I went to market this morning and stocked up with all sorts of things. Prices have gone up dreadfully. It is now eight in the morning and we are still unoccupied. The streets are nearly deserted, people are huddled in frightened groups, fires raging all about the city—and always rumors, rumors. The rumor that the hospital ship with all the wounded got away seems fairly true. The rumor that the “Royal Family” was picked up by the hospital ship leaves me indifferent. There’s a vast deal of griping about their leaving, deserting the ship, as most people say. I don’t see any reason against their leaving. Why have the heads of governments locked up! Only makes for more loss of face for the white people—if any more such loss be possible. I do resent the manner of their going. Sneaky, I call it.
Eleven in the morning. A car has just passed the door with a loud-speaker shouting, “Everyone go to their own homes and remain there quietly.” So I sent the staff to their homes as I did not want any harm to come to them. They did not want to go. They are a good bunch and have been wonderful. They had started lunch and I can finish it for the people who live in the house and for those who dare venture forth.
Four-thirty in the afternoon. We lunched, some thirty of us, en buffet. I put the pot of soup on the table and a girl friend ladled it out. Then we had cold cuts, including some of the New Year’s cold turkey, roast ham and beef, and a big bowl of mixed salad and some hot stewed corn. Poor Savary, how he would curse if he saw that! He always said corn was fit “seulement pour les cochons.” We finished off with French pastry, and fruit, and plenty of coffee.
The president of the Chartered Bank and the number two of the same establishment had lunched here and they washed the dishes while I kneaded the bread which the chef had started. I hadn’t made bread for many years and those loaves look odd to me. There’s dough on my elbows still! I put a leg of lamb in the oven and there are small new potatoes prepared so we can eat tonight if we have the chance. Oh, dear! The lights just went off. That is a tragedy.
Five-thirty. Some friends just came in to say that a big bodega—Smith Bell’s—is burning in the vicinity of the light plant, so they pulled the plant switches for the moment. Guess the lights will be all right. They wanted me to join them at the Bay View Hotel. I am so alone! But guess I’d better stay on the job. I have a responsibility towards the people living in the house. I did send a bag over with some Scotch whisky in it and a few toilet things in case I had to run. This is a wooden building.
Midnight. We are occupied. We had a hurried supper by daylight. A few of the staff had sneaked back and
served us. There were more than forty of us. The hotel opposite is in a state of chaos—so many people crowded in there for shelter and the kitchens not functioning very well, naturally. Many of those people came over to eat, others sent for snacks and sandwiches—it’s a good thing I went to market this morning. I did go across to the hotel about six-thirty, but some instinct sent me flying back home before I even tasted the drink set before me. I came in my own front door just as the loud-speakers warned again to stay at home. A little later the advance Japanese guard came to the Bay View Hotel, led, I regret to say, by the son of the vice-president of the Philippines.
It was a horrid sight, seeing those cars and motorcycles racing down the boulevard. I suppose the main column has gone down Taft Avenue. I am weary and heartsick—our town, our lovely town, in the hands of
vandals! What will they do to us? I can hear bombing and gunfire. Suppose Mariveles on the Bataan Peninsula is taking it—our troops are concentrated there.
I’m afraid to go to bed. Suppose I’d better.