The week has been one of almost solid rain. The temperature has been comparatively cool from the
heavy showers, but I welcome the return of a degree of dryness. As far as my experience goes, it is never really dry here. In the first place, we are on an island and we get much sea breeze, and then the city is inter-
sected and surrounded by waterways large and small, and low lands that in this season are flooded. The result is an atmosphere so damp that shoes and gloves mildew if left for a day or two; and the drawers of our American desks never get over sticking. The sun is very hot and intense, but where its rays do not fall damp reigns. This morning I noticed the sun on the tiled floor of the hallway. The floor had just been wet in washing, and it actually smoked where the sun struck it, like a wet cloth under a flat iron. And yet the corners that the sun does not strike may remain damp all day.
The monotony of the past week has been broken by one interesting episode. Last Wednesday I saw two monkeys for sale on the street, and my heart went out to one of them, and I waxed bold and bought him, after inducing the Filipino gentleman to lower his price from two to one pesos—fifty cents American. I got the monkey home only to
discover that I had a white elephant on my hands. He was wild and ugly, and I took turns in beating him for breaking the furniture and trying to gain his confidence and affection; but he persisted in his evil ways and would have none of me. After keeping him for three days chained up in my window, feeding him on rolls and bananas from the majordomo’s mess, I decided to see what would happen if I should let the little villain loose—cherishing meanwhile a lively hope that he might see fit to desert. At first he ran along the gallery and out of one
of the windows facing on the court. Up he scrambled till he was perched under the eaves. He could go no further, and apparently couldn’t climb down again. This aroused the interest of the native boys about the house, and they proceeded to give an exhibition of monkey-catching. On the end of a long pole they fixed a noose fast. They
finally got this over the monkey’s head and hauled him down, and loosened the cord just before the brute was strangled. So my darling was back again. This time I let him out for fair, and was delighted to see him make for the roof. He never came back. The next time I invest in monkeys I will get a young tame one, mindful of my lost “ No-quiere.”
The rain has kept me housed pretty well, and I have also been busy on my list of Spanish officers. My job is to make an alphabetical list of the Spanish officers, prisoners here in Manila. They send in lists by regiments, corps, etc., which, while very pretty as specimens of Spanish handwriting, are not exactly practical for use. I have to decipher the Spanish writing and choose which of the three to six different names I shall take to catalogue the man under. Then I put down his residence and figure out his rank and the corps to which he belongs. I have finished my first list—dividing off the A’s, B’s, etc., but not making it thoroughly alphabetical, and am now perhaps a third through my final, With an odd ten thousand Spanish soldiers to feed and care for, my list shows
perhaps eleven hundred officers to be looked after. The little King was prodigal of commissions.
If I did not succeed very well with my animal venture, I am getting much satisfaction out of three plants. The largest is a sensitive-plant that K brought in to me from the garden of their quarters. It is flourishing and has had half a dozen blossoms since I have had it. The other two are little palm-trees that have come up from seeds Mrs. Judd sent me in a letter from Honolulu. The largest one is not more than two inches high, but both are growing splendidiy. T shall be able to sleep in the shade of my own tree before I leave here. The monkey threw the crock containing the palms out into the street. I rushed out and found at last the two little slips and replanted them
before they were injured. John, my native boy, takes great interest and pride in the garden. You will be interested in the inclosed lottery tickets. One is a government and the other a religious lottery. The drawings never came off. These tickets were in the General’s first Spanish desk. As an amusing little example of the kind of paternal government the Spanish here expect of the Americans, the other day a Spanish officer came to the General and wanted from him a rebate for some Government lottery tickets he had where tke drawing had never come off.
They think that because the Americans treat them with justice and kindness, they can impose on said Americans for the gratification of every whim. They would understand being kicked around by the Germans much better than they do the American treatment. They simply think the Americans are “ easy.”
I have not written you how I have enjoyed the weeklies you have sent me; the “ Springfield Republican,” especially, has been solid meat to me. I read it from beginning to end, and some of the articles I re-read with
much interest. We hear that President McKinley in his Omaha speech rather advises against annexing the Philippines. I do hope it is true, tor I feel that if we do annex them we will regret it. I believe we are bound to see order preserved here for the present, and perhaps some kind of protectorate will be needed for years to come, but we can’t afford to risk any of the principles of our republican government by taking in these savage tropical lands. I can’t help feeling very conservative when it comes to any action which tends to largely increase the military in our country. The trade argument seems to be the mainstay of the expansionists. I don’t believe, however, that the position issound. As the “ Republican” says, a naval base would be just as useful to us in the Chinese situation as the whole twelve hundred islands. We are already successfully competing in foreign markets where we have no p)dlitical influence. And, further, I think it is doubtful if the profits of trade here with the natives would be so great when we consider the expenses of the necessary military government. You can understand how anxiously we look for the result of the Paris Conference. What do the disturbances in France mean? Is the present government going to smash on the military rock? I should think that this Zola business would tend to shake any government. Before this reaches you al! my political gossip will be stale. You will have to put yourself back a month to understand it.