*Estimated date based on previous entry.
Monday we moved to our new house. The Presidente evidently thought he had to provide one for us and it was already built. It is of nipa, neatly nailed down and raised from the ground by heavy poles which run up to the roof. We have a very small hall opening on the the side into the kitchen and on the other into the dining room. In the front is the sala –and our sleeping room runs on the side, the length of the two rooms. At one side of the kitchen is a sleeping room for the cook– and at the back a little piazza which we are to have screened off for a bath.
The fun of starting in house-keeping on a plan of two! Yesterday morning we had our first meal which was gotten up by our own cook and it was good. Our cocinero is paid the magnificent sum of three pesos a month. He is a picturesque Filipino when he looks as he did today. It has poured rain all day long, and he has wandered around with his trousers rolled up above his knees, showing a pair of magnificently shaped legs. A friend came to see him this morning without any garments whatever, except the clout. He was glistening with water and made a fine bronze statue as he stood with a pail in his hand. The floor of the kitchen is bamboo –and all the dirt goes down through. The stove is a cube of stone with three bricks on top. They build a fire of wood and put the kettles on top of the bricks. We are getting to be true Filipinos we like the food so much. We did draw the line on rice though so our living costs a little more as we have to buy bread. Every morning the cook comes for money and we give him one peso with which he buys all sorts of good things for the day.
When we first wake the doors are opened for the muchachito to come in & sweep and wash the floors. We give him a peso and half a month and he does all the cleaning. The Presidente is still hunting for a muchacha and on her arrival our household will be complete.
This has been a delightfully quiet day. It has rained so hard the women could not get over and we have sewed talked and read in true American fashion. We have at last made our muchachito understand that we do not wish the chair placed á la Filipino. Our books are in one corner on a small table. In the center is another table on which we have a pink cover and on which we have the lamp and some of our books. We have made two cushions for the reclining chair one of blue and one of orange silk; and in the other chairs we have flat straw cushions. Our two steamer chairs, and some bamboo chairs of Filipino manufacture finish the furniture of the sala. Over the door is a small American flag on one side are two pictures of grandma and aunt, also a Harvard calendar and another smaller American flag. The walls and ceiling are all of some kind of mat, whitewashed and to us the color effect is delightful. There are three large windows in the sala with sliding shutters. In our sleeping room we have the extra elegance of colored glass in two of the windows while the other two are plain shutters. The room inside looks somewhat American. As I lift my eyes I look from the window to the nipa huts of my neighbors and a clump of banana trees and I realize that I am in a foreign land.
[portion excised] beef in a kind of stew and an omelette filled with chopped meat and coffee. For lunch we had soup, fried fish, fried meat, stewed meat and black currant jam. We have just finished our afternoon chocolate, merienda, and are ready for callers whom we hope will not come.
[portion excised] come. The worst work is with the teacher. She is fairly intelligent, but not at all educated and like all these people “dull in the uptake.” I know I’m not doing proper, systematic work with her but how can I do it. The dear baby class in school was much amused today learning “throw.” We had quite a game. My arrangement is to have classes of twelve or fifteen for forty minutes a day. There are six classes, ages from six to fifteen. Between times they say out in the school proper and learn fel fal fol out of a little book. From that they are promoted to another book which contains the catechisms, geometry algebra, arithmetic, lettics geography and the principles of religion. When they have been through that their education is considered complete. The teacher makes no effort to secure order. The children study aloud and walk about at their pleasure. One day I heard a dreadful commotion on the other side of the wall, which is of matting. After standing it as long as possible I investigated and found two of the big girls trying to pick a hole through, for the purpose of viewing me and my surroundings. the desks are all in one piece and the children sit on straight benches without backs. Some sit around a big table and it seems hard hearted to make them sit still in such discomfort. There are no blackboards, but a small slate is used when necessary. There are three small pieces of chalk the size of a pea. these are kwpt locked up inside the clock, so precious an article is likely to disappear. My worst trial is learning the children expectorate on the floor. After snipping lips several times they have begun to realize they must not, and now make frequent excursions to the window. It is really quite trying to have two or three suddenly depart from the class for that purpose. Once or twice I have tried to make them stand in a certain place but when I take hold of them to place them their shoes always come off and they fall over. The children do not seem to mind but the shock to my nerves, is as great as when the lizard which I have picked up loses his tail. The better class of people send their boys to the public school, but not the girls. One can hardly blame them. The school room is dark and dirty and so small that the eighty five children who come are packed like sardines. We hope for a better building in January when the taxes are paid.
The people here are not at all clean outwardly but very clean personally. They revel in a rain quite as much as their carabaos and for the same reason. There is a large house next door and one day the cook, muchachito and all the boys of the neighborhood took advantage of a shower to stand under the sloping roof and get a bath. They look like bronzes statues and it gives me much the same feeling of pleasure to look at them. Some of their habits are most disgusting and the conversation of even the nice people is apt to take startling turns. They are slow, never on time and seemingly quite good natured under any remarks that are made on the subject. We were told that they were not observing, but we find them born mimics both in manners and speech. However they are not quick at catching sounds and small changes in vowel sounds. Their curiosity is a thing to be marvelled at. One evening, some callers came and before they went they had inquired how much we paid for the house, cook, muchachito, muchacha, food etc.; what furniture came with the house, how much we were paid the government and how old we were. They have learned the first principles of the Spanish Inquisition if nothing more. We should have nothing to complain of for they have all been really kind. Señora Vicente gets on my nerves most and she does a lot for us. The Presidente has quite taken us under his wing, and worried over me one day when I was a bit ill with a cold as if I were a near relative. Lieut. Frank told him we did not get exercise enough and it seems ti have rested on his mind for last night he made us go for a walk about nine o’clock.
Lieut. Frank left for Manapla last Monday much to our grief. He is a German whom we liked immensely for the amusement he gave us. He drinks a lot more than is good for him as he is one of the men to whom one must continually “no farther” but for all that we liked him. The lieutenant who has come to
place take his place is a youth of twenty three. A far better sort I imagine but a dreadful bore so we are not happy to see him when he comes. Lieut. Frank took us out on the playa one day last week. We rowed our just at sunset, and watched the sky under one of the glorious tropical sunsets as as one sees no where else. As it got dark we reached a little river, and after being carried to shore in the arms of a bolo-man we got in a quilez and start off. The quilez It was necessary to cross the river and we stuck. In his struggles to pull us out the bull broke [next 4 pages are missing]