My DEAR Mother: That California wine goes to the right spot, and I have to thank you for it. I got the box Christmas morning in
Murcia. That night we had a good Christmas dinner at the lieutenant-colonel’s house. We had chicken, plum pudding, cake, candy, and champagne, not to mention other fixings. Some books came from father, and I had a little mail, so that I was well provided for Christmas. I hada kind of feeling of reverence for the day, and of course made some good resolutions and thought of what a time you were having at home “in ye ancient town of Quincy.”
The next morning our two companies received orders to move to Bamban, and we moved about two in the afternoon, coming to this town and relieving some companies of the Twenty-fifth Infantry which have been here. The railroad is running through from Manila to Dagupan, and the insurgents are scattered in small bands, or have hidden their arms and are very friendly. This town is larger than Murcia and dirtier. The Twentieth Infantry left the town in a dirty condition, and the men have been policing, or cleaning, with great gusto. This policing is something which has to be done for the health and comfort of the men in the command. The doctor wants the weeds cut down between and around the houses, as he says that they breed malaria. There are four posts on the interior guard, and one at a railway crossing a mile from headquarters, and another more than a mile, guarding a bridge over the Bamban River. I was “officer of the day” yesterday and borrowed the lieutenant-colonel’s pony
and inspected all these posts. I am going to get a Filipino pony the first chance I get, and the exercise will do me good. Of course one cannot ride at all outside the town unless with an escort, and it would not be safe to go at all in the outskirts of the town without arms of some sort. I have not fired my revolver once since I have been on the island, because I have never got close enough. A friend of mine named Love went back to the States wounded through the right arm, at Calamba. I was close to the fight, but in reserve that day. Lieutenant Love got mentioned in Munsey’s Magazine, and he richly deserved it. Most of the fighting is over except in some small parts of the island, and we are garrisoning all towns near the railroad. The Ninth Infantry is in Tarlac province, with four companies at Tarlac, two here, one at O’Donnell, one at Capas, one at Marionas, another at Murcia, and two more going to garrison Concepcion. Many thanks for those California wines, which are soft and go gurgling poetically
down one’s throat. Lieutenant Lawton, the battalion adjutant, and I opened a bottle of Cognac not long ago, and I thought of you very sweetly. Lawton brought me a big box of candied fruits from you, with a nice letter and photographs, which I have put upon the wall in plain view. They are sweet remembrances, and I hope to be hugging Morris and Foster before many moons. Foster writes a good plain hand and shows what a frank, equable disposition he has. Morris is going to be a lawyer, because his handwriting is not as good. I am so glad that you did not send me a quilted silk dressing-gown, as I would need a silk undershirt more, or a bathing suit, to keep cool with. The days are short and go by fast with little to break the monotony.
I had to stop writing for supper and drill. We have supper about 4.30, drill at five, and retreat at quarter after five. The drill
went well this evening on some open ground next the church. This church is a big bamboo house with a doorway in stonework, which is well proportioned. The church was evidently started in stone, and the people did not have the means wherewith to finish it.
We are shut in more by some hills than we were at Murcia, and we have a large, well-made house; that is, the roof is sound and there is plenty of room. J am writing in a small room next a large bedroom, with a dining room and kitchen in the rear. The dogs are a nuisance at night, and last night a lot of them bayed the moon in good melodious style. Our only light at night is candlelight, and that is so poor that I do not read much. We have two monkeys in the house, and they are funny to watch. I will bring a monkey with me as well as a parrot.
With love and a Happy New Year to all.