My DEAR FATHER: I am writing this in the quarters of Aguinaldo, where I am acting as officer of the day. Captain Palmer has general charge of Aggie, and another officer and myself are taking turns staying in Aguinaldo’s house while the captain is out. This is a big house on the Malacannan [Malacañan], the swell residence street of Manila.Some officer has to be here all the time. There is a guard of two men about the house, who prevent any illicit correspondence from going out or coming in. Aguinaldo has his secretary here and his family, so that he has a monotonous but a comfortable confinement.
He is allowed to see any visitors he wishes to at certain hours of the day. Captain Palmer looks over all his letters, and Aguinaldo is allowed to have any newspapers or letters which have been inspected. He has been here for several months and I believe has not been off the top floor of this house since he came here. He can go out walking in the big yard if he wishes to, but has to be accompanied by an officer if he goes out into the street. It is said that some of Luna’s friends (a Filipino general who had almost as much influence as Aggie, and who was killed by Aggie for political reasons) will assassinate him if they get a chance. I have met Aggie and talked with him for a short time. He is not a remarkably brilliant-looking man, but has a certain amount of magnetism, and he certainly has had an interesting life so far. He can’t be more than thirty-five and is about five feet, four inches tall. I am acting as the recorder or secretary for an examining board to examine ex-volunteer officers and soldiers for commissions. My time does not hang heavy on my hands. We expect to get orders any day now to go to the island of Samar and join the Second Battalion, which has been there since June 10 with Lieutenant-colonel Foote. Still, one hears all sorts of “Pipe Dreams” in Manila and we may not go at all. I understand that Samar has a good climate, but it is a very difficult country to fight in. Guerilla warfare has been going on there for some time under charge of a certain General Lucban, who ts said to be a capable man. I do not care much for that kind of warfare, for there is little glory and much hard work connected with it. Never mind! this is the only privilege we soldiers have, and that is to growl and do our duty.
I will be glad to get out of Manila, because I do not feel so well here as I did before when living in the country. Then one has got to spend money here, and it is almost impossible to spend money in the country, unless one is an unsuccessful poker player. The men like it better in the country, as there they have a little more variety and can be lazier when quartered in a country town. You spoke in your last letter about my going to the Leavenworth School. That would be the best thing I could do, as it was once a good school, and if it starts again, it would give me two years in which I could study those things which I have found need of studying in my practical experience. A good deal of my service has been of such a nature that I did not have the inclination, or could not have the books, to study. Then it gives a man prestige to have graduated from a first-class school like that. A great many West Pointers have graduated or attended the Leavenworth School. I realize what prestige it gives me to have been at Harvard, for I meet Harvard men everywhere and find my thoughts going back to the dear, old, happy-go-lucky days of college life when old Shaggie and I were having the pleasant times
of our lives. Get me a place at the school when it starts; but do not try to get it until I am ordered home, for it would look bad for me to leave the regiment while practically in the field.