An Ohio Woman in the Philippines
Giving Personal Experiences and Descriptions Including Incidents of Honolulu, Ports in Japan and China
Mrs. Emily Bronson Conger
Published with illustrations
1904 Press of Richard H. Leighton Akron, Ohio
TO HIS DEAR MEMORY.
To my beloved husband, ARTHUR LATHAM CONGER, whose love was—Is my sweetest incentive; whose approval was—Is my richest reward. Mizpah, EMILY BRONSON CONGER.
Out of the Golden Gate 7-14 First Glimpses of Japan 15-20 From Yokohama to Tokio 21-25 Tokio 26-33 Japan in General 34-41 In Shanghai 42-49 Hong Kong to Manila 50-55 Iloilo and Jaro 56-66 The Natives 67-77 Wooings and Weddings 78-82 My First Fourth in the Philippines 83-88 Flowers, Fruits and Berries 89-92 The Markets 93-95 Philippine Agriculture 96-100 Minerals 101-103 Animals 104-106 Amusements and Street Parades 107-110 Festivals of the Church 111-114 Osteopathy 115-122 The McKinley Campaign 123-125 Governor Taft at Jaro 126-132 Shipwreck 133-138 Filipino Domestic Life 139-151 Islands Cebu and Romblom 152-154 Literature 155-159 The Gordon Scouts 160-162 Trials of Getting Home 163-166
OUT OF THE GOLDEN GATE.
With the words ringing out over the clear waters of San Francisco Bay as the Steamer Morgan City pulled from the dock, "Now, mother, do be sure and take the very next boat and come to me," I waved a yes as best I could, and, turning to my friends, said: "I am going to the Philippines; but do not, I beg of you, come to the dock to see me off."
I did not then realize what it meant to start alone. I vowed to stay in my cabin during the entire trip, but, as we steamed out of the Golden Gate, there was an invitation to come forth, a prophesy of good, a promise to return, in the glory of the last rays of the setting sun as they traced upon the portals, "We shall be back in the morning." And so I set out with something of cheer and hope, in spite of all the remonstrances, all the woeful prognostications of friends.
If I could not find something useful to do for my boy and for other boys, I could accept the appointment of nurse from the Secretary of War, General Russell A. Alger. But, if it proved practicable, I preferred to be under no obligations to render service, for my health was poor, my strength uncertain.
The sail from San Francisco to Honolulu was almost without incident; few of the two thousand souls on board were ill at all. They divided up into various cliques and parties, such as are usually made up on ocean voyages. When we arrived at Honolulu, I did not expect to land, but I was fortunate in having friends of my son's, Hon. J. Mott Smith, Secretary of State, and family meet me, and was taken to his more than delightful home and very generously, royally entertained.
My impressions were, as we entered the bay, that the entire population of Honolulu was in the water. There seemed to be hundreds of little brown bodies afloat just like ducks.
The passengers threw small coins into the bay, and those aquatic, human bodies would gather them before they could reach the bottom.
The city seemed like one vast tropical garden, with its waving palms, gorgeous foliage and flowers, gaily colored birds and spicy odors, but mingled with the floral fragrance were other odors that betokened a foreign population.
It was my first experience in seeing all sorts and conditions of people mingling together—Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiians, English, Germans and Americans. Then the manner of dress seemed so strange, especially for the women; they wore a garment they call halicoes like the Mother Hubbard that we so much deride.
We visited the palace of the late Queen, Liliuokalani (le-le-uo-ka-la-ne), now turned into a government building; saw the old throne room and the various articles that added to the pomp and vanity of her reign. I heard only favorable comments on her career. All seemed to think that she had been a wise and considerate ruler.
I noticed many churches of various denominations, but was particularly interested in my own, the Protestant Episcopal. The Rt. Rev. H. C. Potter, Bishop of New York, and his secretary, Rev. Percy S. Grant, were passengers on board our ship, the Gaelic. The special purpose of the Bishop's visit to Honolulu was to effect the transfer of the Episcopal churches of the Sandwich Islands to the jurisdiction of our House of Bishops. He expressed himself as delighted with his cordial reception and with the ready, Christian-like manner with which the Supervision yielded. The success of his delicate mission was due, on Bishop Potter's side, to the wise and fraternal presentation of his cause and to his charming wit and courtesy.
It was still early morning when my friends with a pair of fine horses drove from the shore level by winding roads up through the foot hills, ever up and up above the luxuriant groves of banana and cocoanut, the view widening, and the masses of rich foliage growing denser below or broadening into the wide sugar plantations that surrounded palatial homes. We returned for luncheon and I noted that not one house had a chimney, that every house was protected with mosquito netting; porches, doors, windows, beds, all carefully veiled.
After dinner we again set forth with a pair of fresh horses and drove for miles along the coast, visiting some of the beautiful places that we had already seen from the heights. The beauty of gardens, vines, flowers, grasses, hills, shores, ocean was bewildering. In the city itself are a thousand objects of interest, of which not the least is the market.
I had never seen tropical fish before, and was somewhat surprised by the curious shapes and varied colors of the hundreds and thousands of fish exposed for sale. I do not think there was a single color scheme that was not carried out in that harvest of the sea. Fruits and flowers were there, too, in heaps and masses at prices absurdly low. With the chatter of the natives and the shrill cry of the fishermen as they came in with their heavily laden boats, the scene was one never to be forgotten.
The natives have a time honored custom of crowning their friends at leave-taking with "Lais" (lays). These garlands are made by threading flowers on a string about a yard and a half long, usually each string is of one kind of flower, and, as they throw these "Lais" over the head of the friend about to leave, they say or sing, "Al-o-ah-o, until we meet again."
This musical score is the greeting of good-day, good-morning, or good-bye; always the greeting of friends. They chose for me strings of purple and gold flowers. The golden ones were a sort of wax begonia and the purple were almost like a petunia.
Instead of sitting on the deck of the steamer by myself, as I had purposed, I had one of the most delightful days I have ever spent in my life. It was with deep regret, when the boat pulled from the wharf, that I answered with the newly acquired song, "Al-o-ah-o," the kindly voices wafted from the shore. We had taken on board many new passengers, and were now very closely packed in, so much so, that to our great disgust one family, a Chinaman, his wife, children and servants, fourteen in number, occupied one small stateroom. It is easy to believe that that room was full and overflowing into the narrow hallways. Though he had eight or nine children and one or two wives, he said he was going to China to get himself one more wife, because the one that he had with him did bite the children so much and so badly.
I had never before seen so many various kinds of Chinese people, and it was a curious study each day to watch them at their various duties in caring for one another and preparing their food. Strange concoctions were some of those meals. They all ate with chop-sticks, and I never did find out how they carried to the mouth the amount of food consumed each day. One day we heard a great commotion down in their quarters, and, of course, all rushed to see what was the matter. We were passing the spot where, years before, a ship had sunk with a great number of Chinese on board. Our Chinese were sending off fire crackers and burning thousands and thousands of small papers of various colors and shapes, with six to ten holes in each paper. Some were burning incense and praying before their Joss. The interpreter told us that every time a steamer passes they go through these rites to keep the Devils away from the souls of the shipwrecked Chinese. Before any Evil Spirit can reach a soul it must go through each one of the holes in the burnt papers that were cast overboard.
Bishop Potter asked us one day if we thought those Chinese people were our brethren. I am sure it took some Christian charity to decide that they were. One of these "brethren" was a Salvation Army man, who was married to an American woman. They were living in heathen quarters between decks and each day labored to teach the way of salvation. Many of these poor people died during the passage; the bodies were placed in boxes to be carried to their native land. A large per cent. of the whole number seemed to be going home to die, so emaciated and feeble were they.
There was fitted up in one of the bunks in the hold of the vessel a Joss house. I did not dare to see it, but I learned that there was the usual pyramid of shelves containing amongst them the gods of War and Peace. Before each god is a small vessel of sand to hold the Joss sticks, a perfumed taper to be burned in honor of the favorite deity, and there is often added a cup of tea and a portion of rice. There are no priests or preachers, but some man buys the privilege of running the Joss house, and charges each worshipper a small fee. The devotee falls on his knees, lays his forehead to the floor, and invocates the god of his choice. Soothsayers are always in attendance, and for a small sum one may know his future.
As between Chinese and Japanese, for fidelity, honesty, veracity and uprightness, my impression is largely in favor of the Chinese as a race. Captain Finch told me that on this ship, the Gaelic, over which he had had charge for the past fifteen years, he had had, as head waiter, the same Chinaman that he started out with, and in all this period of service he never had occasion to question the integrity of this most faithful servant, who in the entire time had not been absent from the ship more than three days in all. On these rare occasions, this capable man had left for his substitute such minute instructions on bits of rice paper, placed where needed, that the work was carried on smoothly without need of supervision or other direction. The same holds true of Chinese servants on our Pacific coast. I was much pleased with the attention they gave each and every one of us during the entire trip; it was better service than any that I have ever seen on Atlantic ships. In the whole month's trip, I never heard one word of complaint.
Being a good sailor, I can hardly judge as to the "Peacefulness of the Pacific." Many were quite ill when to me there was only a gentle roll of the steamer, soothing to the nerves, and the splash of the waves only lulled me to sleep.
By day there were many entertainments, such as races, walking matches, quoits, and like games. Commander J. V. Bleecker, en route to take charge of the Mercedes reclaimed in Manila Bay, was a masterly artist in sleight-of-hand performances, and contributed much to the fun.
Often the evenings were enlivened with concerts and readings. Col. J. H. Bird, of New York, gave memorized passages from Shakespeare—scenes, acts, and even entire plays in perfect voice and character. We thought we were most fortunate in the opportunity to enjoy his clever rendition of several comedies.
But to one passenger, at least, the best and sweetest ministrations of all were the religious services. Bishop Potter took part in all wholesome amusements. He was often the director; he was the delightful chairman at all our musical and literary sessions; but it was in sacred service that his noble spiritual powers found expression. One calm, radiant Sunday morning he spoke with noblest eloquence on these words of the one hundred thirty-ninth psalm:—
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost part of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me and thy right hand shall hold me.
Fifteen months later, when wrecked on the coast of Panay, his clear voice again sounded in my soul with the assurance, "Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me."
FIRST GLIMPSES OF JAPAN.
But for all our devices to while away the time, the thirty-two days of ship life was to all of us the longest month of our lives. The Pacific, as Mr. Peggotty says, is "a mort of water," a vast, desolate waste of waters from Honolulu to our first landing place, Yokohama. We had a wonderful glimpse of the sacred mountain, Fujiyama. The snow-capped peak stood transfigured as it caught full the rays of the descending sun. Cone-shaped, triangular, perhaps; what was it like, this gleaming silhouette against the deep blue sky? Was it a mighty altar, symbol of earth's need of sacrifice, or emblem of the unity of the ever present triune God? 'Tis little wonder that it is, to the people over whom it stands guard, an object of reverence, of worship; that pilgrimages are made to its sacred heights; that yearly many lives are sacrificed in the toilsome ascent on bare feet, on bare knees.
As we went through Japan's inland sea, one of the most beautiful bodies of water on the globe, it seemed, at times, as if we might reach out and shake hands with the natives in their curious houses, we passed so near to them—the odd little houses, unlike any we had ever seen; while about us was every known kind of Japanese craft with curious sails of every conceivable kind and shape. On the overloaded boats the curious little Japanese sailors, oddly dressed in thick padded coverings and bowl caps on their heads, with nothing on limbs and feet save small straw sandals, strapped to the feet between great and second toes, looked top-heavy.
While I watched all these new things, I was eagerly on the lookout for the wreck of the Morgan City, on which my son had sailed. Nothing was visible of the ill-fated ship but a single spar, one long finger of warning held aloft. As we passed on, watching the busy boats plying from shore to shore, the Chinese on the boat chattered and jabbered faster with each other than before; we fancied they were making fun of their little Japanese brethren. We arrived at Yokohama about 9 P. M., and were immediately placed in quarantine. The next morning a dozen Japanese quarantine officers appeared, covered all over with straps and bands of gold lace. They looked so insignificant and put on such an air of austere authority that one did not know whether to laugh or cry at their pomposity. They checked us off by squads and dozens, and by 12 o'clock we were ready to land. It was our first touch of Japanese soil, and we were about to take our first ride in a Jinricksha. It was very beautiful to hear as a greeting, "Ohio." As I had been told by a Japanese student, whom I met in Cambridge, Mass., that this is the national greeting, I was not unprepared as was a fellow passenger, who said, "Oh, he must know where you came from." My height and my white hair seemed to make me an object of interest. It was such a novel thing to be hauled around in those two-wheeled carts, one man pulling at the thills and another pushing at the rear. It is a fine experience, and one which we all enjoyed. The whole outfit is hired by the day for about a dollar, the price depending upon the amount of Pigeon English the leader can speak. The first thing they say to you is, "Me can speak English." We found the hotel admirably kept.
The blind Japanese are an interesting class. They are trained at government cost to give massage treatment, and no others are allowed to practice. These blind nurses, male and female, go about the streets in care of an attendant, playing a plaintive tune on a little reed whistle in offer of their services. The treatment is delightful, the sensation is wholly new, and is most restful and invigorating after a long voyage.
No wonder that so many of the Japs are weak-eyed or totally blind. The children are exposed to the intense rays of the sun, as, suspended on their mothers' backs, they dangle in their straps with their little heads wabbling helplessly. From friends who have kept house many years, I learned that the service rendered by the Japanese is, as a whole, unsatisfactory. Their cooking is entirely different from ours, and they do not willingly adapt themselves to our mode of living.
It is not my purpose to tell much about Japan and China; they were only stages on the way to the Philippines; and yet they were a preparation for the new, strange life there. But such is the charm of Japan that one's memories cling to its holiday scenes and life.
The Japanese are really wise in beginning their New Year in spring. The first of April, cherry blossom day, is made the great day of all the year. There are millions of cherry blossoms on trees larger than many of our largest apple trees—wonderful double-flowering, beautiful trees, just one mass of pink blossoms as far as the eye can reach. They do so reverence these blossoms that they rarely pluck them, but carry about bunches made of paper or silk tissue that rival the natural ones in perfection. No person is so poor that he cannot, on this great festal day, have his house, shop, place of amusement or, at least, umbrella bedecked with these delicate blossoms. It is almost beyond belief the extent to which they carry this festal day, given up entirely to greetings and parades.
Then the wonderful wisteria! In its blossoming time the flower clusters hang from long sprays like rich fringe. From the hill-tops the view down on the tiny cottages, wreathed with the luxuriant vines, is most beautiful. A single cluster is often three feet long. They make cups, bowls and plates from the trunk of the vine.
There are marsh fields of the white lotus. The ridges of the heavily thatched roofs are set with iris plants and their many hued blossoms make a garden in the air.
One should visit Japan from April to November. In the cultivation of the chrysanthemum they lay more stress on the small varieties than we do; they prefer number to size. The autumn foliage is beautiful beyond belief,—vision alone can do it justice. The hillsides, the mountain slopes are thickly set with the miniature maples and evergreens; the clear, brilliant hues of the one, heightened by contrast with the dark green of the other, are strikingly vivid.
The trees and shrubs are surely more gnarled and knotted than they are in Christian countries. They are trained in curious fashion. One limb of a tree is coaxed and stretched to see how far it can be extended from the body of the tree. At first I could not believe that these limbs belonged to a stump so far away. The Japanese pride themselves on their shrubs and flowers. Nothing gave me more pleasure than seeing all this cultivation of the gardens, no matter how small, around each home. I did not see a single bit of wood in Japan like anything that we have. The veining, color, texture and adaptiveness to polish suggest marble of every variety.
At Yokohama I engaged a guide, Takenouchi. I found him to be a faithful attendant; his devotion and energy in satisfying my various requests was unwearied; I shall ever feel grateful to him. He would make me understand by little nods, winks, and sly pushes that I was not to purchase, and he would afterwards say: "I will go back and get the articles for you for just one-half the price the shop-keeper told you." They hope to sell to Americans for a better price than they ever get from each other. We went to every kind of shop; they are amusingly different from ours. Few things are displayed in the windows or on the shelves, but they are done up in fine parcels and tucked away out of sight. It is the rule to take two or three days to sit at various counters before you attempt to purchase. The seller would much rather keep his best things; he tries in every way to induce you to take the cheaper ones, or ones of inferior quality. My guide was in every way capable and efficient in the selection of fine embroideries, porcelain, bronzes, and pictures.
FROM YOKOHAMA TO TOKIO.
From Yokohama to Tokio, a two hours' ride on the steam cars, one is constantly gazing at the wonderful country and its perfect cultivation. There are no vast prairies of wheat or corn, but the land is divided into little patches, and each patch is so lovingly tended that it looks not like a farm but like a garden; while each garden is laid out with as much care as if it were some part of Central Park, thick with little lakes, artistic bridges and little waterfalls with little mills, all too diminutive, seemingly, to be of any use, and yet all occupied and all busy turning out their various wares.
I understand they even hoe the drilled-in wheat. The rice, the staple of the country, is so cared for and tended that it sells for much more than other rice. Imported rice is the common food.
As our guide said, we must go to the "Proud of Japan," Nikko, to see the most wonderful temples of their kind in all the world. We took the cars at Yokohama for Nikko. It was an all day trip with five changes of cars, but every step of the way was through one vast curious workshop of both divine and human hands. The railway fare is only two cents a mile, first class, and half that, second class; we left the choice to our guide. A good guide is almost indispensable. Our faithful Takenouchi was proficient in everything; he was valet, courier, guide, instructor, purchasing agent, and maid. I never knew a person so efficient in every way; he could be attentively absent; he never intruded himself upon us in any way. It is impossible to describe the wonderful temples! They must be seen to be appreciated and, even then, one must needs have a microscope, so minute are the carvings in ivory, bronze, and porcelain, inlaid and wrought with gold and silver; many of them, ancient though they are, are still marvels of delicate lines of the patient labor of the past centuries. One of the gods, which was in a darkened temple, had a hundred heads, and the only way one could see it was by a little lantern hung on the end of a string and pulled up slowly. But even in that dim light we stood awestruck before that miracle wrought in stone. No one is allowed to walk near this god with shoes upon his feet. Unbelievers though we were, we were awed by the colossal grandeur of this great idol. The God of Wind, the God of War, the God of Peace, "the hundred Gods" all in line, were, when counted one way, one hundred, but in the reverse order only ninety-nine. To pray to the One Hundred, it is necessary only to buy a few characters of Japanese writings and paste them upon any one of the gods, trusting your cause to him and the Nikko.
The bells, the first tones of which came down through that magnificent forest of huge trees and echoing from the rocks of that wonderful ravine, will ever sound in my ears as an instant call to a reverential mood. The solemn music was unlike any tone I had ever heard before; now it seemed the peal of the trumpet of the Last Day, now a call to some festival of angels and arch-angels. As the first thrills of emotion passed, it seemed a benediction of peace and rest; the evening's Gloria to the day's Jubilate, for it was the sunset hour.
The next morning we took our guide and three natives to each foreigner to assist in getting us up the Nikko mountain. It took from 7 o'clock in the morning until 2 in the afternoon to reach the summit. Every mountain peak was covered with red, white, and pink azaleas. Our pathway was over a carpet of the petals of these exquisite blooms. We used every glowing adjective that we could command at every turn of these delightful hills, and at last joined in hymns of praise. Each alluring summit, as soon as reached, dwindled to a speck in comparison with the grandeur that was still further awaiting us. We stopped often to let the men rest, who had to work so hard pulling our little carts up these steep ascents.
There is a great waterfall in the hills, some two hundred fifty feet high, but none of us dared to make the point that gives an entire view of it. All we could see added proof of our paucity of words to express our surprise that the reputed great wonders of this "Proud" were really true. On returning we were often obliged to alight and walk over fallen boulders, this being the first trip after the extreme winter snows. At one place, being "overtoppled" by the weight of my clothes and the cramped position that I had been in, I lost my balance and fell down, it seemed to me to be about a mile and a half. In a moment there were at least fifty pairs of hands to assist me up the mountain side. A dislocated wrist, a battered nose, and a blackened eye was the inventory of damages. Such a chattering as those natives did set up, while I, with a bit of medical skill, which I am modestly proud of, attended to my needs. The day had been so full of delights that I did not mind being battered and bruised, nor did I lose appetite for the very fine dinner we had at the Nikko Hotel, so daintily served in the most attractive fashion by the little Japanese maidens in their dainty costumes. In the evening the hotel became a lively bazaar. All sorts of wares were spread out before us—minute bridges modeled after the famous Emperor's Bridge at this place. No person is allowed to walk upon it but His Majesty. The story goes that General Grant was invited to cross over upon it, but declined with thanks. In returning we drove through that most wonderful grove of huge trees, the Cryptomaria, a kind of cedar, which rise to a height of one hundred fifty or two hundred feet. I may not have the number of feet exactly, but they are so tremendous that one wonders if they can really be living Cryptomaria. Indeed, much of all Japan seems artificial. Every tiny little house has its own little garden, perhaps but two feet square, yet artistically laid out with bridges, temples, miniature trees two or three inches high, flowers in pots, walks, and little cascades, all too toy-like and tiny for any but children. Nearly all of the houses have their little temples, and the children have their special gods; little boys have their gods of learning and their gods of war. The prayer to the god of learning is about like this: "Oh, Mr. God of Learning, won't you please help me to learn my lessons, won't you please help me to pass my examinations, and Oh, Mr. God of learning, if you will only help me pass my examination and to study my lessons and get them well, when I get through I will bring you a dish of pickles." This prayer was given me by a Japanese student who studied in our country.
We found that nearly every banking house and hotel had for their expert accountants and rapid calculators, Chinamen. I finally asked one of the proprietors how it happened and he said it was because they could trust the Chinese to be more faithful and accurate. On the other hand, when we got to Hong Kong we found that the policemen were of India, because the Chinese could not be trusted to do justice to their fellow men. There was such a difference between the service of the coolie Jinricksha men in Hong Kong and in Japan. They did not seem so weak or travel-weary, and yet they had often to take people on much harder journeys.
Tokio, the capital, with a population almost equal to New York, looks like a caricature, a miniature cast such as one sees of the Holy Land. The earliest mention of the use of checks in Europe is in the latter part of the seventeenth century. The Japanese had already been using them for forty years; they had also introduced the strengthening features of requiring them to be certified.
Visiting the Rice Exchange in Tokio during a year of famine, when subject to wide and sudden fluctuations, it was easy to imagine one's self in the New York Stock Exchange, on the occasion of a flurry in Wall Street. There was the same seeming madness intensified by the guttural sounds of the language, and the brokers were not a whit more intelligible than a like mob in any other city. I said to the interpreter: "You Japanese have succeeded in copying every feature of the New York Stock Exchange." "New York!" he exclaimed, "why, this very thing has been going on here in Japan these two hundred years!"
The palace is a long, low building, unattractive in itself, but its gardens with every beautiful device of native art, fountains, bridges, shrines, fantastically trimmed trees, flowers, winding ways, are amazingly artistic.
The Lord High Chamberlain has ordered every civil officer to appear at court ceremonies in European dress. It seems such a pity, for they are not of the style or carriage to adopt court costumes. One government official wanted to be so very correct that he wore his dress suit to business. So anxious are they to be thought civilized. There is nothing that hurts a gentleman's feelings in Japan more than to hear one say, "They have such a beautiful country and when they are converted from heathenism it will be ideal." There is a strong Episcopal church and college in the capital.
I am not at all prepared to judge the Japanese creeds or modes of worship. But one may infer something of what people are taught, from their character and conduct. The children honor their parents; the women seem obedient to their husbands and masters; and the men are imbued with the love of country.
The prevailing religion of Japan is Shintoism, and through the kindness of Rev. B. T. Sakai, I will give a bit of his experience. He wished to acquire a better knowledge of English and found that Trinity College in Tokio could give him the best instruction. He went to this institution, pledged that he would not, on any account, become a Christian, and assisted in the persecution of his fellow students, who were becoming convinced of the truth of Christianity. During the extreme cold weather, the institution was badly in need of warmer rooms. Several of the students met and decided to make an appeal to the Bishop. They went to him, three Japanese boys who were converted and two who were not, and told him in very plain language that they would not endure the cold in their rooms any longer. The Bishop listened attentively and finally said, "Well, young men, you are perfectly right, and I have a very good solution of the difficulty. I am an old man and cannot live many years, so I will give you my warm room and I will take the cold one." He told me that was something new to him, that a person of his years and standing should be willing to make so great a sacrifice. He said that he could not keep the tears from running down his cheeks, and on no account would any of these boys accept the Bishop's proposal; he gave them a new idea of Christian charity.
KOBE AND NAGASAKI.
From Nikko we returned to Yokohama and thence by steamer to Kobe. The U. S. Consul, General M. Lyon, and his wife met me. They gave me the first particulars of the wreck of the Morgan City. Nothing could exceed their kindness during the two days of my stay there. Their familiarity with the language, the people, and the shops was a great help to me. And when we returned home, I found the little son of my hosts the most interesting object of all. Born in Kobe, cared for by a native nurse, an ama, as they are called, he spoke no English, only Japanese. He was a beautiful child, fair, golden haired, blue eyed, and sweet of temper.
The garden of the U.S. Consul at Kobe was a marvel of beauty. There was a rumor that the United States government might purchase it. I hope so, because it is in a part of the city which has a commanding view of the bay, and it is such a joy to see our beautiful flag floating from the staff in front of the consulate. No one appreciates the meaning of "Our Flag" until one sees it in foreign countries.
I visited the famous Buddhist Temple of Kobe; it was placed in a garden and there were hundreds of poor, sore eyed, sickly, dirty Japanese people around, and it gave one the impression that this temple might have been used for other purposes than worship. In all the temples that I visited, I never saw, except in one, anything that approached worship, and that was in the Sacred Temple of the White Horse, Nagasaki, and an American who had lived there for eight years said that I must be mistaken for she had never heard of any such doings as I saw. There seemed to be about a dozen priests who were carrying hot water which they dipped out of a boiling caldron and were sprinkling it about in the temple with curious intonations and chantings. They ran back and forth, swishing the water about in a very promiscuous manner. I stood at a respectful distance fearing to get some of the hot fluid on myself. Meanwhile the White Horse stood in the yard well groomed and cared for, little knowing what they were doing in his honor. I could not hear of a single place where their poor or sick and afflicted were cared for. They may have asylums and hospitals, but I never heard of any.
Nagasaki is beautiful for situation. A river-like inlet, reminding one of the Hudson river, leads into the broad lake-like harbor. Eight or ten of our transports lay at anchor and still there was abundant room for the liners and for the little craft plying between this and the small ports.
The dock is famous; all our ships in the east put in here for repairs if possible.
The high hills circle about the town and bay; they are highly cultivated and dotted with the peculiar Japanese house. The native house of but one story, is not more than twelve or fourteen feet square, and is divided into rooms only by paper screens that may be removed at will. The people live out of doors as much as possible, or in their arbors. In cold weather a charcoal brazier is set in the center of the house. At night each Jap rolls himself in a thickly padded mat and lies on the floor with his feet to this "stove."
A party was made up to visit the Concert Hall of the celebrated Geisha girls. General and Mrs. Greenleaf and many officers and their wives from the transports were of the number. They kindly invited me to join them. A sum total of about fifteen dollars is charged for the entertainment; each one bears his share of the cost. It was a rainy evening, rickshaws were in order. About thirty drew up before the Nagasaki Hotel. It was a sight! the funny little carriages, man before to pull, man behind to push, gaily colored lantern fore and aft and amused Americans in the middle, laughing, singing, and enjoying the fun, a strange contrast to the stolid native.
The long line of carriages wound in and out like a snake with shining scales. The night was so dark that little was to be seen except the firefly lights and the bare tawny legs of the rickshaw men.
It has been said that the Japanese are the soul of music. I am sure that no ears are cultivated to endure it. As we entered the rooms we were obliged to remove our shoes and put on sandals. Instead of sitting down on chairs we took any position we could on the floor mats that were placed at our disposal. At the first sound from the throat of a famous singer in a staccato "E-E-E-E," we all sprang to our feet thinking she was possibly going into some sort of a fit. With a twang on the strings of the flattened out little instrument, we subsided, concluding that the concert had begun. Then when the others joined in, the mingled sounds were not unlike the wail of cats on the back fence. The girls themselves looked pretty, in kneeling posture, lips painted bright red, hair prettily braided and adorned with artificial flowers or bits of jewelry. If they had been quiet they would have looked like beautiful Japanese dolls seated on the floor. After several "catterwaulings" by the choir, came the dances. It was all a series of physical culture movements; the music was rendered in most perfect rhythm by two of the girls, it was the poetry of motion. They would take pieces of silk and make little bouquets, whirlwinds, and divers things; the most beautiful of all was a cascade of water. It was hard for us to believe it was not actually a waterfall. It was made of unfolding yards of white silk of the most sheer and gauzy kind. From a thin package six inches square, there shimmered out a thousand yards—a veritable cascade of gleaming water. We were treated to refreshments, impossible cakes and tea. We were thankful that we sat near an open window that we might throw the cake over our shoulder, trusting some forlorn little Japanese who liked it might get it.
The tea is finely powdered dust; the tea maker is supposed to measure exactly the capacity of the drinker and to take enough of this finely powdered tea to make three and one-half mouthfuls exactly. They do it by taking a rare bit of porcelain and holding it in their hands, turn it about and talk learnedly of the various, wonderful arts of pottery and how many years they have had this certain piece of fine porcelain, turning it about in the meantime in their hands as they comment on its beauties and qualities, and then take three large swallows of the tea and one small sip and then go on talking about the wonders of the cup. These cups are anything but what we should call tea cups. They are really large bowls, sometimes with a cover but more often without. But it is refreshing to drink their tea even if one cannot do it a la Jap. Everywhere in Japan you are asked to take a cup of tea, in the steam cars, in the shops and by the wayside. A Japanese told me that he could tell whether a person was educated or not by the manner in which he drank tea. They take lessons in tea drinking as we do in any accomplishment we wish to acquire. One friend could not resist buying tea pots and pretty cups; she had a grand collection after one day of sight-seeing.
Their potteries are not like ours, huge factories, but household things. Here and there in a family is an artist who can make a bit of porcelain, a few cups, plates, or saucers stamped with his own individual mark. The quality varies, of course, with the skill of the maker, but the poorest work is beautiful; and one develops an insatiate greed to possess this and this and just one more.
The ancient Imari, Satsuma, and the old bits of pottery that have been kept in the older families for centuries are, to my mind, the most wonderful works of art of the kind in the world; they look with pride on the articles of virtu as almost sacred.
JAPAN IN GENERAL.
One of the many objects to attract the eyes of one traveling in Japan is the "Torii" or sacred gateway. It is said that once a bird from Heaven flew down and alighted upon the earth. Here the first gate was erected, the gate of heaven. Its construction, whether it be of wood, stone or metal, is ever the same, two columns slightly inclined toward each other, supporting a horizontal cross-beam with widely projecting ends, and beneath this another beam with its ends fitted into the columns; the whole forming a singularly graceful construction, illustrating how the Japanese produce the best effects with the simplest means. This sacred entrance arches the path wherever any Japanese foot approaches hallowed ground. It is, however, over all consecrated portals and lands, and does not necessarily indicate the nearness of a temple. You find it everywhere in your wanderings, over hill and dale, at the entrance to mountain paths, or deep in the recesses of the woods, sometimes it is on the edge of an oasis of shrubbery, or in the very heart of the rice fields, sometimes in front of cliff or cavern. Pass under its arch and follow the path it indicates and you will reach—it may be by a few steps, it may be by a long walk or climb—a temple sometimes, but more often a simple shrine; and if in this shrine you find nothing; close by you will see some reason for its being there. There will be a twisted pine or grove of stately trees, to consecrate the place and perpetuate some memory. Perhaps the way leads to the view of some magnificent panorama of land or sea spread out before the gazer who, with adoring heart, worships the beauty or the grandeur of his country. Wherever there is a Torii, there is a shrine of his religion; and wherever there is an outlook over the land of his birth, there is a temple of his faith.
As we left Nagasaki for Shanghai, I noticed on this occasion, as on four later visits, the great activity of this port as a coaling station. It has an immense trade. Men, women, and children form in line from the junk which is drawn alongside of our huge ships, and then pass baskets of coal from one to the other. Many of the women and girls have babies strapped on their backs, and there they stand in line for hours passing these baskets back and forth. As I was watching them one day, for I saw them loading many times, for some reason not apparent, they all pounced upon one small man, and, as I thought, kicked him to pieces with their heavy wooden shoes and strong feet. After five minutes of such pummeling, as I was looking for a few shreds of a flattened out Japanese, he arose, shook himself, got in line, and passed baskets as before.
One day from my comfortable bamboo chair I watched some coolies getting some immense timbers out of the bay near where I sat. It did not seem possible that these small men could manage those huge timbers, which were so slippery from lying in the water that they would often have to allow them to slip back, even after they had got them nearly on land. I expected every moment to see those poor creatures either plunge into the water themselves or be crushed by the weight of the heavy timbers; and while I watched for about two hours they must have taken out about twenty or thirty logs, twenty or twenty-five feet long and two feet through. I often watched the coolies unloading ships. Two of them would take six or eight trunks, bind them together, run a heavy bamboo pole through the knotted ends and away they would go. I never saw a single person carding what we, in America, pride ourselves so much on, "a full dinner pail." They did not even seem to have the pail.
There are horses in Japan and they are poor specimens compared with the fine animals that we know. They are chiefly pack-horses, used in climbing over the mountains, consequently they go with their noses almost on the ground. Instead of iron shoes they have huge ones made of plaited straw. They are literally skin and bones, these poor beasts of burden.
Horses may be judged, in part, by the mouth; but the Japs may be wholly judged by the leg. It did distress me to ride after a pair of legs whose calves were abnormally large, whose varicose veins were swollen almost to bursting. As a rule, the men trot along with very little effort and, seemingly, have a very good time. They cheerfully play the part of both horseman and horse, of conductor, motineer and power.
I never could get used to the number of Jinrickshas drawn up in front of the railroad station, and as it is the only way to get about the country, I accepted it with as good a grace as I could. At a large station there may be hundreds of rickshaws and double hundreds of drivers, all clamoring as wildly as our most aggressive cabmen. They wave their hands frantically, crying, "Me speak English! Me speak English! Me speak English!"
They knew originally, or have learned of foreigners, how to cheat in Japan as elsewhere. One often needs to ask, "Is this real tortoise shell?" The answer, even if imitation, is "Now, this is good; this is without flaw." I found it of great advantage, as far as possible, to keep the same men, and they became interested, not only in taking me to better places, but in assisting me in procuring articles, not only of the best value, but at Japanese prices. It is never best to purchase the first time you see anything, even if you want it very badly. I secured one Satsuma cup that has a thousand faces on it. It is very old, very wonderfully exact, and a work of very great art. It took me several days to purchase it, as the man was very loath to part with it, and at the end I got it for very much less than I was willing to give the first day.
They do not seem to have any day of rest—all shops are open seven days of the week. All work goes on in the same unbroken round. Indeed, from the time I left San Francisco until my return, it was hard for me to "keep track" of Sunday, even with the almanac I carried; and when I did chase it down, I involuntarily exclaimed, "But today is Saturday at home; the Saturday crowds will parade the streets this evening; the churches will not be open until tomorrow morning."
I learned here that the average wages of a laboring man, working from dawn to dark, is about seven cents a day of our money. The men do much of the menial service, much of the delicate work, too. The finest embroidery, with most intricate patterns and delicate tracings in white and colors, is done by men. Two will work at the frame, one putting the needle through on his side, and the other thrusting it back. In that way the embroideries are alike on both sides, except the work which is to be framed. They are so very industrious that they very rarely look up when anyone is examining their work.
As I was watching some glass blowers, the little son of one raised his eyes from the various intricate bulbs that he was handing to his father and gave him the wrong color. Without a word of warning the father gave him a severe stroke with the hot tube across the forehead, which left a welt the size of my finger. Without one cry of pain he immediately handed his father the correct tube and went on with his work as if nothing had happened. I had intended to buy that very article, but it would have meant to me the suffering it cost the child, and I would not have taken it if it had been given me.
Sanitary conditions, as far as I could judge, were bad. The houses, in the first place, are very small. I understand they are made small on account of earthquakes. It is said that the whole of Japan is in one quake all the time. They have shocks daily, hence, the houses are only one story high.
I attended an auction of one of the finest collections of works of art that had ever been placed before the public. The only way we could tell that many of these works were especially choice was by the number of elegantly dressed Japanese who were bending before them in admiration. One could see that, as a whole, it was a collection of rare things. The books and pictures were the most interesting. One picture, "White Chickens," on white parchment was very artistic. It did not seen possible that these white feathered fowls could so nearly resemble the live birds in their various attitudes and sizes, for there were about twelve from the smallest chick to the largest crowing chanticleer of the barn yard. Another picture was of fish, which was so exact that one could almost vow that they were alive and ready to be caught. Indeed, one of the fish was on the end of the line with the hook in his mouth, and his resistance was seen from the captive head to the end of the little forked tail. They excel in birds, butterflies and flowers; and one knows the full meaning of the "Flowery Kingdom" of both China and Japan as one travels about. One sees in the public parks notices posted, "Strangers do not molest or capture the butterflies." For nowhere, except in this Oriental country, are the butterflies so gorgeously magnificent.
Japan is truly a land of umbrellas and parasols. With frames made of the light, delicate bamboo, strands woven closely and then either covered with fine rice paper or silk, they are ready for rain or sunshine. They all carry them. The markets are the most attractive that one could imagine, but after hearing of the means used to enrich the soil, it is impossible to enjoy any fruit or vegetable. In all the towns are the native and the European quarters. In the latter one can have thoroughly good accommodations; the service and attendance are excellent.
At one place on the coast of Japan there is cormorant fishing. Men go in small boats with flaring torches, hundreds of them. The birds with their long bills reach down into the water and pick up a huge fish, then the master immediately takes it out of the bill, before it can be swallowed, and places it in his boat for market. These birds in a single evening get thousands of fish. I suppose they are rewarded at the end of their service by being allowed to fish for themselves.
Kite flying is a favorite pastime; the size, shape, and curious decorations are astonishing. They have fights with their kites up in the air, and there is just as much excitement over these kite games as we ever have over foot-ball. They go into paroxysms of joy when the favorite wins. There are singing kites and signal kites and a hundred other kinds.
I saw no children indulging in any games on the streets. As soon as they are able to carry or do anything at all they seem to be employed. I could not but think that most of the Japanese children are unhealthy. Every one of them had sore eyes. Small of statue, the children seemed too small to walk, and yet those that looked only seven or eight years old would, invariably, have each a baby strapped on his back, and the poor little creatures would go running about with the small human burdens dangling as they could.
There is one delightful thing about the people, as a whole, their attentive, courteous manners; their solicitude to assist you in whatever they can. They are a domestic and thrifty little race, the men doing by far the larger part of the work. The enormous burdens that these little mites of humanity can pick up and carry are an increasing wonder.
In visiting Japan, it is convenient to make Yokohama one's headquarters for the northern part of the kingdom, Nagasaki for the southern part, and Kobe for the central part; and from these centers to take excursions to the various points of interest.
My first visit was brief, for I still clung to the Gaelic, moving when she moved, and stopping at her ports according to her schedule. But I returned and made a stay of many months, exploring at leisure the more important or attractive places. I have gathered together in this rambling account the various observations and impressions of these various visits, and have tried to unite them into one story.
But it is time to bid Japan good-bye and sail for China. It is a three days' voyage from Nagasaki to Shanghai. We left the ship at the broad mouth of the Yang-tse-Kiang and in a small river boat went up a tributary to Shanghai, a distance of twelve miles.
I was met at the dock by our Consul General, John Goodnow, and his wife, with their elegantly liveried coachman, and was taken to the consulate, and, after a fine tiffin (lunch), we started for the walled city. A shrinking horror seized me as if I were at the threshold of the infernal regions as we crossed the draw bridge over the moat and entered the narrow gate of the vast city of more than a million souls. Immediately we were greeted by the "wailers" and lepers,—this was my first sight of the loathsome leprosy. Our guide had supplied himself with a quantity of small change. Twenty-five cents of our money made about a quart of their small change. A moment later we met the funeral cortege of a rich merchant. First came wailers and then men beating on drums; then sons of the deceased dressed in white (white is their emblem of mourning); then the servants carrying the body on their shoulders. More wailers followed, then came the wives. It made a strange impression.
The streets are so very narrow that we had to press our bodies close against the wall to keep from being crushed as the procession passed us. We heard the tooting of a horn. Our guide said, "Here comes the Mandarin." We began to press ourselves into a niche in the wall to watch him pass. First came the buglers, then the soldiers and last the gayly-bedecked Mandarin carried in a sedan chair on the shoulders of six coolies. He looked the very picture of the severe authority that he is invested with. They say that he has witnessed in one day the execution of five hundred criminals. He was obliged to put a mark on each one's head with his own fingers, and, after the head was severed from the body, to remark it in proof of the exactness of his work. I was glad when I had seen the last of him, though it is only to go from bad to worse.
In the opium dens, hundreds of people, of both sexes, of various ages, kinds and colors, were reclining in most horrible attitudes. One glimpse was enough for me.
From this place we entered the temple. One of our guides said he was obliged to buy joss-sticks and kneel before the gods or it would make us trouble, because they are watchful of what foreigners do. They consider us white devils. We saw a war god nine feet high mounted on a war steed one foot high, a child's woolly toy. There were placed before the gods about six or eight cups of tea and hundreds of fragrant burning tapers.
At one point our hearts failed us. We came to a dark bridge; it looked so forbidding with its various windings, so frail in structure, so thronged, that we were timid about stepping upon it. Being assured that it was safe we ventured across. While it shook under our weight, we did not fall into the filthy frog-pond beneath.
When we reached the center, there were a number of sleight-of-hand performers who were doing all sorts of curious things; bringing out of the stone pavement living animals, bottles of wine, bits of porcelain, and cakes, too filthy looking even to touch.
There were for sale numbers of beautiful birds in cages and wonderful bits of art of most intricate patterns and exquisite fineness. We saw beautiful pieces of brocaded silk and satin on little hand-looms, made by these patient, ever working people, who only have one week in the year for rest. There does not seem to be any provision made for night or rest, and each Chinaman looks forward to this one holiday week in which he does no work whatever, and in which he must have all the money ready to pay every debt he owes or be punished.
I did not learn how much the average Chinaman gets for a day's wages, but I know that one of my friends sent a dozen linen dresses to be laundried, and that the charge was thirty-six cents. To be sure a satin dress that she sent to be cleaned was put in the tub with the rest. In the markets were impossible looking sausages, dried ducks, and curious frogs. In China, as in Japan, each individual has his own little table about two feet long, fourteen inches wide and six or eight inches high,—not unlike a tray.
Their religion is centuries old, but if cleanliness be next to godliness, they are still centuries away from Christian virtues. The vast city crowded from portal to portal is one seething mass of living beings pushing, hustling, and silent. With the exception of a soothsayer, I did not see in an entire day two people talking together, so intent were they on their various duties.
It was a joy to get out of the native into the European parts of Shanghai and feel safe; and yet there was not a single thing, upon thinking it over, that one could say was alarming, not a disrespectful look from any one. I said upon reaching the outer gate, "Thank God, we are out of there alive and safe." It was the first experience only to be renewed with like scenes and impressions at Canton, with the same thankfulness of heart, too, for escape.
Our guide told us that he would be in no way responsible for anything that might happen in traveling about Canton. The land and its people are a marvel and a mystery; the great wonder is how all this vast multitude can be reached and helped.
The rivers teem with all sorts of junks filled with all sorts of wares going to market, and it was upon the quays that we found for sale the finest carved things, the richest embroideries, the most delicately wrought wares. The monkey seems to be a favorite subject with the artist. Look at these exquisite bits of carved ivory. This one is the god monkey who sees no evil, his hands cover his eyes; this one is the god monkey who hears no evil, his hands cover his ears; and this one is the god monkey who speaks no evil, his hands cover his mouth. Half ashamed of our own dullness an old lesson came back with new significance,—be blind, deaf, and dumb towards evil.
One curiously wrought specimen of art was an inkwell encircled by nine monkeys. In the center, on the lid, was the finest monkey of all; the diversity of bodily attitudes, the variety of facial expressions, and the perfection of all was wonderful. Temple cloths, with pictures of various gods embroidered in fine threads of gold, were marvels of patient labor.
We once entertained at our home in Akron a converted Chinaman who had come to Gambier, Ohio, to study for the ministry. After the lapse of many years his son came to Ohio to be educated. It was interesting to hear him tell of the ways and customs of his native land. I asked him about servants being so very cheap, and he informed me that good servants might not be considered so cheap. The best families, according to the value they place upon the friendship of their friends, pay for every present received a certain per cent. of its value to their servants; and at every birthday of any member of the family, every wedding, every birth and death, there are hundreds of presents exchanged. I saw many servants in the large cities carrying these various gifts, and some of the servants were dressed very well, having, on the garments they wore, the coat-of-arms or rank of their master. On a little table or tray was placed the richly embroidered family napkin with the gift neatly wrapped therein, and on both sides were placed lighted tapers or artificial flowers.
As with Shanghai so with all the coast towns of China, there is the old walled city swarming with millions of natives, and the new or European city as modern as New York. My two days' stay seemed like two weeks, so full was it of strange sights.
On returning to the Gaelic, I was pleased to find that two Americans had been added to our passenger list. Indeed, it was the last of the many kindly offices of Mr. Goodnow to introduce me to Rev. and Mrs. C. Goodrich. These new friends were delightful traveling companions. For a longer stay at Hong Kong and a much better boat to Manila, I was indebted to their thoughtfulness for me.
We were told that we must all get in position to watch the entrance at Hong Kong. Captain Finch said that for fifteen years he always went down from the bridge as soon as he could to see the wonderful display of curious junks and craft of every conceivable kind that swarmed about the boat, some advertising their wares, some booming hotels, some fortune-telling in hieroglyphics which only the Chinese can interpret.
Before our boat dropped anchor there were hundreds of Celestials climbing up the sides of the ship with all kinds of articles for sale. There were sleight-of-hand performers, there were tumblers of red looking stuff to drink; there were trained mice and rats. We had a man on shipboard who was very clever with these sleight-of-hand tricks, but he said he could not see where they got a single one of the reptiles and articles that they would take out of the ladies' hands, their bonnets, and his own feet, which were bare.
The city of Hong Kong is built upon a rock whose sides are almost vertical. The city park is considered one of the finest in the world. It has been said that every known tree and shrub is grown there; and when one considers that every foot of its soil has been carried to its place, the wonder is how it has all been done. The blossoms seem to say, "The whole world is here and in bloom." The banyan tree grows here luxuriantly and is a great curiosity. The main trunk of the tree grows to the height of about thirty or forty feet. The first branches, and indeed many of the upper branches, strike down into the ground. These give the trees the appearance of being supported on huge sticks. As to the bamboo, it is the principal tree of which they build their houses, and make many articles for export in the shape of woven chairs, tables, and baskets of most intricate and beautiful designs, most reasonable in price. The first shoots in spring are used as food and make a delicious dish. It is prepared like cauliflower. Our much despised "pussley" proves to be a veritable blessing here; it makes a nice green or salad.
China seemed like one vast graveyard, full of huge mounds from three to five feet high, without special marking. Each family knows where its own ancestors are buried. One of the reasons why they oppose the building of railroads through their country is their reverence for these burial piles.
One of the very best missionary establishments that I know anything about is the hospital in Shanghai. The institution is full to overflowing and the amount of good that the nurses do there is beyond human measure. I heard pathetic stories almost beyond belief; I hope that the grand workers in that field are supplied with all they need in the way of money.
Servants seldom remain at night in the house of their employers or partake of the food that is prepared for the household. The rich enjoy pleasure trips on the house-boats; they take their servants, horses, and carriages with them, and leaving the river at pleasure they journey up through the country to the inland towns. One cannot understand how the poor exist as they do on their house-boats. Of course, those hired by the Americans and English are well appointed, but a large proportion of the inhabitants are born, live, and die on these junks which do not seem large enough to hold even two people and yet multitudes live on them in squalor and misery. I have a great respect for the determination of Chinese children to get an education. It is truly wonderful that with more than fifty thousand characters to learn, they ever acquire any knowledge. Some of the scholars study diligently all their lives, trying to the last to win prizes.
HONG KONG TO MANILA.
From Hong Kong to Manila we were fortunate in being upon an Australian steamer which was very comfortable, indeed, with Japanese for sailors and attendants. At last I was in the tropics and felt for the first time what tropical heat can be; the sun poured down floods of intolerable heat. The first feeling is that one can not endure it; one gasps like a fish out of water and vows with laboring breath, "I'll take the next steamer home, oh, home!" It took four days to reach Manila. The bay is a broad expanse of water, a sea in itself. The city is a magnificent sight, its white houses with Spanish tiled roofs, its waving palms, its gentle slopes rising gradually to the mountains in the back ground.
The waters swarmed with craft of every fashion and every country. How beautiful they looked, our own great warships and transports! No large ship can draw nearer to shore than two or three miles. All our army supplies must be transferred by the native boats to the quartermaster's department, there to be sorted for distribution to the islands where the troops are stationed. This necessitates the reloading of stores on the boats, to be transferred again to medium sized vessels to complete their journey. A volunteer quartermaster told me, that, on an average, every seventh box was wholly empty and the contents of the other six were rarely intact. The lost goods sometimes reappeared on native heads or backs. Coal oil was in demand, and disappeared with amazing celerity; it is far better for lights than cocoanut oil.
Custom house inspection being quickly over, we landed. The beauty of the distant view was instantly dispelled; one glance and there was a wild desire to take those dirty, almost nude creatures in hand and, holding them at arm's length, dip them into some cleansing caldron. The sanitary efforts of our army are effecting changes beyond praise both in the people and their surroundings.
A little two wheeled quielas (ke-las) drawn by a very diminutive horse took me to the Hotel Oriente, since turned into a government office. I noticed that the floors were washed in kerosene to check the vermin that else would carry everything off bodily. The hotel was so crowded that I was obliged to occupy a room with a friend, which was no hardship as I had already had several shocks from new experiences. We had no sooner sat down to talk matters over than I started up nervously at queer squeaks. My friend remarked, "Never mind, you will soon get used to them, they are only lizards most harmless, and most necessary in this country." The beds in our room were four high posters with a cane seat for the mattress, a small bamboo mat, one sheet, and one pillow stuffed with raw cotton and very hard. As we were tucked in our little narrow beds mosquito netting was carefully drawn about us. "Neatly laid out," said one. "All ready for the morgue," responded the other.
The next morning we watched with interest the carabao as they were taken from the muddy pools in which they had found shelter for the night. The natives begin work at dawn and rest two or three hours in the middle of the day. It seemed to me too hot for any man or beast to stir.
When a large drove of carabao are massed together it seems inevitable that they shall injure each other with their great horns, six or eight feet long but fortunately they are curved back. Strange, too, I thought it, that these large animals should be driven by small children—my small children were really sixteen to twenty years old.
We ventured forth upon this first morning and found a large cathedral close by. It was all we could do to push our way through the throng of half-naked creatures that were squatting in front of the church to sell flowers, fruits, cakes, beads, and other small wares.
We pressed on through crooked streets out toward the principal shopping district, but soon found it impossible to go even that short distance without a carriage, the heat was so overpowering. We turned to the old city, Manila proper, passed over the drawbridge, and under the arch of its inclosing wall, centuries old.
We went to the quartermaster's department to get transportation to Iloilo. It gave a delightful feeling of protection to see our soldiers in and about everywhere. At this time Judge William H. Taft had not been made governor; the city was still under military rule, and there were constant outbreaks, little insurrections at many points, especially in the suburbs. We were surprised to find the city so large and so densely populated.
It is useless to deny that we were in constant fear even when there were soldiers by. The unsettled conditions gave us a creepy feeling that expressed itself in the anxious faces and broken words of our American women. One would say, "Oh I feel just like a fool, I am so scared." Another would say, "Dear me, don't I wish I were at home,"—another, "I just wish I could get under some bed and hide." But for all their fears they stayed, yielding only so far as to take a short vacation in Japan. There is not much in the way of sight seeing in Manila beyond the enormous cathedrals many of which were closed. About five o'clock in the afternoon everybody goes to the luneta to take a drive on the beach, hear the bands play, and watch the crowds. It is a smooth beach for about two miles. Here are the elite of Manila. The friars and priests saunter along, some in long white many-overlapping capes, and some in gowns. Rich and poor, clean and filthy, gay and wretched, gather here and stay until about half-past six, when it is dark. The rich Filipinos dine at eight.
The social life in Manila, as one might suppose, was somewhat restricted for Americans. The weather is so enervating that it is impossible to get up very much enthusiasm over entertainments. During my stay in Manila, in all, perhaps two months, there was little in the way of social festivity except an occasional ball in the halls of the Hotel Oriente, nor did the officers who had families there have accommodations for much beyond an occasional exchange of dinners and lunches.
The Americans, as a rule, did not take kindly to either entertaining or being entertained by natives, and besides they could not endure the heavy, late dinners and banquets.
At one grand Filipino ball (bailie) an eight or ten course dinner was served about midnight. The men and women did not sit down together at this banquet, the older men ate at the first table, then the older women, then the young men, lastly the young women. After the feast there were two or three slow waltzes carried on in most solemn manner, and then came the huge task of waking up the cocheroes (drivers) to go home. While everything was done in a quick way according to a Filipino's ideas, it took an hour or two to get ready. The only thing that does make a lot of noise and confusion is the quarreling of Filipino horses that are tethered near each other. I thought American horses could fight and kick, but these little animals stand on their hind legs and fight and strike with their fore feet in a way that is alarming and amusing. They are beset day and night with plagues of insects. No wonder they are restless.
The Bilibid Prison in Manila is the largest in the Philippines, and contains the most prisoners. The time to see the convicts and men is at night when they are on dress parade. Of the several hundred that I saw, I do not think that anyone of them is in there for other than just cause. They are made to work and some of them are very artistic and do most beautiful carvings on wood, bamboo and leather. It is very hard now to get any order filled, so great a demand has been created for their handi-work. I could not but notice the manner of the on-lookers as they came each day to see those poor wretches. They seemed to have no pity; and then, there were very few women who were prisoners. I do not remember seeing more than three or four in each of the five prisons that I visited. Orders were taken for the fancy articles made in these prisons. One warden said he had orders for several months' work ahead.
ILOILO AND JARO.
We went from Manila to Iloilo on a Spanish steamer. I gave one look at the stateroom that was assigned to me and decided to sleep on deck in my steamer chair. I had been told that I positively could not eat the food which the ship would prepare, so I took a goodly supply with me.
The captain was so gracious that I could not let him know my plans, so I pleaded illness but he ordered some things brought to me. There was a well prepared chicken with plenty of rice but made so hot with pepper that I threw it into the sea; next, some sort of salad floating in oil and smelling of garlic, it went overboard. Eggs cooked in oil followed the salad; last the "dulce," a composition of rice and custard perfumed with anise seed oil, made the menu of the fishes complete. I now gladly opened my box of crackers and cheese, oranges, figs and dates.
As the sun declined, I sat watching the islands. We were passing by what is known as the inner course. They lay fair and fragrant as so many Edens afloat upon a body of water as beautiful as any that mortal eyes have ever seen. Huge palms rose high in air, their long feathery leaves swaying softly in the golden light. Darkness fell like a curtain; but the waters now gleamed like nether heavens with their own stars of phosphorescent light.
On the voyage to Japan, a fellow passenger asked if I were sure that Iloilo was my destination in the Philippines and, being assured that it was, informed me that there was no such place on the ship's maps, which were considered very accurate. The Island of Panay was there, but no town of Iloilo.
Iloilo (e-lo-e-lo) is the second city in size of the Philippines. It stands on a peninsula and has a good harbor if it were not for the shifting sands that make it rather difficult for the large steamers to come to the wharf and the tide running very high at times makes it harder still. There is a long wharf bordered with huge warehouses full of exports and imports. Vast quantities of sugar, hemp and tobacco are gathered here for shipment. It is a center of exchange, a place of large business, especially active during the first years of our occupation.
Immense caravan trains go out from here to the various army posts to carry food and other supplies, while ships, like farm yards adrift, ply on the same errand between port and port. Cebu and Negros are the largest receiving stations.
In the center of the town is the plaza or park. Here, after getting things in order, a pole was set, and the stars and stripes unfurled to the breeze. The quarters of our soldiers were near the park and so our boys had a pleasant place to lounge when off duty in the early morning or evening. When our troops first landed here in 1898 there was quite a battle, but I am not able to give its details. The results are obvious enough. The native army set fire to the city before fleeing across the river to the town of Jaro (Har-ro). The frame work of the upper part of the buildings was burned but the walls or lower part remains.
After the battle at Jaro, I went out to live for awhile in the quarters of Captain Walter H. Gordon, Lieutenant J. Barnes, and Lieutenant A. L. Conger, 18th U. S. A. I soon realized that the war was still on, for every day and night, the rattle of musketry told that somewhere there was trouble.
One day I went out to see the fortifications deserted by the Filipinos. They were curious indeed; built as an officer suggested, to be run away from, not to be defended. One fortification was ingeniously made of sacks of sugar. Everywhere was devastation and waste and burned buildings. The natives had fled to distant towns or mountains.
All this sounds bad and looked worse, and yet it takes but a little while to restore all. The houses are quickly rebuilt; a bamboo roof is made, it is lifted to the desired height on poles set in or upon the ground. The walls are weavings of bamboo or are plaited nepa. The nepa is a variety of bamboo grown near shallow sea water. When one of these rude dwellings is completed, it is ready for an ordinary family. They do not use a single article that we consider essential to housekeeping. Some of the better class have a kind of stove; its top is covered with a layer of sand or small pebbles, four or five inches thick; on this stand bricks or small tripods to hold the little pots used in cooking. Under each pot is a tiny fire. The skillful cook plays upon his several fires as a musician upon his keys, adding a morsel of fuel to one, drawing a coal from another; stirring all the concoctions with the same spoon. The baking differs only in there being an upper story of coals on the lid.
It has been said that fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Two or three of us American women, eager to learn all we could, because we were daily told that the war was over and we should soon be going home, were rashly venturesome. But we soon found that it was unsafe to go about Molo or Iloilo even with a guide, and so we had to content ourselves with looking at the quantities of beautiful things brought to our door. We were tempted daily to buy the lovely fabrics woven by the native women. Every incoming ship is beset by a swarm of small traders who find their best customers amongst American women. Officers and men, too, are generous buyers for friends at home. The native weaves of every quality and color are surprisingly beautiful.
Jusa (hoo-sa) cloth is made from jusi fibre; pina (peen-yah) from pineapple fibre; cinemi is a mixture of the two; abaka (a-ba-ka) from hemp fibre; algodon from the native cotton; sada is silk; sabana is a mixture of cotton and hemp.
We visited many of the places where the most extensive weaving is done, and there we saw the most wretched-looking, old women handling the hair-like threads. Each one had by her side some emblem of the Roman Church as she sat at her daily task. These poor, dirty, misshapen creatures, weaving from daylight to dark, earn about fifty cents a month. So many of the women are deformed and unclean, both the makers and the sellers, that it seemed utterly incongruous that they should handle the most delicate materials. In all my observations, I saw but one nice, clean woman of the lower classes. In our happy country we do not think of seeing a whole class of people diseased or maimed. In the Philippines one seldom sees a well formed person; or if the form is good, the face is disfigured by small-pox.
I was surprised, at first, on looking out after breakfast, to find at my door every morning from two to a dozen women and boys in sitting posture, almost nude, only a thin waist on the body, and a piece of cotton drawn tightly round the legs. Many would be solemnly and industriously chewing the betel nut, which colors lips and saliva a vivid red.
It would not only be impertinent on my part to relate particulars of our army, but I should undoubtedly do as Mrs. Partington did—"open my patrician mouth and put my plebeian foot in it." The first thing I did on arriving at Iloilo was to call mess "board" and go to bed instead of "turning in."
In time of special danger, the various commanders were very kind in providing guards—mostly, however, to protect Government property. I felt no great uneasiness about personal safety, though I always "slept with one eye open." We were so frequently threatened that we stood ready every moment to move on. Shots during the night are not, as a rule, conducive to sleep, and I did not like the sound of the balls as they struck the house. I had my plans laid to get behind the stone wall at the rear of the passage and lie on the floor. It was necessary to keep a close watch on the servants who were "muchee hard luc" (very much afraid) at the slightest change in the movements of either army, home or foreign.
Their system of wireless telegraphy was most efficient, so much so that one day at 2 P. M. I was told by a native of an engagement that had taken place at 10 A. M. in a distant part of the island, remote from the telegraph stations. I wondered how he could have known, and later learned of their systems of signaling by kites. For night messages the kites are illuminated. They are expert, not only in flying, but in making them.
Their schools are like pandemonium let loose; all the pupils studying aloud together, making a deafening, rasping noise. Sessions from 7 to 10 A. M., 3 to 6 P. M.
The large Mexican dollars are too cumbersome to carry in any ordinary purse. If one wishes to draw even a moderate sum, it is necessary to take a cart or carriage. A good sized garden shovel on one side and a big canvas bag on the other expedites bank transactions in the islands.
At the time of the evacuation of Jaro by the insurrectos, our officers chose their quarters from the houses the natives had fled from. The house which we occupied had formerly been used as the Portuguese Consulate. Like all the better houses the lower part was built of stone, and the upper part of boards. There was very little need of heavy boards or timbers except to hold the sliding windows. I should think the whole house was about eighty feet square with rear porch that was used for a summer garden. The pillars of this porch were things of real beauty. They were covered with orchids that in the hottest weather were all dried up and quite unsightly, but when the rainy season began they were very beautiful in their luxuriance of growth and bloom. The front door was in three parts; the great double doors which opened outward to admit carriages and a small door in one of the larger doors. There was a huge knocker, the upper part was a woman's head. To open the large doors it was necessary to pull the latch by a cord that came up through the floor to one of the inner rooms. I used to occupy this room at night and it was my office and my pleasure to pull the bobbin and let the latch fly up when the scouting troop would come in late at night. Captain Gordon said that he never found me napping, that I was always ready to greet them as soon as their horses turned the corner two squares away. The entrance door admitted to a great hall with a stone floor, ending in apartments for the horses. On the right of the hall were rooms for domestic purposes, such as for the family looms, four or five of them, and for stores of food and goods. On the left there were four steps up and then a platform, then three steps down into a room about twenty feet square. There were two windows in this room with heavy gratings. We used it as a store room for the medical supplies. Returning to the platform, there were two heavy doors that swung in, we kept them bolted with heavy wooden bolts; there were no locks on any doors. At the foot of the steps was a long narrow room with one small window; it was directly over the part where the animals were. The hall was lighted with quite a handsome Venetian glass chandelier in which we used candles. From this room we entered the large main room of the house; the ceiling and side wall was covered with leather or oil cloth held in place with large tacks; there were sliding windows on two sides of the room which, when shoved back, opened the room so completely as to give the effect of being out of doors; the front windows looked out on the street, the side windows on the garden, on many trees, cocoanut, chico, bamboo, and palm. There was a large summer house in the center of the garden and the paths which led up to it were bordered with empty beer bottles. The garden was enclosed by a plastered wall about eight feet high, into the top of which were inserted broken bottles and sharp irons to keep out intruders. The house was covered with a sheet iron roof. The few dishes that we found upon our occupation were of excellent china but the three or four sideboards were quite inferior. The whole house was wired for bells. This is true of many of the houses, indeed they are all fashioned on one model, and all plain in finish, extra carving or fine wood-work would only make more work for the busy little ants. Even when furniture looked whole, we often found ourselves landed on the floor; it was no uncommon thing for a chair to give way; it had been honeycombed and was held together by the varnish alone.
My first evening in Jaro was one of great fear. We were told by a priest that we were to be attacked and burned out. While sitting at dinner I heard just behind me a fearful noise that sounded like "Gluck-co-gluck-co." An American officer told me it was an alarm clock, but as a matter of fact it was an immense lizard, an animal for which I soon lost all antipathy, because of its appetite for the numerous bugs that infest the islands. Unfortunately they have no taste for the roaches, the finger-long roaches that crawl all over the floor. Neither were they of assistance in exterminating the huge rats and mice, nor the ants. The ants! It is impossible to describe how these miserable pests overran everything; they were on the beds, they were on the tables. Our table legs were set in cups of coal oil and our floors were washed with coal oil at least once every week. This disagreeable condition of things will not be wondered at, when I say that the horses, cattle, and carabao are kept in the lower part of the house, and the pigs, cats, and dogs allowed up stairs with the family. The servants are required to stay below with the cattle.
The animals are all diseased, especially the horses. Our men were careful that their horses were kept far from the native beasts. The cats are utterly inferior. The mongoose, a little animal between a ferret and a rat, is very useful; no well-kept house is without one. Rats swarm in such vast hordes that the mongoose is absolutely necessary to keep them down. Still more necessary is the house snake. These reptiles are brought to market on a bamboo pole and usually sell for about one dollar apiece. Mine used to make great havoc among the rats up in the attic. Never before had I known what rats were. Every night, notwithstanding the mongoose, the house snake, and the traps, I used to lay in a supply of bricks, anything to throw at them when they would congregate in my room and have a pitched battle. They seemed to stand in awe of United States officers. A soldier said one night, glancing about, "Why, I thought the rats moved out all of your furniture." They would often carry things up to the zinc roof of our quarters, drop them, and then take after with rush and clatter, the snake in full chase. Mice abound, and lizards are everywhere, of every shape, every size, and every color.
I spent a large part of my time leaning out of my window; there was so much to see. The expulsion of the insurrectos had just been effected, and very few of the natives remained, but as soon as they were thoroughly convinced that our troops had actually taken the town, they flocked in by the hundreds, the men nearly naked, always barefoot, the women in their characteristic bright red skirts.
The entire time spent there was full of surprises, the customs, dress, food, and religious ceremonies continually furnishing matter of intense and varied interest. I noticed, especially, how little the men and women went about together, riding or walking, or to church. Neither do they sit together, or rather should say "squat," for, even in the fine churches, the women squatted in the center aisles, while the men were ranged in side aisles. There are few pews, and these few, rarely occupied, were straight and uncomfortable. No effort was ever made to make them comfortable, not to mention ornamental.
The natives are, as a rule, small, with a yellowish brown skin; noses not large, lips not thick, but teeth very poor. Many of them have cleft palate or harelip, straight hair very black, and heads rather flattened on top. I examined many skulls and found the occiput and first cervical ankylosed. It occurred to me it might be on account of the burdens they carry upon their heads in order to leave their arms free to carry a child on the hips, to tuck in a skirt, or care for the cigars.
The Filipino skirt is a wonder. It is made by sewing together the ends of a straight piece of cloth about three yards long. To hold it in place on the body, a plait is laid in the top edge at the right, and a tuck at the left, and there it stays—till it loosens. One often sees them stop to give the right or left a twist. The fullness in the front is absolutely essential for them to squat as they are so accustomed to do while performing all sorts of work, such as washing, ironing, or, in the market place, selling all conceivable kinds of wares. The waist for the rich and poor alike is of one pattern, the only variation being in the quality. It has a plain piece loose at the waist line for the body, a round hole for the rather low neck, the sleeves straight and extending to the wrist, about three-fourths of a yard wide. These sleeves are gathered on the shoulder to fit the individual. A square handkerchief folded three times in the center is placed round the neck and completes the costume. As fast as riches are amassed, trains are assumed. All clothing is starched with rice and stands out rigidly.
The materials are largely woven by the people themselves, and the finer fabrics are beautiful in texture and fineness, some of the strands being so fine that several are used to make one thread. By weaving one whole day from dawn to dark, only a quarter of a yard of material is produced. The looms, the cost of which is about fifty cents, are all made by hand from bamboo; the reels and bobbins, which complete the outfit, raise the value of the whole to about a dollar. There is rarely a house that does not keep from one to a dozen looms. The jusi, made from the jusi that comes in the thread from China, is colored to suit the fancy of the individual, but is not extensively used by the natives, who usually prefer the abuka, pina, or sinamay, which are products of the abuka tree, or pineapple fibre. The quality of these depends on the fineness of the threads. It is very delicate, yet durable, and—what is most essential—can be washed.
The common natives seem to have no fixed hours for their meals, nor do they have any idea of gathering around the family board. After they began to use knives and forks one woman said she would rather not use her knife, it cut her mouth so. Even the best of them prefer to squat on the floor, make a little round ball of half cooked rice with the tips of their fingers and throw it into the mouth.
My next door neighbor was considered one of the better class of citizens, and through my window I could not help, in the two years of my stay, seeing much of the working part of her household. There were pigs, chickens, ducks, and turkeys, either running freely about the kitchen or tied by the leg to the kitchen stove. The floors of these kitchens are never tight; they allow the greater part of the accumulated filth of all these animals to sift through to the ground below. There were about fifteen in the family; this meant fifteen or twenty servants, but as there are few so poor in the islands as to be unable to command a poorer still, these chief servants had a crowd of underlings responsible to themselves alone. The head cook had a wife, two children and two servants that got into their quarters by crawling up an old ladder. I climbed up one day to see how much space they had. I put my head in at the the opening that served them for door and window, but could not get my shoulders in. The whole garret was about eight feet long and six feet wide. One end of it was partitioned off for their fighting cocks.