I began teaching some of the girls’ classes Wednesday. I now teach the girls from 8 to 10, the teachers class from 10 to 11, and the boys from 2.30 to 5.00. The girls don’t seem to know anything at all excepting to repeat the catechism; and I have no facilities in their building with which to work — not a foot of blackboard, not a chair, not even a table.
The other evening, My persistent friend J—- M——- took me around to call on the family where his heart’s desire lives. As usual, the family occupies the second floor of the building; while in the lower story are quartered some ten or twelve carabao — a thing which renders the atmosphere of the home odoriferous, to say the least. Of course, there is some method in this sort of madness, after all. The whole country up here is infested with brigands, or ladrones as they are commonly called, whose specialty is stealing work cattle and selling them to their agents down on the coast; who ship them off to the Lord knows where or slaughter them and sell the meat in the markets. It would be futile for the people here to simply shut their animals up in a corral for the night and about the only means of safe-guarding them is to drive them into the enclosure underneath the living quarters and bar the door.
Friday evening, J–~– came again, this time in a quilez drawn by 2 carabao to take me with him to Mina, the nearest village on the east, to. stay over night with some of his friends and attend next day the celebration of the feast of the town’s patron saint. We had considerable difficulty in covering the five miles of distance; but through the untiring efforts of our driver, who I am sure wore himself into a state of complete exhaustion shouting at and belaboring the heavy slow-going beast, we brought up in Mina at the end of two long hours. Amongst others, we called that evening at the home of the town treasurer, who is widely known among the natives for his lavish hospitality, especially on the occasion of the patron saint’s feast. (Whether or not the fact of his being treasurer has anything to do with the lavishness of his hospitality, I shall not attempt to say.) On this occasion, it was evident that he was outdoing himself and I was obliged to almost hurt his feelings in order to keep myself even reasonably sober. He had an orchestra at his house and he insisted that I get out on the floor and waltz with him. The idea did not appeal to me in the least and our relations were rapidly becoming rather strained, when J-~— intervened in my behalf and we soon left the house. I am quite sure that the treasurer’s actions must have been due to hiis suppressed feeling of hostility toward the Americans, which crops out when he has taken too much tuba.
My friend J—– on this trip had with him a very curious fire-arm. To all appearances, it-was nothing more than a mere metal cane; but in reality it was a 38-caliber, breech-loading rifle. Near the handle was a secret trigger and also a secret spring for “breaking” the gun in order to load and eject.
We had supper at nine o’ clock end I, not being accustomed to native food or native cooking and not having as yet completed the process of readjusting my digestive functions to the new regime — I ate sparingly. At this my friends all marveled and had their misgivings as to whether or not I appreciated their hospitality. One of those who had: gone with J—- and me to call on the treasurer earlier in the evening was down and out by supper-time — fast asleep on a bamboo reclining chair, where he remained until the following morning. About eleven o’clock
we turned in, so to speak. In the dining room, or at least the room where we had eaten, the table was pushed to one side, a big palm leaf mat was laid upon the floor, and five of us camped down on that for the night, our disrobing for this purpose being confined to removing our coats end shoes. All night long the ravenous mosquitoes gorged themselves upon me, and I slept scarcely a wink. We were up before six o’clock the next morning. After “first breakfast, ” we went to the parish church, which was: already packed to the doors with a throng of people in an advanced state of perspiration. The procession which then formed end marched around the plaza had about twelve hundred people in line… Then came the mass, which seemed hours long.
My attention was particularly attracted to one of the patriarchs of the place — he seemed hundred years old — who remained upon his knees during the entire service muttering his prayers and devoutly crossing himself from time to time with mechanical regularity.The whole performance was new to me in every particular until, at the close of the mass, the orchestra played “The Star-spangled Banner.” The effect upon me was electrical. I seemed to be suddenly transported from another world back to an environment I remembered having been in before and with which I was familiar.
After the mass came second breakfast (almuerzo) at half past nine, dinner at one, and then (for me) a long wait until four o’clock, at which time we were to set out on our return to Janiuay. Although there were hundreds of people about me all the time, still since they neither spoke nor understood any English, and since I spoke but Little of their language, my enjoyment of the occasion was not of the most over-flowing sort,
although our hosts put forth special effort to make my visit a pleasant one.