this fact the
young lady, who, in addition to the shoes and millinery, wore only
a single other garment, comported herself with great dignity. Even
in the trying circumstance of passing between one and the light,
she was quite unconscious of anything amiss, the proud assurance
of being dressed in the height of style as to her head and feet,
precluding all worry as to minor details.

Among others met that afternoon at the Headquarters Building was a
Spanish gentleman of charming manners. He invited our party from the
ship, and the officers stationed in town, to stop at his house on
our return to the launch and have some refreshments, an invitation
we gladly accepted. So the courtly Castilian, beaming with hospitable
intent, hurried ahead to prepare for our coming, we following shortly
after in his footsteps. But to the young Spaniard's ill concealed
chagrin and our own embarrassment, the whole Filipino contingent
accompanied us to the house. Fully as many more natives gathered at
every available door and window, while outside the band, which had
brought up a tuneful and triumphant rear, played the "Star Spangled
Banner." After all had partaken of Señor Montenegro's enforced
liberality, we repaired to the launch, accompanied by almost the
entire population of Misamis, and amidst a shrill chorus of "_Hasta
la vista_," and "_Adios_," we steamed back to the _Burnside_, whose
twinkling lights shone out dimly against the evening sky.

The next morning a party of Signal Corps men, accompanied by a guard
of fifteen soldiers from the fort, sailed at peep o' day in the ship's
launches, the two in tandem towing a native _banca_ loaded with cable,
which was to be laid in the Lintogup River and upper Panguil Bay,
a stretch of water too shallow for the _Burnside_ herself to attempt
its navigation. This cable was in turn to be connected at Lintogup
with Tukuran, on the southern coast of Mindanao, by a land line across
a mountainous country.

When the party started there were guns and ammunition enough on the
two launches to have quelled a good sized insurrection, but as little
was really known of the upper bay and river, and as many rumours were
rife among the natives of Misamis as to warlike Moros and Monteses
living on these shores, and more disquieting rumours still among
the officers that it was a camping place for _insurrectos_, it was
thought best to amply provide against any emergency.

Unfortunately, no information could be obtained as to the rise and fall
of the tides or the strength of the current, a fact that delayed the
expedition many days and necessitated the return of one or other of
the launches for a renewal of rations, fresh water, and coal, not once
but thrice. The first, second, and third relief expeditions, we called
them, and teased the officer in charge unmercifully over his hard luck.

But at last, despite adverse winds and tides; despite the fact
that one of the Filipino guides ran the launch aground, with malice
aforethought, no doubt, as on his return to Misamis he was arrested
on indubitable evidence as a spy; despite the fact that the sailing
_banca_, ran on the bar, and while trying to pull her off she and her
five miles of cable were swamped; despite the fact that the ship's
launch _Grace_, or the _Disgrace_, as she was afterward called,
distinguished herself by blowing up twice and almost scalding
everyone on board; despite the fact that all the odds were against
the expedition's success, and that it took six days and nights to
accomplish what might have been done in a third of the time--despite
all this, I say, the cable was at last laid and the luckless workers

But, oh, the bitterness of life in general and that of a cable man
in particular! For after all those heroic struggles the first test
showed a fault, and, cruel fate, at the far end of Panguil Bay at
that! The silence which greeted the reception of this terrible news
was as profane as words, and the Powers-that-Be decided on the spot
that enough work had been spent on that calamitous cable for the
time being, and decided to proceed with the laying of the main lines,
leaving the Lintogup stretch until a subsequent visit to Misamis.

Meanwhile there was much work accomplished in the town, a fine
telegraph office being established on the principal street; and a
trench completed by the shore end party; while much overhauling
of the cable in the tanks, and daily drills given to the Signal
Corps soldiers in cable telegraphy and the care of the instruments
kept those aboard ship busy. Tic--tack, clic--clack, went the little
telegraph instrument at one end of the quarter-deck, and clic--clack,
tic--tack answered an instrument at the other end, hour after hour
through the long, warm mornings, and the longer, warmer afternoons.

On New Year's eve, several officers from the fort saw the century
in with those of us remaining on the _Burnside_, but the time
passed so pleasantly that no one remembered the auspicious occasion
until the sound of sharp firing from the shore broke in upon our
conversation. The jangling of church bells followed, and one of the
shore officers, usually a very cool and self-contained young fellow,
sprang to his feet, exclaiming as he buckled on his revolver, "Great
heavens! An attack on the town and I not there. May I have a ship's
boat at once?" But even as he spoke the _Burnside's_ whistle blew a
great blast, and several shots from the ship answered those on shore,
every man with a revolver, shotgun, or rifle adding his quota of
noise to the general hubbub.

And so it was the new century came to Mindanao, some thirteen hours
ahead of its advent in New York or Washington. Before eight bells
had ceased striking a search-light greeting was sent to our friends
at Lintogup, but they, being tired after a hard day's work, slept
supinely on, unaware of our good wishes or the fact that a fine young
century had been born to the old, old world.

I am sorry to relate that the next day a court-martial was held in
Misamis to try the irrepressible guard who, in a burst of enthusiasm
due to their first taste of twentieth century air, had fired off their
rifles. The soldiers were sentenced rather heavily, rifle-shots in a
Philippine town at that time being productive of dire results. Indeed,
the shrill warning of the church bells and scattered shots in a
Mindanao village meant one thing only, an uprising in the town or
an attack from the outside, the incoming of a new century being
of far less importance than the preservation of order and quiet in
the garrison, and no cognizance could be taken of a new year which
must be ushered in with a clang of firearms or the jangle of church
bells--shrill heralds of disaster.

On New Year's morning the presidente and secretario of Misamis,
accompanied by their respective families and a young Moro slave,
the property of the secretario, came aboard the _Burnside_ to return
our call. It was the first time any of them had ever seen a modern
steamship, and loud and voluble were their exclamations of wonder
at what we have come to regard as the every-day conveniences of
civilization. After seeing the electric light, electric fans, and the
shower baths turned on and off several times, the presidente craved
permission to essay these miracles himself, and, to his own great
surprise, accomplished supernatural results. The old wife watched him
tremblingly. Surely, these were works of the Evil One, and, as such,
to be left to heretics. But still the man persisted in his madness,
and with a turn of his wrist brought light out of darkness or water
and wind from the very walls.

Finally he turned around, and with a humourous twinkle in his
eye, that belied the gravity of the rest of his face, he said:
"The _Americanos_ are a great people--a wonderful people--and how
unlike the Filipinos! When a Filipino wants sunshine or rain or wind,
he must wait until the good Lord gives it to him. When an _Americano_
wants sunshine or rain or wind, he turns it on!"

The whole party was intensely interested in the big telescope which
drew Misamis within a stone's throw of the ship, and they could not
in the least understand how we cooked in the steam galley without any
fuel, while the ice-machine and cold storage rooms were quite beyond
their comprehension, none of them ever having seen ice before. Of
course, on seeing the strange substance, it must be tasted as
well, so iced drinks were served on the quarter-deck, these being
received with much preliminary trepidation and ultimate gustatory
gratification. As for the small Moro slave, I only hope he did not
die from his excessive libations, for he drank unnumbered glasses of
lemonade, making most violent faces the while, and rubbing his small
round stomach continually, as if the unaccustomed cold had penetrated
to his very vitals.

On going ashore, each of the three children carried back a box of
American candy, the order of our guests' departure being somewhat
delayed by Señora Presidente's intense fear of going down the
gangway. As I have said before, she was a fat old lady, and the way
was steep; but finally, after much persuasion, she slipped her bare
feet out of their velvet _chinelas_, gathered her voluminous skirts
close about her, and, seating herself upon the top step of the ladder,
_slid_ down! Surely a simple solution of the difficulty.

That evening a ball was given in our honour at the Headquarters
Building, which for the time being was transformed into a most
attractive place with palms and flags and coloured lanterns, while
just outside the broad windows a wonderful tropic sky, hung with
silver stars, added its enchantment to the scene. No carriage being
available in the town, we walked from the dingy little wharf to the
Headquarters Building, arrayed in our very best, and followed by a
guard of armed soldiers, our escorts themselves wearing revolvers.

At every corner a dark form would shoot out suddenly from the shadows
and there would be the swift click of a rifle as it came to position,
while a voice cried, "Halt! Who's there?" "A friend," some one would
reply, or "Officer of the garrison," as the case might be. Then
again would come the sentinel's voice telling the person challenged
to advance and be recognized, at which one of the number would march
forward, and, on being identified, the rest of us were allowed to pass
the sentinel, who, meanwhile, kept his rifle at a port, his keen eye
watching closely, that no enemy slip by under our protection.

It was a rarely beautiful night even for the tropics, that first
of January, and as we women wore no wraps of any description, the
contrast between our satins and chiffons and the rough khaki clothes
of the soldiers was a strange one; and still stranger was the fact
of our going under guard to a ball, a ball that at any moment might
be interrupted by the bugles blowing a call to arms, whereupon our
partners would have to desert us, perhaps to quell an uprising in
the town, perhaps to defend it against an attack from the outside.

But fortunately the occasion was not marred by any such sinister
happening, and doubtless still lives in the annals of Misamis as a
very grand affair, for everyone of consequence in town was invited
to the _baille_, and everyone invited came, not to mention those not
invited who came also. When we arrived the rooms were quite crowded
and the dancing had begun. Far down the street we heard the music
and the sound of the women's heelless slippers shuffling over the
polished floor to a breathlessly fast waltz. If possible the people
of Misamis dance faster and hop higher than the people of Dumaguete,
and how the women manage to keep on their _chinelas_ during these
wild gyrations is quite beyond me.

As the secretario of the town played a harp in the orchestra--surely an
evidence of versatility--we ventured to ask if he would play a two-step
very, very slowly, and hummed it in ordinary time. At its beginning
the Filipinos who had started to dance, stopped aghast. "Faster,
faster!" they cried in Spanish. "No one could dance to such slow
music. This is a ball, men, not a funeral!" But the secretario held
the orchestra back, and in a few moments the Americans had the floor
to themselves, the Filipinos stopping partly because they found it
impossible to dance to such slow music and partly because they wanted
to watch us.

They were all astonished at the apparent lack of motion in American
dancing and the fact that we got over the ground without hopping. Many
of them asked officers stationed in the town if the women wore a
special kind of shoe to balls, as they appeared to be standing still
and yet moving at the same time, while one old man was heard explaining
to his cronies that we wore little wheels attached to the soles of our
slippers--he had seen them--so that we did not have to move at all,
the men doing all the dancing and merely pushing us back and forth
on the floor. So much for the glide step as contrasted with the hop,
though it must be confessed that the natives were quite frank in
liking their own dancing better than ours, one of the reasons being
that it gave them so much more exercise.

During the evening the natives gave a Visayan dance, called in the
native tongue "A Courtship." As the name implies, a young man and woman
dance it _vis-à-vis_, the man courting the woman rhythmically and
to music, she at first resisting, flashing her dark eyes scornfully
as she trips by him, holding her fan to her face until he looks the
other way, then peeping over its top at him, only to turn her back
in disdain when, emboldened by her interest, he approaches. Finally
his attentions become more pronounced, at which the girl grows coy,
dropping her eyes shyly as they dance past one another, and covering
her face again and again from his too ardent gaze; now bending her
supple waist from side to side in time with the passionate music;
now closing her eyes languorously; now opening them wide and smiling
at him tenderly over the top of her fan, a graceful accomplice to
her pretty coquetry. At last she surrenders to the wooing, the happy
pair dancing away together while the music plays faster and faster
until at last it stops with a great crash, that, we trust, not being
symbolical of infelicity in wedlock. The dance was very well done,
and the native audience enjoyed it thoroughly, calling out chaffingly
in Visayan to the couple on the floor, and occasionally beating time
to the music with hand or foot.

It was at this ball we met for the first time a family of American
_mestizas_--three sisters there were, if I remember rightly,--all
pretty girls, with regular features and soft brown hair, this
hair distinguishing them at once from the other women of the place
with their more conventional blue-black tresses. It seems that the
grandfather of these girls had been an American sailor, who for some
reason or other was marooned at Cagayan, Mindanao. Making the most, or
as a pessimist might think, the worst of a disadvantageous situation,
he married a native girl and raised a large and presumably interesting
family, his descendants being scattered all over the island. The
Misamis branch were extremely aristocratic, and so proud of their
blue blood that since the arrival of the American troops they have
associated with no one else in the village. It is said that the
girls even refer to the United States as "home," and occasionally
wear European clothes in preference to the far more becoming and
picturesque costume of _saya_, _camisa_, and _panuela_.

While in Misamis I verily believe that family was pointed out to us
twenty times at least, and whenever a man lowered his voice and started
in with, "You see those girls over there? Well, their grandfather was
an American--" I steeled myself for what was to follow, and expressed
surprise and interest as politely as possible, for it is hard to attain
conventional incredulity over a twice-told tale. After the genealogy
of the family had been gone over, root and branch, we would invariably
be told the story of how the grandfather, grown rich and prosperous
in his island home, once went to Manila on a business trip. He had
then lived in Mindanao over thirty years, during which time he had
spoken nothing but Visayan, varied occasionally with bad Spanish.

His negotiations at the capital taking him to an English firm,
he started to address them in his long unused mother tongue, when
to his extreme mortification he found he could not speak a word of
English. Again and again he tried, the harsh gutturals choking in his
throat, until at last, flushed and angry, he was forced to transact
his business in Spanish, all of which amused the Britishers to the
chaffing point. Leaving the office, the American flung himself into the
street, muttering savagely under his breath, a torrent of old memories
surging through his brain, those harsh English words in his throat
clamouring for utterance. On and on he went, until at a far corner he
suddenly pulled himself up sharply, turned on his heel, and with all
speed walked back to the English firm, a shrewd smile playing about
his hard old mouth. Throwing open the door of the office, he walked
abruptly in, saying as he did so, in an unmistakable Yankee drawl,
"Blankety blank blank it! I knew I could speak English. All I needed
was a few good cuss words to start me off!"

On the afternoon of January 3d, a party of Monteses visited the
_Burnside_. Gaily turbaned and skirted were these Moro men, their
jackets fitting so tightly that some one suggested they must have
grown on them, that they were "quite natural and spontaneous, like
the leaves of trees or the plumage of birds." One's olfactory nerves
also bore evidence that frequent ablutions or change of garments were
not customary among our guests, and the fact that when shown over
the ship they evinced but little interest in the bath spoke volumes.

Strange to say, what the Moros most admired were the brass railings
around the walls of the saloon, and the brass rods down the different
stairways, in fact all the brass fittings on the ship, a thing that
puzzled us not a little until the interpreter explained that the
Moros thought the brass was solid gold, and were naturally much
impressed thereat. Firearms they also enthused over, and looked
with envious eyes at the shotguns, rifles, and revolvers exhibited,
evincing great delight at the six and the one pounder guns on the
quarter-deck. With the greatest equanimity they accepted several
little presents made them, nor deigned thanks of any sort for benefits
received, stuffing the different articles into their wide girdles with
a stolid indifference which was enlivened by a smile once only. This
was at a case of needles given to the leading Datto or chief, which,
through the interpreter, we told him were for the wives of his bosom;
whereupon they all smiled broadly, the interpreter explaining it was
because we had sent the needles to women, as among Mindanao Moros
men do all the sewing.

Being Mohammedans, they were very careful not to eat anything while
on board ship for fear of unconsciously transgressing the Holy Law,
even refusing chocolate candy because it might contain pork. They were
shown ice, but took little interest in it, nor did they seem surprised
at the cold storage rooms or the electric lighting. It is possible they
thought Americans had attained the one really great thing in having
white skins, after which all else followed as a matter of course.

The next day we went to call on the presidente and his wife. They lived
in a bare, forlorn old house, with nothing attractive about it save the
floor of the _sala_, which was of beautiful hard wood polished with
banana leaves until it would have served for a mirror. Everything
was scrupulously clean, but bespoke poverty, from the inadequate
furniture of the _sala_ to the patches and darns on the old wife's
stiffly starched skirt of _abaca_. This poverty was all the result
of the war, we were told, as much of their out of town property had
been confiscated or ruthlessly destroyed by the insurgents because
of the presidente's unswerving loyalty to the American government.

Both the presidente and his señora were delighted to see us, and while
he discoursed on politics and what the coming of the cable meant to
the people of Mindanao, the good housewife bustled about and brought
forth the greatest delicacies her larder afforded, laying them out
with proud humility on the marble topped table of the _sala_. There
were peaches and pears, canned in Japan, and served right from the
tin; there were little pink frosted cakes made in times prehistoric,
to judge from their mustiness, and carefully packed away in glass
jars for just such great occasions; there was good guava jelly and
a Muscatelle that breathed of sunny vineyards in Spain--indubitable
evidence of better days.

The house was so bare and shabby that this gastronomic outlay
seemed an unwarrantable expense, yet what could one do but accept
their hospitality in the same generous spirit in which it was
offered? So at ten o'clock of a steaming hot morning we cheerfully
stuffed ourselves on badly preserved fruits, elderly small cakes with
enamelled complexions, and tiny sips of liquid fragrance, our reward
of merit being the little señora's beaming face.

Indeed, she even stopped apologizing after a bit, and while the
presidente was toasting everybody from the "Chief Magistrate of
America" down to our very humble selves, she sent a _muchacho_ out
to borrow the hand-organ belonging to a neighbour, this musical
instrument being highly venerated in Misamis. On its arrival the
presidente himself turned the crank, and with such vigour that I
feared a stroke of apoplexy on his part.

A little later, as we were leaving, the señora took us into what would
have been the stable had they possessed horses, a large open space
under the house, to the right of which a room had been partitioned
off with bamboo. Inside this partition a Filipina servant worked
the señora's loom. Back and forth went the shuttle under the little
maid's deft fingers, and up and down went her slender bare foot on the
treadle, so that even as we watched the striped red and cream _abaca_
grew under our very eyes.

Unfortunately I became enthusiastic, and nothing would do but that the
old lady must present me with several yards of the pretty stuff. I felt
as if I should be tried for larceny, what with those indigestible
fruits, the pink cheeked cakes, the Muscatelle, and finally the
_abaca_. I protested vigorously, I even pleaded, but in vain.

"You are my daughter," laughed the señora, happily, "my white
daughter. The _abaca_ is yours--coarse stuff that it is," and she
reached up timidly and kissed me, first on one cheek and then on the
other, the joy of giving in her dear old eyes.

The next day dawned so clear and beautiful that three of us decided,
there being little work on hand until the Lintogup party's return,
to take a long drive around Misamis, and if we had time to even go
so far as its four outposts. On the previous day the presidente had
unearthed a queer little carriage out of a junk heap, and put this
conveyance and a wise looking piebald pony at our disposal. The
carriage was an odd affair between a _calesa_ and _carromata_ in
shape, or like a high surrey with a small seat for the driver in
front. It was beautifully clean, with a new bit of carpet at our feet,
and cushioned in sky-blue tapestry. As there was but a single seat
at the back, in addition to the driver's seat in front, one of the
two men of our party offered to relieve the Filipino in charge of
the trap, and do the driving himself, but the native shook his head,
declaring we would find the pony unmanageable. We thought not, but
the driver was firm, and although the back seat was not very wide,
we piled in upon the sky-blue cushions, trying to look as pleasant
as possible in the circumstances.

After some persuasion on the part of the Filipino, the piebald pony
started and proved to be a fine little animal with an unusually
clean and even gait. The air was fresh and invigorating, and as we
passed other _Burnside_ friends trudging through the sand of the
beach or toiling laboriously along the dusty road of the town, we
congratulated ourselves on securing the only available trap in the
place, and marvelled at the way our pony covered ground.

"Why, any one could drive him," remarked one of the trio. "He's a
fine little beast." "To be sure," assented the others. But just then
a treacherous feminine hat blew off, and we had to stop and pick it
up. That was but the work of an instant--the stopping--but when it
came to starting again--well, you just ought to have seen how that
piebald acted! He simply laughed at the idea, his laugh extending in
ecstatic chuckles all the way down his spinal column till the very
carriage shook with his mirth. Then he planted his two fore feet down
hard as much as to say, "I challenge you to budge me one inch from
this spot," and though the Filipino threatened, entreated, implored,
and finally beat him unmercifully with the handle of the whip, the
piebald stood his ground.

At last the two men clambered out of the high vehicle, and after
tugging for some minutes at the rope bridle, succeeded in starting
the stubborn animal along, but at so furious a gait that they had all
they could do to get up over the wheels and into their seat again. All
went well for about a quarter of a mile, when to our surprise the
driver started to turn around. "Here, _hombre_," called one of the
men, in what he was pleased to consider Spanish, "we don't want to
go home yet. We want to go to the outposts--way out, sabe?" Yes, he
"sabed," grinning broadly the while, but this, señor, was the outpost.

We were dumbfounded, and stared stupidly at the white tent among
the trees. "Why don't they call 'em _in_posts?" growled one of
the men, and then to the driver, "Very well, _hombre_, take us to
the other three. We want to see 'em all." But this was easier said
than done. Again our wise-looking piebald balked, and balked most
awfully. Again the two men, at imminent danger to life and limb,
jerked at the rope bridle, and again barely escaped with their lives
as they performed the perilous acrobatic feat of falling headlong
into the carriage while it was going at full speed.

After the sixth performance of this kind, one being at a street
crossing where some raw cocoa beans were drying on a _petate_ in the
sun, and the three others at the different outposts, we decided among
ourselves that we had best dismiss our _cochero_ and return to the
ship, since it had taken us more than two hours to drive where we
might have walked in thirty minutes.

It was here a most embarrassing situation arose, for just as we were
debating what to pay our Jehu, something in my boot heels suggested
that perhaps the native was not a coachman at all, but a Filipino
gentleman taking us to drive at the request of the presidente. There
was the sign manual of Misamis's four hundred about him. He wore
shoes. Moreover, he sported a very large and very yellow twenty dollar
gold piece on his watch-chain. But stronger even than these evidences
of native gentility was the freedom from restraint in the very frequent
remarks he had tentatively thrown over his shoulder during the drive,
and the fact that he had not weakened when, on first coming ashore,
we had tried to browbeat him out of driving the horse.

"But if he _is_ a _cochero_, and we don't pay him, he'll think we're
cheating him," wailed one of us.

"And if he isn't a _cochero_, and we do pay him, he'll be indignant,"
affirmed another.

My boot heels gave me another suggestion. Being a woman, I suppose
I have intuitions, but I trust my boot heels every time. They are
more reliable. "How would it do," I suggested, with a consciousness
of superiority which I trust did not sound in my voice, "How would
it do to stop a sentinel and ask whether our friend is a coachman or
the mayor of the town?" and even as I spoke a sentinel hove in sight
and was promptly interrogated by the men.

"Him?" returned the soldier in answer to our questions, "Him? Why, he's
the richest man in these parts, I reckon, and holds some big job under
the government. I forget what just now, but provost marshal, chief
of police, or somethin' like that." We gasped at our narrow escape,
and after getting that villainous automobile horse in motion again,
pressed some cigars upon our distinguished host, and on reaching the
dock thanked him heartily for our charming morning, impressing upon
him that the _Burnside_ was at his disposition at any and all times,
an invitation of which he later availed himself.

On the afternoon of January 9th the fault which we had been seeking
so long in the cable tank was located, and two and a half miles
of cable were taken out before the fault could be removed. We then
weighed anchor and buoyed six miles out, talked with Misamis over the
wire, and then attached the end to a buoy and dropped it overboard,
preferring to wait until morning to make our splice and proceed on
our return trip to Dumaguete. At daylight we picked up the buoy,
drew the end of the cable on board, spliced it, and at eight o'clock
were proceeding toward the island of Negros, laying cable as we went.

Then for the first time did we hoist the cable-ship insignia on
the foremast head, three balls, which at a little distance looked
not unlike the sign of a pawnshop, though our three balls were hung
vertically from the masthead, two red ones with a white octahedron
shape between them. After dark two red lights with a white centre
light were substituted for these signals, each serving as a warning
to other vessels that we were either laying or picking up cable and
could not be expected to observe the etiquette of the high seas. In
other words, we were to have the right of way. As I understand it,
disabled steamers also carry three balls by day, all of them being red
in that case, and by night three red lights, our centre white ball by
day and centre white light after dark protecting us from well-meant
efforts at rescue by other vessels, which would of course foul our
cable and cause no end of mischief.

We sailed very slowly to Dumaguete, not over five knots an hour, with
the cable paying out perhaps six knots, this speed limitation being
necessary in order to stop the ship quickly in case of accident. It
seemed a sentient thing, that cable creeping slowly along the paying
out machinery, winding itself over the drum, and then stretching out
to full length and disappearing down the covered wooden cable troughs
on the main and quarter decks, and so into the sea at the stern of
the ship; the hose meanwhile playing a stream of water over the drum,
brakes, and jockey pulley, where the friction is always greatest. This
water ran off in a dirty yellow stream, flooding the forward deck,
while the tar from the cable decorated the ship from stem to stern,
thus transforming our _Burnside_ from a pretty, trig looking yacht
into a veritable work-a-day old scow.

Everyone on board was in the best possible spirits all morning because
we were really under way and accomplishing work that showed. Even
the natives in the tank, swiftly passing the cable from hand to hand,
were singing in barbaric monotone to themselves, while we idle ones on
the quarter-deck read a marvellous tale of love and bloodshed to the
monotonous accompaniment of the cable shuffling through the wooden
troughs beside us.

At about four in the afternoon, however, just as we were lazily
deciding to ring for tea, there came a rush of feet from the forward
part of the ship and a jangle of the engine-room's bell meaning "Full
speed astern!" But quick as the ship was in coming to a standstill,
and quick as were the Signal Corps men in stopping the machinery, the
cable itself was quicker, and in less time than it takes to tell it,
a tangle of cable in the tanks blocked the drum, causing so tremendous
a strain that the cable broke, the end going overboard.

We were all sick at heart, none more so than the poor Filipino who
had been knocked flat by the cable on its erratic departure from the
tank. Fortunately, the native was more frightened than hurt, and not
many moments later joined in a game of monte with his friends not on
duty at the time. The cable laying machinery was then transformed
into a grappling machine, and by half past seven that evening the
strain on the dynamometer showed we had in all probability hooked
something. An hour later the end was on board, and by midnight a
satisfactory splice had been made by a sergeant of the Signal Corps,
in charge of such work, and his band of native cable splicers. Then
sufficient tests were made to ascertain if the joint were perfect,
that is, if the insulation of the new piece of cable, when added to
that already laid, gave the right answer.

Meanwhile some one ascertained our position with a sextant, these
observations being marked on the cable map and entered in the log to
facilitate the work of locating and repairing the splice in case of
accident at that particular point, though it must be confessed that
these splices often proved more sound than the original cable. After
this data had been duly registered, the bight was lowered over the side
of the ship and we were again under way, "dragging our tail behind us"
like the poetical sheep of the nursery rhyme.

Everything worked perfectly after this, and we arrived off the
Dumaguete buoy the following afternoon. On sighting it, a boat was
lowered, in which our "able cable seaman," as we called him, with
his crew of native "buoy jumpers," set forth to fasten the cable
attached there to a stout rope from the ship. Then the buoy was cut
away and taken into the little boat, the cable being heaved aboard
by means of the drum, where, after detaching the mushroom anchor,
tests were made and final telegraphic instructions sent to Misamis
about connecting the office there. Then the final splice was made, and
the two women of the _Burnside_ were given the privilege of cutting
the slip-ropes that held the cable on the ship. It had already been
lowered over the bows, and only these ropes held it in place.

"If anything goes wrong now, you are to blame," said the Powers-that-Be
severely, and I, personally, felt the responsibility of so momentous
an event, and awaited with no little nervousness the signal which
would tell us to sever the ropes, for it was important that the two
fastenings should be cut at exactly the same moment to avoid a strain
on the cable. "Now!" called the cable expert. It was a thrilling
moment. My little _kris_ dagger seemed scarcely to make an impression
on the stout Manila rope. "Faster! Harder!" called some one, and we
sawed with all our strength. A moment more and the green waters of
the bay had opened and closed over the cable--the first stretch of
it laid on the trip--and we women had helped do it.

Everyone on board was excited over the great event, the very natives,
tired as they were, sending up a faint _viva_, and at dinner that
evening it was easy to see a strain had been lifted from all the
officers. Not a man but was freshly shaved and attired in immaculate
white linen in contradistinction to the inevitable khaki. Later,
however, the young officer who had been sent ashore to make the
final adjustments in the Dumaguete office, came aboard with the
disheartening information that Misamis could not be raised, and the
ensuing depression on the _Burnside_ was appalling.

The next morning a wire was run ashore connecting the cable hut
with the ship, and by what is called a capacity test, the trouble
was located at Misamis. So late that night, instead of going to
Iligan, as we had expected, we sailed for Misamis again, arriving
there a little after one on the following day. The fault was found
in a lightning arrester which one of the operators had neglected in
the cable hut. This was remedied, and the cable connection between
Misamis and Dumaguete completed.

Immediately the natives poured into the cable office with numberless
messages for friends or business acquaintances, and knots of men
gathered about the building and congratulated each other on the great
event. At last the much talked-of communication with the outer world
was at hand, a marvel no less astounding to the minds of these people
than would be the realization of those stories of Harun-al-Rashid's
days to our more complex civilization, those dear, delightful days
of genie and fairy, when two and two didn't always make four, and
when nothing was too impossible to happen.

That afternoon a schooner was hired, and five miles of cable for the
Misamis shore end of Iligan's line of communication was put aboard
her. At daybreak on Monday, January 14th, the schooner started out to
lay the cable, while a second party dug the trench and prepared for
the landing of the shore end. This was all completed by ten o'clock,
and we were under way for Iligan, towing the schooner at our stern. We
sailed very slowly, as bearings and soundings were being taken all day,
anchoring off our destination late that afternoon.

Chapter IV


Our first glimpse of Iligan was not assuring, as only the Headquarters
Building could be seen from the harbour, and in front of it,
reaching to the left for some distance, stood a long, single row of
cocoanut-palms, so tall that the green foliage was far above the top
of the house, making the trees look like stiff bouquets in absurdly
long wooden holders. At the foot of these trees water, blue as indigo
on wash day, lashed itself into a white fury against the stonework
of the pier.

Before daybreak on the following morning the Signal Corps had its
breakfast, and aside from the not always obvious compensation which
undeviating good conduct is said to bring, we had a very evident
reward for our early rising in seeing Jupiter and Venus in a brilliant
stellar flirtation, the Southern Cross as chaperone giving sanction
to the affair.

Before the night had really paled into a gray dawn, three life-boats
from the ship, each loaded with some six hundred feet of cable,
were fastened in tandem and drawn to the shore by a stout rope,
which had already been run to the beach, and the two shore ends, one
for Misamis and one for Cagayan, Mindanao, were laid with but little
trouble. As Iligan's insurrectionary population was too aristocratic
to demean itself by manual labour for any monetary consideration, the
soldiers of the infantry company stationed at Iligan were detailed to
dig the trench. But, being Americans, they worked with a right good
will, completing the trench late that afternoon. The office was also
established by this time, after which the two shore ends were laid
and buoyed, thus accomplishing a tremendous day's work.

In the early afternoon we women went ashore sight-seeing, and found
Iligan chiefly interesting for what it was not. On paper--Spanish
paper, that is--the town is represented as a city of some magnitude,
boasting handsome barracks for the soldiers, two beautiful churches,
many well-built houses and shops, a railway running from the outskirts
of the town to Lake Lanao, a handsome station for Iligan's terminal
of the line, and many other modern improvements, including fine

In reality, Iligan is a little nipa-shack settlement, some of the nipa
buildings being very pretty, to be sure, but hardly pretentious enough
for city dwellings. As for the railway to Lake Lanao, all that is left
of it are two old engines and some dilapidated cars in a discouraged,
broken down shed on the outskirts of the village, the shed doubtless
representing the handsome station aforementioned. Even the rails of
the road have been carried away by the Moros to be made into _bolos_
and _krises_.

As for the barracks, the natives say that the Spaniards burnt them
down on evacuating in favour of their American foe, while the churches
probably never existed save in imagination, though one place of worship
was in process of construction at the time of our visit, the skeleton
of its framework being covered by a well finished roof, which, by the
way, is a peculiarity of carpentering in these islands. The woodwork
of the structure had a weather-beaten air, which told only too plainly
how long a time had elapsed since its foundation-stone was laid, and
on all sides the houses were deserted and dropping into decay. Board
fences rotted under a pitiless sun, and gardens, overgrown with weeds
and rank vegetation, encroached on the highway, which seemed to hold
the glare of noon in its stifling dust. Degraded, wretched looking
pigs wallowed about under one's very feet, and thin babies scowled
at us fiercely from behind the skirts of their unsmiling mothers.

With the exception of two or three very good little shops, run of
course by the ubiquitous Chinaman, at which one could purchase Moro
turbans, _sarongs_--the long skirt-like garments in which Moro men and
women wrap themselves--_petates_, or sleeping mats of split bamboo,
and other like curios, Iligan is a most unattractive and desolate
place, by God forsaken and by man forgot.

Picturesque it could not help being. All Philippine coast towns
accomplish that, built as they are of _caña_ and nipa in the midst
of luxuriant foliage, and surrounded by palms and bamboos, beyond
which spread verdant plains or lofty forest hills on one side, and
on the other stretches of sunlit sea and an unobstructed view of
the blue and cloudless sky. Lovely beyond description, to be sure,
but a loveliness of which one would tire all too quickly, its very
beauty becoming monotonous, like the pretty face of an insipid woman;
its sunshine and balmy airs but an aggravation to the soul, combining
to make one long for rugged outlines, rough east winds, and climatic
hardships and privations, anything rather than the enervation of that
unending tropic softness.

Market-day, which comes every Saturday at Iligan, made a break in the
dull uniformity of our several visits there. It was full of interest
to everyone, for it is then the Moros come to town, like the beggars
in the old nursery rhyme, "some in rags and some in tags," but none
in velvet gowns, no doubt because of climatic exigencies. It was a
glorious day of dazzling sunshine, and the market-place fairly swarmed
in colour, which blinded the eyes and warmed the heart. There were to
be seen in _sarong_, or coat, or turban the faded reds and subdued
blues that artists love, with here and there a dash of vivid green,
scarlet, and purple, barbarously tropical.

The Moros were represented mostly by men and boys, lithe, graceful
creatures, their legs encased in skin-tight trousers, or else
concealed entirely by a _sarong_ wrapped closely about them, the long
end tucked into a belt at the front. Their jackets, in the gayest of
colours, fitted them not wisely for so hot a climate, but too well;
their long, lank hair, done up in a knot at the back of the head,
was usually surmounted by a resplendent turban, whose colours shrieked
and stuck out their tongues at each other, being on even worse terms
with the rest of the costume; and in their belts would be stuck a
_barong_ or _kris_, often both, and a square or semicircular box of
brass, sometimes inlaid with copper, sometimes handsomely carved,
and sometimes plain. These boxes were divided into three compartments
on the inside, one for betel-nut, one for the lime to be smeared on
the betel, and one for the leaves of the pepper-tree, in which the
combination of lime and betel is wrapped before being chewed. Dattos
of rank were followed by a slave carrying these boxes, the receptacle
in their case being large and much more beautiful in design.

It was hard to differentiate the few women in the crowd from the men,
for they also wore a _sarong_ wrapped closely about them, which, if it
slipped aside for a moment, showed a tight fitting jacket of gay cotton
worn over a _camisa_, short at the waist line, where a band of brown
flesh showed frankly between it and the top of the wide, bloomer-like
garment on the nether limbs. They also wore their hair in a knot at
the back of the head, with a long, straight wisp hanging out of the
coil, and in most instances were much less attractive than the men,
being quite as unprepossessing in appearance, and lacking the redeeming
strength and symmetry which gave beauty to the masculine figure.

Several of the Moro men, presumably chiefs by the goodly number
of slaves following in their train, protected their august heads
by means of a gaily coloured parasol; others had the parasol held
over them by one of their retainers, while at their sides gambolled
small Moro boys, either entirely naked or decorously clothed in a
very abbreviated shirt. Some of the youngsters sported old _sarongs_,
which could be discarded or put on at their discretion, and only one
boy seen throughout the morning was fully clothed.

A delightful figure was that of a Moro dressed in a faded _sarong_
drawn closely about him from waist to knee. Above this he sported
a flannel blouse on which he had fastened with safety-pins two
very dilapidated infantry shoulder-straps of a second lieutenant's
grade. He also wore on his right breast some crossed cannon of
American artillery and a huge Spanish medal. On his head was a plaid
turban, as parti-coloured as the proverbial coat of the over-dressed
Joseph. Between the straining buttons of his blue flannel blouse dark
flesh gushed forth, and from beneath the variegated headgear fell
some straight, straggling locks, too short to be confined neatly in
the coil of hair at the back of his head. He was not at all averse to
having his charms of person and dress perpetuated in a photograph, and
from the way the Moros and natives gathered around him it was evident
that he was a personage of no little importance in the community.

Scattered around the market-place were various groups of Iligan
natives and Moros from the hills, all squatting on the ground, and
haggling over the price of fish and eggs. There were Moro chiefs,
looking world-wearied and indifferent, followed by their attendant
slaves; there were thrifty Moros willing to sell one anything from a
_kris_ or a _barong_ to the very clothes on their backs; there were
handsome young Moro blades, who stared shyly at the strange white
faces and chatted volubly the while in their soft Malay tongue; there
were Philippine market women in _camisa_ and _panuela_, some of them
carrying large, flat baskets of vegetables or fruits on their heads,
the green of ripe oranges and bananas making an effective splash of
colour above their dusky hair; there were a few, a very few, Moro
women, as I have said before, and they wrapped themselves more closely
in their _sarongs_ as we approached, smiling at us broadly with the
utmost friendliness, their blackened teeth behind red, betel-stained
lips reminding one irresistibly of watermelon seeds in the fruit.

Of course the Moros asked us exorbitant prices for their arms,
Americans being made of money, and transient Americans, in particular,
having the added reputation of being utterly bereft of reasoning
faculties, but we had been warned as to their business methods by
officers of the post, so were as adamant. At first the Moros seemed
indifferent whether we purchased or not, and only when we had really
embarked in one of the life-boats for the ship did they let us have
the knives for one-half of what they had originally demanded.

One gentleman who boasted a coat, _sarong_, and wide sash of brilliant
green, the material being of Moro manufacture, and hence of great
interest to the _Burnside_ people, was possessed that one of us should
buy the outfit, and only with great difficulty and the utmost tact was
he persuaded from denuding himself then and there, so anxious was he
to make a sale; and long after the life-boat was under way did some
belated Moro rush to the beach, wildly gesticulating and calling,
evidently willing to exchange some treasured knife, _buyo_ box, or
brightly coloured turban for American gold at our own valuation,
although he had perhaps scorned a very high price for these same
things earlier in the day.

The second morning after our arrival at Iligan, on the occasion of our
first visit there, all on board were shocked to hear that one of the
buoys attached to a cable anchored in the bay was missing. It was the
buoy to which the Cagayan shore end had been fastened, and there was
not a little mystery as to how it could have got away from its mushroom
anchor. So, instead of starting to lay the cable to Misamis, we used
the machinery as a fishing tackle, and, after some little trouble,
hooked the Cagayan cable in a hundred and twenty-five fathoms of
water. Later in the day the buoy was picked up, a most disreputable
looking object, banged and battered almost beyond recognition, which
showed it had undoubtedly been struck during the night by the ship's
propeller, owing to the tremendously swift current in the harbour.

All that afternoon the cable sang its song of the drum, in preparation
for the morrow's trip, and a little after daylight the next morning
the Misamis buoy was picked up and its cable spliced to that in the
main tank, after which we left Iligan, paying out the cable so slowly
that it was five o'clock before we anchored off the Misamis buoy,
just in time for a splice to be made ere the swift darkness of the
tropics was upon us.

The signal sergeant in charge of such work had a large audience that
evening watching his skilful joining together of the two ends of
cable. How deft he was in unwinding the sheathing wire, how exact
in cutting off just the right amount of core from each end of the
cable, how careful in stripping the insulation from the cores' end
with a sharp knife not to nick the wires, which would have produced
untold trouble. Then the seven wires stranded together in each end
were unwound, carefully cleaned and scraped, that they might solder
readily, after which they were again twisted together with pliers,
and the joint completed. When this was done the rubber tape was wound
round and round the copper wires, after which the whole was put into
a vulcanizing bath of hot paraffine. Upon soaking half an hour, it was
removed from the paraffine and the jute serving was bound back again;
then the armour--a steel wire spiral jacket--was replaced, the spirals
winding back into their original position with the greatest ease. Wire
was then wound at intervals over this steel jacket to keep the spirals
in place, after which the whole, for ten or fifteen feet in length,
was served with a neat finish of spun yarn.

At sunrise the next morning we went into the harbour of Misamis for
the third time, staying just long enough to ascertain that the cable
was working satisfactorily, after which we sailed once again for
Iligan, leaving there the following day for Cagayan, taking soundings
every half hour in preparation for the laying of the cable between
those two places. The morning was so rainy and disagreeable that
no bearings could be had, but just as we were nearing the harbour
of Cagayan, at about four in the afternoon, the mist cleared away,
the sun came out wetly from behind a mass of clouds, and over the
harbour to the southeast stretched a bow of promise, with the town
of Cagayan standing at one end of the arc like the proverbial pot of
gold for which we hunted in childhood.

Chapter V


After Dumaguete, Misamis, and Iligan, the harbour of Cagayan
presented a truly metropolitan appearance, what with a transport, a
coasting vessel, and a navy gunboat, all in at the same time. From the
_Burnside_ we could see nothing of the town save a very dingy wharf,
a few white tents pitched near the water's edge for the convenience
of soldiers guarding the unloading of vessels, and a settlement of
nipa shacks, in front of which were gaily coloured washings hung
out to dry in the hot sun. For miles in every direction hills, with
but little vegetation on their volcanic sides, rose tier above tier
as far as the eye could reach, and the bay reflected on its placid
surface every cloud in the heavens, every tree on the shore.

The long two and a half mile drive from the wharf of Cagayan to the
town proper is lined on either side with well-built nipa dwellings,
a schoolhouse, and some native shops, at that time all empty. The
windows stared back at one like wide-open sightless eyes; the doors
swung to and fro in the warm breeze, and occasionally gave a passing
glimpse of a shrine to the Virgin or some saint, the faded flowers
still in the vases, the candles burned out, and the placid face
looking straight into one's own, pathetic in its neglect.

Deserted Village was writ large on this entrance to Cagayan, but the
town itself looked prosperous; the little shops were flourishing;
and the natives, with ill-concealed interest, peered out furtively
from under their jalousie blinds as the great swinging Dougherty
wagon, with its four strapping mules, tore down the broad streets,
taking us to or from the ship.

This Dougherty wagon was at our disposal all the time we were there,
thanks to the courtesy of the colonel commanding, though sometimes,
when there was an unusually large party from the ship, we women
were put into a two-seated barouche of great antiquity, as dingy and
faded as its own cerulean lining, but the only carriage in town. The
officers called this delightful equipage "the extreme unction," as it
was owned by the padres before the government bought it, and was by
them used in last visits to the dying. The natives crossed themselves
on passing this conveyance, and would no more have ridden in it than
in a hearse, but we found "the extreme unction" very comfortable and
heard no groans or death-bed confessions in its rusty creak, neither
saw aught in its moth-eaten tapestry but that it had once been very
handsome. To our frivolous minds the old carriage resembled nothing
so much as Cinderella's coach just as the clock was striking twelve,
and we were constantly expecting it to turn into a pumpkin under our
very eyes. But it refrained from doing anything so unconventional,
and took us on many pleasant excursions around the quaint old town.

There was much to be seen in Cagayan, as for instance, the Door
of the Bloody Hand, a most gruesome memento of a night attack on
the place some time before, when several insurgents, fleeing from
avenging Americans, tried to force their way into one of the native
houses and seek protection from its inhabitants. Then there was the
Amazon colonel of a native regiment, who, on the day we saw her,
was spreading out washing to dry on a grass plot near her home,
a truly feminine occupation, considering her martial proclivities,
and one that disappointed us sadly, as we should have preferred
seeing her at dress parade; and lastly, there was the old cathedral,
which in its way was decidedly unique.

This cathedral was far more pretentious than any we had seen outside
of Manila, and its altars, for it boasted several, were unspeakable
combinations of cheap gaudiness and some little beauty. Common
tinsel was cheek by jowl with handsome silver, and while a few of
the many mural decorations and paintings were good, most of them were
atrocious--glorified chromos of simpering saints with preternaturally
large eyes, more nearly resembling advertisements for a hair dye
or complexion bleach than ecclesiastical subjects. Around the main
altar stood armoured soldiers of Biblical antiquity, squat, inelegant
figures that had first been painted on canvas and were afterward cut
out like gigantic paper dolls, being put into wooden grooves to ensure
their perpendicularity.

At one side of the church was a glass case containing a coffin of
regulation size, the wax figure within being covered with a black
shroud so that a bare arm only was visible. Across the soft white
flesh, for it was a woman's arm, ran a hideously realistic burn,
suggesting that the figure might have been that of some Christian
martyr, the probable patron saint of Cagayan. Before the principal
altar stood quaint prayer stools of ebony carved to resemble kneeling
human figures, and in the loft was a very good organ, though somewhat
high-pitched and reedy in tone.

The native women of Cagayan were rather more progressive than those
in the towns we had just visited. Some of them even wore hats,
and straightway copied, or rather, tried to copy, those worn by
the cable-ship contingent. They also rode bicycles, looking most
incongruous awheel, the long, spade shaped train to their skirts
tucked out of the way, their wide _camisa_ sleeves standing out like
stiff sails on either side, their demure and modest little kerchiefs
swelling with the quick throbbing of their adventurous hearts. We
were told that one of these women, after seeing the quartermaster's
wife riding a bicycle in her very short and modish skirt, straightway
took two deep tucks in her own long _saya_, train and all. Verily,
the spirit of that Filipina in an American would have emboldened her
to wear--bloomers? Perish the thought--knickerbockers!

At the time of our first visit to Cagayan, the principal occupation of
the American troops there seemed to be chasing two bands of insurrectos
under the respective leadership of one Capistrano and one Vajez, most
wily game, that led them many a weary tramp over the mountainous hills
surrounding the town. Shortly after our arrival Vajez was captured,
and a milder-mannered man never laid traps of spears and forked bamboo
in the pathway of an enemy. He was the personification of gentleness
and confided to the American officer in command that he would long
since have taken the oath of allegiance had not circumstances, over
which he had no control, prevented. The general, greatly impressed
by the cogency of these remarks from a man brought in by force, sent
him to Manila by the first available transport, that he might spread
the light to his brethren there, after which he was doubtless given
opportunity for more proselyting work in Guam.

Capistrano was made of sterner stuff, and on our numerous visits
to Cagayan still roamed the mountains with his picturesque robber
band. One day, under a flag of truce, he came to town and discussed the
military situation with the authorities. He made one very astonishing
claim, namely, that he had no animosity against the Americans, and
was not seeking a fight, meaning, doubtless, he would rather run than
fight, any day, but that he felt remaining in permanent armed protest,
passive though it was, sufficed to show the world his attitude toward
our military occupation of the Philippines. The spectacle of a large
number of well armed men who would not fight in any circumstances has
the merit of novelty. It sounds like a Gilbert and Sullivan opera. But
Capistrano evidently had no sense of humour, and until surrendering,
he and his followers kept well out of the way of the American army,
lest they be disturbed in pursuing the gentle art of peace.

Socially, we enjoyed Cagayan to the utmost, and if fault could be
found with our numerous visits there, it was that we had too good a
time, so good that the undoubted local interest of the place quite
faded into insignificance beside its purely social side. There were
luncheons and dinners given us on shore; and dinners and luncheons
given by us on the ship; there was a delightful tea on the gunboat,
and a concert by the infantry band in our honour; there were horseback
rides for those who cared for them, though all went well armed,
as the roads around Cagayan were then in hostile territory; while
the shooting for the men was exceptionally good, though this was not
discovered until our last visit to Cagayan, when the quartermaster,
after a half day's outing, returned with a prodigious string of ducks.

But while we aristocrats of the _Burnside_ idled away the sunlit hours,
the workers had landed the cable, put up an office in the town, and run
a line on iron poles from the wharf to the cable station; the testing
department, meanwhile, turning over cable on the ship, faults having
developed which were not located for several days. But on the morning
of January 3d all was considered ready for the return trip to Iligan.

Before leaving, two buoys were swung overboard with a block and tackle
arrangement, one five miles north and the other ten or fifteen miles in
the same direction, small lamps being placed on each, thus converting
them into temporary lighthouses should we return to Cagayan after
dark, or in the event of our return by daylight, the buoys themselves,
looming up big and red, would serve as guides, observations having
been made with the sextant upon them and adjacent land.

By half past one that afternoon we weighed anchor and sailed out of
the harbour, our friends on the different ships waving us good-bye,
and that night lay off Iligan in a very rough sea. At daybreak we
drew alongside the buoy, got it and the shore end aboard, and before
splicing, "spoke" Iligan, making several tests which showed that end
working satisfactorily. Then the splice was completed, and by evening
we were under way for Cagayan, laying cable as we went.

In less than an hour after we started there was great excitement on
board, even the loungers on the quarter-deck hurrying forward to hear
the details of what might have been a very serious accident, due to
the cable slipping on the drum. Had the officer on watch not been
very prompt and efficient the cable would have become unmanageable,
"taken charge," as it is called, resulting in great inconvenience,
delay, and possible loss of life to those in the tank.

As it was, we had a delightfully uneventful sail, anchoring off
Cagayan that evening a little after six o'clock. Not caring to
make so important a splice after dark, the cable was cut and buoyed
overnight. This was necessary, as that particular splice had to be
made from a small boat, which of course precluded the use of electric
lights. But by nine o'clock on the following morning our splice was
completed, and communication established between Misamis, Iligan,
and Cagayan, the line being most satisfactory in every respect. So it
was with light hearts that we sailed for Cebu, on the island of Cebu,
where we were to coal, picking up our giant buoys as we went.

Chapter VI


Early the next morning we sailed into Cebu harbour, and found it
alive with ships of all sorts and conditions. From the sea there is
nothing picturesque about the town. It is a grimy, dirty place that
might be located anywhere in the world, with huge warehouses and
rows of squat, ugly buildings near the shore, and in the distance,
over the gray walls of the inevitable fort, church spires and green
tree tops intermingle under a burning sky.

Before we were really at anchor small boats filled with boys and girls
clustered around our ship, the children yelling in English--English,
mark you!--for coins to be thrown overboard that they might plunge
into the swift current after them. There was a veritable pandemonium
of noise, for while some of the occupants of the _bancas_ dove for
the pennies, amid wild shrieks of laughter, others, most of them
quite young boys, went through the manual of arms very acceptably,
with little sticks in lieu of rifles; still others danced and acted
a Spanish fandango; while the more mature among our entertainers
sang a song so swinging in measure that it appealed to me instantly
as one that would be immensely taking were it sung in an American
music-hall. It had an indescribable roof garden cadence, and I found
myself humming it delightedly. At the end of the second verse I was
so carried away by its possibilities that, turning to a group of
people talking near the rail, I remarked that with rag-time words,
it would be vastly popular in American vaudeville. At which everyone
stared incredulously for a moment, until one of the number, realizing
the situation, managed to explain, between gasps of laughter, that
"Hello, my Baby, Hello, my Honey" was in its dotage in the United
States. Then the laughter became general, for all were more recent
arrivals from America than I, and it was hard for them to understand
how so elderly and decrepit a ditty could be unfamiliar to any one.

When the classic words of "Hello, my Baby, Hello, my Honey," were
repeated for my benefit, and I realized that not only had these Cebu
natives picked up the air of the song, but the component parts of
its speech as well, my disgust was complete, for it showed that Cebu,
dirty and disagreeable as it was, also lacked local colour, liberal
applications of which we had found so necessary in the Philippines.

Despite our several visits to Cebu, few of us found cause to change
our first opinion as to its unpleasantness. Indeed, it would be hard
to imagine a more uninteresting, bedraggled, down-at-the-heel place
than this. Aside from the old churches and _conventos_, a few pretty
drives, and a wonderful view from the top of the fort, we found nothing
to like about it, for the natives were sullen and unfriendly, while
the town itself was not wild or barbaric enough to be interesting,
nor yet civilized enough for comfort.

Of course the officers stationed in Cebu, and their respective
families, were delightful people, who varied the monotony of their
existence with tennis, drives, little dinners, and once, I believe,
even a ball was indulged in. There was an excellent club and
reading-room for the men, and every week, on ladies' day, the women
donned their prettiest frocks, and chatted over their teacups on the
club veranda, quite as if they were not hundreds of miles away from
everything that makes life bearable.

Cebu is a town with a past, like the Ibsen woman; it also has a future;
but at present it is in the transmigratory period between the two,
and is in consequence odious. The place is chiefly interesting because
it is the oldest town in the archipelago settled by Europeans, and one
revels in its queer, moss-grown churches and _conventos_, each of them
said to be the most ancient edifice in the Islands. This occasions
much amicable dispute among the different religious orders of Cebu,
and it is really edifying to hear them mildly slander one another,
as they give conclusive evidence why their particular building is far
older than some other for which is claimed that not always enviable

Not far from the shore stands an octagonal chapel or oratory, said to
be built on the very spot where the first mass was celebrated after
the landing of Magellan. Even the old stone fort is claimed by some
earnest prevaricators as a relic of those early Spanish days, but as
the architecture is clearly that of the eighteenth century we took
the liberty of doubting the veracity of these statements.

As to Cebu's future, it is assured, for the harbour is excellent,
and, although not large, is well sheltered from both monsoons and
has good anchorage, so the place is growing quite rapidly and
should in time rank next in importance to Manila. A number of
"godowns," as large warehouses are called in the Philippines,
were in the process of construction at the time of our visit,
and so many industrial and commercial improvements were being
inaugurated that my little note-book reads like a leaf from a
geography--"manufactures--imports--exports--chief industries," and
the like. As for climate, it was hot, is hot, and will be hot on
into infinity.

Had it not been for the Santo Niño, I fear our memories of the
place would have been purely statistical, a perfect orgy of useful
information. But the Santo Niño saved the day, though it was not
until our last visit to Cebu that most of us saw this image so famous
among the island group. Calling upon the Philippine fathers in charge
of the Santo Niño convent, and stating our interest in the Santo
Niño itself, we were received with the utmost cordiality. Were we
Catholics? No? Ah, that was too bad. But, yes, of course we could
see the Santo Niño. People often came all the way from Manila just
for that. And then we were taken into the clean, barely furnished
drawing-room of the _convento_, where an anticipatory refreshment
was served, the while we were regaled with a history of Cebu's
famous image. This refection consisted of a wee glass of delicious
Muscatelle apiece and some crisp, very rich cakes made by the sisters
of a neighbouring convent, and as we ate and drank, a fat, jolly old
padre, who thought he could speak English, tried to tell us about the
Santo Niño in that language. As his enthusiasm and interest increased,
he often forgot to use his newly acquired tongue and lapsed into
Spanish, which was far more comprehensible to us than was his sublime
disregard of syntax when attempting Anglo-Saxon, notwithstanding the
fact that he tried to better his linguistic efforts by shouting out
each English sentence like a phonograph gone mad. It was from him we
first heard the legend of the Santo Niño--how it was an idol in the
old days, worshipped by savage Visayans, and how, after the advent
of the Spaniards with Magellan, there was a great fire in the town,
everything in one populous section being burned, save a little nipa
shack in which stood the wooden idol. On every side buildings crashed
down, sending showers of sparks over the inflammable thatched roof
of the nipa house. A monsoon was blowing at the time, which fanned
the flames into so fierce a blaze that finally all attempts were
abandoned to save property in that section of the town, and people
fled to the woods with the few belongings they could gather together,
there to watch the cruel flames spreading in every direction.

It is probable that Cebu would have gone up in smoke had it not been
that the monsoon brought on its wings a fierce tropical rain that beat
down upon the burning city and quenched the fire. But in that section
where it had raged hottest, nothing was left standing save the little
nipa shack already mentioned. Around it were the ruins of pretentious
Spanish houses, across its threshold lay a smouldering, blackened piece
of wood, which alone should have converted it into cinders. But there
it stood unharmed, not even scorched by the fierce heat to which it
had been subjected, and within its walls the Visayan idol smiled down
on the curious crowd, with a superhuman intelligence. Recognizing
at once its miraculous powers, the Spanish priests obtained it from
the savages for a mere bagatelle, and enshrined it in their Catholic
chapel as the Santo Niño of Cebu. Blessed by the presence of so holy
a thing, the little chapel grew and prospered until a handsome stone
church and _convento_ were built, the church being the very one where
the image now stands.

Other stories have it that some time during the sixteenth century,
a Spanish sailor found the Santo Niño cast up on the eastern coast
of Cebu after a terrific storm. On picking it up, he was rejoiced
to find that the use of his left arm, long withered by palsy, was
miraculously restored, whereupon he carried the image into Cebu with
him. There numberless wonderful things were accomplished by the Santo
Niño, till at last the sailor, half frightened at possessing so sacred
an object, turned it over to the priests, who promptly enshrined it
in the one Catholic church of the place. Some fifty or sixty years
later, the church was burned to the ground--for both stones agree as
to a destructive fire--and all was lost save the Santo Niño itself,
which escaped by a miracle only.

Whatever may have been its origin, many wonderful things are attributed
to the Santo Niño of Cebu. It is to him that childless women pray
for offspring; to him that mothers bring their little ones, and beg
a thousand blessings upon them; from him that distracted parents
beseech renewed health and strength for their children, ill unto
death with diseases that baffle the doctors, for the Santo Niño,
being but a child himself, is especially tender toward the little ones.

It is said that once an attempt was made to send the Santo Niño to
Rome, as the Pope had expressed a wish to see the much talked of
Philippine image. Very tenderly was it packed away in soft wrappings,
after which it was placed in a wooden box, fitted with an intricate
lock, the key of which was carried by the old bishop who was to
accompany the Santo Niño on its travels. To ensure the safety of
so valuable a thing, the wooden box was put into a metal casket,
which in turn was fastened securely. Then the ship sailed for Italy,
and the little niche in the wall of the cathedral which had been
the Santo Niño's shrine was boarded up, and the natives came to the
church but seldom, so bitter were they that the Holy Child had been
taken from them.

Hard times followed; crops failed; there was an epidemic of sickness;
and Cebu was shrouded in gloom, a gloom which deepened when word came
from Rome that the image was either lost or stolen, for although the
bishop had never let the sacred box out of his sight, yet when he
came to unlock it before a hushed throng at the Vatican, there was
no Santo Niño within. It was thought that in some mysterious way the
bishop had been robbed and that the Holy Child was forever lost. Great
was the grief and terror and excitement in Cebu. Masses were said,
and individual prayers offered up, novenas were held, and vows taken,
all to the effect that the Santo Nino should be restored to the island.

One day, months later, while the church was being repaired, the
partition of wood over the Holy Child's shrine was accidentally
knocked out of place by a workman, and what should he discover
there but the Santo Niño himself, gravely smiling, his little hands
outstretched in benediction. He had not wanted to go abroad, and so
had left the carefully locked boxes and returned to his old home. What
more natural? Of course there was a great _fiesta_, and the miracles
performed in that week of rejoicing will never be forgotten.

But even to this day the Santo Niño gives numerous evidences of
his supernatural power, and any native will tell you how he walks
abroad of a night, and visits the homes where his image is enshrined,
a tremendous undertaking, as hardly a nipa shack on the island but
boasts its picture or statue of Cebu's patron saint. On returning
from these nocturnal tramps, the Holy Child is wont to bring back
with him food and drink for his own consumption, the evidence of
these midnight feasts being found on many a morning in the shape of
crumbs scattered over the altar, a touch of nature which makes him
indeed kin to the natives, who, we were told, invariably save a bit
from their scanty suppers, putting it where the Santo Niño will be
sure to find it does he honour them with a visit.

But at last we were to see the Santo Niño for ourselves, and as we
left the reception-room and passed down a long corridor, hung with
atrocious native paintings of Christian martyrs in every degree
of discomfort and uneasiness, through a wide refectory with three
great dining tables, the top of each being a solid piece of wood,
and finally into the chapel itself, I plead guilty to a distinct
thrill of interest in every Protestant pulse.

The chapel was a large, rather bare room, with an altar to the Virgin
on one side, and directly opposite it a small shrine painted white
and picked out with gold. This shrine was locked, and as one of the
little altar boys unfastened the double doors, we noticed the pictures
on either side. To the left was Saint Joseph with the child Jesus in
his arms; on the right, Mary, sweet and sad-eyed, the premonition of
Gethsemane in her tender smile.

When the white doors had been unlocked and lifted off their hinges,
a door of silver was discovered. On being opened, it revealed an
interior so rich as to surprise a simultaneous exclamation of delight
from us all. Gold and silver predominated in the decorations, and
in the midst of this splendour stood a little figure about twelve or
fourteen inches high, its back turned toward us as it faced the dark
interior of the church so far below. A pale blue curtain was drawn
over the front of the shrine, but we fortunate ones in the little
chapel were looking at the Holy Child more intimately; from the back,
to be sure, but so close that we could have touched him with our hands.

On the day of our visit the little figure was attired in a flowing
coronation robe of crimson velvet, richly encrusted with elaborate
gold embroidery, and while we were admiring this work of art, the
priest slowly and very reverently turned the Holy Child around on
his pedestal until he faced us squarely.

He is not beautiful--the Santo Niño--nor does he even faintly resemble
our conception of the Christ-child. His face is flat and lifeless,
carved very roughly out of some dark wood, which, when contrasted with
his rich vestments and ornamentation, seems strangely incongruous. From
out of this brown face, eyes painted a vivid blue stare straight
into one's own. Around his cheeks fall golden curls. This is not a
figure of speech, but a reality, for the curls are of solid metal,
the locks of hair being pressed into it like the china hair on the
dolls of our childhood.

These golden locks were surmounted by a golden crown. In one wooden
hand he held a golden globe with the cross of Catholicism above it,
and in the other a golden staff, both of his hands being covered by
long golden gauntlets. Right under his feet, which I have no doubt
were booted in that precious metal, although they were hidden by the
coronation robe, was a gold encrusted medallion containing the tiny
bone relics of eight Christian martyrs. Never have I seen anything so
barbarically splendid as that little Santo Niño, with his brown wooden
face and bright blue eyes, for all the shining metal surrounding him
was real, and not a specious tinsel masquerading as something of value.

Legend has it that originally, when the Santo Niño was a Visayan idol,
it, too, was made of gold, and not of wood as it is to-day. It seems
that after its conversion to Catholicism, on Magellan's arrival in
Cebu, it was sent to Spain at the request of that pious king, Charles
the Fifth, where many extraordinary performances were accredited
to it, perhaps the most miraculous and unaccountable thing of all
being that on its return to Cebu, the people found it had changed
itself _en route_ from gold to wood, a reversal of alchemy strangely
defective in wisdom on the part of the Santo Niño. Though, indeed,
the transmutation may have been entirely without his volition,
in which case it is small wonder that the Holy Child objected so
strongly to a subsequent visit on the Continent.

At one side of this very elaborate shrine of gold and silver stood
a small tin box in which one was expected to place his contribution
to the Santo Niño. We paid handsomely for our glimpse of it, saw
the little figure turned slowly around on its pedestal so that it
again faced the church below, saw the silver door locked and the two
white removable outside doors placed in position, and then somewhat
reluctantly left.

Once down the broad stairway of the _convento_, whose massive hand-rail
of carved ebony would make the heart of a collector leap for joy, we
stepped into the church where many natives knelt in prayer, glancing up
reverently now and then at the tiny shrine so far above their heads. In
front of it the blue silk curtains were fast drawn, for except on holy
days, it takes at least a _peso_ to see the Santo Niño face to face.

On the following morning two of the padres from the _convento_
returned our call, and evinced the most satisfying interest in all
that was shown them aboard ship. Everything delighted them, and they
even gathered up the long skirts of their cassocks, and grasped their
birettas firmly in one hand, preparatory to descending into the noisome
cable-tanks, should it be demanded of them. When the ship had been
inspected, we all returned to the quarter-deck, where refreshments were
served, the while we showed our guests some photographs of America.

As Manila had heretofore represented to these native priests the
apotheosis of urban magnitude, it may well be imagined how delighted
they were with their first glimpse of our larger cities. How excitedly
they talked and gesticulated over the elevated railways and cable-cars;
the height of the buildings; the suspension bridges; the magnificent
private residences, which at first it was hard to convince them were
not in reality hotels; the theatres, parks, and churches, though they
shook their heads sadly at so many of Protestant denomination. When,
however, they were told how many Catholic churches were in New York
alone, they regained their lost interest, and grew more enthusiastic
than ever, while the English-speaking padre, in his excitement, fairly
screamed his uncertain vocabulary in our direction, though when he
addressed his confrères in Spanish his voice was of normal register.

A few days later, as an evidence of their enjoyment aboard ship, the
padres sent each of us a silver medal of the Santo Niño and a history
of the image written in Spanish, _con superior permiso_; a lithographic
picture of the Holy Child in its shrine, giving but a faint idea of
its appearance; and a queer stone jar, the shape, if not the size
of those in which the forty thieves were hidden. These jars were
full of those delicious pastry cakes already mentioned, _ojaldres_,
they are called, made by the sisters of the Convento Maria Natividad
de Albero. Rich the cookies were, and crisp, fairly melting on the
tongue, but each one, wrapped in its protecting bit of tissue-paper,
was "a gastronomic delusion and a dyspeptic snare," to be treated as
were the forty thieves themselves by the implacable Ali Baba.

It is not at all impossible that some of our distaste for Cebu arose
from the fact that, on the several occasions of our visits there,
we were coaling, a circumstance which would detract from the Pearly
City itself. No sooner were we at anchor than huge _cascos_ came
alongside and the coaling would begin.

Inky black shapes flitted back and forth through great clouds of dust,
each carrying a basket on its head. Hoarse commands were shouted,
demoniacal voices answered somewhere from the pit, and then would
come a period of comparative quiet, followed by what seemed to be
a burst of frenzied rage from the different lighters, though in
reality I believe the natives were on the best of terms, and were
just inviting each other to dinner. This state of affairs continued
without intermission for eight days on each of our several visits
there. For eight days the soot fell alike on the quarter-deck and the
forecastle. The ship became a black abomination. The very towels in
our staterooms left grimy, unpremeditated streaks on face and hands.

During this period I do protest that we suffered those torments
usually reserved for the unregenerate, and as the furnace over which
the town is built was several degrees hotter each trip than on the
previous visit, we were thus precluded from going ashore to either
of the badly managed hotels for which the place is infamous.

So dangerous was the country around Cebu in those days that one
afternoon on a little drive to an encampment about four miles from the
town, we were escorted there and back by a guard of armed soldiers on
horseback, some of them heading the cavalcade, the others bringing up
the rear. It was a most unusual day for Cebu, as the slightly overcast
sky made the temperature quite endurable. The country passed on our
drive was unusually fine, with its groves of palms and plantains;
its tall cottonwood-trees by the road-side, the ripe pods on the
bare branches bursting and showing the soft, white fluff within;
its giant mango-trees with bonfires built beneath them, as a quick
method of ripening the fruit for market. Then there were acres of
corn and fields of rice ready for harvesting, proving conclusively,
as some one suggested, that the natives of Cebu could raise something
besides h---, though he had never believed it before.

At our destination we were cordially welcomed by the officers of
the infantry company stationed there, a native band shrilled its
salute, and the big American soldiers stopped their preparations
for an approaching march against the enemy to stare at us long and
undisguisedly. There were several women among us, a rare departure
in those days, one of them being the wife of the young captain who
was to command the detachment going into the field that night. She
had arrived from America but a few days before, bringing with her a
splendid boy nearly three years old, whom up to that time the young
father had never seen. Even after so long a separation the husband
and wife were together but seldom, as she was obliged to live in town
because of insurrectionary troubles, nor did she ever know from day to
day what the next tidings might be from the little camp of San Nicolas.

Before our return to Cebu the officers took us to see the
fortifications made by the Spaniards after Admiral Dewey's victory
in Manila Bay, fortifications they expected to use as a last defence
against invading Americans. Not far from these earthworks was an
old nipa church, most picturesque in its decay. It was nipa within
as well as without, the floor and ceiling being of braided bamboo
and the walls of the nipa-palm. Its high altar was innocent of any
attempt at decoration save for some faded paper flowers stuck into
empty beer bottles, while the niche above was unfilled by patron
saint of any description. At the very door grazed a lean carabao,
completing a picture of the desolation and ruin in the wake of an army.

And now as to cable work, for even here, where we had expected
only to coal, the Signal Corps was kept busy, as it was found on
investigation that an old cable landing two miles up the beach at
Mabola was in such bad condition and the line so insecure that the
cable must be put directly into the Cebu office, thus avoiding the
defect of a shaky land terminal. So prisoners were engaged to dig
a trench from the office to the beach, where the cable was landed,
after which it was placed in the trench and so laid up to the very
door of the telegraph station, the lead covered wire being inserted
there into an iron tube lashed to an upright pole, and thence into
the window where the operator had his desk. Surely a novel way to lay
a shore end! It reminded one of that nice old lady's suggestion to
the London _Times_ in 1858, just after the Atlantic cable failure,
that in future it should be laid above the ocean instead of in
it, mentioning that in her opinion the rock of Gibraltar, peak of
Teneriffe, and the Andes should be used as points of suspension.

This work, coupled with the entire refitting of the office, took
several days, and meanwhile on board ship the cable was being turned
over from one tank to the other in search of faults, and numerous
experiments were made in splicing, so that much learned conversation
might be heard anent the necessity of homogeneity in core joints and
the like.

On February 3d we left Cebu for Liloan, island of Cebu, where a cable
put in eleven months before needed repairing. After a two hours' run
we anchored off our destination, which proved to be a most deserted
little hole, rich in vegetation only. There were but a few men,
commanded by a non-commissioned officer at Liloan, and as our stay
there was to be very brief, only the Signal Corps detachment went
ashore. By one o'clock the defective splice in the trench had been
cut out, a new one made, and the office overhauled, after which,
as the tests showed the cable working satisfactorily at its Cebu
end, but unsatisfactorily at the other, we sailed for Ormoc, Leyte,
arriving there about seven o'clock that evening.

On the following morning the Signal Corps men went ashore in a small
boat, and while some of the party rehabilitated the office, others
underran the cable, cut in near the shore end, and after finding
communication satisfactory with Cebu and Liloan, located the fault,
the ship's volt-meter indicating when the small boat underrunning the
cable came to the break. It proved to be a defective factory joint,
which was cut out and repaired, so that by three o'clock communication
was established between Cebu and Liloan.

Ormoc did not prove interesting enough for a trip ashore in the
hot sun, so my only recollection of the place is a white _tribunal_
and a great preponderance of green foliage, toned down by the dull
gray-brown of nipa buildings and the dull gray-blue of sky and sea.

Then, too, it will always bring to mind the sad experience of a very
delightful officer we met there. At the time of our visit he was
_en route_ to Northern Leyte, a hostile part of the island where
several hundred insurgents were strongly entrenched. With him were
fifty soldiers, all of them eager for a scrap, while the young fellow
himself was "insatiable of glory." We were everyone of us enthused by
his prospects, the officers perhaps a bit envious of the stirring times
ahead for him, the women fearful of the outcome with such tremendous
odds in favour of the well entrenched Filipinos.

On a subsequent visit to Cebu we heard the last deplorable chapter
of his little story, the beginning of which had so interested us,
for while there had been no loss of life in his command, the whole
expedition had been a complete failure. It seems he was vanquished,
disarmed, and routed by the enemy at every turn, notwithstanding the
fact that he had studied strategy so that his plans of employing and
combining his resources would have filled any general officer with
admiration. Nor did his overthrow have the merit of dignity. It
was irresistibly droll, and no one laughed more heartily at the
preposterous ending of the expedition than did the victim himself.

For according to his own story at every town and village in the enemy's
country, he and his brave followers, all of them thirsting for gore,
were met by a brass band, and, accompanied by the leading citizens of
the place, were marched down the principal street with great pomp and
ceremony to where a _fiesta_ in honour of the great American captain
was in progress. There the people, in gala-attire, clapped their hands
and called "_Viva, viva_," at their discomfited enemy, and later in
the day a great banquet would be given, at which the leading citizens
threw oral bouquets at their disgusted prisoner, while the soldiers
walked disconsolately around the little village they had expected
to conquer. Had fate not willed it otherwise the captain might have
rendered such distinguished service as would have merited at least
recognition from Congress, perhaps a medal of honour, or even the star
of a brigadier; while now all he can expect from a grateful country
is some slight acknowledgment of his undoubted heroism in partaking
of the food at the natives banquets, surely an intrepid performance!

After an eight hours' run from Ormoc we reached Cebu, remaining there
just long enough to put ashore some iron poles for the construction
of a cross-country line to Oslob, Cebu, where it was intended to land
the cable from Dumaguete; then sailed for Misamis, where we completed
the ill-fated Lintogup line, finding that the break in the cable was
caused by the _Disgrace's_ propeller on that memorable trip in January.

The day was wet, and raw, and gray, and we could see the beach strewn
with trees and timber, the thatched roof of a bamboo house, and all
the aftermath of a terrible storm that had swept over the islands five
days before, and of which we, in the safe shelter of Cebu's harbour,
were ignorant. It was here we were told by cable that the line from
Iligan to Cagayan had not been working since the storm had torn up
the wharf and beach at the former place a week before, so the next
morning we sailed for Iligan again, feeling as blue as the day itself.

Arriving off our destination some three hours later, a party, shivering
in the misty rain, was sent ashore to ascertain the trouble. After
careful tests it was found to have been caused by a submarine landslide
which had crushed a part of the cable, laid by necessity on a steep
hill under water.

So for a whole day we grappled there near Iligan, "fishing for
bights," as the punster on board called it, and surely even Izaak
Walton's piscatorial patience would have been tried on this fishing
trip. Once after having successfully hooked the cable, it broke as we
were drawing it in, and only one end came on board. It was the shore
end, and through it we spoke Iligan, finding the cable satisfactory in
that direction. So we buoyed the shore end and continued our fishing
with the heavy tackle. For hours we unsuccessfully lowered the massive
grapnel iron, where our charts indicated the cable should be, but
without success until late in the afternoon, when the strain on the
dynamometer indicated another "bight."

Then it was pulled up very slowly, for we could not afford to have
it break a second time, when suddenly it slipped the grapnel and was
again lost at the sea-bottom. As it was getting dark we put lights
on our two buoys, one placed where the cable had slipped the grapnel,
the other, as I said before, attached to the captured end. Now it is
by no means easy to jump from a small boat to a buoy in such rough
water as that in Iligan harbour, and we watchers on the ship felt some
little uneasiness until the lights from both buoys proclaimed that
it had been accomplished by the young native who always did that work.

In the morning our scientific fishermen were rewarded for their
patience. They had a bite, and everyone on board watched with interest
the heavy machinery as it slowly and steadily pulled the sea end
of the cable out of the water. It was hooked at half after eight,
and not until an hour later was it landed, the dynamometer showing
a strain at times of from one to two tons.

Immediately after getting the cable on board, Cagayan was called over
and over again without response, which would have indicated that the
trouble was farther out at sea, had not tests shown the resistances
were what they should have been, from which it was easily inferred that
the operator at Cagayan was not attending strictly to business. "Gone
to Sunday school, probably!" ironically observed the Powers-that-Be,
chewing the end of an unlighted cigar, as he always did when worried,
and, Sunday though it was, we felt the sarcasm to be a just one,
Sunday schools not being a chief industry of Cagayan.

Reasoning on the premise that all was right at that end of the line,
the splice was made, and we paid out the cable until reaching the
buoyed shore end, which in turn was spliced to the deep-sea cable,
and the bight dropped overboard. Then a Signal Corps man returning
from shore reported all communicating lines in good order, at which
there was great rejoicing on board the _Burnside_, and, our Cagayan
friend having condescended meanwhile to communicate with us, we were
soon under way for Zamboanga, Mindanao.

The next day was a perfect one for sailing, and eventful, in that
while turning over cable the long objurgated fault in the tanks came
to light, proving to be the result of carelessness on the part of the
manufacturer, a carelessness which had caused much agony of mind to the
Signal Corps, and many groans and imprecations from all concerned. But
at last the fault was cut out, and a nice healthy splice substituted
by the reparative surgery which has been so often mentioned.

It seemed such a small thing, the fault, only a little break in the
armour wire, and yet it had induced the most severe nerve paralysis in
that sentient thread of copper in the cable's centre. "Words and words
of men" could not "flicker and flutter and beat" until the wound had
been healed, which was promptly done, accompanied by vigorous language
concerning the aforesaid careless manufacturer.

Chapter VII


Zamboanga! The very name brings back our first daylight glimpse of
Mindanao's principal town--an adorable water-colour sketch, what with
the soft, deep blue of sky and sea, the tropical freshness of green
foliage, amidst which nestled picturesque white houses with overhanging
balconies, the red and blue sails on the sunlit water, and to the right
of the picture an old Spanish fort, gray and stern and forbidding.

This old fort, aside from its undoubted pictorial charm, is
historically interesting, in that it is a relic of the seventeenth
century and of those first Spanish governors, martially ambitious, who
stirred up wars with the Moros for their own personal aggrandizement,
wars which have been protracted through two bloody centuries.

Indeed, the history of Spain's occupation of the islands is but a
repetition of wars with the Mohammedans, religious wars, perhaps,
at the very first, for the sixteenth century Spaniard was no less
fanatical in his religion than is the Moro of to-day; and later,
wars for the presumable abolishment of slavery, though we are told by
Foreman that "Whilst Spaniards in Philippine waters were straining
every nerve to extirpate slavery, their countrymen were diligently
pursuing a profitable trade in it between the west coast of Africa
and Cuba."

Zamboanga seems so peaceful at present that it is hard to believe
it was ever otherwise. All around the town stretch fine lands, much
better cultivated than any we had seen on the trip, with here and there
beautiful groves, now of cocoanut-palms, now of mangoes, interspersed
by well ploughed paddy fields and acres of corn or sugar-cane. The
town natives were extremely friendly and when passing always saluted
us deferentially, while in the country the children, and sometimes the
grown people as well, yelled cheerily after our carriage, "Hellojohn,
hellojohn," evidently under the impression that Hello, John, was one
word, and a salutation of great respect as well as a sociable greeting.

No one wore arms around Zamboanga, in fact it was forbidden so to
do; and the smiling, well-disposed natives testified highly to the
efficiency of the American officer in command, the sight of whose jolly
face brought ecstatic yells of recognition from the very babies, bare
and dirty, tumbling around in the streets, greetings which the colonel
always answered in kind, his eyes twinkling with amusement the while.

Most of our success with these southern Moros may be traced to
religious tolerance, and the fact that we interfere with them only
in their disturbance of non-Mohammedan neighbours. Slave raids are
a thing of the past, and leading dattos have been notified that any
piratical or fanatical incursions into American territory will be
punished swiftly and surely.

It has also behooved us to respect their race prejudice, to be
considerate of their religious idiosyncrasies, and to dispense
justice untempered with mercy, the latter virtue being considered a
weakness in the eyes of our Mohammedan brothers, and as such to be
taken advantage of. The border troubles in India, the mutiny of '57,
the Turkish atrocities in '95, the Pathan rising under Mad Mullah in
'97, the French-Algerian difficulties, and the ever present reminder
of Spain's three hundred years of struggle for supremacy in the
Philippines, all serve as mile-posts on the road to good government.

Although thus far we have made no little progress in the right
direction, the path has not been strewn with roses, for Mohammedan
customs, prohibitions, and theories of living are so strange to a
North American intellect that mistakes are liable to occur at any
moment. For example, it is a deadly insult for a man to even touch a
Mohammedan woman not belonging to his harem, or to pay her the most
conventional or trivial compliment. Then, too, as everyone knows,
their dietetic observances are of the greatest import, and a good
Mohammedan will not only refrain from eating pork, but will not
hunt the wild boar or help carry it home for fear the contact might
defile him. Wine is of course forbidden, though I have heard that
in the Philippines food over which the shadow of an unbeliever has
passed need not be thrown away, the Moros there being more thrifty
and perhaps less fanatically devout than their brothers in India.

For some strange reason these people have taken most kindly to the
Americans, though I am pained to confess that much of their liking
is due to the fact that they think we are not Christians, our brand
of religion being unlike that of Catholic Spain. This, coupled with
the fact that in several instances we have been forced, by a lack
of quarters, to shelter our soldiers in church or cathedral, has so
strengthened them in their belief that _Juramentados_, or Mohammedans
sworn to kill Christians, are without employment, it being obviously
unwise to run amuck and kill, when the Holy Writ promises reward only
to those dying while destroying followers of Christianity.

Many American customs that do not entrench on the Holy Law have been
adopted with no little avidity by the Moros, and the Stars and Stripes
float over the home of every native fortunate enough to possess a
flag. This is particularly noticeable in and around Zamboanga, but
an officer belonging to the regiment stationed there told us a tale
illustrating the Moro's love for things American, that reads like
a romance.

It seems that the post assigned to this officer's battalion was at
Davao, in the southeastern part of the island, a wild and seldom
visited country, whose inhabitants consist of a curious mixture of
Christians, Mohammedans, and Pagans. In the mountains surrounding the
town live numerous Pagan tribes, all speaking different dialects, and
wild as the country itself. Having occasion to make a reconnoissance
trip in this territory, the officer and his escort stopped overnight
in a little village of Bogobos, whose chief did the honours with a
savage dignity.

The town was dirty beyond belief, the natives were lazy even in their
curiosity, and everything pertaining to the place was in a shocking
state of disrepair. Among other items of interest, proudly pointed out
to the American officer by his host, was a gruesome collection of human
skulls, which decorated the dwelling both indoors and out. "Trophies
of war," he explained nonchalantly to his astonished guest, merely
the skulls of his enemies. The American, with involuntary loathing,
simulated a polite interest in these ghastly evidences of raids
on the lower villages, and that night slept none too soundly in
consequence. The following morning, on leaving, he thanked the chief
for his hospitality, and asked him to some day return the visit.

Nothing loath, the savage accepted the invitation, and a short time
later arrived in Davao, accompanied not by a paltry half-dozen as
escort, but by the major part of his tribe. He was evidently not going
to be outdone in ceremonial observances, and he and his followers
remained long enough in Davao to cause the official larder sadly to
need replenishment. During this visit the Bogobos were one and all
delighted with the military life of the post; with the drills and
parades where the soldiers marched as one man; the evolutions wherein
they were deployed, moved in echelon, or wheeled into position;
and their sureness and quickness in the manual of arms. Then, too,
the cleanliness of the barracks impressed them, and the personal
neatness of the khaki-clad men, not to mention the very desirable
things to eat evolved by the company cook.

But perhaps nothing so filled them with awe and admiration as the
ceremonial raising and lowering of the garrison flag. They never
missed the opportunity of seeing it, especially at evening, when
the improvised band played the "Star Spangled Banner" and the flag
fluttered slowly down the staff, while the troops stood at attention
with bared heads. It was so solemn an occasion that the very heavens
darkened before it, and night was upon them always ere they half
suspected it.

So impressed was the chief with this ceremony that on leaving Davao
he asked the officer commanding the battalion if he would give him an
American flag, that he might take the beautiful custom into his own
village. This request was granted, and the presentation of the Stars
and Stripes was made the occasion for a little sermon, in which the
head of the Bogobos was informed that he and his people were under
the protection of that flag, which represented the great American
government, and that he, as chief of the tribe, stood for American
authority in his village, so that it would become him to set an example
to his people of humanity, liberality, and all civilized observances.

Then, with great tact and diplomacy, he was further informed that in
the United States the custom of decorating houses with human skulls
no longer prevailed; it had fallen into disfavour with the more
enlightened "Natives" of the country and, in fact, they seriously
objected to such practices. Consequently, as a representative of
the American government, he must keep abreast of the times in this
regard. The chief listened very gravely and with never a word to the
little disquisition, while it was hard to tell from his expression
if his silence meant only savage taciturnity, or if he were really
deeply moved.

On a subsequent visit to the Bogobos, however, the officer was
greatly surprised to see what weight his words had carried and to
note the effect of the Star Spangled Banner upon a savage mountain
people. Soldiers were drilling under the green trees; modern sanitation
had been adopted; sweeping, heretofore unknown, was a custom of the
village; the highly objectionable skulls had been removed from the
executive mansion; while every evening the chief and his standing
army failed not to face the splendid Stars and Stripes as they were
reverently lowered from a bamboo flagstaff, where during the day
they floated over a village redeemed by them from seemingly hopeless

On our first visit to Zamboanga we remained a day only, for by evening
our shore end was laid and the office established, so that at daybreak
the next morning we sailed for Tukuran, Mindanao, thus deferring our
intercourse with Zamboanga, though not terminating it. After laying a
hundred-knot stretch of cable between there and Point Flecha, we began
to take soundings, and for four days sailed back and forth between
Tukuran and the Point, seeking water not too deep for cable laying,
though in places the sea swallowed up our sounding wire for twelve
hundred fathoms. Think of it--a mile and a quarter! And once the iron
marker came up on a sun-baked deck icy-cold from its abysmal plunge.

But at last a suitable course was chosen, and on the afternoon of
February 16th we anchored off Tukuran. A prettier bit of country it
would be hard to find. Hills on every side--forest hills--as far as
the eye could reach, while a road, looking from the ship like a narrow
white ribbon, trailed from the shore straight up the green hills to a
stone wall, behind which was stationed a company of American soldiers.

The next morning early most of us went ashore, despite the winding
ribbon of a road which from the ship looked even more formidable
than it really was. As we neared the land in the ship's launch two
Moro boats anchored near the beach attracted our attention, the most
absurdly picturesque crafts one could well imagine, with curving prows
of rudely carved wood, outriggers of bamboo, and a thatched roof or
awning at one end. A gaily coloured hat hung from one of the boats, and
over each floated a red flag shaped like an isosceles triangle. These
flags were finished by a white border ruffled on all around, such
ruffles as we put on window-curtains in America, and over one of the
crafts floated the striped red and white flag of the Mindanao Moro.

On reaching the post we found that the boats belonged to two prominent
dattos visiting there. One of these dignitaries was an old, toothless
man, with a mighty following, two or three of his army even carrying
rifles and the others gigantic spears. The second datto was much
younger, and repaired to the officers' quarters to wait until the old
chap had departed, evidently recognizing his own social inferiority,
for he boasted half a dozen warriors only, and not a gun or spear among
them, though they carried _barongs_ of great beauty, with damascened
blades and handles of handsomely carved wood, some of them being
inlaid with pearl or ivory.

Each of the chiefs and all their followers were dressed in the
picturesque Moro costume, which we had seen first in Misamis and
Iligan, and all of them were frankly curious over the American
women. They discussed us freely to our very faces, and kept changing
their positions to get a better view of us, staring with amazement
when the old datto was brought up and introduced. How curious of the
Americans not to know that a woman should be taken to a datto, not a
datto to a woman. And then, too, how odd that they should shake hands
just like men, and not cover their faces at all, and what remarkable
hair the child had, just the colour of hemp, and how very, very tall
she was, though the interpreter insisted she was but nine years old.

Nor was this curiosity confined to the natives by any manner of
means, for officers and soldiers alike crowded around us, and one
non-commissioned officer took a snapshot of the group, explaining
later to his captain, who took him to task for his boldness, that he
had meant no harm, but just wanted the picture as a reminder of what
American women really looked like, not having seen one before in two
years. Needless to say he was forgiven, his interest being subjective
rather than objective.

We were told in Tukuran that when the troops first went there deer
were so plentiful that the pretty, shy animals could be seen at any
time of day around the garrison, while at night they would come so
close to the barracks as to annoy the men, barking not unlike dogs,
and stumbling over kettles and pots by the door of the company
kitchen. I do not know that they ever became so annoying that the
men had to resort to the cat-discouraging bootjack or soda bottle,
but I do know that those Tukuran soldiers had so much venison that
they would eat canned corned beef or bacon in preference. Good hunting
stories were of course numerous, and some of these so fired the Nimrod
of the trip--our major-quartermaster--that he set off at daybreak one
morning, gun in hand, accompanied by the crack shot among the soldiers
of Tukuran, each prepared to slay his tens of thousands. But although
the two men tramped the hills from sunrise until dark they saw no
deer, and all because the search-light from the ship on the previous
night had frightened them away from their accustomed haunts. At least
so said the officers on shore, an explanation at which we _Burnside_
people sniffed, though feasting on venison at the time. But before we
reached Zamboanga, a Signal Corps man, whom we left behind at Tukuran
to complete the establishment of the lines there, sent a message to
the major over the cable we were then laying, to the effect that he
had seen a herd of deer from the window of his telegraph office that
very morning, and, being a cable-ship man, and so not in league with
the Ananiases of Tukuran, the major must fain believe him, whereupon
he made some remarks not worthy of record.

Before leaving Tukuran one of the officers belonging to the Signal
Corps well-nigh lost his reputation for veracity, or sobriety,
by coming back to the ship one day with a most amazing tale as to
some fish he had seen promenading--_promenading_, forsooth!--on the
beach. Everyone was hilariously skeptical. Some shook their heads
with mock commiseration and hinted darkly that much learning had
made him mad, while still others wondered audibly how any man, no
matter how vinaceous his tendencies, could have seen fish walk so
early in the day. Only one among us all believed him, and she was
obliged to--legally.

"Were they exercising for their health?" queried a scoffer, with what
he was pleased to consider fine irony. "Undoubtedly," responded the
hitherto veracious one, with unabated good humour, "though perhaps one
might more truthfully say they were walking less to gain an appetite
than to find the means wherewith to satisfy it." He then described
these piscatorial pedestrians as small, dark fish with little bead-like
eyes in the top of their heads, and a blunt nose--he called it a nose,
I am not guilty. Moreover, their ventral fins were largely developed,
and by this means the fish hopped, or rather, hitched along the sand,
after the manner of seals.

It was a preposterous tale, and nothing would do but that the
cable-ship Munchausen should take a party ashore where all might
witness the fish of Tukuran taking a constitutional on the beach, after
the manner of the oysters in "The Walrus and the Carpenter." Nothing
daunted, the officer agreed to the proposition, and so confident was
he that even Mrs. Munchausen became less apologetically sure of his
infallibility. But on our arrival at the beach, not a fish was to
be seen, and loud was the laughter at both Munchausens, and numerous
the jokes at their expense.

However, the tide going out a little later discovered on the wet sand
a multitude of small walking-fish, and thus spared a reputation, and
at the same time saved to science a story that else might have been
laughed out of existence. Text-books tell of India's walking-fish,
but I have been able to find nothing as to the walking-fish of the
Philippines. In Luzon, during the rainy season, it is no uncommon
sight to see natives casting their nets in the overflowed rice-fields,
though perhaps but a few days before the ground there had been caked
hard and dry from the sun. In this latter instance, it is more than
probable that the fish do not walk back and forth, but bury themselves
in the ground at the beginning of the hot season, remaining there
until the first rains call them out in great numbers.

The Signal Corps found the trench at Tukuran a difficult problem
in that it had to be dug down a very steep hill leading from the
stone-enclosed fort to the beach, but by evening of the first day
this was accomplished, and the shore end laid and buoyed. The next
morning we left Tukuran, seeking better soundings than we had at first
obtained, but finding the water nearly as deep in one place as another,
it was decided to leave at sunrise on the following day and lay the
cable as best we could.

All went well until late in the afternoon, when communication with
Tukuran was suddenly interrupted, whereupon we hauled in several miles
of cable, and coming upon the fault, cut it out and "spoke" Tukuran. By
this time it was so late that the Signal Corps realized it would be
impossible to sight the buoy at Flecha Point that night, though it
was then but fifteen knots away, and so we lay to until morning.

As it was out of the question for the heavy cable to hang pendent from
the stern of the ship all night at the mercy of the propeller; and as
the three buoys were in use, there was one thing only to be done, and
that was to fasten the cable to a small boat, with enough men to keep
the craft bailed of water. It was a more hazardous proceeding than it
sounds, for had a heavy squall come up, the boat, with nearly a ton
of cable fastened to it, would surely have sunk. But notwithstanding
this, one of the civilian cable experts, the able cable seaman,
and three natives spent a most uncomfortable night afloat.

Before leaving the ship, the Americans joked about their possible
fate, as Americans will, while the natives, on going down the gangway,
crossed themselves and commended their souls to the Virgin, each race
brave and stout-hearted in its own fashion. To be sure, they carried
with them life-preservers and signals in case of accident, while the
ship stayed as near the little twinkling lights on the small boat as
possible, like some big mother hen hovering over her only chick.

The next morning the buoy at Flecha Point was picked up, the splice
made, and the journey to Zamboanga continued. On the afternoon of
February 21st, after making the final splice twelve miles out,
we sailed into the harbour, to learn that the cable was working
successfully in every detail, and that the natives of the town were
overjoyed to be in communication with the world. The great event was
celebrated on board by a jolly dinner, to which many officers from
shore were bidden, after which we sat up on the quarter-deck until
very late, exchanging home news and gossip some six or seven weeks old,
while a round and red tropic moon hung in the heavens like a Japanese
lantern, and the torchlights of innumerable fishing smacks bobbed
up and down, as the natives speared for fish in the dark waters of
the bay.

The next morning was Washington's Birthday, in honour of which the
ship was dressed, and, more wonderful still, a holiday declared
for all hands aboard, the first one since leaving Manila, This was
principally due to the fact that at this particular juncture a day
more or less made no appreciable difference in the outcome, while at
Christmas and New Year's every moment was of import.

Even before sunrise the natives were astir in preparation for the
great event. All of them discarded their tarred clothing, appearing
in natty white "_Americanos_" and dinky straw hats, while some even
sported swagger sticks. In the Philippines any white suit which
consists of well fitting trousers and a coat buttoning up to the
throat, as contradistinguished from baggy pantaloons with a _camisa_
worn on the outside, is called by the natives an "_Americano_,"
and is by them greatly admired from a sartorial standpoint.

Nearly all the Signal Corps employees, being men of social standing
because of their really princely salaries, fifteen gold dollars a
month, sported such suits, which with the addition of stockings and
neat tan shoes, instead of bare feet thrust carelessly into _chinelas_,
gave them the appearance of belonging to the native four hundred,
any one of them looking eligible for the high office of presidente or
secretario. There must have been many a flutter under modest _panuelas_
when the sixty young swells struck Zamboanga that day, with money
sufficient to buy unlimited _sorbetas_ and the little rice _potas_
so dear to the heart of Philippine maidens.

The jackies having shore leave were most picturesque, and, alas,
hot as well, in their blue flannel suits, with the round sailor cap
set at a jaunty angle on their heads; while the Signal Corps soldiers
and hospital men in fresh khaki, the officers in crisp duck, and the
women freshly starched and ironed, gave a holiday aspect even beyond
that of the fluttering flags aloft, as the ship had been dressed both
on Chrismas Day and New Year's, although the work had gone on with
unabated energy.

Indeed, some of the Irish sailors in the forecastle were overheard
talking together that morning, one of them saying, as he rammed his
tobacco down hard in his pipe with anticipatory joy in the smoke
to come:

"Sure, not that I am complainin' at the same, but will anny of yez
tell me why the ship's a-flutter with flags, and the lads all given a
holiday, and that old coffee-mill of a cable machine stopped grinding
for the once?"

"Because," answered a comrade with an expressive wink, "it's Garge's
birthday, Garge Washington, you know, the daddy of his counthry!"

"Oh, to be sure!" responded the other, meditatively, taking a whiff
or two at his pipe to see that it was really lighted before he threw
the match overboard. "To be sure! And it's a great mon that same
Garge must have bin, a great mon, Dinnis. Sure, St. Pathrick himself
couldn't touch him with a shillaly."

"And for why?" demanded several Irishmen, truculently, their ire
aroused at the invidiousness of the allusion.

"Because St. Pathrick, God love him, aint never been counted as
ranking alongside of Christ, and this here Garge Washington seems
to be of more importance than ayther of thim. Why, on Christmas we
didn't have no holiday--divil a bit of it--just a bite more to ate for
dinner, with no shore leave, and the haythens working us and working
thimsilves all day as if it had been an ordinary Chuesday 'stead of
Christmas, which is Christ's birthday, while on Garge's birthday the
whole ship cilibrates. Ah, he certainly must have bin a great mon,
that same Garge."

But notwithstanding our philosopher's grumble, he enjoyed his shore
leave to the utmost, and he and Dennis came back on the evening boat
hilarious as could be and reciprocally dependent upon one another
for support.

That morning Datto Mandi, the Rajah Muda or heir to the Sultanate of
Mindanao, came on board to pay his respects to the Powers-that-Be. The
datto was accompanied by his wife, for notwithstanding he is
a Mohammedan, he has but one, and the wife of his Philippine
foster-brother, besides a large retinue of followers and slaves. He
also brought with him a band, and as a rival orchestra had come out
earlier, we stationed the first one in the bow of the ship, and the
datto's musicians in the stern.

All would have been well had not a spirit of emulation caused the bands
to play different selections at one and the same time, resulting in a
discordant war of notes and the death of harmony. Peace was restored by
some native rushing valiantly to the front and forcibly stopping the
band on the forward deck, after which each set of musicians waited,
with no little impatience, its turn to play, and after once getting
the floor, or in this case the deck, held it longer than was quite

The datto proved himself a most delightful man, with an earnest,
sensitive face and a manner indicative of such innate refinement that
we found ourselves most favourably contrasting him with some of the
Tagalog and Visayan dignitaries already met.

It is said that after Spain's evacuation, and before the arrival of
American troops in the southern islands, several insurgent leaders
proposed to resist the landing of Americans in Zamboanga. Datto
Mandi and the Philippine presidente of the town, knowing that the
American government was unlike that of Spain, and realizing what an
overwhelming defeat such a project would ultimately receive, although
the first enterprise might meet with success, did all in their power
to quell these martial aspirations.

Failing in this, war was declared, and the presidente, surrounded by
a loyal few, and Datto Mandi with his numerous Moro followers, drove
the insurgents from town. Meanwhile the wives and children of these
belligerents would have starved had it not been for the datto, who,
notwithstanding the difference in their faith, looked after them all,
until the discomfited warriors returned to more peaceful pursuits.

On the first anniversary of the Americans' arrival in Zamboanga,
a great _fiesta_ was held. It began, as all feast-days should begin,
with high mass in the cathedral, after which the Mohammedans joined
their Christian friends in games and cock-fights. Verily, Datto
Mandi and the presidente had been right, Americans were unlike the
Spaniards, and Zamboanga had never experienced so peaceful a year in
all her history. Small wonder the _fiesta_ was a success, and that the
"_Viva America's_" were uttered from full hearts. But it is primarily
to Datto Mandi and the presidente that the people of Zamboanga should
be grateful. Citizens of the world these men are, and statesmen, too,
although their sphere is comparatively circumscribed.

The presidente was ill while we were in Zamboanga, his condition
being so critical that none of us saw him, but one day while we were
driving around the outskirts of the town, our coachman drew up his
horses with a great flourish before a pretty vine-embowered house.

"Why are you stopping here?" I demanded, a trifle sharply, for
heads had appeared at various windows and the situation was becoming
embarrassing. The coachman turned with a dignified gesture, if one
can look dignified in a shirt thin as mosquito-netting.

"It is the house of the presidente," he said, in an injured
tone. "Every American who comes to Zamboanga wishes to be driven
here. He is a very great man, the presidente."

I agreed with him heartily, if somewhat hastily, and then prevailed
upon him to drive on, which he did with melancholy resignation,
disapproval expressed in every line of his body, which, from his box,
was outlined strongly against the sky through the thin white _camisa_,
embroidered as daintily as a girl's ball gown.

But to return to the datto. On the morning of his visit to the
_Burnside_ he wore a white "_Americano_" suit and white shoes, as,
indeed, did most of his followers, one of the men topping off this very
conventional attire with a magnificent red, green, and purple turban
which he did not once remove while aboard ship. The headgear of the
Moros consists entirely of turbans, fezes, or soft tam-o'-shanters,
the latter a compromise, I fancy, between the hats of civilization
and the head-covering demanded by the Moslem religion.

The datto's wife was a shy little woman, with an unusually sweet voice
and big, startled brown eyes, which gave her an indescribably pathetic
look. She wore her hair straight back from a high, round forehead,
and coiled it neatly at the top of her head. Her features were smaller
and more regular than those of the average native, and her pearl
earrings seemed an integral part of herself. Her frock, made after
a European model--and very far after, I am obliged to admit--fitted
badly, and she eyed our summer gowns with polite interest, evidently
taking notes for a readjustment of her own wardrobe at home.

Unlike other Moro women, her teeth were white, the Zamboanga officers
telling us she had the black enamelling removed after American
occupation of the town; and the only thing about her that would have
attracted attention at an American gathering was the fact that several
finger-nails on her very small hands were long, almost as long again
as from the first knuckle of the finger to the finger-tip, indicating
that she was a Moro of high caste and did no manual labour of any
kind. Her clumsy Spanish slippers covered feet small as a child's,
and her manner, while shy, was quite calm and dignified.

Of course the party was taken around the ship, and all expressed a
polite interest and appreciation of what was shown them, although there
was far less enthusiasm than when the more volatile Tagalog or Visayan
had seen the wonders of electricity for the first time. To be sure,
the datto himself had been to Spain, but we were told his wife had
never been away from Mindanao, nor had many of his followers travelled
more extensively than to Manila and back again; notwithstanding which
they refused to be impressed or render indiscriminate approbation,
however astounding, admirable, or strange the marvels might appear.

Only the Philippine sister-in-law lacked self-control and talked
volubly, grabbing the datto's wife by the hand, and expressing
herself excitedly in unintelligible Spanish or Zamboanganese, which
is a mixture of Castilian, Visayan, and Malay, Once, in an excess
of emotion, she almost hugged me. I think it was on first seeing the
wonders of a bathroom, and several times she came near enthusing the
passive little "dattoess."

But this princess of the blood always controlled herself just in time,
and managed to look as indifferent as possible. Her dispassionate
attitude launched me into wild tales of Farthest America, wherein
thirty-storied buildings, elevated and underground railways,
beautiful theatres and parks, cars which ran without horses or steam,
and millions of inhabitants produced no impression whatsoever, my
most improbable tale being received with a diffident condescension,
equalled only by the metrical repose that stamps the caste of Vere de
Vere. Given a few months in New York or Paris, and Mindanao's future
Sultana would bloom like a rose in manners and millinery, for, despite
her reserve, she is adaptable and what the Spaniards call _simpática_.

Datto Mandi was frankly pleased with what he saw, though
unenthusiastic, and he compared Spanish methods of government with
American administration much to our advantage, saying tersely and
epigrammatically that the Spaniards promised much and accomplished
little, while the Americans promised little and accomplished much. In
speaking of the cable, one of the Signal Corps officers told the
Rajah Muda that it was a gift of half a million pesos from the United
States to the Philippine Islands, at which the datto was obviously
impressed. He translated this bit of information into Malay for the
benefit of his followers, the monetary item seeming to have a profound
effect upon them all, even the little wife showing a decided interest
at the thought of that slimy rubber garden hose costing such a lot
of silver dollars.

Just at noon we stood on the bridge while a national salute was fired
from the forward gun. Twenty-one times the hills around Zamboanga
reverberated to the warlike sound, and twenty-one times the excitable
little sister-in-law squealed with a pleasurable terror. "Madame Mandi"
lost none of her serenity, but she did not like the cannonading,
and covered both ears to shut out the sound. Moreover, she turned her
back upon the guns, explaining that she feared their flash might make
her blind. Meanwhile the datto and his followers stood calmly and
unflinchingly erect with uncovered heads, to show their respect for
that great American, George Washington, who little thought that in the
first year of the twentieth century his birthday would be celebrated
on American territory ten thousand miles away from the United States.

That night we dined on shore with the commanding officer, and though
the mess china, silver, and napery were not of the best, the dinner
was one to remember in one's prayers. Moreover, it was extremely
well served by swift and noiseless Chinese servants, who poured the
wine at the psychologic moment, and needed no premonitory lift of the
eyebrows to remind them when a course should be taken out or brought
in. Throughout the repast the regimental band played patriotic airs,
and only the consciousness of being at a formal dinner in our best
clothes restrained us from humming the music or beating time to it
with fork or spoon.

The table was decorated with an ornate floral design in the centre,
from which trailed wreaths of green to every plate. It was extremely
effective, and I spoke of it to one of the hosts, who told me in a
whisper that he had been rather astonished earlier in the evening
by the gorgeousness of these decorations, especially as there were
no florists in Zamboanga, and on asking one of the Chinamen where he
had obtained the flowers, was not a little startled to hear that they
had been stolen from a neighbouring cemetery. I looked with admiration
upon this resourceful Celestial, and then felt mildly irritated at the
completeness of the whole _ménage_. Dinners by men always exasperate
me. They show so clearly how unnecessary women really are in the
scheme of domestic existence.

After our black coffee and liqueur, we sat out on the broad _cahida_,
or covered veranda running around three sides of the house, and watched
the rockets from the shore and ship replying to each other in the
clear, starlit night, while a theatrical-looking moon came up slowly
out of the bay, leaving a trail of red light on the rippling water.

The next morning we planned to call on Datto Mandi and his wife,
having promised ourselves that pleasure the afternoon before, but
the day dawned so fiercely hot that I, for one, rather wilted in my
resolutions, until business called my especial Signal Corps officer
to town, whereupon I yielded to his persuasion and accompanied him,
the other members of the party having left the ship some hours before.

On disembarking, we turned directly into the Mohammedan quarter. This
is just beyond the bay to the south, and the several streets teemed
with Moro inhabitants, the men and women in their gaily coloured
clothes making the place more like a water-colour sketch than ever. On
the banks of one of the many streams that intersect the town, bathers
clad in a single garment held stone jars of water above their heads
and let the contents slowly trickle down over the entire body. On the
steps beside them coloured stuffs were spread to dry in the sun, giving
an added splash of green and red to the already variegated landscape.

Reaching the datto's house, we found it decorated gaily in the Moro
colours for our reception, while at the top of the stairs stood the
future Sultana, petite and self-possessed, but with more animation
than on the previous day. She was genuinely glad to see us, and from
the _sala_ we could hear the voices of our friends who had preceded us.

"So sorry we are late," I said with sudden compunction, for the
decorations told their tale, and then, as airily as I could in Spanish,
"Did you think we were not coming?" The future Sultana smiled her
sweet, grave smile. "No, indeed," she said; "you promised you would
come, and Americans never break their word." The Rajah Muda came out
just then and spared my guilty blushes.

He, too, was delighted to see us, and the little sister-in-law bobbed
about like a distracted butterfly, while the prospective Sultana grew
almost effusive in her gracious hospitality, and as we sat down in
the _sala_, reached over and gave my hand a little shy caress. She
was so very pleased that we had come.

This _sala_, or drawing-room, was a spacious apartment, and had
evidently been arranged by the Philippine sister-in-law, as it was an
exact counterpart of those in all native houses. There was little in
the room save chairs and tables, and these were all of black bamboo
arranged in two long sociable rows from every window. Between the
chairs stood an occasional table, suggestive of something eatable
or drinkable to come, and on every table and nearly every chair were
sepulchral looking antimacassars of macreme cord.

Swarms of servants and slaves hung around in every available door,
all of them in Moro costume, with the exception of the small children,
and they were legion, who revelled in the luxury of bare brown skins,
and, strange to say, did not look at all undressed, as would Caucasian
children under similar conditions, the dark skins rather suggesting
a spontaneous covering.

These retainers of Datto Mandi seemed eminently happy, and from all
we could learn, slavery among the Moros is a sort of feudal state,
the slaves having many privileges and considering themselves always
as members of the family to which they belong. They live their own
lives to a great degree, marry, and bring up their children, seeming
to be considered more as followers than servants. This probably is
less true of slaves by conquest, but the hereditary bondsman likes his
fetters and would doubtless feel ill-used were he forced to work for
his sustenance rather than receive it at the hands of a liberal master.

Before we left, the little hostess, quite forgetting her shyness,
showed us women many of her native costumes, several of them being
wonderfully beautiful in their rich, barbaric colours. There were
_jabuls_ or _sarongs_ of gaily striped cotton stuff woven by the
Moros; there were European silks and satins embroidered by natives of
Zamboanga; there were brocaded stuffs from Paris, and roughly woven
fabrics of home manufacture, comprising in one garment all the colours
of the spectrum.

Two or three of the long, skirt-like _sarongs_ the little woman tried
on then and there, that we might get the effect of them when worn;
and with her creamy skin and big, dark eyes, she looked so attractive
in the barbaric colours that we could not resist telling her the Moro
dress was even more becoming than the European.

She shook her head deprecatingly at this, that she might not appear
critical of our wearing-apparel, but she stroked each native garment
wistfully as if she loved it, and smiled at our approval of the
picture she made standing there in the big, sunlit room, the gaily
coloured _jabuls_ scattered about her on the polished floor, and one
more gorgeous than the rest wrapped loosely around her, yet not quite
hiding the European cut of her sleeve and collar. On every side stood
women slaves watching their mistress and her guests with amused wonder,
while the little sister-in-law became more voluble than ever and told
us there were no _jabuls_ in all Mindanao so handsome as these.

About this time the young daughter of the house was brought in and
introduced to the American visitors. She was an attractive girl
of eleven, the oldest of four children, and her dark eyes shone
with suppressed excitement as she shook everybody's hand with a
gracious little manner, and answered our many questions in her pretty,
hesitating Spanish. She was a dear little thing, and comely even from
an American standpoint, with her dark eyes, thick, dark hair hanging
in a braid far below her slender waist, and a faint rose tint in
her dusky cheeks. She and Half-a-Woman were of a size, although the
little Moro was full two years the older, and a very pretty picture
the children made, struggling through the medium of their imperfect
Spanish to arrive at a starting-point of mutual interest--dusky
daughter of the East and fair little maid of the West.

Despite the datto's wine-forbidden code of ethics, whiskey and soda
were passed to the men, as well as fine cigars and cigarettes; and when
we finally left it was to be followed to the launch in real Arabian
Nights style by two picturesque slaves carrying gifts for us all from
the future Sultan and Sultana of Mindanao--_jabuls_ magnificently
embroidered, hand-woven turbans, and knives with silver handles--truly
right royal gifts and charming mementos of a very charming visit.

The next day, February 24th, we left Zamboanga for Sulu, laying cable
as we went, instead of having to take soundings first, the charts
in this one instance being reliable. As it was the dark of the moon,
however, we made the journey very slowly, having to anchor each night
and cut and buoy the cable to prevent its fouling. By eight o'clock
every morning the buoy was picked up, the splice made, and we were
under way for another uninterrupted run of ten hours, which brought
us into the harbour of Sulu on the afternoon of Tuesday, February 26th.

Chapter VIII


That popular opera "The Sultan of Sulu" has made the island of Sulu
one of the most-talked-of places on the map of our new possessions,
but in the Philippines it is rarely called Sulu, being better known by
its Moro name of Jolo, this being pronounced with the accent on the
last syllable, so that it sounds not unlike that vulgar salutation
of our Western World, "Hello!"

As first seen from our quarter-deck the village of Sulu was a thing
of beauty, with its vivid tints of green and gold and amethyst, its
red-sailed boats on the sunlit bay, and over all the strongly blue
sky. Nor was this enchantment due entirely to distance, for on going
ashore in the late afternoon, we found the town even more attractive
than we had thought it from the sea.

On drawing up to the pier in the ship's launch, all were surprised to
find it built solidly of brick and stone, a rare departure in these
waters, while at one side rose a round watch-tower, the architectural
evidence of Spain's ultimate victory, after numerous and heart-breaking
failures, in establishing a fort at Sulu. Above this watch-tower, which
might have been taken bodily from the stage-setting for a melodrama,
floated Old Glory against the sunset sky; Moro fishing-boats, the
breeze in their crimson sails, dotted the flushed bay; and to the
north and east small, detached islands, tinged with a translucent
purple like the skin of a grape, faded into the horizon.

Within the town's mediæval loopholed walls everything adds to this
picturesque effect, for the streets are laid out in broad boulevards,
with here and there a park or plaza, riotous with bloom; the houses are
large and well built, there being no nipa shacks within the four walls,
and the only church of the place is refreshingly simple in design.

During our first morning ashore we visited the market, and found it a
most interesting sight. The Moros, in their parti-coloured raiment,
were squatted on the ground in a great circle, buying or selling
fruits and vegetables, while under a covered shed at one end of the
plaza stood those dealing in fish and crustaceans of all kinds.

These marketmen were eminently good to look upon from an artistic
standpoint, and as they lounged around in groups or singly, one
longed to imprison them on canvas in all the gorgeousness of their
tropical colouring. One fishmonger, whom I especially remember,
sported a ravishing costume, consisting of bright green trousers,
skin-tight of course, a purple coat, and a high peaked hat of silver,
gilt, and crimson. He might better have been in comic opera than in
the humble occupation of selling crabs and lobsters.

The Moro women were particularly interested in the _Burnside_ feminine
contingent, but not to the extent of dogging our footsteps as did
the natives elsewhere, several American women in town having helped
satiate their curiosity. But they stared at us, nevertheless, with
a deep and absorbing interest, the quartermaster's wife, as usual,
being the cynosure of all eyes, because of her exceptional height and
slenderness, not to mention that astounding walking-skirt, which had
apparently grown upon her, there being no visible means by which it
could be put on and off.

It was that morning most of us saw for the first time the durian,
of malodorous fame, whose taste is said to be as delicious as its
smell is overpowering. The fruit was for sale in the market at a few
pennies apiece, and had banishment from Sulu not been threatened as
a punishment, I should certainly have tasted one, that I might more
accurately describe it.

"If you're bound to eat one of those nasty durians," said a friend
living in the town, "please take it on the ship and have the captain
anchor out farther at sea. If you attempt to open one here, you'll
have the Sanitation Committee after you hotfoot!"

So I desisted, but looked at the durians so wistfully that the Moros
put them down in price to a penny apiece, evidently thinking that
monetary considerations prohibited the purchase.

In appearance the durian is green and prickly, about the size of a
small melon, and even through the tough outside rind one can notice
a faint nauseating odour. It is said that when one is opened in the
market it takes but a few moments to clear the vicinity of Americans,
while if a man be courageous enough to brave the strong smell and take
a bite of the fruit, his presence will be unwelcome in polite society
for some time thereafter; yet the durian is delightful to the palate,
and would doubtless be oftener eaten did not one become so steeped
in its anything but Sabean odour.

That first morning in Sulu, after a jolly breakfast with some of our
army friends, a post officer took me into the Moro village of Tuli,
just south of the walled town. There we visited many native house,
climbing up steps made of circular logs, which were hard to navigate
in shoes, and in every instance the natives greeted us with the
utmost cordiality.

In one of the tumble-down shacks near the sea we found the Sultana,
Inchy Jamela, mother of the present Sultan, who had preceded her son to
Sulu on a little visit. She was a most repulsive old hag, blear-eyed
and skinny with blackened teeth, from which the thin lips curled away
in a chronic snarl, but she rose on her elbow from the couch where
she was reclining, and shook hands in good American fashion. Then she
threw us each a pillow, indicating that we, too, should lie down and
take it easy, but we preferred our perpendicularity, and sat upright
on the edge of her couch, this being the only article of furniture
in the room.

As the old lady could not speak Spanish, she leered at us pleasantly
from where she lay, occasionally muttering something in her native
tongue, that might have been a tribute to our charms of mind or person,
but which sounded more like an incantation. I felt she was a veritable
witch, and at any moment expected to find myself changed into some
animal or other under the baleful light of her eyes. If she had said,
"Rumpelstilzchen, rumpelstilzchen," or any other cabalistic thing
the witches in our fairy tales used to say, I should not have been
surprised; and I tried to smile as pleasantly as I knew how, for
fear she would think me bad tempered, and so change my every word
into frogs and toads, instead of diamonds and rubies.

After a particularly scintillating burst of silence the Sultana
offered me some _buyo_, or betel-nut, to chew, and on my refusing it,
placidly put a large hunk into her own mouth, and chewed it until the
red juice stained her lips as if she were suffering from a hemorrhage.

The dais on which she lounged was as large as a small room, and was
raised about three feet from the ground, it being covered with pillows
and hand-woven mats of straw and bamboo. Around this thronelike couch
were grouped her slaves and attendants, all armed with _barongs_
and _krises_ stuck into their wide sash belts, and attired in
many-coloured garments that gave one the impression, both from fit
and odour, of being on terms of long and close acquaintance with their
wearers. The inevitable naked, brown babies staggered around the room,
their little stomachs, in many instances, being swelled frightfully
from a diet of too much rice and fish.

When the Sultana wanted privacy a drapery of red and white stuff,
hung from the ceiling, could be let down, but otherwise she was
constantly in the presence of her slaves and retainers, having the
alternative of being smothered to death in privacy or bored to death
in plenty of fresh air. We were told the Sultana was a power in the
State and a diplomatist of no mean order, but it was hard to believe
this in the royal presence, unwashed and unlovely as it was. Still,
I remember seeing in a Philadelphia paper that some American living
in Sulu had described the Sultana as being "an agreeable, refined,
and charming Oriental diplomat." Her personality was quoted as most
attractive, "uniting a rare combination of Oriental elegance and modern
grace." She would be, it was said, in bearing and appearance, a credit
to an American drawing-room. Heaven forbid! Unless the writer possibly
meant that after due training she would grace the drawing-room in cap
and apron, wielding a duster in lieu of her inherited rod of empire.

On the day of our visit, Her Majesty was attired in garments of decided
dinginess, soiled and faded, with here and there an ill-made patch,
or perhaps a fresh hole, like a gaping wound, in the cloth. But it is
said that on the grand occasions when she honours the post with her
presence, she is attired in a splendour before which the lilies of the
field wilt with envy. Rainbow effects predominate, and much gilt and
silver embroidery, the ravishing impression being further enhanced
by a pair of white cotton mitts drawn over her bird-claw hands. On
these occasions of state the Sultana rides into town on the back of
a slave, with another slave holding a parasol over her august head,
and accompanied by several outriders, or rather outwalkers, attired
in few clothes of many colours.

The Sultan, too, rides pickaback when he comes to town, and as it is
considered a great privilege for a Moslem to have kissed the Sultan's
hand or foot, he is often gracious enough to sit astride a slave's
shoulders in some public place, the palms of his hands and the soles of
his bare feet obligingly outstretched, so that the thronging people can
come by fours and do homage to his state as expeditiously as possible.

One of the officers stationed in Sulu told us of a hunting trip which
he and several other men had taken with the Sultan and a high-ranking
datto, a royal hunt through royal preserves. To the intense amusement
of the Americans, the Moros insisted on taking their respective harems
with them on the chase, and at night all slept in one large room,
the three factions being separated only by curtains around raised

For some time the harems and their respective lords called back and
forth to each other quite audibly, until the officers, worn out with
their day's shooting, fell asleep. About midnight the Americans were
awakened by such frightful shrieks and blood-curdling yells that each
instinctively felt for his revolver or rifle, fearing an attack from
the fanatical Moslems. It transpired, however, that it was only a
slave girl singing the Sultan to sleep! The officer described this
musical effort as a most hideous uproar, saying that a note would be
held almost to the bursting point, the breath being regained by an
agonized, strangled sob, or else a bar would be yelled explosively
between hissing, indrawn breaths, the effect not conforming to the
laws of harmony as understood by Europeans.

On other hunting trips, when the Americans had been accompanied by
Moro guides, great difficulty was found in procuring food suited to
Mohammedan restrictions, the Moros even refusing bread because there
might be lard in it, or because they had seen the soldier cooks grease
the pans with that abomination; sardines were also prohibited for fear
they had been soaked in animal fat; and bacon was of course accursed.

The officers were in despair until one old Moro came across some cans
of baked beans among the rations. Beans! Assuredly a clean vegetable,
and as such to be partaken of freely. So there they sat, good Moslems
all, regaling themselves out of cans marked plainly on their gaudy
labels, "_Pork and Beans_." Moreover, they averred that the American
article had an exceptionally fine Bavour, not in the least like the
Philippine variety!

So strong is the Moros' aversion to even touching pork, that while
they will guide Americans where boar may be found, they themselves
will take no part in the sport nor help carry the game home, and even
when offered American prices a pound for the meat, that representing
fabulous wealth to a Moro, he will not defile himself by so much as
selling it.

Mr. Dean C. Worcester, in his delightful book, "The Philippine
Islands," gives a most interesting legend in explanation of the Moros'
aversion to pork. He says he made numerous attempts in Mindanao,
Basilan, and Sulu to find out the origin of this curious distaste,
but without avail, until one day the minister of justice, under
"his Excellency Paduca Majasari Malauna Amiril Mauinin Sultan Harun
Narrasid," committed a bibulous indiscretion, and when the vivifying
spirits were well amalgamated with his own he contributed the following

"Jesus Christ, called by the Moros Isa, was a man like ourselves,
but great, and good, and very powerful. He was not a son of God. The
Moros hate and kill the Christians because they teach that men could
punish and kill a son of God.

"Mohamoud had a grandson and a grand-daughter, of whom he was very
fond. As he was king of the world, Christ came to his house to
visit him. Mohamoud, jealous of him, told him to prove his power by
'divining' what he had in a certain room, where, in fact, were his
grandchildren. Christ replied that he had no wish to prove his power,
and would not 'divine' (_divinar_). Mohamoud then vowed that if he
did not answer correctly, he should pay for it with his life. Christ
responded, 'You have two animals in there, different from anything else
in the world.' Mohamoud replied, 'No, you are wrong, and I will now
kill you.' Christ said, 'Look first, and see for yourself.' Mohamoud
opened the door, and out rushed two hogs, into which Christ had
changed his grandchildren.

"Moros are forbidden to tell this story to infidels, because it shows
that Christ outwitted the great prophet. When my informant sobered
up and realized what he had done, he hung around day after day,
beseeching me not to let any one know what he had done, from which
fact I inferred that _he thought_ he had told me the truth, and not
a fable invented for the occasion."

That first morning in Sulu, after having paid our respects to
the Sultana, we called upon the next greatest personage in town,
a Hadji but lately returned from his pilgrimage to Mecca. He was a
most intelligent man, with regular features, fine eyes, and a flowing
beard, impressively patriarchal. He was a priest as well as a Hadji,
and, we were told, had a mighty following among the faithful. Both he
and his wife were most hospitable in their manner and courteous in
their speech, she beaming toothlessly upon us throughout the call,
and as we left they pressed upon me a handful of rather rare shells
as a memento of the visit.

The small boy of the family, a youngster of seven or eight, stared
at us continually from the moment of our entrance into the house
until our exit, seeming especially taken with the young officer; so
much so, in fact, that on our leaving, he followed us to the door,
and there climbed upon a high seat, from which point of vantage he
seized the young man's hand, kissed it very reverently, and then
laid it against his forehead. This was all done so solemnly and with
such a calm dignity that even the youngster's entire lack of raiment
could not detract from its impressiveness or the significance of the
action. It was evident that he imagined the big, blond lieutenant
was a Serif, a direct descendant of Mohammed, or perhaps even a Habi,
which means a Serif who has been to Mecca, or a Hadji and Serif in one,
than whom none but the Sultan is so great, so good, so omnipotent. I
dared not laugh at the child's earnestness, though I had some trouble
in controlling my risibles, the aforesaid young officer not having
a reputation for excessive holiness.

Long before reaching the Moro school for boys, which we next visited,
we could hear the voices of the pupils in a treble uproar, for they
all and individually studied aloud, rocking back and forth in their
seats, so that at first the sound was an unintelligible jumble,
which finally resolved itself into bits of the multiplication table,
detached letters of the alphabet, and pages from geography or history.

As we entered the door, the scholars looked up expectantly from their
work, glad of an interruption, and at a sign from one of the Mohammedan
teachers, they sprang to their feet with the uniformity of a machine,
fairly yelling their "Good morning" at us. Fine little lads they were,
all being of Moro, Chinese, or Filipino stock, with here and there
a fascinating combination of the three nationalities in one.

Of course the children were put through their paces for us, and,
as each recited in turn, he would preface his remarks by a profound
bow and a little speech, the words of these formal introductions
being exactly alike, as if ground out by a phonograph, and beginning
"Ladies and Gentlemen," till I wondered if perhaps the children saw
us double. They were not in the least abashed, these little savages,
and in their quaint English recited selections from Eugene Field
and James Whitcomb Riley, some of these efforts being in dialect,
which must have been a trifle puzzling to one not acquainted with
the vagaries of the language.

Finally an arithmetical problem on the board caught my eye, and was
surreptitiously transferred to my note-book for future reference. It
ran something like this: "A poor old lady owns one thousand cents. She
loses 189 of the cents. How many left has she?" The master, observing
my interest in the financial difficulties of the aged and destitute
lady, had the little slates brought up that I might see there were
still 811 pennies to her credit. I inquired of some of the boys how
much 811 pennies put into dollars and cents would amount to, but all
were so visibly embarrassed that I, remembering my own mathematically
tortured childhood, desisted before the schoolmaster could hear. On
leaving, the boys again jumped up as one, and shouted their unanimous
"Good-bye," and long after we were out of sight, we could hear their
high young voices studying aloud, each for himself, and apparently
undisturbed by the scholastic outburst of his neighbour.

Half a mile outside the walled garrison of Sulu, to the west, is a
strong outpost built of stone, and still farther out yet another. These
outposts are always occupied by American soldiers, not originally
because of any expected trouble with the Moros, but because if our
men did not occupy them the Moros would, thus giving them an almost
invincible stronghold against us in case of some sudden fanatical
uprising. Among the Moros, as in Granada, "Love laughs with a grip
on the knife," and preparedness is as essential as good government.

Near these outposts may be seen some very fine kitchen gardens,
kept by the frugal Celestial, the Chinaman of Sulu being much more
energetic commercially than the Moro. It is from the "Chino" the
American housewife buys her fresh fruits and vegetables, while the
Moros bring in fish and the Filipinos chicken and game, thus ensuring
a well-stocked larder independent of the supply-ships from Manila. In
fact, so delightful a place is Sulu, that if fever were not prevalent
there at some seasons of the year, it would be a veritable Paradise;
but even the sanitary measures taken by the great Spanish General
Arolas have not quite stamped out that scourge to white men, which
long made Sulu the most undesirable military station in the islands.

Everybody in the Philippines knows the story of General Arolas, and
of how, at the close of a brief republican administration in Spain, he
was practically banished to Sulu, there to die by fever or be killed by
the Moros. But Arolas, instead of settling down into an inactive life
awaiting what seemed the inevitable, occupied himself in building up
the town, fortifying it strongly, and at the same time making it more
beautiful by laying it out in broad streets and avenues, interspersed
at regular intervals with flowering squares and plazas. By draining
these streets well, building water-works, and establishing a fine new
market, he changed its reputation as a fever hole and made Sulu one of
the most desirable stations in the south. By his relentless attitude
he gained the respect and fear of the Moros, and only once during his
administration did a fanatical _Juramentado_ gain access to the town.

But Arolas was probably less popular with the Mohammedans than was
the American officer in command at the time of our visit. Indeed,
he had been _legally_ adopted by the royal family, the fierce old
Sultana calling him "Brother," and the Sultan referring to him as
"Papa," while a greater proof of their affection may be found in this
extract of a letter written to General MacArthur on the Moros being
told that they were soon to lose their first American governor.

" ... I hereby bring to your notice that I have heard that our father,
Major Sweet, Governor of Jolo, will be taken away from us. This is
the reason of my writing to you, because you are the parent of the
Moro people, and it is known to us that you will always do your best
for us, as you have done hitherto. Therefore, I beg to you anyhow
for the present not to remove Major Sweet from here, as he has been
very good to us, and he is very well known to everybody. He is like
a parent to us Moro people. It will be just like a child who is left
by his parents; he will fret and be longing for the one he loves;
the Moro people are the same way. Even if somebody else would come,
it would not be the same, as he would be unknown; he will be another
man for that reason. To tell the truth, our father, Major Sweet,
has opened our eyes; he has been the man to show us the right way
to come up to the white man's ideas, and there are many cases where
he has shown us his good-will. Therefore, I, the Sultan of the Jolo
Archipelago, am seeking that whatever is good for my people. It is
my sincerest wish that my country should go ahead.

"Since Major Sweet, our father, has been in command of Jolo
Archipelago, no disturbance of any description has occurred; the reason
is, that he has taken great interest in our country and its people. He
was the man who saw our poverty, our incapability of paying customs
duties, as more than one calamity has befallen our islands; therefore,
we thank him and we trust him, although not knowing what he will do in
the future, if it will change or not. Therefore, I and my people ask
you to consider the removal of Major Sweet, we ask you to leave him
here; we would like him to teach us the customs of the white people."

This, signed by the Sultan himself, is surely documentary evidence
of successful American administration with the Mohammedans, who were
counted by the Spaniards as quite ungovernable.

Socially, we found Sulu delightful, and in our few days there had
many pleasant dinners both on and off the ship, a little dance at the
club-house, and a tennis tea. The women all wore pretty frocks, their
houses were charming, and their servants as well trained as if they
were living anywhere but on a dot of an island in the Sulu Sea. All of
which goes to show what American women can do in all circumstances,
especially army women. It was often hard to realize, while in Sulu,
that just outside the house which encompassed our little civilization,
barbarism lurked, but through the open windows one could see the Moros
in their picturesque colours, the more soberly dressed Filipinos,
and the thrifty Chinamen, with their long queues twisted up under
their flat straw hats, while bits of conversation in all three tongues
drifted in and mingled with our talk, as foreign to the American ear
as was the tropical foliage to the American eye.

Of course we bought all sorts of curios before sailing, embroidered
turbans, _sarongs_, _jabuls_, handsome _krises,_ chow-covers of
beautifully coloured straw, and hats of every variety, while one day,
as an experiment in shopping, I bargained for a Moro slave, a handsome,
black-eyed boy, but as he could not be purchased for less than ten
dollars gold, I informed his owner that he was too expensive. This
transaction was carried on with great seriousness by the elderly
Mohammedan, while the youngster himself showed great interest in the
proceedings, and looked a little disappointed when he found he was
not to belong to the _Americana_ after all.

Slave-raiding has of course been forbidden since American occupation,
but the authorities have not yet been able to entirely do away with
slave-trading, polygamy, nor other like peccadilloes, religious
toleration being the password to the ultimate civilization of our
new citizens.

Meanwhile the Signal Corps had entrenched the cable, and connected it
by a short land line with the telegraph office, which was established
in short order, everything being in perfect condition for the return
trip to Zamboanga by the afternoon of the 28th. At daybreak on the
following morning, we sailed for Zamboanga, only to find orders
awaiting us there to proceed at once on a wrecking expedition to
Bongao, on Bongao Island of the Tawi Tawi group, a small launch,
the _Maud_, being foundered there on a coral reef. Thus were we
hoist by our own petard, for over the cable just laid came the order
postponing our return to Manila; but as it meant yet another chapter
in a delightful experience, few of us were averse to that.

So, between nine and ten o'clock that night, we sailed for Tawi Tawi,
passing east of Basilan and Sulu. The ship, relieved of nearly all
its cable, rolled a great deal, both on our way up from Sulu and that
first night out from Zamboanga, but on the two succeeding days the
weather was calm, the air cool, and the "Sultan's Sea" a gigantic
mirror reflecting every cloud in the sky on its glassy surface. All
on board were idle then, and every steamer chair on the quarter-deck
was occupied.

On the first day out we saw no land at all, but the second day many
coral groups appeared to the east and south of Bongao. Among others
were Manuk Manuk, surely a name to conjure with! Then there was
also Balambing, which on our ship chart was marked PIRATES! Think of
sailing piratical seas in this prosaic twentieth century! We watched
eagerly along the coast of Balambing, to which we passed very close,
for possible crafts bearing black flags, and were rather disappointed
at not seeing even one bearded highwayman of the sea, a gleaming
knife between his teeth, his red shirt open at the throat, for, if
I remember rightly, it was so that pirates were always drawn in the
yellow-covered interdicted literature of childhood.

These southern waters were bluer than any we had seen on the trip,
excepting over coral reefs, where the blue changed suddenly to a
glittering iridescent green, sparkling and treacherous. This coral is
eminently American in its habit of expansion, and has spread itself
well over the southwest portion of the Celebes Sea.

Finally Tawi Tawi itself appeared on the horizon, and we recalled
that deep in its heart, surrounded by vast forests and jungles,
the faintly discernible ruins of Dungon exist, the ruins themselves
covered by tremendous growths of trees. This was the ancient capital
of the Moros, and there lie the remains of the first Arab Sultan,
that fierce old missionary who brought the Koran in one hand and a
_kris_ in the other to spread the light of Islam. That his converts
were many and their faith was strong and sure is attested by the
universality of Mohammedanism in these southern islands, and the
exclusive use of the Arabic characters in the writing of the people.

On the afternoon of March 3d, we anchored off Bongao. On our port
side, and well forward, lay the wrecked _Maud_ nearly filled with
water. Altogether she was in a deplorable condition, but in a few days
was raised by the combined efforts of our first officer, his crew,
and the soldiers of the fort. Meanwhile, we were all idlers on the
_Burnside_, and in consequence enjoyed our visit there to the utmost.

Chapter IX


Despite the fact of its remoteness from civilization, or perhaps
because of it, we found Bongao most attractive. Situated on a dot of
an island belonging to the Tawi Tawi group, it is the southernmost
part of our new possessions to be garrisoned. West of it Borneo
looms up on the horizon, and to the south is Sibutu, for which Spain
was paid a good round sum because certain gentlemen on the Paris
Commission lacked geographic accuracy; while to the east and north
are coral islands belonging to the same group as Bongao. The garrison
is situated on a mountainous spur of land running down steeply to the
water. It is laid out like a park, the soldiers' quarters, hospital,
library, and storehouses being of bamboo and nipa, over which the
men have trained vines and creeping plants, while before each door
bloom beds of bright flowers.

The officers' quarters are built higher up on a wind-swept slope
overlooking the bay, where it curves around the point of the island,
and while these houses are picturesque from the outside, they are
roughly finished within, the "banquet-hall," as they dignified the
mess, being especially _al fresco_. Over the extemporized sideboard,
consisting of some rude shelves, on which were piled a heterogeneous
collection of tinned fruits and vegetables, hung a motto which read
"God Bless our Home. If you don't like it, get out!" On the reverse
side of this somewhat suggestive placard was the pleasing gastronomic
intelligence, "Chicken to-day," chicken forming the staple of diet
at Bongao, as of course fresh meat is to be had only at the rarest

For six months at a stretch the monsoon blows across the coral
peninsula in one direction, and then changes and blows six months in
the opposite quarter, so that, as an officer stationed there remarked,
one could take his choice and be blown off to the crocodiles in the
bay or to the sharks in the sea outside. This high wind moderates
the climate perceptibly, however, and notwithstanding the fact that
Bongao is situated within five degrees of the equator, we found it
exceptionally cool, and the officers and men in splendid physical

There was but one company of infantry stationed at Bongao when we
were there, comprising perhaps fifty men and three officers. Because
of the two hundred miles of treacherous ocean between him and higher
authority, the young captain acting as military governor was, so to
speak, a small Czar, and he ruled an unique kingdom, untouched by
civilization, and peopled entirely by ex-pirates or the descendants
of pirates.

The official letter-book of this functionary, at which he allowed
us to peep, read like a story of adventure, while some of his own
personal experiences, and those of the former commanding officer,
seem almost incredible when away from the glamour of the place. In the
post records, sandwiched between such mundane things as requisitions
for water-buckets or commissary supplies, one would read of atrocious
murders committed by the Moros; piratical expeditions headed off,
and their instigators punished; or attempted slave-raids against some
neighbouring island.

Under the date of February 21, 1900, a thrilling story was told, it
being the official and unvarnished account of a disastrous hunting trip
taken by five of the post soldiers, the dispassionate routine language
but giving it verisimilitude; while the subsequent happenings serve
to show what kind of government seems most to appeal to these people.

The story, as nearly as I can remember it, reads that five of the
garrison soldiers were given permission to go to a neighbouring
island of the Tawi Tawi group on a hunting expedition after wild
boar. Relations with the Moros on that island having been, at least,
nominally friendly, there was not the slightest hesitation in granting
the soldiers' request, particularly as there had been no fresh meat
in the garrison for some time.

The men left in a rowboat and spent the first few hours in Balambing,
an ex-pirate community, where they were entertained in the best
Moro fashion, leaving amidst mutual expressions of regret and
good-will. The Moros' love for firearms is well known, and about ten
of them were so taken with the soldiers' rifles that they accompanied
the party, ostensibly to act as guides, but in reality to witness
the sport. Delayed by a strong tide running to windward, they camped
that night on a lonely beach, both Americans and Moros in the best
possible humour.

After a supper cooked over the camp-fire, all the soldiers, with the
exception of one man who was preparing for bed, indulged in a game
of cards, the Moros watching the proceeding with apparent interest,
but talking a great deal among themselves. Each soldier had his Krag
on the ground beside him in case of danger, the rifle of the man who
was undressing being in a far corner of the room.

Suddenly, at a word from their leader, the Moros seized their wicked
_barongs_ and simultaneously attacked the men playing cards, beheading
one poor fellow at a single blow, and fearfully cutting the three
others. One died almost immediately, and the second fell unconscious,
while the third, who was cut across the side of the head and neck,
feigned death and so escaped with his life.

The soldier who was partly undressed, seeing that he could not reach
his rifle, felt it was only a matter of seconds before his turn should
come. But the Moros, having obtained all the firearms, escaped into
the forest, leaving him unharmed. As hastily as possible, he lifted
the still unconscious man into the boat, which had been hidden in the
bushes against just such an emergency, the wounded soldier who had
feigned death helping with all his little strength, though he was so
grievously hurt that he had literally to hold on his head with his
hands, the cords on one side of his neck being severed. Fortunately,
the jugular vein escaped the keen knife's edge, else he would not
have been alive; but it was with no little difficulty he helped the
unwounded man push off from shore.

All night they rowed, the wounded man working with one hand, despite
his fearful suffering, and all the next day, the blazing tropic sun
shining down on their unprotected heads. Once they were beached on a
coral reef, and it was all they could do to get the boat off again
into deep water. Meanwhile the third soldier died, but at last the
survivors of the massacre, in a pitiable condition, reached the post,
carrying between them the already putrefying corpse of their comrade.

Scarce waiting to hear their gruesome story, the commanding officer and
most of his company put off in _bancas_ for Balambing, the unwounded
man accompanying them for the purpose of identification. Arriving
late in the afternoon, the soldiers quickly surrounded the town before
any Moro could escape in his _prau_, and the rapidity with which the
Philippine Mohammedan can drop from his house, built on poles over
the water, and paddle away is little less than miraculous.

The head men of the village were then summoned by the American captain
and ordered to hand over the murderers and the stolen rifles, or lead
the way to the hiding-place of the criminals before eight o'clock of
the following morning, the penalty for their disobedience being the
burning of the town.

That night numerous lights and the sound of voices in the village
testified to the earnest discussion that was proceeding, and at
daybreak six of the offenders were delivered into American hands, the
survivor of the outrage testifying to their identity; but the captain
was not satisfied and consulted his watch so impatiently as eight
o'clock approached that the head men, after much consultation among
themselves, finally led the way to where the others were concealed
along with the captured rifles.

Here the ten prisoners were rounded up and preparations made for
the return to Bongao, when suddenly a simultaneous break for liberty
was attempted, and the Moros had a lesson in the deadly aim of the
American soldier, for a fearful fusilade was opened on them at short
range, and not a prisoner escaped.

To one unacquainted with the Moros, this swift and sure vengeance
would seem sufficient to cause the relatives of the dead men to hate
Americans and plan blood feuds in retaliation; but it was not so, for
they recognized perfectly the wrong that had been done, and accepted
the death of their kinsmen as well merited, while any regret they
may have felt was at the unlucky turn of fate which put them into
the hands of justice. Being captured, it was inconceivable to a
Moro that the offenders should be spared, and the break for liberty
was doubtless induced by the belief that at the worst they merely
advanced the day of execution. For had they not killed, and what
is quite as bad in the Moro code of ethics, stolen? No punishment
following this outrage, the Moros would have looked on the Americans
as white-livered, cowardly, pusillanimous, and that first crime would
doubtless have been succeeded by raids on the town, and massacres,
and feuds, which only a bloody war could have ended.

As a result of his prompt action, this very efficient young officer
had the satisfaction of knowing that the cordial relations with the
citizens of Balambing rested on a new and more secure foundation than
ever before. That no ill-will is harboured against the Americans may
be seen by the large crowd of Balambing natives who weekly market
their wares at Bongao, and the invariable respect shown by them to
the uniform. Americans go freely without arms all over the island. In
truth, it is asserted by different head men that the first attack
would never have been made on the soldiery had it not been for the
rifles they carried. Human life is cheap among the Moros, and the
inconvenience of that life standing between them and what they want
is soon remedied by a _barong_, unless fear of punishment, prompt
and pitiless, stares them in the face.

From Balambing of bloody memory comes a Moro love story of some
interest and no little humour. It appears that a rich woman there
fell in love with a handsome young slave belonging to a man in a
neighbouring town. After some difficulty she effected his purchase
and married him, despite the fact of his being so far beneath her in
the social scale. Not long after this the happy couple went to Bongao
on a market-day. The lady, being an inveterate gambler, repaired at
once to the cockpit, where she lost so heavily that her remaining
funds were inadequate for the return trip to Balambing. Then a happy
idea struck her. Why not pawn her husband, awaiting her next visit
to Bongao, for although she was married to him, he was still a slave
in the eyes of the law, and she could redeem him at her pleasure.

Acting on this happy inspiration, she sought an audience with the
Governor, explaining through the interpreter her predicament, and
offering her husband as a security for the loan of two hundred and
fifty dollars, gold. The Governor, being a bachelor, was skeptical as
to this marital transaction, especially as the couple had been wedded
beyond the traditional honeymoon. He was afraid that he might have
the bridegroom permanently upon his hands did he advance so great a
sum. This was made plain to the bride, who protested that life would
be quite unendurable without her liege lord, or more properly speaking,
in this case, liege subject; but the Governor was unrelenting.

How the lady finally managed to reach Balambing is not told. Perhaps
some trusting Moro accepted the risk of the marital loan. Perhaps
she induced the owner of a _prau_ to row her across. However the
distance was accomplished, it is to be hoped she was less reckless
in her subsequent gambling, a husband having proved so bad a hostage.

Another love story of different import comes from a village on the
island of Siminor, just south of Bongao. There, it is said, lives an
old Moro who so loved his wife, and strange to say, in this polygamous
community, his only wife, that when she died he watched her grave
long beyond the appointed time, after which he had his house built
over her burial-place, and there lives to this day, still faithful
to the mouldering bones beneath him. Surely a proof that great love
sometimes stirs even savage breasts. Considering the environment,
for this man lives in a country where polygamy is not only recognized
but encouraged, and where women are bought and sold by the pound,
like so much meat, his love is on a par with the idyllic attachments
of history and fiction.

Speaking of buying and selling women among the Moros, reminds me of an
old Maharajah in Bongao who had never seen an American woman until the
arrival of the _Burnside_. Of course all white women are considered
very beautiful by these dusky savages, an evidence of how much they
admire Europeans being found in the fact that they firmly believe in
the Sultan's Seventh Heaven all the wives of his harem will have white
skins. Noticing the Maharajah's absorbed interest in our appearance,
the Governor, to our intense disgust, insisted upon asking the old
fellow what he thought the quartermaster's wife should be worth
in dollars and cents. The toothless Maharajah took it all quite
seriously, looked at the lady in question with much discrimination,
pulled at his wisp of a billy-goat beard in contemplative silence,
and after some minutes of deep thought replied that she should be
worth about a hundred dollars, Mexican, an abnormally large amount,
as Moro women seldom average over forty dollars, Mexican, apiece.

Then the irrepressible young man turned to me, asking at what the
Maharajah thought I should be valued. Without a moment's hesitation,
the old sinner, to my chagrin and the uproarious delight of the whole
party, appraised me at only eighty dollars, Mexican, and this despite
the fact that I had smiled my pleasantest, in the hope that he would
rate me at least as high as the quartermaster's wife.

Datto Sakilon, whom we met next day, proved more diplomatic, for
when asked what he thought we women should be worth in the Mohammedan
market, replied that it was impossible to tell, because if Moro women
could be bought for forty dollars apiece, an American woman should
be worth at least a thousand. Not bad repartee for a barbarian! In
return for his consideration, I must admit that he was the best dressed
Moro we saw in Bongao. On the day in question he wore a suit of gray
drill, made with the conventional tight trousers and vest-like coat,
broken out at regular intervals in an eruptive fever of gorgeously
coloured embroidery. A fez topped off this costume and added to its
picturesqueness, while clumsy tan shoes of undeniable American make
well-nigh ruined the whole effect.

Balbriggan undershirts, hideously utilitarian, are much worn by these
Moros of Bongao in lieu of the skin-tight gaily coloured jacket,
which combines so effectively with the snug trousers buttoned up the
side with gold or silver buttons, and the bright turban or scarlet
fez. But fancy the shock to one's æstheticism at seeing coarse
balbriggan allied to barbaric splendour. The Moros really looked more
undressed so attired than if they had appeared without any coat at
all, but they thought these shirts very elegant, and would buy them
of the soldiers at every opportunity.

The women's dress in Bongao, unlike that of northern Moros, is more
typical than the men's, and shows an even greater variety of colour,
but because of their blackened teeth, which are often filed to an arch
in front, these women, as a rule, are anything but pretty. Their hair
is nearly always fringed over the forehead and temples, while at the
back it is drawn into a knot, from which one end invariably straggles,
giving a most untidy effect. The wealthier women wear their finger
nails very long, in some instances almost as long as the finger
itself, and often this nail is protected by an artificial shield
of silver. All the women have their ears pierced, and many of them
wear a round bone or stick, resembling a cigarette in shape and size,
thrust through the aperture. Altogether they are as unlike European
women as one could well imagine, and I do not blame the Sultan for
looking forward to white wives in the hereafter, though I hope the
celestial harem won't have to blacken its teeth!

There was one beauty in Bongao, however, a slave girl of eighteen,
so graceful and lithe that her every attitude suggested a bird just
alighted for an instant from a flight through space. Her dark eyes
were fringed by the longest of black lashes, and even her stained
teeth could not detract from the curves of her pretty mouth. She had
a self-satisfied consciousness of her own attractions, and was as
imperious and overbearing as any American beauty, stamping her tiny
foot in rage at our photographer's lack of haste in taking her picture,
and once walking away from the camera with a disdainful toss of her
head. When, after much persuasion, she was finally induced to return,
it was only to scowl sullenly at everybody with the most bewitching
ill temper, poised so lightly that the very wind seemed to sway her
slender figure back and forth like a flower on its stalk.

We called her the Belle of Bongao, and said all manner of nice things
about her, which she repaid with a bold stare from under those
wonderful lashes, and a contemptuous manner which said as plainly
as words that American women were not much to look at, what with
their ugly clothes and still uglier faces. She was glad she wasn't so
large and clumsy, and that her teeth weren't white, nor her throat all
screwed up in high bandages, and she smiled a little as she thought of
her own attractions, for the Belle of Bongao had not learned she was
a beauty for nought; and then, too, had she not cost eighty dollars,
Mexican, the highest price ever paid in Tawi Tawi for a slave? Small
wonder the little beauty rated her charms high.

It was in Bongao we first made the acquaintance of Toolawee, the
chief _vigilante_ of Sulu. It seems this personage had been sent to
the Tawi Tawi Islands as pilot of the launch _Maud_, which, under
his careful seamanship, was then lying high and dry on a coral reef
within sight of the little garrison. Pirate under Spanish régime,
chief of police under American administration, Toolawee is known
to fame throughout the archipelago, though perhaps most of his
reputation depends upon Mr. Worcester's delightful account of him
in "The Philippine Islands." As all may remember, Toolawee acted
in the capacity of guide, philosopher, and friend to Mr. Worcester
and Doctor Bourns on their second visit to Sulu, many moons before
our occupation of the place. Toolawee was at that time acting as
"minister of war" to the nominal Sultan, having for reasons of his
own become a renegade. Mr. Worcester says of him:

"A Moro by birth and training, he had thrown in his lot with the
Spaniards. As a slight safeguard against possible backsliding, he
was allowed a fine house _within the walls_, where he kept several
wives and some forty slaves. Arolas reasoned that, rather than lose
so extensive an establishment, he would behave himself. Later we had
reason for believing that the precaution was a wise one....

"He was considered a 'good' Moro, and we were therefore interested
in several incidents which gave us some insight into his real
character. After satisfying himself that we could use our rifles with
effect, he made us a rather startling business proposition as follows:
'You gentlemen seem to shoot quite well with the rifle.' 'Yes, we
have had some experience.' 'You say that you wish to get samples of
the clothing and arms of my people for your collection?' 'Yes, we
hope to do so.' 'Papa' (the Moros' name for their governor-general)
'told you if you met armed Moros outside the town to order them to
lay down their weapons and retire?' 'Yes.' 'Papa does not understand
my people as I do. They are _all_ bad. When we meet them, do not ask
them to lay down their arms, for they will come back and get them,
and probably attack us; just shoot as many of them as you can. You
can take their weapons and clothing, while I will cut off their heads,
shave their eyebrows, show them to papa, _and claim reward for killing
Juramentados_.' Toolawee never really forgave us for refusing to
enter into partnership with him on this very liberal basis.

"Just before our final departure from Sulu, he presented himself before
me and remarked, 'Señor, I want to buy your rifle.' 'But, Toolawee,'
I replied, 'you do damage enough with the one you have; what do you
want of mine?' 'My rifle is good enough to kill _people_ with, but
I want yours for another purpose,' my good Moro made answer. Pressed
for details, he confided to me that he had heard 'papa' was soon going
back to Spain, and, after the governor left, he should be '_afuera_'
_i.e._ offshore, waiting for victims. He explained that he never
fired at the people in a canoe, but shot holes in the boat itself, so
that it would fill with water. The bamboo outriggers, with which all
Philippine boats are provided, would serve to keep it from actually
sinking, and the occupants, being up to their chins in water, could
easily be despatched with the _barong_, thus economizing ammunition;
and he added, 'My rifle makes but a small hole in one side of a canoe,
senor, while yours would make a much larger one, and the ball would
go clear through.' Toolawee was nothing if not practical."

While in Bongao, a Moro dance was given in our honour at the house
of the governor's interpreter, a German, who at the time was away on
a business trip. His wife, a plump and jolly matron of Moro descent,
did the honours, and smiled her good-natured, indiscriminating smile
on one and all, shaking each cordially by the hand and indicating
where we should sit by many motions of her fat, brown wrists and
many shrugs of her still fatter shoulders. Unlike other Moro women,
our hostess's hair was neatly arranged, her teeth were beautifully
white, and her costume, which consisted of a nondescript skirt and
loose dressing sacque, much affected by Spanish women throughout the
islands, was daintily clean.

The other occupants of the big room were Moro--unadulterated
Moro--fifty or sixty of them, all in gala dress, the women squatted
on the floor, the men leaning against the side of the house, and all
staring with unabashed interest in our direction, while we stared
back at them quite as interested.

Every man there was armed with at least a _barong_ stuck into his broad
sash, and many of them boasted a _kris_ and _campilan_ as well, while
the brilliant colours of their costumes, and the still more gaudy
_sarongs_ of the women, made them resemble a gathering of strange
tropic birds, our European apparel looking singularly dull and sober
beside their scarlets, greens, and purples. Over this strange scene
flickered the dim light of cocoanut-oil lamps, and outside a shower
beat softly against the trees, and the moon looked down at us whitely
from a cloudy sky.

Presently a weird noise broke in upon our conversation. The orchestra
had begun to play. Now, Moro music is strangely unrhythmical to
European ears, consisting as it does of a monotonous reiteration of
sound, even a supposed change of air being almost imperceptible to
one unaccustomed to the barbarous lack of tone. The Moro piano is a
wooden frame, shaped like the runners of a child's sled, on which are
balanced small kettle-drums by means of cords and sticks. These more
nearly resemble pots for the kitchen range than musical instruments,
but each is roughly tuned, forming the eight notes of the scale. Women,
crouching on the ground before this instrument, beat out of it a
wailing sound with shaped sticks, while on larger kettle-drums, hung
by ropes from a wooden railing at one side, two men accompanied the
"piano," an old woman in the background drumming out an independent
air of her own on an empty tin pan.

Meanwhile the dancing had begun, or rather the posturing of the body,
for the feet and legs are used but little in the Moro dances, which
consist principally of moving the body and arms rhythmically and to
music, the wrists always leading gracefully.

Among the women this attitudinizing was very pretty, the bangles
tinkling on their round arms, while the _sarong_ half-revealed,
half-concealed the curves of their figures. Most of them danced with
their heads turned away, but whenever the evolutions of their measured
step brought them face to face with us, they would hold up the _sarong_
so that it concealed all but the eyes, evidently a survival of the
_yashmak_, for Moro women do not hide their faces at all times from
the gaze of men, as do the women of India.

When the men danced it was far less graceful, and at times bordered
on the grotesque. They contorted and twisted themselves out of all
semblance to the human body; they made their abdominal muscles rise
and fall with the music; they seemed at times to put the body out of
joint, and then reset it properly with jerks and jumps and sudden
fierce movements; they twitched, and twisted, and twirled, hardly
moving their feet from the floor.

Then came sword-dances with naked blades, when some young Moro
advanced and retreated, leaped high in the air, or crouched on the
ground, waving his _barong_ or _kris_ aloft, now retreating, now
coming uncomfortably close to the little party of unarmed Americans,
the flickering light gleaming redly on the glittering knife, and
reminding one, with a horrid insistence, that the time and place were
ideal for a wholesale slaughter.

As the necessities of the dance took the last of these lithe youths
farther away, I must confess to a feeling of relief, which mounted to
a nervous joy when, after apparently slaying his enemy and grinding him
under heel, the dancing combatant gave place to a chubby youngster who
stamped, and twirled, and gestured himself into our very hearts. This
baby, for he could not have been over four years old, was also a prime
favourite with the Moros, who yelled out their delight at his prowess,
and even clapped their hands and jumped about in their enthusiasm. But
the baby was stoically calm, and moved not a muscle of his little
round face in response to their greetings.

Then came the old Maharajah, who had set his price on the American
women. Wrinkled, white-haired, and toothless, he danced amidst
great applause; and after him a tiny girl posed most picturesquely,
throwing out her plump, dimpled wrists, on which twinkled innumerable
bangles. Waving each wrist in turn, the little maid would fasten upon
it a serious gaze, as if she were a snake-charmer and each arm was
a serpent, her hand representing the head, which waved ever back and
forth restlessly and in time to the strange music.

Before leaving, a mock marriage was performed for our benefit by the
one-eyed Pandita. As is the custom at such times, all the Moro women,
including the bride, who is never present at her own wedding, were
hidden behind an extemporized curtain. On the ground before this
curtain sat the Pandita and the prospective bridegroom, the bare
soles of their feet touching and their hands closely clasped beneath
an enshrouding cloth. The Pandita then chanted or intoned a service,
the bridegroom occasionally joining in, and not infrequently some
outsider introduced a facetious expression or joke, which was greeted
with uproarious delight by the others, the Moro sense of humour being
apparently well developed.

Of course, the mock marriage ended here, but we were told that at this
point of the service in a real wedding the groom would go behind the
curtain and seize his bride, who was supposed to struggle violently to
escape. She would then be carried to the groom's house, and for three
days the feasting and merry making would continue--for everyone but the
happy pair, as according to custom, the bride must quarrel violently
during this time with the groom, and not allow him to come near her,
though when he finally leaves her alone, she must bitterly weep and
lament. At the expiration of the three days, this charming state of
affairs is discontinued, and they are considered legally married,
and thereafter may be as happy as they are capable of being.

On leaving the interpreter's house to walk back to the ship's boat,
we were lighted by a misty moon which gave the effect of twilight,
and in our half lethargic state could hardly be sure that what we had
seen that evening was not, after all, a dream or a strange hypnotic
memory--the dancing Maharajah, the Pandita performing the marriage
ceremony, the terrible sword-dance, and the little snake-charmer
fascinating her own plump hands! Was it possible such things had
occurred in the twentieth century and on American soil?

Chapter X


Our last day in Bongao the Governor secured a little pearling launch,
the _Hilda_, and took several of the _Burnside_ people on a jaunt
to the island of Siminor, as it is written on the map, or Siminol,
as it is called by the natives. Siminol is about ten miles south of
Bongao, and our destination was the town of Tampakan. It was a misty,
moisty afternoon, with a sharp salt smell to the air, and through the
haze distant mountains loomed spectre-like, or else melted into blue
clouds on the horizon.

After a two hours' run, during which the _Hilda_ wheezed and puffed
like a fat old woman in a tight frock, we reached Tampakan, and
anchored as near the shore as was practicable, blowing our whistle
to attract the attention of the villagers. In a few moments several
_praus_ and _bancas_ were poled out to the ship by a motley array of
half-clad Moros, big, brown, lithe fellows, each with a turban or
fez topping off his black hair, and all armed with a goodly array
of sharp knives. Over the side of the launch they swarmed, talking
excitedly with our interpreter, the chief _vigilante_ of Bongao, and
reminding one strongly of their piratical forebears. Many of these
very men had been pirates in Spanish days, and not one of them but
was a descendant of some marauder of the high seas.

The three hundred yards that we had to be poled to shore from the
_Hilda_ was through water not more than three feet deep, and over a
bed of pink and white coral, which could be plainly seen through the
crystal clearness. At low tide one can walk out over this submarine
beach, but the Moros say that the rocks, seaweed, and coral lose much
of their beauty when not seen through a lens of water. At the time
of our visit it was such high tide that even with the native _praus_
and the little rowboat from the launch, we were unable to make a good
landing, so the men jumped ashore in imminent danger of a wetting,
while we women were carried, one by one, through the surf.

A villainous looking gentleman, whose costume consisted of skin-tight
Moro trousers and an American bath towel, was introduced by our
host as the head man of the town, and he shook hands all around,
quite solemnly and conscientiously, as if it had been a religious
rite imported to Tawi Tawi by these strange white people.

Meanwhile the entire male population of the place gathered about us,
and we found them in very truth a murderous looking lot, armed to
the teeth with _barongs_ and _krises_ and _campilans_, while none
of us had any visible means of self-protection. There were a few
pocket revolvers, however, hidden under the officers' blouses, and
well hidden, the Governor having warned us to take no arms of any
description to Tampakan, for while money would have been no temptation
to these people, they would not have hesitated long to kill one for
a Krag rifle or a Colt revolver.

After the head man had religiously shaken every newcomer's hand,
our officers began bargaining with him and with his people for their
knives, and the crowd of men around us grew every moment greater,
with not a woman in sight. There were men in complete Moro costume,
handsome and picturesque; others ruining their appearance by the
addition of a hideous balbriggan undershirt, sandwiched between tight
trousers with innumerable buttons and a brilliantly coloured turban;
while still others, in little else than a fez and breech-clout,
seemed not a whit abashed. The children were either quite naked, or
wrapped in _sarongs_, faded by the sun and weather to a dull harmony
of their once too brilliant reds and greens.

Finally on the outskirts of the crowd I caught a glimpse of three
Moro women, and forced my way to them, shaking hands and smiling as
affably as possible. They shook hands in return, rather awkwardly,
but answered smile with smile, talking excitedly in their native
tongue, and seeming surprised that I could speak only a word or two
of Malay, without doubt a more agreeable language than that harsh
and unintelligible one in which the white officers were bargaining
for _barongs_ and _krises_.

Over the stone fortification a short distance away I had a glimpse of
tree tops and the steep, slanting roofs of nipa houses, while at the
gate stood still another group of women, most of them dressed from
the waist to the knees only. Motioning my three friends to follow,
I approached these women, whereupon they took fright and hid behind
the nearest house. That is, all but one old crone, too feeble to run,
who tremblingly awaited her fate until, reassured by the manner of
those I had talked to outside the wall, she lifted up her voice in
voluble Malay, evidently telling the others that the strange creature
neither bit nor scratched, whereat they all came back, first slowly
by ones and twos, and then more rapidly, until they stood around me
in a ring at least twenty deep.

As women have a language of their own the world over, we understood
each other quickly; and how friendly they were, and how delighted
with my clothes and all the little accessories, the hat, the veil,
the belt, the collar. Next they were amazed at my teeth, and pointed
to their own blackened ones, and then to mine, pushing forward little
girls under ten to show that only children should have white teeth,
while I, despite my extreme age, still sported such evidences of
youth. Was it possible I considered myself a child? Or was I younger
than I looked? Next my skin was marvelled at, and they took my hands
in theirs and shouted with good-natured laughter at the difference
in colour between us, for despite two and a half years of tropic tan,
my skin, compared with theirs, was very light.

Before I realized what they were doing, they had unbuttoned the cuff
of my shirt-waist and pushed the sleeve a little way up my arm,
evidently anxious to see if I were white all over, while at the
same moment a small girl of twelve, married or of marriageable age,
as one could tell from her stained teeth, knelt down on the ground
at my feet and was apparently examining my shoes.

Suddenly she gave a startled cry, and before I could prevent her,
lifted my skirt and petticoat to the ankle, revealing a small expanse
of black lisle thread stocking. For a moment there was an intense
silence, followed by a low murmur of astonishment, which soon grew
into a veritable roar of displeasure, and the women no longer beamed
approvingly, but gathered together on one side, regarding me with
great disfavour.

I was dumfounded at this sudden change of manner, and could not
account for it in any way, until I saw some of the blackest among them
pointing to their own bare legs with apparent pride, and then turning
scornfully and motioning in my direction. Did they object to my wearing
stockings? Or was it possible they had mistaken the stockings for skin?

Acting on this very improbable suggestion, I demonstrated that the
black outside covering could easily be peeled off, whereupon there was
great amazement, and once again the women crowded around in deifying
adulation. They had thought their American idol had worse than clay
feet, that the feet were black, blacker even than their own dusky
skins, and their relief was obvious at finding the dark flesh but a
close fitting covering.

So it was I was again restored to favour, and the women with swift,
shy gestures fingered my dress and hat, my army belt, and the red silk
handkerchief at the throat of my sailor collar, saying, "Mariloa,
mariloa" over and over, which in their tongue means "pretty" or
"good," depending on how it is used.

They laughed at my shoes, spreading out their flexible toes that
I might see how much more comfortable feet were unshod, and then
pointed to their hands, indicating that it were quite as sensible
to wear shoes there as on the feet, which made me sorry some of us
had not worn gloves. Also I was much amused to notice that after
biting even so lightly of the fruit of knowledge, most of the women
about me had drawn up the folds of the _sarongs_, tied so artlessly
around their waists, and fastened them securely under the armpits,
so that they were clothed quite decorously from shoulder to knee.

There was one beautiful little girl among the many plain ones in
Tampakan. She could not have been over ten years old, and her heavy
eyebrows were shaved into a narrow black line above magnificent
eyes, shaded by phenomenally long lashes. Her features were regular
and finely cut, her mouth being particularly pretty, and when she
smiled, which was seldom, her red lips disclosed even little teeth,
glistening and white. Her very hair, fringed heavily above her brow,
was soft and fine and hung almost to her knees in a dusky, rippling
cloud, while both tiny ears were pierced, the left one boasting an
ivory stick about the size and shape of a cigarette, and the other
a roll of red rags, which barbaric custom served only to enhance her
wildwood tropic beauty.

The child's _ena_, or mother, was evidently very proud of her daughter,
and through the interpreter, told me that within a year the little
maid was to marry a datto in a neighbouring town. A very great honour,
to be sure, and then her pretty, gleaming teeth will be blackened
and filed into an arch, her eyebrows shaved off completely, and at
twenty-five the little beauty will doubtless have been transformed
into a wrinkled, loathsome old hag, and perhaps a grandmother to boot!

At the windows of a house under which we stood, women, who for some
reason did not mingle with the others of the village, peered down at us
curiously, some holding up their _sarongs_ to cover all but the eyes,
and some frankly interested, with uncovered faces; while still other
creatures, of nightmare ugliness, their skins plastered with a white
flour paste, their eyebrows shaved, and their teeth newly blackened
and filed into shape, incurred the displeasure of their respective
lords and masters by appearing at the window even for a few moments
at a time, it not being Moro etiquette that these recent brides of
the neighbourhood should be seen until a later period.

About this time Half-a-Woman and her mother appeared on the scene, the
American child, with her golden hair and white skin, enthusing the Moro
women to the utmost, while the tall slenderness of the mother excited
their voluble admiration. But neither mother nor daughter appreciated
natives, except as accessories to the landscape, so they delayed not
on the order of their going, and audibly marvelled that I could be
interested in such filthy wretches, insinuating that a carbolic bath
would be necessary on our return to the ship. But the Moro women,
unconscious of any criticism as to their personal neatness, smiled
at the _Americanas_ delightedly, telling me through the interpreter
that it would take two or three Moro women to make one as tall as the
quartermaster's wife, who looked very young indeed to have attained
so great a height!

When the officers had completed their purchases, they started through
the village on a tour of inspection, and at their approach my women
friends beat a hasty retreat, scattering in every direction like so
many quail; but as we proceeded along the one street of the town,
accompanied by a veritable army of native boys and men, I saw at
the windows of different houses many familiar faces, all grinning
cheerfully in response to my nods of recognition.

The houses of Tampakan are built on one side of this broad street,
and are small nipa shacks on stilts, with steps of bamboo logs,
and steep thatched roofs, while back of this first row of houses
stands another row, and back of that still another. At the far end
of the street two or three houses are built at right angles to the
rest, and it was here that beautifully woven _petates_, or sleeping
mats, were offered for sale, some of them white with appliques of
red and blue cloth in curious designs, and others of split bamboo,
the patterns being woven in with different colours.

These mats were most reasonable in price, none of them costing over
a dollar and a half, and some very pretty ones were valued at only
fifty cents apiece, but for sanitary reasons we were obliged to
forswear them, unique as they were, for they had all been in use,
and we had seen more than one leper among the villagers, and numerous
evidences in scars and sores of loathsome skin diseases.

Embroidered turbans, _jabuls_, and _sarongs_ were also offered for
sale, as were chow-covers and tall pointed hats, while one man with
great pride produced for our inspection a pressed glass sugar bowl,
that variety which one does not have to examine or tap with the
finger to prove counterfeit. It was pressed glass with no intention to
deceive, the kind one runs across in the dining-room of country hotels,
or at cheap department stores. That it was appraised highly in Siminol,
however, was beyond question, and on every side swarthy faces watched
eagerly to see what impression it would make upon us, though the owner
himself assumed a nonchalant air, as became the possessor of so rare
an article of virtu. It had evidently been in Siminol a long time, and
was possibly stolen from a trading-post on some piratical expedition,
or looted from a Spanish planter's home during a raid on a coast
town, or more prosaically acquired in exchange for curios. However
that may be, it was considered a rare bit of bric-a-brac in Siminol,
and the possessor was counted a most fortunate man among his fellows.

There were many beautiful _barongs_ bought that day, the natives
willingly exchanging them for money, which the Governor of Bongao
declared was a unique way to disarm an enemy. American gold was
especially appreciated, and the natives passed a piece around from
hand to hand with an absolutely childish delight in its yellow beauty.

One of my purchases I paid for with a new five dollar gold piece,
and before turning the money over to the Moro, held it for a moment
pendent from my ear to suggest an earring, pointing at the same
time to one of his wives, who was standing in the doorway of their
house. The man was delighted with the suggestion, as were numerous
other Moros who had seen the pantomime, and the woman in question
clapped her hands and laughed aloud. I have often wondered whether
or not she received that earring, and if it became a universal custom
in Tampakan to wear money thus.

One of the officers, while drawing out some change from his
pocket to pay for a very handsome and expensive _barong_, came
across a gold-plated spread eagle, such as officers wear on their
shoulder-straps. It was worth perhaps twenty-five or fifty cents, but
it glittered alluringly in the sunlight, and one of the Moros, with
whom he had been bargaining, made a dive for the bit of metal, calling
on his companions to look at it. After a swift examination the owner of
the _barong_, to the officer's intense surprise, offered him the knife
in exchange for the worthless bauble. Noting the American's hesitation,
and misinterpreting it, the Moro added an embroidered turban to the
knife, and waited in breathless expectation for his answer.

The officer still hesitated what to do, and then, through the
interpreter, explained that the eagle was of no monetary value, and
that he could not accept so expensive a knife or such a handsome turban
in exchange for it. The Moro seemed astonished, but appreciated the
reason, and had his first lesson in the apothegmatic saying that all
is not gold which glitters. Later the eagle was given to the Bongao
_vigilante_, who pinned it to the front of his fez, for was he not
a protector of the peace under the great American government?

To one side of Tampakan stood a plot of ground used as a cemetery. This
we saw from a distance only, the newly made graves presenting quite
a gala appearance, decorated as they always are with bright coloured
umbrellas, these being usually of yellow. When a Moro is buried
his grave is protected from the sun and rain, and must be watched
continually night and day for a period of three months, doubtless to
keep the corpse from being defiled by man or beast.

At about six o'clock we left Tampakan, being followed to the boats by
the entire male population of the town, even to toddling, naked boy
babies, while the women hung out of their windows in imminent danger of
a fall and shouted strange things at us in their own tongue, which the
Bongao _vigilante_ interpreted as "Good-bye, nice people, come again."

It was almost dark when we reached the _Hilda_, and she immediately
put off for the ship, though seeming literally to creep along, her
engine wheezing even more painfully than earlier in the afternoon. At
that rate we should certainly be late for dinner, and all were hungry
from the trip across.

But a more serious contingency awaited us, for within a half-hour after
starting, the native fireman came up on deck, his face blanched with
fear, to say the boiler would not work, and that unless we could anchor
at once we should be swept out to sea on the strong current. Soundings
were immediately taken, and the water found very deep, so, dragging
our anchor, and with our last remaining bit of steam, we reached a
place shallow enough for anchorage. It was literally the last gasp
of the engine that put us in safety, for a moment more and we should
have been adrift on the trackless sea.

Of course the next thing to be done was to send up distress rockets,
with which we had fortunately provided ourselves, that the _Burnside_,
whose lights we could faintly see far, far over on the horizon, might
know of our predicament; but as it was not yet dark enough for her
to distinguish our signal against the sunset sky, we decided to save
our ammunition until there was no danger of its not being seen from
the ship, there being but three rockets aboard the _Hilda_.

Those few minutes of waiting seemed preternaturally long, and
when the first rocket was finally sent up, everyone watched, with
almost feverish impatience, for the _Burnside's_ return signal. One
minute passed in breathless silence; another minute, during which
we shivered slightly with cold and excitement; ten seconds more,
and a sudden flash in the direction of the ship, which we took to be
a search-light answer to our rocket of distress, was greeted with a
simultaneous yell of delight. But our joy was dampened suddenly by
some one suggesting that the search-light might have been merely a
coincidence as to time, and that the ship was in reality using it, as
often happened, for other purposes. Then, too, as this same Jeremiah
pointed out, a distress rocket would always be answered by a rocket,
or at least by a Coston signal.

There was a general lowering of personal temperature at this, and a
few moments later, with even less confidence than we had sent up the
first rocket, a second one was launched. But this proved a failure,
and went down instead of up, covering the water with a shower of
golden sparks, which hissed and sputtered angrily on the green waves
that were rocking the little _Hilda_ back and forth as if she had
been a cockle-shell. Of course there was no answer to this signal,
for the ship could not have seen it at her great distance.

In the meantime the tide was going out so rapidly that we soon found
ourselves in only two fathoms of water, the _Hilda_ drawing one
and a half fathoms, while every few minutes the bottom of the launch
ground ominously on the rocks below. The pilot of the little craft was
stretched out on the covered hatchway, frightfully seasick from the
churning motion of the boat, when the native engineer, ghastly with
terror, reported to the Governor what we had for some time suspected,
namely, that we were anchored on a coral reef. To stay there much
longer was out of the question, but as the boiler would not work,
the only other alternative was to let the boat drift out to sea on
the tide.

While we were all ostentatiously cool, I think there was not one
among us but mentally computed just how long it would take for
a hole to be knocked in the bottom of the boat, leaving us at the
mercy of those cruel, green waves that licked at the _Hilda's_ sides
with foaming tongues, eager for their prey. Our Jeremiah added to
the general cheerfulness by advancing an enlivening theory to the
effect that the Siminol Moros would undoubtedly surround us ere long,
attracted by our futile signals to the ship, and brought up pleasant
visions of swarthy pirates, under the leadership of our interpreter,
making us walk the plank, or fighting against us to the death on a
deck slippery with our own blood.

Only one more rocket left! How carefully it was hoisted to the top
of the awning, and how circumspect was the man who applied a lighted
cigarette to the fuse, while the rest of us breathlessly awaited the
result. What if it, too, should prove a failure? The very thought
was terrifying. But there went the rocket--up, up, up,--a steadily
mounting streak of red, which seemed to touch the dark dome of the
heavens before breaking into a shower of golden sparks. Eagerly we
watched the ship for some answering sign. The seconds seemed like
hours, the minutes like days. But at last, way over in the distance,
a rocket from the _Burnside_ split the darkness, and we looked at one
another silently, too deeply moved for cheers, knowing it was only
a question then of a race between our ship's launch and the hungry,
hurrying tide.

After a bit we laughed and joked a great deal to make the moments
pass more quickly, while our host told good yarns and recited some
of Eugene Field's inimitable verse in an inimitable way, to a running
accompaniment of the waves dashing against the side of the launch and
her occasional bumping on the rocks below. So long as most of us live
I fancy that "Casey's Table d'Hôte" will be associated in our minds
with that night on the coral reef.

At last in the distance we saw the red, white, and blue Coston signal
of the _Burnside's_ launch, its skipper doubtless asking us for a
guiding light, our lantern on the masthead not being visible over
a mile. For a moment we were at a loss what to do, our last rocket
having been used to signal to the ship, but some one took a newspaper
which had been wrapped around a package, divided it in two, soaking
one half of it in machinery oil from the engine-room. This greasy
paper was then put on the end of a fishing-spear, and, when lighted,
it made a glorious blaze, which was immediately answered by a second
signal from the ship's launch, which changed its course, making for us
more directly. A little later, in answer to another signal, we lighted
the paper remaining, and in reply to still another, some waste soaked
in oil did duty as a light. By this time the launch was near enough
for us to distinguish its whistle, to which of course we could not
reply, having no steam. Meanwhile the tide was very low. "Nine feet,"
announced some one, sounding, and the coral grated harshly under our
keel. A moment more and the launch might be too late.

But just then came another flash out of the gloom, so near that we were
startled, a shrill whistle, and the rescuing party was at hand. Very
hurriedly the passengers were transferred to the _Burnside, Jr._,
and the _Hilda_ was towed to a safe anchorage, where she was left
for the night.

The ride back to the ship was a long one, and we struck a tide-rip
half-way there, which drenched us all to the skin and tossed the
staunch little craft back and forth, as if she had been a chip on
the water. But at eleven o'clock we climbed aboard the _Burnside_,
after having given the Powers-that-Be and our many friends a fright
which made them threaten us with the brig if it ever happened again.

Fortunately for us, our first rocket had been seen from the ship,
else the launch might have been too late to rescue us, and what we had
taken for a gleam from the search-light was in fact a Coston signal,
our distance from the _Burnside_ not enabling us to distinguish its
red and blue lights, the white alone carrying that far.

A good dinner, finished long after midnight, so rested us that, being
young and foolish, we went ashore with our host of the afternoon,
merely for a farewell glimpse of Bongao, retiring at ever so little
o'clock in the morning, and not very long before the engines began
to puff and pant, preparatory to our trip northward.

Then followed a month of cable repairing, which took us again to
Zamboanga, Iligan, and Cagayan. A little stretch was also laid
connecting Oslob, Cebu, with the Dumaguete land line, and later a
cable laid nearly two years before on the southeast coast of Luzon
was thoroughly overhauled and put into shape. This cable connected
Pasacao and Guinayangan, or Pass-a-cow and Grin-again-then, as we
always dubbed the towns.

It was on our way to Pasacao from Iligan that we had our last glimpse
of old Mount Malindang, or, as the sailors called it, Mount Never
Pass, because it was so seldom off our horizon. All day the sea had
been oily smooth, and fish jumped out of the water continually, the
sea-gulls swooping down upon them and carrying them off in their
talons. The sailors had been holy-stoning the decks and painting
every bit of available woodwork white, preparatory to our entrance
into Manila Bay, and the cable machinery for the nonce was still,
the native employees lounging about the lower decks, playing monte
or strumming their guitars in idle joy.

At sunset we all went aft to see Malindang for the last time. To
the southeast it stood stolidly against the flushed sky, a white
cloud about it, reminding one of some old Indian chief wrapped in
his blanket, passively watching the departure of the pale-faces who
had invaded his mighty solitude. To the north were Negros, Cebu, and
Siquijor; to the south Mindanao; and even far-distant Camaguin to the
east, with a faint wisp of smoke from its volcano. Then night came
upon us suddenly and blotted out Mount Never Pass--perhaps forever.

After our experiences in the far south, we found Oslob, Pasacao, and
Guinayangan strangely uninteresting, although at the beginning of our
cable trip I have no doubt we should have enjoyed them hugely. There
were the same curious natives who dogged our every footstep; the
same nipa shacks surrounded by palms and bamboos in the same dazzling
sunshine, of which no words or symbols or formulas could give one an
idea. There were the inevitable churches with decorations of faded
artificial flowers and much tarnished tinsel, the same wooden images
with large eyes and simpering little mouths, the same glaring chromos
of the Virgin and her angels.

In Oslob the church was further decorated by brown velvet portières
being painted at each side of the long windows, an obvious advantage
in the event of house-cleaning, while the wooden pillars were also
stained to resemble marble. At the time of our visit women knelt on
the bare floor at their prayers, all wearing stiffly starched white
linen veils, which did not entirely conceal their fleshly interest
in ourselves, the while they told their rosaries with busy fingers.

Guinayangan had a wooden belfry to one side of its church, the bells
therein being made of metal arms captured from the Moros many years
before. We also noticed, on entering the church, a palanquin shaped
affair at one side of the door. This, we were told, was used by
the priest in processions, when altar boys dressed in scarlet and
white robes carry him thus enthroned, two other boys walking ahead
of the procession and two behind, all bearing candles in candelabra
taller than themselves, and all dressed in scarlet and white like
the bearers of the palanquin. It was used as well for a confessional,
and to carry the priest to and from visits of extreme unction.

Guinayangan also boasts a shipyard, which is nothing more than a rough
shed, the implements being most primitive in construction. Without
even ways, not to mention the absence of means, it is said that large
sailing ships are made there, two of them being in the harbour at
the time of our visit.

For several days we hovered in the vicinity of Guinayangan and Pasacao,
cutting and splicing, splicing and cutting, while we idle ones of
the quarter-deck unanimously decided that this lower corner of Luzon
Island comprised the prettiest landscapes we had seen on the trip,
consisting for the main part of wonderful mountains covered with a
luxurious tropical growth of trees and shrubbery, these perpendicular
forests springing out of the water with scarcely any intervention of
beach between their green sides and the sparkling sea beneath them.

In places the mountains were bare of trees, suggesting forest fires
in the past, but in the distant past, as the patches of ground were
covered with grass, the exact tender shade in which the young Spring
clothes herself at home. In many of these rifts between the trees
nipa houses were tucked away, adding to the charm of the landscape,
and the multifarious shades of green to be found on these hillsides
were further diversified by shrub-like trees with a faint red tinge
like furze, and by still others with a silvery sheen to their leaves.

It was while paying this long-laid line into the tanks, when
looking for faults, that wonderful sea growths were brought up on
the cable, especially in comparatively shallow water, revealing
varieties of submarine life undreamed of in our philosophy. There
was white coral, and coral in shades of pink, and red, and violet;
there were sea-cucumbers and jellyfish; shrimp of tiny proportions
and scarlet in colouring; barnacles of every description; curious
shells of fairy-like proportions; seaweeds and grasses and moss of
exquisite delicacy, making the cable look in places as if it were a
rope of tiny many coloured blossoms. The small girl of the _Burnside_
was enchanted with the pretty playthings sent her by the mermaids,
and gathered the gaily tinted wonders into a box for safe-keeping,
but before the passing of another day they had lost their beauty, and,
moreover, smelled up to very heaven, and had to be thrown overboard.

But at last the Signal Corps completed its work on the
Pasacao-Guinayangan cable, the final splice was made, and the bight
dropped overboard, whereupon we were off for Manila, stopping _en
route_ at Pasacao to ascertain if all were well with the line. This was
on Good Friday, and the officers who went ashore said that natives,
dressed to represent the Twelve Apostles, roamed the streets and at
given intervals flagellated one poor chap who had been elected to
represent Judas for the time being. The native padre assisted in the
semi-religious function, and all seemed more interested in it as a
diversion than impressed by its devotional significance.

The rest of the day we sailed over absolutely peaceful water, with
scarcely a ripple on its crystal surface, swinging in and out of the
myriad wooded islands, peninsulas, and capes that make the southern
part of Luzon so ragged and uneven on the map, and thence into the
China Sea, where we floated, sky above and sky below, for hours,
anchoring off Manila on the following forenoon, just in time to spend
Easter Sunday, April 7th, at the capital.

And so ended our cable trip and those pleasant days in the far South
Seas. The huge tanks on the forward deck of the _Burnside_ yawned
hungrily for the five hundred knots of cable now lying in those
distant waters, linking together the strange lands we had seen _en
route_, and as we stood for the last time looking down into those
empty tanks, tar-stained and reeking with moisture, I was strongly
reminded of Mr. Kipling's "Song of the Cable:"

    "The wrecks dissolve above us; their dust drops down from
    afar-- Down to the dark, to the utter dark, where blind
    white sea-snakes are. There is no sound, no echo of sound,
    in the deserts of the deep, On the great, gray, level plains
    of ooze, where the shell-burred cables creep. Here in the
    womb of the world--here on the tie-ribs of earth-- Words,
    and the words of men, flicker and flutter and beat."

                         THE END.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Woman's Journey through the Philippines - On a Cable Ship that Linked Together the Strange Lands Seen En Route" ***

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