A Woman's Impression of the Philippines
Mary Helen Fee

Part 2 out of 4

to wax, the march became a hurry, the hurry grew to a rush, and the
rush ended in a wild scramble for front seats. One little maid in
particular was such an invariable holder of an advantageous position
that my curiosity was aroused to see how she did it. I watched her, saw
her glistening brown body--perfectly visible through the filmy material
of her single garment--dive under the last row of seats and emerge
triumphant at the front while the press was still blocking the aisles.

Disorder and excitement were, however, mere temporary conditions. Under
repeated admonition and practice, the Filipino children moved about
with more order and regularity, the habit of studying aloud was
overcome, and the school began to show the organization and discipline
to which Americans are accustomed.

The hardest thing to overcome was their desire to aid me in matters
that I could manage better alone. If some one whispered and I tapped
a pencil, instantly half the children in the room would turn around
and utter the hiss with which they invoke silence, or else they
would begin to scold the offender in the vernacular. Such acts led,
of course, to unutterable confusion, and I had no little trouble in
putting a stop to them.


An Analysis of Filipino Character

American Pupils and Filipino Pupils Contrasted--The Filipinos' Belief
That They Are Highly Developed Musicians--Their Morbid Sensitiveness
to Criticism--Explanation of Their Desire for Education--Their
Belief That They Could Achieve Great Success in Manufactures, Arts,
and Literature If Left to Govern Themselves--Their Lack of Creative
Ability--Dillettanteism of Leading Filipinos--Manual Jealousies of
the People--Lack of Real Democratic Spirit in America--The Pride of
Filipino Men Compared to That of American Women.

So long as they find firmness and justice in the teacher, Filipino
children are far easier to discipline than are American children. At
the first sign of weakness in the teacher or in the Government which
is behind him, they are infinitely more unruly and arrogant than are
the children of our own race. There is, in even the most truculent
American child, a sense of the eternal fitness of things which the
Filipino lacks. American children are restless and mischievous. They
are on the alert for any sign of overstepping the limits of lawful
authority on the part of the teacher, and they have no compunctions
about forcing him to recognize that he rules by the consent of
the governed, and that he must not mistake their complaisance for
servility. On the other hand, they have, with rare exceptions, a
respect for the value of a teacher's opinion in the subjects which
he teaches, and will seldom contradict or oppose him in matters
that pertain wholly to learning. A class of American children which
would support in every possible way one of their number in defying
authority would not hesitate to make that same companion's life a
burden to him if he should set up his own opinion on abstract matters
in contradiction to his teacher's. Except when a teacher signally
proves his incapacity, American children are willing to grant the
broad premise that he knows more than they do, and that, if he does
not, he at least ought to know more. Filipino children reverse this
attitude. They are quite docile, seldom think of disputing authority
as applied to discipline, but they will naively cling to a position
and dispute both fact and philosophy in the face of quoted authority,
or explanation, or even of sarcasm. The following anecdote illustrates
this peculiarity. It happened in my own school and is at first hand.

One of the American teachers was training a Filipino boy to make
a recitation. The boy had adopted a plan of lifting one hand in an
impassioned gesture, holding it a moment, and of letting it drop, only
to repeat the movement with the other hand. After he had prolonged
this action, in spite of frequent criticism, till he looked like a
fragment of the ballet of "La Poupee," the teacher lost patience.

"Domingo," she said, "I have told you again and again not to make
those pointless, mechanical gestures. Why do you do it? They are
inappropriate and artificial, and they make you look like a fool."

Domingo paused and contemplated her with the pity which Filipinos
often display for our artistic inappreciativeness.

"Madame," he replied in a pained voice, "you surprise me. Those
gestures are not foolishness. They are talent. I thought they would
please you."

In my own early days I was once criticised by one of the young ladies
of Capiz for my pronunciation of the letter _c_ in the Spanish word
_ciudad_. I replied that my giving the sound of _th_ to the letter was
correct Spanish, whereupon she advised me to pay no attention to the
Spanish pronunciation, as the Filipinos speak better Spanish than do
the Spanish themselves. What she meant was that the avoidance of _th_
sounds in _c_ and _z_, which the Filipinos invariably pronounce like
_s_, is an improvement to the Spanish language. I imagined some of
that young lady's kindred ten years later arguing to prove that the
Filipino corruption of _th_ in English words--pronouncing "thirty" as
"sirty," and "thick" as "sick"--arguing that such English is superior
to English as we speak it. Here are some typically mispronounced
English sentences: "If Maria has seben fencils and see loses sree, see
will hab four fencils left, and if her moser gibs her eight fencils,
see will hab twel' fencils in all." Here is another: "Pedro has a new
fair of voots." Another: "If one fint ob binegar costs fi' cents,
sree fints will cost sree times fi' cents, or fikteen cents." It
would, I think, be hard to convince us that the euphonic changes in
these words are an improvement to our language.

Some four years ago, I was teaching a class in the Manila School of
Arts and Trades, and was giving some directions about the word form
of English sentences. I advised the class to stick to simple direct
sentences, since they would never have any use for a literary style
in English. Some six or eight young men instantly dissented from this
proposition, and insisted that they were capable of acquiring the best
literary style. Not one of them could have written a page of clear,
grammatical, idiomatic English. I tried to make it clear to them that
literary English and colloquial English are two different things,
and that what they needed was plain, precise English as a medium of
exchange in business, and I said, incidentally, that such was the
English possessed by the major portion of the English-speaking race. I
said that although the American nation numbered eighty millions,
most of whom were educated and able to make an intelligent use of
their language in conversation or in writing, the percentage of great
writers and speakers always had been small and always would be so.

When I had finished, the son of a local editor, arose and replied
as follows: "Yes, madame, what you say of Americans is true. But we
are different. We are a literary people. We are only eight millions,
but we have hundreds and thousands of orators. We have the literary
sense for all languages."

Nearly thirty years ago, when I was a pupil in the Kansas City,
Missouri, High School, the stepson of a United States Circuit judge
made a brutally rude and insubordinate reply to a woman teacher
who said to him, in reference to an excuse which he had given for
tardiness, "That is not a good excuse." The young man turned an
insolent eye upon the teacher--a gray-haired woman--and replied,
"It's good enough for me. What are you going to do about it?"

I cannot conceive that a Filipino child would be guilty of such
insolence, such defiance of decency and order. But never have I met
an American child who would have the artless indiscretion to put
himself in the position of Domingo. The American child does not mind
violating a rule. He is chary of criticising its propriety or its
value. In other words, the American child does not mind doing wrong,
but he is wary of making a fool of himself; and I have yet to meet
the Filipino child who entertained the faintest suspicion that it was
possible for him to make a fool of himself. Nor is the attitude of
dissent among Filipinos limited to those who express themselves. It
is sometimes very trying to feel that after long-winded eloquence,
after citation and demonstration, you have made no more real impression
upon the silent than upon the talkative, and that, indeed, the gentle
reserve of some of your auditors is based upon the conviction that
your own position is the result of indomitable ignorance. One of my
friends has met this spirit in a class in the Manila High School. A
certain boy insists that he has seen the iron head of a thunderbolt,
and although he makes "passing grades" in physics, he does not
believe in physics. He regards our explanations of the phenomena of
lightning as a parcel of foolishness in no wise to stand the test of
his own experience, and nothing can silence him. "But, ma'am," he says,
when electricity is under discussion, "I am see the head of a thunder
under our house." This young gentleman will graduate in a year or two,
and the tourist from the States will look over the course of study
of the Manila High School and go home telling his brethren that the
Filipino children are able to compete successfully with American youth
in the studies of a secondary education. I myself had a heart-breaking
time with a sixth-grade class in one of the intermediate schools of
Manila. The children had been studying animal life and plant life,
and could talk most learnedly about anthropoid apes, and "habitats"
and other things; but they undertook to convince me that Filipino
divers can stay under water an hour without any diving apparatus,
and that the reason for this power is that the diver is "brother to
a snake"--that is, that when the mother gave birth to the child, she
gave birth to a snake also, and that some mysterious power remains
in persons so born.

Filipino children are not restless and have no tradition of enmity
between teacher and pupil to urge them into petty wrong-doing. Their
attitude toward the teacher is a very kindly one, and they are
almost uniformly courteous. Their powers of concentration are not
equal to those of American children, and they cannot be forced
into a temporarily heavy grind, but neither do they suffer from the
extremes of indolence and application which are the penalty of the
nervous energy of our own race. They are attentive (which the American
child is not) but not retentive, and they can keep up a steady, even
pull at regular tasks, especially in routine work, at which American
children usually rebel. In fact, they prefer routine work to variety,
and grow discouraged quickly when they have to puzzle out things for
themselves. They will faithfully memorize pages and pages of matter
which they do not understand, a task at which our nervous American
children would completely fail. They are exceedingly sensitive to
criticism, and respond quickly to praise. Unfortunately the narrow
experience of the race, and the isolation and the general ignorance of
the country, make praise a dangerous weapon in the hands of a teacher;
for a child is apt to educe a positive and not a relative meaning from
the compliment. Filipino children have not attained the mental state
of being able to qualify in innumerable degrees. If a teacher hands
back a composition to an American boy with the words "Well done,"
the child understands perfectly that his instructor means well as
compared with the work of his classmates. The Filipino is inclined
to think that she means positively well done--above the average for
all the world. I once complimented a class in Capiz on the ease with
which they sang four-part music, and said, what I truly feel, that
the Filipinos are a people of unusual musical ability. They managed
to extract from the compliment the idea that the musical development
of the Filipinos is far in advance of that of the Americans.

Middle-class Filipinos have a very inadequate conception of the
tremendous wealth of artistic, literary, and musical talent interwoven
with the world's development, and are especially inclined to pride
themselves upon their racial excellence in these lines, where, in
truth, they have achieved almost no development whatever in spite of
the possession of undoubted talent. They do not understand the value
of long training, and are inclined to assume that the mere possession
of a creative instinct is final evidence of excellence in any art.

It will be some time before what real talent they have will make itself
felt in any line, because it will take a great deal of tactful handling
to make them reveal their natural artistic trend instead of falling
into imitation of Europe and America. It is strange that a people so
tenacious of its opinions with regard to matters of fact should be
so willing to surrender its ideal with regard to the thing of which
a nation has most reason to be tenacious, its natural expression. But
the whole race is so morbidly sensitive to the sneer that everything
Filipino is necessarily crude that the young art student or the young
musical student feels that his only hope of winning commendation is
in painting or playing or composing after European models; while as
for the populace at large it has its own standards in which other
motives than artistic excellence play the largest part.

I had a friend, a young Filipino girl, who has been one of the most
diligent among the pupils of the American schools. She was staying
with me two or three years ago when my publisher sent me a copy of a
primer intended for use in the Philippines, and which had just been
gotten out in the United States. The publisher had spared no expense
in his illustrations, and we were tremendously proud of the artistic
side of the book. This Filipino girl had heard me use the expression
"poor white trash," and I had explained to her how the Southern
negroes use the words as a term of derision of those who fail to
live up to the traditions of race and family. When I took my book
to her in the joy of an author in her first complete production,
she looked at it a minute and burst into tears. "Poor Filipino
trash!" was all she could say for a long time, and I finally pieced
it out that she was enraged because the Filipino boys and girls in
my book were sometimes barefooted, sometimes clad in _chinelas_, and
wore native camisas instead of American suits and dresses. I pointed
out to her that not one Filipino child in a hundred dresses otherwise,
but my argument was of no avail. The children in the American readers
wore natty jackets and hats and high-heeled shoes, and winter wraps,
even at play, and she wanted the Filipino children to look the same.

A great deal has been said in the American press about the eagerness
for education here. The desire for education, however, does not come
from any real dissatisfaction which the Filipinos have with themselves,
but from eagerness to confute the reproach which has been heaped
upon them of being unprogressive and uneducated. It is an abnormal
condition, the result of association of a people naturally proud and
sensitive with a people proud and arrogant. At present the desire for
progress in things educational and even in things material is more
or less ineffective because it is fed from race sensitiveness rather
than from genuine discontent with the existing order of things. The
educated classes of Filipinos are not at all dissatisfied with the
kind and quality of education which they possess; agriculturists are
not dissatisfied with their agricultural implements; the artisans
are not, as a class, dissatisfied with their tools or ashamed of
their labor. If you talk to a Filipino carpenter about the carefully
constructed houses of America, he does not sigh. He merely says, "That
is very good for America, but here different custom," Filipino cooks
are not dissatisfied with the terrible _fugons_ which fill their eyes
with smoke and blacken the cooking utensils, and have to be fanned
and puffed at every few minutes and occasionally set the house on
fire. The natural causes of growth are not widely existent, and it is
still problematic if they will ever come into being. Meanwhile growth
goes on stimulated by the eternal criticism, the sting of which the
Filipinos would move heaven and earth to escape.

Our own national progress and that of the European nations from whom
we are descended have been so differently conceived and developed that
we can hardly realize the peculiar process through which Filipinos
are passing. We cannot conceive of Robert Fulton tearing his hair
and undertaking a course in mechanics with the ulterior view of
inventing something to prove that the American race is an inventive
one. We cannot imagine Eli Whitney buried in thought, wondering how he
could make a cotton gin to disprove the statement that the Americans
are an unprogressive people. Cyrus Hall McCormick did not go out and
manufacture a reaper because he was infuriated by a German newspaper
taunt that the Americans were backward in agriculture. Nor can we
fancy that John Hay while dealing with the Chinese crisis in 1900 was
continually distracting his mind from the tremendously grave points
at issue by wondering if he could not do something a little cleverer
than the other diplomats would do.

All the natural laws of development are turned around in the
Philippines, and motives which should belong to the crowning years
of a nation's life seem to have become mixed in at the beginning--a
condition, due, of course, to the fact that the Filipinos began
the march of progress at a time when the telegraph and the cable
and books and newspapers and globe-trotters submitted their early
development to a harrowing comparison and observation. The Filipino
is like an orphan baby, not allowed to have his cramps and colic and
to cut his teeth in the decent retirement of the parental nursery,
but dragged out instead into distressing publicity, told that his
wails are louder, his digestive habits more uncertain, his milk teeth
more unsatisfactory, than the wails or the digestive habits or the
milk teeth of any other baby that ever went through the developing
process. Naturally he is self-conscious, and--let us be truthful--not
having been a very promising baby from the beginning, both he and
his nurses have had a hard time.

However, turned around or not, we are not responsible for the
condition. The Filipinos had arrived at the self-conscious stage
before we came here, and we have had to accept the situation and make
the best of it.

The American press of Manila, with the very best of intentions, has
indulged itself in much editorial comment, and the more the condition
of things is discussed, the more the native press strengthens in its
quick sensitiveness. The present attitude of the upper, or governing,
class of Filipinos is this: "We want the best of everything in the
world--of education, of morals, of business methods, of social polish,
of literature, art, and music, of roads and bridges, of agricultural
machinery, and of local transportation, and we can attain these
things." They have laid down in the beginning a premise for which no
inductive process can be found as justification,--that the Filipino
people is capable of doing anything which any other nation has done;
and that, given time and opportunity--especially the opportunity of
managing their own process of development--they will demonstrate
their capacity. The flat contradiction of this position which is
not infrequently taken by Americans in discussing Filipinos is,
of course, as extreme as the Filipino position itself, and, as an
observer, I have little to do with either. But at the present time I
do feel warranted in stating that the mass of intelligent Filipinos
fail to distinguish between critical or appreciative ability and real
creative ability, and that what they are acquiring in huge doses just
now is the critical and not the creative. Moreover, of the great body
of persons who make the demand for the best, only a very few have any
idea of what is the best except in book learning and social polish. The
prominent men among the Filipinos to-day are those who were educated
in Europe or in Filipino schools modelled on European patterns. Their
idea of education is a social one--an education which fits a man to
be considered a gentleman and to be an adornment to the society of
his peers. They have no conception of the American specialization
idea in education which grants a doctor's degree to a man who says
"would have went" and "He come to my house yesterday." The Filipino
leaders have a perfectly clear idea of what they want educationally,
of what they consider the best, and they are jealously watching
the educational department to see that they get it. The American
press urges more and more manual training, and the Filipino press,
because manual training is in the list of things marked "best,"
echoes the general call. But there is no small body of hobbyists in
the Islands keeping a jealous eye on the manual-training department
of education. It could be dropped out of the curriculum by simply
allowing it to become less and less effectual, and so long as no
formal announcement was made the Filipinos would not find out what
was being done. But in Manila and in most provincial towns there are
enough Filipinos who know what musical instruction is to watch that
the musical training be not too badly administered.

There is plenty of complaint about the Sanitary System of Manila,
there are plenty of people to complain about what _is_ being done, but
there is no small organized body of Filipinos whose paramount interest
in life is fixed upon sanitation and health, and who make it their
thankless task to harry the department and to preach ceaselessly at
the unthinking public till they get what they want. The legislators of
the Philippines are gentlemen born, men educated in conformity to the
ideals of education in aristocratic countries, but unfortunately they
have not had, owing to the political conditions which have prevailed
here, the practical experience of an aristocratic body in other
lands. In Mrs. Ward's "William Ashe" there is an analysis of a gouty
and rather stupid old statesman, who is so exactly a summary of what
a Filipino statesman is _not_ that I cannot forbear quoting it here:

"He possessed that narrow, but still most serviceable fund of human
experience which the English land-owner, while our English tradition
subsists, can hardly escape if he will. As guardsman, volunteer,
magistrate, lord lieutenant, member (for the sake of his name and
his acres) of various important commissions, as military _attache_
even for a short time to an important embassy, he had acquired, by mere
living, that for which his intellectual betters had often envied him--a
certain shrewdness, a certain instinct both for men and affairs which
were often of more service to him than finer brains to other persons."

The only large practical experience which Filipino leaders have enjoyed
has come through their being land-owners and agriculturists. But
agriculture has not been competitive; and when the land-owning class
travelled, it was chiefly in Spain, which can hardly be called a
progressive agricultural country. Of men of the artisan class who
have worked their way up by their own efforts from ignorance to
education, from poverty to riches; of men who have had any large
available experience in manual labor or in specialised industries,
the present Assembly feels the lack. The Filipino leaders are a body
of polished gentlemen, more versed in law than in anything else,
with varying side lines of dilettante tastes in numerous directions.

Such as they are, the schoolboy desires to be. One of the periodic
frenzies of the local American press is an appeal to teachers--why
are they not remodelling character, why do not the aims and ideals
which it is their business to instil make a greater showing after ten
years of American occupation? American teachers have talked themselves
hoarse, and as far as talking can go, they have influenced ideals. The
child's _conscious ideal_ about which he talks in public, and to
which he devotes about one one-thousandth of his thinking time, is
some such person as George Washington, or Abraham Lincoln, or James
A. Garfield, who drove the canal boat and rose to be President of
the United States. But the subconscious ideal which is always in
his mind, upon which he patterns unthinkingly his speech and his
manners and his dreams of success, is--and it would be unnatural if
it were otherwise--some local potentate who will not carry home his
own little bag of Conant currency when he receives his salary at the
end of the month. What are a name and a few moral platitudes about a
dead-and-gone hero? What can they mean to a shirtless urchin with a
hungry stomach, against the patent object-lesson of his own countryman
whom not only his fellow citizens, but the invader, must treat with
consideration? It would be far easier to distract the attention of the
children of the State of Ohio from their distinguished fellow-citizens,
William H. Taft and John D. Rockefeller, to fix it upon the late Lord
Cromer or that Earl of Halifax known as the "Trimmer," than it is to
tell a Filipino child that the way to distinction lies through toil
and sweat. Children are very patient about listening to talk, but
they are going to pattern themselves upon what is obvious. Twenty or
thirty years from now, when the American school system will have aided
certain sons of the people, men of elemental strength, to bully and
fight their way to the front, and they will have become the evidence
that we were telling the truth--then will the results be visible in
more things than in annual school commencements and in an increase
in the output of stenographers and bookkeepers.

The weakest point in a Filipino child's character is his quick jealousy
and his pride. His jealousy is of the sort constitutionally inimical
to solidarity. Paradoxical as the statement may seem, the Filipinos
are more aristocratic in their theories of life than we are, and more
democratic in their individual constitution. Our democracy has always
been tempered by common sense and practicality. We like to say at
church that all men are brothers, and on the Fourth of July to declare
that they are born free and equal; but we do not undertake to put these
theories into practice. Every individual citizen of the United States
is not walking about with a harrowing dread of doing something that
admits a lesser self-esteem than his neighbor may possess. If a fire
breaks out in his neighborhood, and a little action on his part can
stop it before it gets a dangerous start, he does not hesitate to act
for fear doing so will show him possessed of less personal pride than
his neighbor up the street. If he is earning sixty dollars a month, and
learns that some other employee in another house is getting more money
for the same work, he does not take the chances of starvation because
to submit to the condition is to admit that he is less important than
another man. Yet the whole laboring element of the Filipino people
is permeated by just such a spirit. It is practically impossible to
fix a price for labor or for produce by any of the laws of supply and
demand that regulate such things elsewhere. The personal jealousies,
the personal assertions of individuals continually interfere with
the normal conditions of trade. If in the market some American
comes along in a hurry and pays a peso for a fish, the normal price
of which is about thirty-five cents, the price of fish goes up all
through the market--for Americans. You may offer eighty cents and be
refused, and the owner will sell two minutes after to a Filipino for
thirty-five. But in so doing he does not "lose his face." The other
man got a peso from an American, and a man who takes less--from an
American--is owning himself less able than his companions.

We talk of democracy, but we never know how little democratic we are
till we come in contact with the real article. Can you conceive what
would be the commercial chaos of America to-morrow if the humblest
laborer had the quick personal pride of the millionaire? With all
our alleged democracy, we realize the impossibility of ringing
Mrs. Vanderbilt's doorbell and asking her to sell us a few flowers
from her conservatory or to direct us to a good dressmaker, though
we can take just such liberties with houses where the evidences that
money would be welcome are patent.

The American laborer does not mind going to and from his work in
laboring clothes, and he makes no attempt to seem anything but a
laboring man. But you cannot tell in a Manila street car whether
the white-clad man at your side is a government clerk at sixty pesos
a month or a day laborer at fifteen. I once lost a servant because
I commanded him to carry some clothes to my laundress. "Go on the
street with a bundle of clothes, and get into the street car with
them! I would rather die!" he said; and he quitted rather than do it.

Compare that with the average common-sense attitude of the American
laboring man or even the professional man. Until he becomes really
a great man and lives in the white light of publicity, the American
citizen does not concern himself with his conduct at all as it relates
to his personal importance. He is likely to argue that he cannot do
certain things which violate his ideal of manhood, or other things
which are inconsistent in a member of the church, or other things
which are unworthy of a democrat, or of a member of the school board,
or even of an "all-round sport." Whatever the prohibitive walls which
hedge the freedom of his conduct, each is a perfectly defined one,
a standard of conduct definitely outlined in his mind, to which he has
pledged his allegiance; but he has no large conception that most useful
things are forbidden pleasures to him because of a sense of personal
importance. He has no God of the "I," no feeling that makes him stay
his hand at helping a cochero to free a fallen and injured horse,
while he looks to see that some other man of his class is helping also.

There is a perfectly defined class system in the Philippines, and,
between class and class, feeling is not bitter; but within each
class jealousy is rampant. The Filipino, though greatly influenced
by personality, does not yet conceive of a leadership based upon
personality to which loyalty must be unswervingly paid. He feels the
charm of personality, he yields to it just so long as it falls in
with his own ideas, but the moment it crosses his own assertiveness
he is ready to revolt. Many Americans speak of this characteristic
as if it were a twist in character. My own opinion is that it is a
passing phase, due to the Filipino's lack of the "narrow, but most
serviceable fund of human experience." But no matter to what cause
the condition is due, it makes a great difference in the life of the
individual and of the social body as a whole that each unit has fixed
his ideal of conduct upon an illimitable consciousness of personal
importance, instead of upon perfectly defined ideals in particular
matters. It makes for femininity in the race.

If the reader will meditate a little upon the difference between
masculine pride and feminine pride in America, he will probably
agree with me that masculine pride centres largely in loyalty to
well-defined ideals of what is manly, or honorable, or bold, or just,
or religious--in short, it tries to live up to the requirements of a
hundred separate standards. On the other hand, feminine pride, outside
of its adherence to what is chaste and womanly, consists of pride in
self, a kind of self-estimate, based frequently upon social position,
sometimes on a consciousness of self-importance which comes through the
admiration of men. In either case the pride is likely to show itself
in a jealous exaction of consideration for the individual. Such is
Filipino pride. It is almost wholly concerned in guarding its vested
rights, in demanding and exacting the consideration due the importance
of its possessor.

Filipinos are hard to enlist in any new undertaking until they are
certain that success will bring "consideration." They love newspaper
notices and publicity, they love the centre of the stage, and every
new advance in intelligence is bulwarked by a disproportional demand
for "consideration."

Filipino men are not lacking in manly qualities. They have the stronger
courage, the relatively stronger will and passions which distinguish
the men of our own race. But they are harder to get along with than
are Filipino women, because their sense of sex importance is so much
exaggerated, and because, as Mr. Kipling would put it, they "have too
much ego in their cosmos." The secret consciousness of power is not
enough for them. They must flash it every minute in your eyes, that you
may not forget to yield the adulation due to power. Like women, they
get heady on a small allowance of power; and indeed in both sexes there
are emphasized certain characteristics which we are accustomed to look
upon as feminine. Their pride is feminine as I have analyzed it. They
rely upon intuition to guide them more than upon analysis. In enlisting
cooeperation, even in public matters, they are likely to appeal to a
sentiment of friendship for themselves instead of demonstrating the
abstract superiority of their cause. They will make a haughty public
demand, but will not scruple to support it with secret petition and
appeal. They are adepts at playing upon the weakness and petty vanity
of others; and they deal gently with the strong, but boldly with the
weak. Both men and women possess an abundance of sexual jealousy,
and have, in addition, the quick sensitiveness about rank, worldly
possessions, and precedence which with us has become the reproach
of the feminine. Lastly, they have, in its highest development, the
capacity to make a _volte-face_ with grace and equanimity. They are
cunning, but not shrewd; their reasoning is wholly deductive, they
are inclined to an enthusiastic assent to large statements, especially
when these take the form of moral or political truisms; but they do not
submit their convictions to practical working tests. They seem often
inconsistent, but observation will show that, however inconsistent
their practice is with their professions, it is always consistent
with their pride, as I have analyzed it in these pages.


My Early Experiences in Housekeeping

I Set Up Housekeeping--Romoldo's Ideas of Arranging Furniture--My
Cheerful Environment--Romoldo's Success in Making "Hankeys"--He
Introduces the Orphan Tikkia as His Assistant--The Romance of Romoldo
and Tikkia.

At the period of my advent in Capiz there were but two other American
women there, wives of military men. Later our numbers were increased by
the wives of several civilian employees and two more women teachers. In
those first days the hospitality of the military women made no small
break in the routine of my daily life. At the time of our appointment
we teachers had been assured by a circular from the War Department
that we should enjoy the privileges of the military commissary; but
this ruling had been changed in the several months that had elapsed,
and I found myself stranded with practically no access to American
tinned fruits and vegetables. I ate rice, fish, and bananas with the
best grace I could; and when, after a month of boarding, I decided
to set up housekeeping, and one of these ladies surreptitiously and
with fear and trembling presented me with a can of concentrated lye,
my gratitude knew no bounds. My Filipino servant, named Romoldo,
whom I had dubbed "The Magnificent," was set to work cleaning up
my prospective dwelling; and I went out and secured the services
of a trooper of the Tenth Cavalry to supplement the deficiencies in
Romoldo's housecleaning instincts by some American brawn and muscle.

The trooper, a coal-black African, had picked up a great deal of
Spanish, which he spoke with the corruption of vowel sounds peculiar to
his race and color. In addition to collecting the stipend agreed upon,
he incidentally borrowed two dollars (U.S.) of me. Now, I was brought
up in Missouri and knew enough of the colored race to be sure that I
was bidding a fond adieu to the two dollars when I handed them to the
trooper. But I was not prepared for my henchman's persistence in having
the extension of time made formal. I was willing to forget the two
dollars and have done with them, but the African would not permit them
to rest in peace. He presented himself regularly every two weeks to
ask for another fortnight's extension. Finally, when the regiment was
about to leave the Islands, I insisted that he should accept the two
dollars as an evidence of my good-will toward the United States Army
and the defenders of the flag, and he was graciously pleased so to do.

The trooper's muscles were strong as his habits of renewal, and he
and Romoldo scoured the floors of my new establishment until the
shiny black accretions of twenty-five years of petroleum and dirt
had given way to unpolished roughness, and then I set to work to
get a new polish. Then we took hold of the furniture--heavy, wooden,
Viennese stuff--and scrubbed it with zeal. My landlord came to look
in occasionally and was hurt. He said plaintively that they had had no
contagious diseases, and he asked why this deluge of soap and water. I
basely declined to admit the flat truth, which was that the floors
and chairs were too greasy for my taste, but attributed our energy
to a mad American zeal for scouring. He said, "Ah, _costumbre_!" and
seemed to feel that the personal sting of my actions had been removed.

In due time the house was clean, and I moved in. The sala,
or drawing-room, was at least forty by thirty feet, with two sides
arcaded and filled with shell windows, which, when drawn back, gave
the room almost the open-air effect of a gallery. It was furnished
with two large gilt mirrors, a patriarchal cane-seated sofa, several
wooden armchairs, eleven majolica pedestals for holding _jardinieres_,
and two very small tables. These last-named articles "the Magnificent"
placed at the head of the apartment in such a position as to divide
its cross wall into thirds, and then arranged all the chairs in two
rows leading from the two tables, beginning with the most patriarchal
armchair and ending with the dining-room chair, the leg of which
was tied on with a string. The effect was rigidly mathematical; and
when my landlady came in and adorned each table with a potted rose
geranium, stuck all over with the halves of empty egg-shells to give
it the appearance of flowering, I felt that it was time to assert
myself. The egg-shells went promptly into the garbage box, and the
chairs and tables were pulled about to achieve the unpremeditated
effect of our own rooms. Then I went out for a walk, and returning
found that Romoldo had restored things to his own taste. Again I
broke up his formation, so the next time he tried a new device. He
put one table at the top of the room and one at the bottom, with the
chairs arranged in a circle around each one. This gave the pleasing
impression to one entering the room that a card game was ready to
begin. Again Romoldo's efforts were treated with contempt.

For at least two weeks a deadly combat went on between Romoldo and me,
in which I finally came off victor. At the end of that time he seemed
to have accustomed himself to our ideas of decoration. He had, in our
week's deluging, cleaned up the lamps of the chandeliers, brushed
down the cobwebs, and removed some half-dozen baskets of faded and
dust-laden paper flowers. He administered the ironical consolation
meanwhile that their destruction did not matter, since my admiring
pupils would see that the supply was renewed. To my eternal sorrow he
was a true prophet, and I had to contemplate green chrysanthemums and
blue roses, and a particularly offensive hand-painted basket made of
plates of split shell. However, the potted palms and ferns with which
I ornamented the eleven pedestals made atonement; and when I came in
after a hard day's work and saw the unreal, golden-tinted light of
afternoon filling the dignified old room, I found it home-like and
lovely in spite of the paper flowers and the shell basket.

My bedroom was half as large as the sala, with a small room adjoining
it which I used for a dining-room, and at the back there were a
kitchen, a bathroom, closets, and a bamboo porch. For this shelter,
furnished as it was, I paid the munificent sum of twenty-five pesos
Mexican currency, or twelve and one-half dollars gold per month.

As my house was located over the second saloon in town--one of the
regular, innocent, grocery-looking Filipino breed--and as it commanded
a fine view of the plaza, guard mount, retreat, and Sunday morning
church procession, I had at least all the excitement that was going
in Capiz. The American soldiers swore picturesquely over their domino
and billiard games down stairs; the "ruffle of drums" (though why so
called I know not, for it consists of a blare of trumpets) woke up
the sultry stillness at nine A.M.; the great church-bells struck the
hours and threw in a frenzy of noise on their own account at some
six or eight regular periods during the day; at twelve, noon, the
village band stationed itself on the plaza to run a lively opposition
to the bells; and at sunset the charming ceremony of retreat brought
us all out to see the flag drop down, and to hear the clear, long
bugle notes; and there were sick call, mess call, and several other
calls. Not the least beautiful of these was "taps." I used to wait for
it in the perfect stillness of starlit nights when the Filipinos had
all gone to bed, and the houses were ever so faintly revealed by the
lanterns burning dimly in front, and the faintest gleam told where
the river was slipping by. There would be no sound save the step of
the trumpeter picking his way up the street. Then the church clock
would strike--not the ordinary bell, but a deep-throated one that
could have been heard for miles--and as the vibrations of the last
stroke died away, the first high-pitched, sweet notes would ring out,
to fade away in the ineffable sadness of the closing strain.

But if there was much that was novel and more that was noisy in those
first experiences, there was also plenty of irritation. As I stated
before, I had brought Romoldo from Iloilo to Capiz with the idea of
using him for a cook. In the days when I was still boarding, he had
confirmed me in this intention by stating that he had had experience
in that line with an American army officer. He was particularly
enthusiastic over his achievements with "hankeys." For a long while,
I could make nothing of this word, but at last I discovered that it
was his corruption of "pancakes." I found out this fact by asking
Romoldo to explain how he made "hankeys," and by recognizing among
his ingredients milk, eggs, and flour.

As the Filipina with whom I boarded professed to be eager to
learn American cookery, I told Romoldo to make some "hankeys." In
the language of Virgil, I "shudder to relate" what those "hankeys"
were. There were three, nicely piled on top of one another, after our
time-honored custom. No words could fitly describe them. They resembled
unleavened bread, soaked in a clarifying liquid, heated, pressed down,
and polished on both sides. The Filipina tried to conceal her disgust,
and pretended to accept my explanation that they were only a caricature
of our loved breakfast delicacy; but I could see that she thought I
was trying to cover up my newly acquired sense of national deficiency.

However, when I set up housekeeping, Romoldo was promoted to the
office of chief cook and only bottle washer. He conveyed to me a
delicate intimation that it was not proper for me to live without
a female attendant, and said that he had a friend--a young woman
lately orphaned--who needed work and would be glad to have the
position. I was sufficiently unsophisticated in Filipino ways to
take this statement at its face value. As the orphan was willing
to labor for a consideration of one dollar gold per month and room,
the experiment could not be an expensive one.

The orphan duly arrived, escorted by Romoldo. He carried her trunk
also, consisting of several garments tied up in a cotton handkerchief.

Her name, as Romoldo pronounced it, was Tikkia (probably Eustaquia),
and I could have wished she had been handsomer and younger. She was
a heavy-browed, pock-marked female, with a mass of cocoanut-oiled
tresses streaming down her back, and one leg, bare from the knee
down, rather obtrusively displaying its skinny shin where her dress
skirt was looped up and tucked in at the waist. She had no petticoat,
and her white chemisette ended two inches below the waist line. As
it was not belted down, it crept out and lent a comical suggestion
of zouave jacket to the camisa, or waist, of _sinamay_ (a kind of
native cloth made of hemp fibres). She understood not one word of
Spanish or English.

When I occupied my new home for the first night, I "ordered"
fried chicken and mashed potatoes for dinner, and then went out in
the kitchen and cooked them. The army quartermaster had loaned me
a range. Romoldo displayed an intelligent interest in the cooking
lesson, but Tikkia seemed bored. When the potatoes were done, I gave
them to Tikkia to mash. Romoldo was in the dining-room, setting the
table. I told her in my best mixed Spanish and Visayan to mash them,
and then to put them on the stove a few minutes in order to dry out any
water in them. She understood just that one word "water"; and when I
returned, after being out of the kitchen a minute, the potatoes were
swimming in a quart of liquid. So I dined on fried chicken.

For the first two or three weeks there were many ludicrous accidents
in my kitchen and some irritating ones. But on the whole Romoldo took
hold of things very well; and though my _menu_ broadened gradually,
it was not long before he had learned a few simple dishes, and my
labor of supervision was much lighter. I said that I was pleased
with Romoldo to the enlisted man who was in charge of the officers'
mess and who incidentally made some market purchases for me. He said,
"You ain't particular," with a finality that left me no defence. He
was mistaken, however. I am particular, but at that time I was still
in the somnambulance of philanthropy which brought us pedagogues to
the Philippines.

I am willing to admit to-day that I vastly overrated Romoldo's
services, and yet, considering the untutored state of his mind and
the extent of his salary, they were a good investment. There has been
among some Americans here a carping and antagonistic spirit displayed
toward Filipinos, which reflects little credit upon our national
consistency or charity. We have a habit of uttering generalities
about one race on the authority of a single instance; whereas, with
our own, the tendency is to throw out of consideration those single
instances in which the actual, undeniable practice of the American
is a direct confutation of what his countrymen declare is the race
standard. My kitchen under Romoldo's touches was not perfect, but I
have seen worse in my native land.

Romoldo being a young and rather attractive man, and Tikkia such a
female pirate, I insist that my failure to suspect a romance is at
least partially justified; and certainly never by word or glance did
they betray the least interest in each other. But some days after my
establishment had begun to run smoothly, one of the military ladies
asked me to dinner. The punkah string was pulled by a murderous-looking
ex-_insurrecto_, who fixed me with a basilisk glance, half entreaty,
half reproach. It became so painful that toward the end of dinner I
asked my hostess if his expression was due to his general frame of
mind or to a special aversion toward pedagogues. She replied that
he was probably bracing himself to approach me on a topic consuming
his very vitals, or as much of them, at least, as may be expressed in
absent-mindedness. Tikkia was his _matrimonio_, and I, the _maestra_
had taken her and given her to Romoldo, and the twain lived in my
house! The lady added that Tikkia was not _matrimonio en iglesia_--that
is, married in church--but only _matrimonio pro tem_.

Pedro came into the sala after dinner and made his petition with
humility. He extolled his kindness to the ungrateful Tikkia, and
denounced Romoldo as a fiend and liar. He tried hard to weep, but
did not succeed.

_0 tempora! O mores!_ Such are the broadening effects of travel and two
short months in the Orient. Conceive of the old maid schoolteacher
in America assuming the position of judge in a matrimonial--or
extra-matrimonial--scandal of this sort.

I promised justice to the sniffling Pedro, and told him to call for
it next day at ten A.M. Like me, he supposed it would take the form
of Tikkia. But when I reached home and summoned the culprits before
the bar of a "moral middle class," they were not disconcerted in the
least. Romoldo stood upon high moral ground. Tikkia might or might
not be married. It was nothing to him, and he did not know. She was an
orphan of his acquaintance to whom he wished to do a kindness. Tikkia
promptly drew up her skirt over the unexposed knee and showed a
filthy sore which she said was caused by Pedro's playful habit of
dragging her about on stony ground by the hair. Moreover she stood
upon her legal rights. She was not _matrimonio en iglesia_, and she
had a right to leave Pedro when she chose.

Pedro came next day at ten A.M., but he did not get justice. On the
contrary, justice, as embodied in Tikkia, stood at the head of the
stairs and said, "No quiero" as often as I (and Pedro) turned our
imploring eyes upon her.

Things went on in this way for some time, and my perplexities offered
amusement to my friends. I felt sure that Romoldo and Tikkia were
lying, and at one time I resolved to discharge them both. The young
American teacher who had been in the Islands since the beginning of
our occupation gave me some sound advice. He said: "What on earth are
these people's morals to you? Romoldo is a good servant. He speaks
Spanish, and if you let him go for one who speaks only Visayan,
your own housekeeping difficulties will be greatly increased." Then
I pleaded the old-fash-ioned rural American fear that people might
think the worse of me for keeping such a pair in my employ; and
Mr. S---- simply collapsed. He sat and laughed in my face till I
laughed too. "We are not in America now," was his parting remark;
and I am still learning what a variety of moral degeneration that
sentence was created to excuse.

I have already given more space than is warranted by good taste
to the romance of Tikkia and Romoldo. The affair went on till I
began to fear lest Pedro, in one of the attacks of jealousy to which
Filipinos are subject, should take vengeance and a _bolo_ in his own
hands. Fortunately, at the critical moment, Romoldo and Tikkia fell
out. She kicked his guitar off the back porch and he complained that
she neglected her work. Then she asked leave to return to her own
town for a few days, and the request was joyfully granted. Pedro also
obtained a vacation. Their town was round the corner one block away,
and there they retired. They greeted me pleasantly whenever I passed
by, and Tikkia seemed in no wise embarrassed by her change of front.

If I have described this incident in full, it is because it illustrates
so perfectly the attitude of a large portion of the Filipino people
on marriage. The common people seldom marry except, as we would term
it, by the common-law marriage. When they do marry in church, it is
quite as much for the _eclat_ of the function as for conscientious
reasons. Marriage in the church costs usually eight pesos (four dollars
gold), though cheaper on Sundays, and to achieve it is quite a mark
of financial prosperity.

Of course, among the educated classes our own view of marriage
prevails, though I have heard of instances where the common-law form
was still observed. In some towns it is customary for marriages
to take place but once a year; an American told me of descending
on a mountain town where the annual wedding festival was due, and
of finding fifty-two happy couples in their gala attire wending a
decorous procession toward the church.


Filipino Youths and Maidens

Manners and Social Condition of Filipino Girls--Sentimental
Boy Lovers--Love-making by Proxy--How Courtship is Usually
Performed--Premature Adolescence of Filipino Youth--The _Boda
Americana_--Filipino Girls Are Coquettes, But Not Flirts--Exposure
of Filipino Girls to Unchaste Conversation--Unceasing Watchfulness
over Girls--Progressive Changes in All the Above Matters.

With regard to their women the Filipinos are an Occidental people
rather than an Oriental one. Marriage is frequently entered upon at
the will of the parent, but few parents will insist upon a marriage
where the girl objects. While the social liberty accorded a young girl
is much less than what is permitted in our own country, there is no
Oriental seclusion of women. Children accompany their parents to balls
and fiestas, and maidens are permitted to mingle freely in society
from their baby-hood. At fourteen or fifteen they enter formally
into society and begin to receive attentions from men. In the upper
classes seventeen or eighteen is the usual time for marriage. By the
time a girl is twenty-two or twenty-three she is counted _passee_,
and, if unmarried, must retire into the background in favor of her
younger sisters.

The young girls are exceedingly attractive. They are slender,
and their heads sit beautifully above long swan-like necks. They
dress their hair in a rather tightly drawn pompadour, and ornament
it with filigree combs set with seed pearls, or, if they are able,
with jewelled butterflies and tiaras. Jewellery is not only a fashion
here, but an investment. Outside of Manila, Iloilo, and Cebu, banks
are practically unknown. The provincial man who is well to do puts his
money into houses and lands or into jewellery for his womankind. The
poor emulate the rich, and wear in imitation what their wealthy
neighbors can afford in the real.

Filipino women never affect the dominating attitude assumed by young
American coquettes. They have an infinite capacity for what we call
small talk and repartee; and, as they never aim for brilliancy and
are quite natural and unaffected, their pretty ways have all the
charm that an unconscious child's have. They love dress, and in one
lightning flash will take you in from head to foot, note every detail
of your costume, and, the next day, imitate whatever parts of it
please their fancy and fall in with their national customs. They are
adepts at mimicry and among themselves will lash us mercilessly. They
straighten up their shoulders, pull in the abdomen, and strut about
with a stiff-backed walk and with their hands hanging stiffly at
their sides. They themselves are full of magnetism and can advance
with outstretched hand and greet you in such a way as to make you
believe that your coming has put sunshine in their lives. Their
chief talk is of lovers in the two stages of _pretendiente_ and
_novio_, and they are full of hints and imputations to one another
of love affairs. Among young people, in spite of the restrictions
put about them to keep the opposite sexes from meeting _tete-a-tete_
or the remotest chances of "spooning," the air is surcharged with
romance. Apparently the Filipino boy has no period in his development
in which he hates girls. At twelve or fourteen he waxes sentimental,
and his love notes are the most reeking examples of puppy love and
high tragedy ever confiscated by an outraged teacher. When written
in the vernacular they are not infrequently obscene, for one of the
saddest phases of early sentiment here is that it is never innocent;
but in English they run to pathos. One ludicrous phase of love-making
is the amount of third-person intervention--an outsider thrusting
himself into the matter to plead for his lovelorn chum. For some
years I made a collection of confiscated _billet-doux_, but they were
destroyed in one of the frequent fires which visit Manila. I can,
however, produce a fair imitation of one of these kindly first aids
to the wounded. This is the prevailing style:


_Lovely and Most Respectable Lady_:

I am do me the honor to write to you these few unworthy lines to tell
you why you are breaking the heart and destroying a good health of
my friend Pedro. Always I am going to his house every night, and I am
find him weeping for you. He is not eating for love of you. He cannot
sleep because he is think about your eyes which are like the stars,
and your hairs which are the most beautiful of all the girls in this
town. Alas! my friend must die if you do not give him a hope. Every
day he is walking in front of your house, but you do not give to him
one little word of love. Even you do not love him, you can stop his
weep if you like to send him one letter, telling to him that you are
not angry to him or to me, his friend.

I have been informed by several persons that there is an official
etiquette about this sort of correspondence. When a boy decides that
he has fallen in love with a schoolmate or with any other young girl,
no matter whether he knows her or not, he writes her a letter in the
first person similar to the above. If she ignores the letter utterly,
he understands that he does not please her--in brief, that "No Irish
need apply." But if she answers in a highly moral strain, professing
to be deeply shocked at his presumption, and informing him that she
sees no way to continue the acquaintance, he knows that all is well. He
sends her another letter, breathing undying love, and takes steps to be
introduced at her home. Once having obtained a calling acquaintance,
he calls at intervals, accompanied by seven or eight other young men,
and, in the general hilarity of a large gathering, endeavors to snatch
a moment in which to gaze into the star-like eyes of his _innamorata_,
or to gloat over her "hairs which are the most beautiful."

The lover's habit of fortifying himself with the society of his fellow
men would be the last which an American boy could understand. But a
Filipino swain rarely presents himself alone at a house to call. He
feels, perhaps, that it makes him conspicuous. The whole race,
for that matter, is given to the habit of calling in droves. If a
Filipino girl goes to an office on business, her mother and father
do not constitute a sufficient escort. Her brothers, cousins, a few
admirers, and possibly a female friend or two are added to the parental
guardians, till the bodyguard assumes the appearance of a delegation
large enough to negotiate a treaty. One of the division superintendents
tells a story which shows the humorous American recognition of the
inconveniences of this habit. The Superintendent had recommended two
young girls as _pensionadas_, or government students, in the Manila
Normal School. It was their duty, on arriving in Manila, to report
to the Director of Education; and they must have done so in the usual
force, for the Director's official telegram, announcing their arrival,
began in this pleasing strain: "Miss---- and Miss----, with relatives
and friends, called this morning."

The premature adolescence of the Filipino youth makes him very
repellent to the American. One of the most frightful things which I
ever saw was a play given in Spanish by children. The play itself was
one which Americans would never have permitted children to read or
to see, much less to present. The principal character was a debauched
and feeble old man of the "Parisian Romance" type; it was played by a
nine-year-old boy, who made the hit of the evening, and who reminded
me, in his interpretation of the part, of Richard Mansfield. His
family and friends were proud of his acting, which was masterly, and
laughingly declared that his conception of the role was wholly his
own. If so, there was no need of laughter and there was much cause
for tears.

Here is a short essay written by a twelve-year-old boy, in response to
an order to write a composition about what he had done the previous

"Yesterday I called upon all my young lady friends. None but the
fathers appeared. We must all be judged according to our works."

The child wrote this by constructing the first sentence himself, and
by picking the other two out of phrase-books, which from some source
or other are scattered all over the Philippine Islands. What he meant
to convey in the carefully pieced mosaic was that he was a dangerous
fellow, and that when he came around the fathers kept a close eye on
their daughters. That is dubious wit in a man of thirty. In a child
of twelve it is loathsome.

Engagements are usually announced at once and are seldom long--from
three weeks to three or four months. If the marriage is really for
love, as is not infrequently the case, the lovers must have a hard
time of it; for they never see each other alone, and "spooning" before
others would seem to them in the last degree scandalous. They have
marvellous self-control. I have watched many a pair of Filipino lovers
for the stolen glances, the shyness, the ever-present consciousness
of each other which are characteristic of our lovers, and I have
never beheld the faintest evidence of interest in any engaged or
newly married couple. They manage to preserve an absolutely wooden
appearance at a time when one would expect a race so volatile to
display its emotions freely.

Elopements sometimes take place and are called the _boda Americana_,
or American marriage. However, they have the advantage of us in
one kind of elopement--that of the widow. Runaway marriages between
widows and old bachelors are not a common feature of American life,
but they seem to constitute the most frequent form of elopement
here. Forced marriages occur in spite of the restrictions put around
young girls. They cause a ten days' hubbub, winks, nods, and much
giggling behind fans. But no social punishment and ostracism of
the girl follows as in our own country. So long as the marriage is
accomplished, the Filipinos seem to feel that the fact of its being a
little late need disturb no one. But if, as sometimes happens, a girl
is led astray by a married man, then disgrace and punishment are her
lot. I recall a circumstance where a young girl under a cloud left her
native town, never to appear there again. But less than three months
after her banishment, her seducer was an honored guest, sitting at
the right hand of her brother, in the brother's own house. Apparently
the best of feeling prevailed over a matter that with us could never
have been forgiven, though bloodshed might perhaps have been averted.

In my eight years in those Islands I have met among the upper classes
but one young girl whose conduct offered reason to men to take her
lightly. In a pretty, childish way, Filipino girls are coquettes,
but they are not flirts. Their conception of marriage and of their
duty to their own husbands and their children is a high and noble
one. Nevertheless, with innately good and pure instincts, they cannot
take half as good care of themselves as can the American girl who is
more indiscreet, who knows much less of the matters pertaining to love
and sex. The latter has an infinite advantage over her dusky sister in
the prudery of speech which is the outwork in a line of fortifications
in which a girl's tenacity to her own ideal of chastity must be the
final bulwark, A frankness of speech prevails in the Philippines
with regard to matters about which we are frank under necessity,
but which, as far as possible, we slide into the background. Stories
are told in the presence of young girls, and jokes are interchanged,
of more than questionable nature according to our standards. Our
prudery of speech is the natural result of the liberty permitted to
women. When the protection of an older woman or of a male relative is
done away with, and a girl is permitted to go about quite unattended,
the best and the surest protection that she can have is the kind of
modesty that takes fright at even a bare mention, a bare allusion,
to certain ordinarily ignored facts of life.

The result of general freedom of speech and the process of safeguarding
a girl from its results is to make a Filipino girl regard her virtue
as something foreign to herself, a property to be guarded by her
relatives. If, through negligence or ignorance on the part of her
proper guardians, she is exposed to temptation, she feels herself
free from responsibility in succumbing. Such a view of life puts a
young girl at a great disadvantage with men, especially with men so
generally unscrupulous as Filipinos,

Among the lower classes there is no idea that a young girl can respect
herself or take care of herself. Girls are watched like prisoners,
and are never allowed to stray out of the sight of some old woman. It
is almost impossible for an American woman to obtain a young girl
to train as a servant, because, as they say, we do not watch them
properly. This jealous watching of a child's virtue is not, however,
always inspired by the love of purity. Too frequently the motive is
that the girl may bring a higher price when she reaches a marriageable
age, or when she enters into one of those unsanctified alliances with
some one who will support her. Filipino men are merciless in their
attitude toward young lower-class girls, not hesitating to insult or
annoy them in the most shameless way. I once forced a little maid of
mine to wear the regular maid's dress of black, with muslin cap and
apron, and she was certainly a joy to the eye; but one day I sent her
out on an errand, and she came back almost hysterical under the torrent
of ribald admiration which my thoughtlessness had brought upon her. A
seamstress will not remain alone in your house while you run into
a neighbor's on an errand without bolting herself in the room; and,
if you are to be gone any length of time, she will not stay there at
all, simply because she is afraid of your men servants--and justly so.

However, in respect to such matters, things are changing fast. The
Filipinos who love us least, high or low, rich or poor, admit that the
American idea of treating every self-respecting woman with respect is
a good thing. They remark frequently the difference between now and
former times, and say, with admiration, that a woman can go past the
_cuartels_ or the fire stations, without encountering insult in the
form of _galanteria_; and the electric street-car line, suspected
at first, has gained the confidence of nearly all. Many Filipino
families of the upper class permit their daughters to go to and from
the American schools on the trolley car, and it is no uncommon thing
to see three or four youngsters, all under ten, climbing on and off
with their books, asking for transfers, and enjoying their liberty,
who ten years ago would have been huddled into a quilez and guarded
by an elderly woman servant.

Lastly, a bill for female suffrage was introduced into the Philippine
Assembly a few weeks ago. It is one of those "best" things which
Filipinos all want for their land. The young man who introduced it had
probably been reading about the female suffragist movement in England,
and he said to himself that it would be a fine idea to show this
dull old world how progressive and modern are the Philippine Islands;
and so he drafted his bill. Nothing seems to have been heard of it,
and it was probably tabled, with much other progressive legislation,
in the hurry of the last days of the session. Another bill was one to
put an annual license of one thousand pesos (five hundred gold dollars)
on every minister of the gospel, Protestant or Catholic. I suspect its
parent of having been coached up on modern French thought. However,
that is not pertinent to the woman question. What I desire to do is
to give a correct impression of a country where _real_ conditions are
such as I have described them, and _ideal_ conditions have advanced
to the point of a bill for female suffrage.


Social and Industrial Condition of the Filipinos

American and Tagalog Invaders of Visaya Compared--Doubt As to
the Aptitude of Filipinos for Self-Government--Their Civilization
Not Achieved by Themselves But Inherited from Spain--Their Present
Personal Liberty--Belief of the Poor That Alien Occupation is the
Root of Their Misery--How the Filipinos View Labor--Their Apathy
Toward Machinery--Their Interest Centred Not in Industry But in
Themselves--Their Hazy Conceptions of Government--Their Need of
a Remodelled Social System--Their Jealousy Lest Others Make Large
Profits in Dealing with Them--Zeal of the Aristocrats to Preserve
Their Prerogatives--A New Aristocracy Likely to Be Raised by the
American Public Schools.

Capiz was occupied by a company of the Tenth Cavalry and one of the
Sixth Infantry. The relations between Americans and Filipinos seemed
most cordial. There had never been any fighting in the immediate
neighborhood of the town. The Visayans are a peaceful race; even
in the insurrection against Spain the Capizenos felt a decided
pro-Spanish sentiment. Early in the rebellion a few boat-loads of
Tagalog soldiers came down from Luzon, and landed on the open north
coast two miles from the town. The valiant Capizenos had dug some
trenches on the beach and had thrown up a breastwork there, and
they went out to fight for Spain and Visaya. They fired two rounds
without disconcerting the Tagalogs very much, and then, having no
more ammunition, they "all ran home again," as my informant naively
described it. The Tagalogs took possession of the town, and the
Visayans lived in fear and trembling. Nearly all women, both wives
and young girls, carried daggers in fear of assault from Tagalog
soldiers. Some declared to me that they would have used the daggers
upon an assailant, others told me that the weapons were intended as
a last resort for themselves. The Spanish wife of our Governor said
that during the time of Tagalog occupation she seldom ventured out of
her home; that she discarded her European dress, affected the native
costume, wore her hair hanging down her back, and tried in every way
to keep from attracting the attention of the invaders. Nevertheless,
several young girls were seized in spite of their parents' efforts to
protect them. Many families fled from the town and took refuge in the
mountain villages inland. Others lived in boats, lurking about the
rivers and the innumerable waterways which criss-cross the swampy
coast plain. When the Tagalogs withdrew, the wanderers returned to
their homes, only to make a fresh exodus when the Americans came.

The Americans did not land on the north coast, but entered the
town from the south, having marched and fought their way up the
full length of the island from Iloilo. Horrid rumors preceded them
concerning their gigantic size and their bloodthirsty habits. It was
reported that they had burned hundreds of women and children alive at
Iloilo. The timid Capizenos had no idea of resistance, but, for the
most part, closed their houses, leaving some old servant in charge,
and took once more to the hills and the swamps. A few sage heads
had their own reasons for doubting the alleged American ferocity,
and decided to stay at home and risk it.

One of my pupils, a very intelligent young girl, described to me the
American entry. She said that the houses of the rich were closed,
shell windows were drawn to, and the iron-sheathed outer doors
were locked and barred. But most shell windows have in the centre a
little pane of glass to permit the occupants of the house to look out
without being seen. My young friend told me how her family were all
"peeking," breathless, at their window pane, and how the first view
of the marching columns struck fear to their hearts, so tall and
powerful seemed the well-clad, well-armed men. A halt was called,
and after the proper formalities at the _provoste_, or town hall,
the municipality was handed over to American rule, and the Stars and
Stripes floated from the local flagstaff. The soldiers were permitted
to break ranks, and they began buying fruits and bottles of beer and
of native wine in the _tiendas_, or shops. The soldiers overpaid,
of course, joked, picked up the single-shirted pickaninnies, tossed
them, kissed them, and otherwise displayed their content. Then, said
my informant, her father (who is an astute old fellow) decided that
the story of American ferocity was a lie. He ordered his house opened,
and the shell windows slid back, revealing his pretty daughters in
their best raiment, smiling and bowing. The officers raised their
caps and gave back smiles and bows; a few natives cried, "Viva los
Americanos," and behold, the terrible event was all over.

Acquaintance was at once struck up. The officers came to pay their
respects, drank beer and muscatel, consumed sweets, and paid florid
compliments in Spanish. They began to take possession of those houses
whose owners were out of town, and the news went out. Then there was
as great a scramble to get back as there had been to get away. In
a few days everything was running smoothly, and, as my interlocutor
remarked, all the American officers were much in love with the charming
Filipino girls.

Almost the first act of the military was to open the schools. The
schoolhouses had been used as barracks by the Tagalogs. The chaplain
of the Eighteenth Infantry, the children told me, was their first
teacher. The opening of the schools was a great surprise to the
Filipinos, who were clever enough to appreciate the national standards
which the act implied.

At the time of my arrival the foregoing facts were, in the rush of
events, almost ancient history. Two years had passed. American women,
wives of officers, had come and gone. Peace had been declared and
the machinery of civil government had been put in action.

It would be foolish for me to spend time discussing the Filipino's
aptitude for self-government. Wiser heads than mine have already
arrived at a hopeless _impasse_ of opinion on that point. There are
peculiarities of temperament in the Filipino people which are seldom
discussed in detail, but which offer premises for statements and
denials, not infrequently acrimonious, and rarely approached in a
desire to make those judging from a distance take into consideration
all that makes opinions reliable. Such peculiarities of character
seem to me pertinent to a book which deals with impressions.

Whatever their capacity for achieving the Anglo-Saxon ideal of
self-government, it ought to be recognized that the Filipinos are both
aided and handicapped by receiving not only their government but their
civilization ready made. Their newly aroused sense of nationality
is asserting itself at a period in the world's development when
the mechanical aids to industry and the conscience of a humane and
civilized world relieve Filipino development from the birth throes by
which other nations have struggled to the place at which the Filipinos
begin. Thus, at the same time that individuals are spared the painful
experiences which have moulded and hardened the individual units of
other races, the Filipinos have, as a race, received an artificial
impetus which tends to deceive them as to their own capacity, and
to increase their aggregate self-confidence, while the results of
personal ineptitude are continually overlooked or excused.

Both civilization, as acquired in the three hundred years of Spanish
occupation, and self-government have descended upon the Filipino
very much as the telephone and the music box have done--as complete
mechanisms which certain superficial touches will set in motion,
the benefits of which are to certain classes and individuals quite
obvious, and the basic principles of which they have memorized but
have not _felt_. At present there are not, in the emotional being
of the Filipinos, the convictions about liberty and government
which are the heritage of a people whose ancestors have achieved
liberty and enlightenment by centuries of unaided effort, and
who are willing to die--die one and all--rather than lose them;
and yet there is a sincere, a passionate desire for political
independence. The Filipino leaders, however, have no intention of
dying for political independence, nor do they desire to sacrifice
even their personal pleasures or their effects. They talk a great
deal about independence, they write editorials about it, it fills
a great part of their thoughts; and no reasonable person can doubt
their sincerity. But most of the political talk in the Philippines is
on a par with certain socialistic thought in the United States--the
socialistic talk of modern writers and speakers, of idealists and
dreamers. It seems as great a perversion of abstract justice, to a
Filipino, that an alien nation should administer his Government, as
it seems to a hard-working American woman that she should toil all
her life, contributing her utmost to the world's progress and the
common burden of humanity, while her more fortunate sisters, by the
mere accident of birth, spend their lives in idleness and frivolity,
enriched by the toil of a really useful element in society. But
to most Filipinos, as to most American women, the contemplation of
the elemental injustice of life does not bring pangs sufficient to
drive them into overt action to right the injustice. There are a few
Filipinos upon whom the American administration in the Philippines
presses with a sense of personal obstruction and weight heavy enough
to make them desire overt action; but upon the majority of the race
the fact of an alien occupation sits very lightly. No man, American
or Filipino, wants to risk his life for the abstract principles of
human justice until the circumstances of life growing out of the
violation of those principles are well-nigh unendurable to him. The
actual condition of the Philippines is such that the violation of
abstract justice--that is, alien occupation--does not bear heavily
upon the mass of the people. For the entire race alien occupation
is, for the time being, an actual material benefit. Personal liberty
in the Philippines is as absolute as personal liberty in the United
States or England. Far from making any attempt to keep the native in
a condition of ignorance, the alien occupiers are trying to coax or
prod him, by all the short cuts known to humanity, into the semblance
of a modern educated progressive man. There is no prescription which
they have tried and found good for themselves which they are not
importing for the Philippines, to be distributed like tracts. And to
the quick criticism which Filipinos of the restless kind are prone
to make, that what is good for an American is not necessarily good
for a Filipino, the alien occupiers may reply that, until the body
of the Filipino people shows more interest in developing itself, any
prescription, whether it originate with Americans or with those who
look upon themselves as the natural guides and rulers of this people,
is an experiment to be tried at the ordinary experimental risk.

The common people of the Philippine Islands enjoy a personal liberty
never previously obtained by a class so rudimentary in its education
and in its industrial development. They would fight blindly, at the
command of their betters, but not because they are more patriotic than
the educated classes. The aristocrats, who would certainly hesitate
to fight for their convictions, really think a great deal more about
their country and love it a great deal more than do the common people,
who would, under very little urging, cheerfully risk their lives. But
the poorer people live under conditions that seem hard and unjust
to them. The country is economically in a wretched state, and the
working-classes have neither the knowledge nor the ambition to apply
themselves to its development. Unable to discover the real cause of
their misery (which is simply their own sloth), they have heard just
enough political talk to make them fancy that the form of government
is responsible for their unhappy condition. With them the causes which
drive men into dying for an abstract idea do exist; and it is easy
for a demagogue to convince them that the alien occupation is the
root of all evil, and that a political change would make them all rich.

Among the extremely poor of the Filipinos there exists a certain
amount of bitterness against Americans, because they think that our
strong bodies, our undoubtedly superior health and vitality, our
manner of life, which seems to them luxurious past human dreams,
and our personal courage are attributes which we enjoy at their
expense. The slow centuries which have gone to our building up,
mental and physical, are causes too remote for their limited thinking
powers to take into consideration. Moreover, though we say that we
have come to teach them to work and to make their country great,
we ourselves do not work; at least, they do not call what we do
_work_. A poor Filipino's conception of work is of something that
takes him into the sun or that soils his clothing. Filipinos hate and
fear the sun just as they hate the visible tokens of toil on their
persons. Where they know the genteel trades such as hat weaving,
dressmaking, embroidering, tailoring, and silversmithing, there
is relatively a fair industrial willingness. Men are willing to be
cooks and house servants, but they do not want to learn carpentry or
blacksmithing or gardening, all of which mean soiled clothes and hot
work; and women are unwilling to work in the kitchen. From the poor
Filipinos' standpoint, the Americans do not work--they rule. It would
be difficult to make a Filipino of the laboring class believe that
a teacher or a provincial treasurer had done a day's work. Loving,
as all Filipinos do, to give orders to others, ignorant as they are
of the responsibilities which press upon those who direct, they see
merely that we do not soil our hands, and they envy us without giving
us credit for the really hard work that we do.

Meanwhile there pours in upon the country a stream of modern mechanism
and of modern formulated thought, and the laborer has just as little
real interest in knowing what is inside the machine as his slightly
more intelligent neighbor has in examining the thought and in accepting
or rejecting it on its merits. Some accept all that we offer them,
doing so in a spirit of real loyalty, on the assumption that we know
more than they do, and that our advice is to be accepted. Others
reject everything with a blind resentment because it comes from
our hands. They feel that, in accepting or rejecting, they are
demonstrating their capacity to do their own thinking, when in reality
they are only asserting their right to do their own _feeling_. A sense
of discrimination in what they accept or reject in our thought has
not yet appeared, to any great extent, in those classes of Filipinos
with whom I have come in contact; nor as yet have I ever beheld in the
laboring classes a desire to understand the mechanisms to which they
are constantly introduced, which will be the first symptoms of growth.

A few weeks ago a Filipino workman was making an electric light
installation in my house. He handled the wires very carelessly, and
I asked him if he was not afraid of a shock. On his replying that
the current was very light, I put the inevitable American query, How
did the company manage to get a light current on one street, and at
the same time to keep up the current in other parts of the city? His
reply was, "There is a box on Calle San Andres, and the current goes
in strong on one side and comes out light on the other," On my asking
if he knew how the box was able to produce such a result, he replied
blithely that he did not know; and to a third question, why he did
not try to find out, he asked me why he should _want_ to know. He
was a very ignorant man, but his attitude was not uncharacteristic of
much wiser men than he. I discovered one morning, in talking to the
most advanced class in the Manila School of Arts and Trades, that not
one of them knew what steam is, or had any idea of how it is applied
to manufacture; and yet they were working every day, and had been
working, most of them for two or three years, in the machine-shops
and the wood-working shops where a petroleum engine was in constant
operation. The boys had shown such a courteous interest in what was
pointed out to them, and had so little real interest and curiosity
in what they were working with, that their shop teachers had never
guessed that they did not know the elementary principles of mechanics.

If a flying machine should suddenly descend in an American village
with no sign of steam gear, electric motor, compressed air, or any
other motive power with which we are familiar, can you imagine that
eighty per cent of the population of the village would stand around,
begging the inventor to make it fly and alight again, exhibiting all
the delight of children in a strange toy, but giving it not one close
glance, one touch to determine how it is made, and not even wondering
anything about it? Can you imagine all those people placidly accepting
the fact that there are other nations interested in making strange
machines, and receiving the strange toy as an example of foreign energy
with which, at that or at any other time, they had no concern? Yet
such is the actual condition of affairs in the Philippine Islands,
and I am not sure that my estimate of eighty per cent is not too
low. Filipinos of the educated classes, gentlemen who can talk about

"The grandeur that was Greece,
And the glory that was Rome,"

or who can quote Tom Paine or Voltaire or Rousseau, or discuss the
fisherman's ring of the Pope, or the possibilities of an Oriental
race alliance, would give a glance at such a machine and dismiss
it with such a remark as this: "Ah! a new flying machine. Very
interesting. If it proves practical, it should be a great benefit to
the Philippines. The Government should buy two or three and put them
in operation to show the people how they can be used."

The great majority of the Filipino people are simply apathetic toward
the material and spiritual appliances of their present status. (Please
do not infer, however, that they are apathetic toward the status
itself.) Fortune is continually thrusting upon them a ready-made
article, be it of transportation, of furniture, of education, or
even of creed. With no factories of its own, their land is deluged
with cheap manufactured goods. With almost no authors, they have been
inundated with literature and texts. With no experience in government,
they have a complicated system presented to them, and are told to go
ahead, to fulfil the requirements, to press the button, and to let
the system do the rest. And they are, with few exceptions, making
the mistake of assuming that their aptitude in learning to press the
button is equivalent to the power of creating the system. They are like
some daring young chauffeur who finds that he can run an automobile,
and can turn it and twist it and guide it and control it with the
same ease that its inventor does, and who feels that he is as fully
its master--as indeed he is, till something goes wrong.

The intelligent Filipinos who are pressing for immediate
self-government have no intentions of changing the "press-the-button"
system if they get what they want. Nor can the American Government, if
it remain here, do any more than it is now doing to urge the Filipino
into real industrial and mental activity. Until the Filipino takes
more interest in _things_ than he takes in himself; until he learns to
approach life from some other standpoint than the social one, and with
some other object than seeing how large a figure he can cut in it,
it makes no difference what flag flies over his head, his national
existence is an artificial one, a semblance of living nourished by
the selfishness of those with whom he has commercial relations.

The intelligent Filipinos (I speak of the ordinary middle classes
of Manila and the provinces, not of the really eminent Filipinos
who are associated with the Government, for with them I have
little acquaintance) have had so little practical contact with
the great world, so little conception of what a strong commercial
and manufacturing nation is, that it is impossible to make them
understand that no nation of the present day can achieve greatness
except by industry. If you can get them to talk freely, you find
them absorbed in a glorious dream of the Filipino people dazzling
the world with pure intellectuality--a Philippines full of poets,
artists, orators, authors, musicians, and, above all, of eloquent
statesmen and generals. They do not reflect that a statesman is wasted
who has nothing but a handful of underfed people to govern, and that
it is commerce and agriculture which furnish the propelling power
to the ship of state on which the statesman is a pilot. They want
to be progressive, and their idea of progress is a constant stream
of mechanical appliances flowing like water into the Philippines
from other lands; but they do not even consider where the money is
to come from to pay for all the things they want. They howl like
victims over taxation, but they have a hazy idea that it is the duty
of their Government to seek out every labor-saving machine in the
world and to buy it and to put it in operation in the Philippines
till the inhabitants have accustomed themselves to its use, and have
obtained through its benefits the wherewithal to indulge in more
of the same sort. They do not concern themselves with the problem
of the Government's getting the money to do all this, other than
they think that if we Americans were out of the way, and the six or
eight million pesos of revenue which go annually into our pockets
were going to Filipinos instead, there would be money in plenty for
battleships, deep-water harbors, railroads, irrigation, agricultural
banks, standing armies, extended primary and secondary education;
and that the resources of the Government would even permit of the
repeal of the land tax, of the abolition of internal revenue taxes,
and of the lowering of the tariff. One of their favorite dreams of
raising money is to put a tremendously high license upon all foreigners
doing business in the Islands; and so high an opinion have they both
of their value to the world at large and of their prowess, that they
do not take into consideration the probability of the foreigner's
either getting out of the country or appealing to his own Government
to protect his invested capital. When they speak of independence,
they invariably assume that America is going to protect them against
China, Japan, or any of the great colony-holding nations of Europe.

Such are the peculiar governmental conceptions of the middle-class
Filipino--a class holding the ballot by the grace of God and the
assistance of the American Government. Their inverted ideas come
from real inexperience in highly organized industrial society, and
from perfectly natural deductions from books. When they study Roman
and Greek history, they learn there the names of generals, poets,
artists, sculptors, statesmen, and historians. Books do not dwell
upon that long list of thriving colonies which filled the Grecian
archipelago with traffic, and reached east and west to the shores
of Asia and to the Pillars of Hercules. The Filipinos learn that
Rome nourished her generals and her emperors upon the spoils of war,
but they do not reflect that the predatory age--at least in the Roman
sense--is past. Their imaginations seize upon the part played by the
little island republic of Venice, and they gloat over the magnificence
of the Venetian aristocracy, but they hardly give a thought to the
thousands of glass-blowers, to the weavers of silken stuffs, to the
shipbuilders and the artisans, and to the army of merchants that
piled up the riches to make Venice a power on the Mediterranean.

Filipinos have come in contact, not with _life_ but with _books_, and
their immediate ambition is to produce the things which are talked
of in books. Situated as these Islands are, remote from any great
modern civilization, there is no criterion by which the inhabitants
can arrive at a correct estimate of their condition. If here and there
a single Filipino educated in Europe should dazzle society with novels
or plays or happy speeches, most of his countrymen would be satisfied
with his vindication of Filipino capacity.

There are two things which are absolutely necessary to the future
development of the Philippines, whether they remain under our flag
or become independent. One is a new aristocracy to be a new type of
incentive to the laborer; the other is an increase in the laborer's
wants which will keep him toiling long after he has discovered the
futility of the hopes which urged him in the beginning. At present,
the American Government is trying to remodel a social system which
consists of a land-holding aristocracy and an ignorant peasantry,
the latter not exactly willing to work for a pittance, but utterly
helpless to extricate themselves from the necessity of doing so. To
the aristocrat the Government says, "Come and aid us to help thy
brother, that he may some day rob thee of thy prerogatives"; and
to the peasant, "O thou cock-fighting, fiesta-harboring son of
idleness and good-nature, wake up, struggle, toil, take thy share
of what lies buried in thy soil and waves upon thy mountainsides,
and be as thy brother, yonder." Nor is my picture complete if I do
not add that, under his breath, both peasant and aristocrat reply,
"Fool I for what? That I may pick _thy_ chestnuts out of the fire."

There is a story which illustrates the Filipino's sensitiveness to
picking somebody else's chestnuts out of the fire, not inappropriate to
be told here. The agent of the Kelly Road Roller Company had made an
agreement with a number of Filipinos in the Maraquina Valley to take
up a rice thresher and to thresh their crops for one-twelfth of the
output. As this was cheaper than the usual cost of rice-threshing,
they accepted the offer, but they were anxious to compare the new
machine with their own system. One way of threshing rice is to have a
kind of stone table like an armchair, in which the seat is a bowl for
the grain which drops down as the thresher strikes the laden stalks
against the stone back. On the appointed day the American appeared
with his thresher, and the Filipinos were on hand with their stone
table and a confident expert who was reputed the best rice-thresher
in the district. The American began to feed his machine, and the
Filipino made his bundles cut the air. In a few seconds the Filipino
had quite a little handful of grain collected in his stone bowl,
but not a grain of rice had appeared from the thresher. The workman
cast supercilious glances at the machine, when suddenly a stream
of rice as thick as his wrist began to pour out, and continued to
pour in startling disproportion to his tiny pile. He stood it half a
minute and then laid down his bundle of stalks and strode away. The
onlooking land-holders were at first amazed and delighted. Then
suddenly a horrible thought struck them! They got out their pocket
pads and pencils and began to figure. Then they held a consultation
and declared that the deal was off--that for one-twelfth the amount
of rice streaming out of the thresher, the American's profits would
be highway robbery of the poor Filipino. In vain the agent pointed
out to them that the one-twelfth was a ratio in which their gain would
always be proportionate to his. They could see nothing except that he
was going to make a large sum of money at their expense. The economy
of the thresher over their own wasteful system made no impression
against the fact that his commission would be a bulk sum which they
were unwilling to see him gain. They could not afford to buy the
machine, but they stopped the threshing then and there; and the agent
learned that what is good advertising in America is not necessarily
good in the Philippines.

The reader may fancy that he perceives in this chapter a direct
contradiction of what I said in a preceding chapter about the Filipino
aristocrat's desiring the best of everything for his country. But
the Filipino is like the sinner who says with all sincerity that he
desires to be saved, but who, when confronted with the necessity of
giving up certain of his pleasures as the price of salvation, feels
that salvation comes rather high, and begins to figure on how he can
accomplish the desired result without personal inconvenience. The
present land-holding aristocracy is jealous to the last degree of its
prerogatives, and it has fought every attempt to equalize taxation
and to make the rich bear their fair share in the national expense
account. The land tax and the _rentas internes_, or internal revenue
tax, are two governmental measures which the rich classes fought to
the extreme of bitterness, and which they would revoke to-morrow if
it lay in their power to do so.

An aristocracy represents a survival of the fittest--not necessarily
the ideally fit, but the fittest to meet the conditions under which it
must prove a survivor. The conditions which Spain created here to mould
Filipino character were mediaeval, monarchical, and reactionary. The
aristocracy is a land-holding one, untrained in the responsibilities
of land-holders who grow up a legitimate part of the body politic of
their country. Previous to American occupation the aristocracy was
excluded from any share in the government, and the Spaniards were
exceedingly jealous of any pretensions to knowledge or culture on
its part. The aristocracy which could survive such conditions had
to do so by indirectness and courtier-like flattery, by blandishment
and deceit. The aristocrats learned to despise the poor and the weak;
for the more extravagant the alms-giving, the more arrogant the secret
attitude of the giver. They trusted less to their own strength than
to others' weakness. They relied less on their own knowledge than
on others' ignorance. Whatever solidarity the aristocracy had and
has to-day is of a class nature rather than of a racial. In the
insurrection against Spain it allied itself with its lower-class
brethren simply because Spain forced it to do so. Had the friars
made concessions to the aristocracy as a class, and permitted them
a voice in Filipino affairs, there would have been no insurrection
against Spain, nor would the entrance of a Filipino governing class
have made large changes in the conditions of the great mass of the
Filipino people.

Under a democratic Government the present aristocracy cannot retain
its present place and prestige, and a portion of its eagerness for
independence comes from a recognition of that fact. The American
Government has practically opened the way for the creation of a new
aristocracy in establishing the public schools. In the provinces
the primary schools are patronized by rich and poor alike, though it
has required considerable effort to make the poor people understand
that their children have as much right to the enjoyment of school
privileges as have the children of the rich. The secondary schools of
the provinces are patronized chiefly by the middle and upper classes,
and in the city of Manila the children of the really wealthy hardly
ever attend the public schools. The wealthy citizens of Manila prefer
to send their sons to the religious schools, and their daughters to
the _colegios_, or sisterhood schools, of which there are many. While
English is taught in all these schools, general instruction is in
Spanish; the courses of study include the usual amount of catechism,
expurgated history, and the question-and-answer method of "philosophy"
of the old Spanish system. If the American Government remain here,
a new aristocracy, the result of her public school system, is
inevitable. If it should not remain here, the Spanish-reared product
will continue to hold its present place.


Progress in Politics and Improvement of the Currency

Our First Election of a Governor--More Feeling in Our
Next Election--We Organize a Self-Governing Society in the
School--Improvement in Parliamentary Procedure--The Boys Imitate
the Oratory of a Real Politician--A Much-mixed Currency in
the Philippines--Losses to the Teachers Through Fluctuations in
Exchange--The Conant System Brings Stability--The New Copper Coins
Astonish the Natives.

We had been in Capiz but a short time when talk of the coming election
began to occupy both Americans and Filipinos. The Governor of the
province at that time held his position by appointment from Mr. Taft,
but provisions had been made by the Commission for an election at a
specified time, which was then at hand. In view of the fact that it was
the first election ever held in the province, we Americans expected to
encounter much rejoicing over the newly acquired right, and a general
outbreak of gratification. It made a barely perceptible ripple. The
Filipinos had not gathered momentum enough under the new system to
approach an election by the well-recognized channels. There were no
speeches, no public gatherings, no processions, and, so far as the
mass of the population were concerned, no interest whatsoever. There
is not universal suffrage in the Philippines. The electors for the
occasion were the _concejales_, or town councillors, of the towns in
the province. On a given day they would assemble to cast their votes.

Our appointed Governor was a candidate to succeed himself, and the
only opponent of any importance was a local lawyer, named D----. D----
was on very good terms with most of the Americans, who regarded him
as something of an Americanista, but he was greatly hated by the
prominent Filipino families in town, not only on the score of his
suspected pro-American sentiment, but on account of certain meddlings
of his in past time with _cacique_ power.

A short time before the election the American community were
thunderstruck on hearing that D---- had been arrested on a charge of
murder. Our Supervisor--and, I believe, the Treasurer--offered to go
on his bail. Then came a telegram from Judge Bates at Iloilo, denying
bail. For a day or two telegrams flew back and forth, the Americans
trying to secure the temporary release of the unfortunate lawyer
but accomplishing nothing. D---- was kept practically _incomunicado_
in the local calabozo. He insisted that there was a plot on foot to
destroy him, and either he was much distressed or he pretended to be
so. Then came an order to take him out to a small town in the interior
whence the charge came. D---- declared that he should be killed on
the way. The Americans finally prevailed upon an American inspector
of constabulary to accompany the prisoner's escort. The rainy season
was in full force, and prisoner and escort had a bad time getting
out to Maayon, the town aforementioned. Once there the charge broke
down at once. It was based upon a statement made by an old woman
that a spirit had appeared to her in a dream, and had accused D----
of being the cause of its immaterial existence. The prisoner was
almost immediately set at liberty. For reasons best known to himself,
he found it inconvenient to return to Capiz and to renew his campaign
for the governorship.

By the fortuitous circumstance of the charge against D----, our
Governor, who professed a smiling ignorance of all the circumstances
of the case, had been relieved of his only formidable rival, and he
prepared to do the honors of Capiz to the _concejales_. He lived in
the old palace of the Spanish governors, which had since come to serve
as provincial capitol and gubernatorial residence. There was plenty of
room in the fine old place, and the _concejales_ found everything to
their satisfaction. They had but to step out of their bedrooms to find
themselves at the polls. Our Governor was elected almost unanimously,
to succeed himself for two years.

That was doing pretty well for a set of tyros at politics; but
by the time the next election swung round, political feeling had
awakened, there were wheels within wheels, and feeling was running
explosively high. Political parties had crystallized into two bodies,
known as _Progresistas_ and _Federalistas_. The Progresistas were
the anti-American party, pledged to every effort for immediate
independence. The Federalistas were those who stood by the Taft
administration, and talked of compromise in the present, and of
independence at some distant day. Our Governor, who was again
a candidate to succeed himself, was the Federalista head. The
Federalistas accused the Progresistas of being "Aglipianos"--that is,
schismatics from the Roman Church--and they hinted that Aglipianoism
was more a political movement than it was a religious one.

Each party professed itself sceptical of the good intentions of the
other. Each was certain that the other would come to the polls with
firearms and bolos. I began to worry about my desks, having promised
to loan twenty-five nice new oak ones of the latest American pattern
for the use of the _concejales_ in making out their votes.

The officer commanding the constabulary at that time was a huge,
black-browed, black-whiskered Irish-man, who, among the American
men, went by the name of "Paddy" L----. Both parties ran to Captain
L----, clamoring for a military guard at the election. Captain L----
pooh-poohed the notion that any serious trouble could grow out of the
election, declined to consider a guard, except the two soldiers to
guard the ballot box, who were more for function than for protection,
and smilingly added that his trust in the Filipino sense of law and
order was so great that he intended to go to the election and see it
all himself.

By this time the Governor's family had removed from the government
building, and a suite of apartments at the rear which had served
for kitchen, dining-room, store-rooms and servants' quarters,
had been cleaned up, painted, and handed over to the Provincial
Intermediate School, of which I was principal. One of our school-rooms
was connected by an uncurtained glass door with the great central
hall of the building, which was usually given over to the Court of
the First Instance, but which was, that day, a sort of anteroom to
the voting precinct located in the former sala of the palace. My
school-room would, therefore, command a full view of the polls. For
several days I lived in dread of hearing that election day would be
declared a school holiday, but no order came to that effect, and on
election day I went to school with my mind bent on taking notes of
all that went on, also wondering a little if in case the non-expected
riot came off, I should not have to vacate a little hurriedly.

By nine o'clock the court-room was packed with electors and lobbyists,
or whatever the interested outsiders may be called. Through the
glass doors we could see them in groups, some laughing and chatting
in ordinary social converse, others dark and gloomy, others gathered
in whispering knots with fingers on lips, much mysterious nodding
and shrugging of shoulders, and all the innocent evidences of
conspiracy. Beyond, through double doors, the voting precinct was in
full view, my twenty-five desks occupied by meditative _concejales_,
sucking the ends of their pencils. There were the judges and the
ballot boxes, symbols of progress and modernity, and there, too,
as a concession to dignity which fills the Filipino with joy, were
two dear little constabulary soldiers with guns about as long as
themselves. Their khaki suits were spick and span from the laundry,
their red shoulder straps blazed, their gilt braid glittered, and
their white gloves were as snowy as pipe clay could make them. Their
little brown faces were stolid enough to delight the most ambitious
commander. The whole was a sight to cheer the heart of rampant

In the midst of the throng in the court-room, jovial, lusty, bright
of eye, loitered our easy-going chief of constabulary. His was no
common girth at any time, but belted with a particularly large-sized
and vicious-looking revolver, he seemed to be at least sixty inches
around the waist. There was something casual about that revolver,
and at the same time something very significant. But nothing could
have been more blandly unconscious than the Captain's manner. He
had what is commonly described as "a kind word and a sweet smile for
everybody." There were constabulary reserves a block away, but the
Captain's appearance was an assurance that there would be no need for
the reserves. He loafed about, chatting first with one group and then
with another. The conspirator looks gave way to laughter and clappings
on the back, but when he turned away, more than one eye followed the
time-worn holster and its bulky contents.

That election went off as calmly as a county fair--much more calmly,
indeed, though there was a _reclama_ afterwards, and a long struggle
about it which had to be decided by the Court of First Instance. The
quarrel over the election was not related, however, to the Captain's
presence there.

Apparently the Church was interested in the election, for every
shovel-hatted _padre_ in the district seemed to have come in for
it. They and the provincial dignitaries from towns which had not then
risen to the dignity of an American public school, wandered into the
school in groups of three and sometimes of twenty. It was their first
contact with coeducation, and they were highly amused at the sight
of a class of boys and girls working together in the reduction of
compound fractions. They were also delighted with the choral music,
especially with "The Watch on the Rhine" which the pupils sang with
great enthusiasm.

Not very long after that election we began our first work with
self-governing societies. The school had been long enough established
to have an advanced class capable of speaking English, and our Division
Superintendent suggested that I give them a little practical experience
in the "machinery of politics." I assented with outward respect, and
then retired to smile, for the "machinery of politics" is the last
thing in which the Filipino has need of instruction from us. He is a
born politician, and we compare to him in that respect as babes to a
philosopher. But I recognized that my pupils did need the experience
of a self-governing society, and practice in parliamentary usages,
and so we organized our society from the three most advanced classes
in the school.

In the beginning I organized the society, acting as temporary
chairman. I called for an election by informal ballot of short-term
officers to serve until a time of regular elections could be set. Our
first ballot polled seventy-three votes, although there were
only fifty-five persons in the room. I threw that out and called
for a roll call vote. In due time a regular election took place,
and officers for three months were elected. As the vote was open,
the aristocratic element came off best, as was to be expected. The
children of one prominent family, together with some of their friends,
held every office. Practically the result was not bad. The officers,
four out of five of whom were girls, represented considerable
ability. The girls were elected chiefly out of the _galanteria_ of
certain of the boy aristocrats, who had very little conception of
what a self-governing society means, but who wished to pay their fair
innamoratas a compliment.

Our society was a pronounced success. The pupils took to parliamentary
practice very much as they would to a new game. Visitors thronged our
Friday afternoon meetings. We teachers had to put in six or eight hours
every week, drilling the pupils on duty, helping to get up music,
and meeting with committees. A teacher was parliamentary "coach,"
and sat at the side of Madame President, giving her directions in an
undertone. All the teachers were elected honorary members, and one
was critic. Peace reigned and Joy flapped her wings.

About this time, however, the gentlemen who were running that province
engaged in the real game which we were imitating, and became involved
in a quarrel which threatened to strain the relations between Americans
and Filipinos to the breaking point. Governor Taft came down in
person to look into the affair. There was a banquet and there were
speeches. The Filipino Governor prefaced his oratorical flight by the
statement that three times only in his life had he trembled. Time has
clouded my memory, but I think he said the first of these was when he
took his Bachelor's degree from the University of Spain; the second was
when he led his fair partner to the matrimonial altar; and the third
was that present occasion when he stood up before that illustrious
assembly, seeking words in which to welcome the distinguished guest.

He did not look as if he were suffering from nervousness, and
his words flowed with sufficient ease to indicate that he was not
having much trouble in the search. Sitting at the far end of the
festal board, contemplating my glass of _tinto_ (I am unable to say
whether I drank _tinto_ because the champagne ran short or because,
being feminine and educational, I was deemed unworthy of the best), I
reflected somewhat cynically that if he was telling the strict truth,
his childhood must have been singularly barren of the penalties which
follow real childish joy, or else his was a remarkable personality.

But that is neither here nor there. The utterance wafted me a gentle
amusement at the time. But from that time on, the boys of my literary
society began to tremble--always twice anteriorly, and for the
third time when they stood up before that intellectual and critical
assemblage. Every boy for weeks to come used that worn-out preface
for his remarks. The pupils gave no signs either of amusement or
scorn. Apparently they received it seriously as an eminently becoming
preface of oratory, just as they do the "Do-minus vobiscum" of the
mass. But one day I spoke of it in one of the classes--intentionally
not in the society. When they saw our viewpoint, they shrieked with
delight, and from that time on, the budding orators ceased to tremble.

At last we arrived at the point of an open session, and the event
was what is described in society papers as one of the social events
of the season. We had really a good programme, we transacted quite
a little business in accordance with parliamentary usage: we elected
the Governor, the Presidente, and several prominent citizens honorary
members, and they acknowledged the compliment with appropriate remarks.

About a week after our open session I was about to retire
one night, when I heard the sound of music and saw lights
approaching. Transparencies were waving about in the warm air. As there
was no cholera, and therefore no occasion for a San Roque procession,
I hung out of the window, local fashion, to find out what it was all
about. It was a newly organized parliamentary society parading. In less
than a month three new societies had blossomed among the youths and old
men of the town. American teachers were engaged as parliamentarians,
although the societies were conducted in Spanish, not English. The
societies all died a natural death in a little while; but of course,
the school society being compulsory could not die, and so far as I know
is still going on. Every public school of the secondary class has its
school societies, and they must form the ideals of the new generation.

One of the most irritating features of life in those early days,
and one which offered a problem rather difficult for the Government
to solve, was the matter of currency. The money in use was silver,
with a small paper circulation of Banco Espagnol-Filipino notes. The
notes were printed on a kind of pink blotting paper which looked as if
it would be easy to counterfeit. The silver was what we called at first
"Mex" and later "Dobie." There were some pieces coined especially for
the Philippines, but in general "Mex" was made up of coins of Spain,
Mexico, Islas Filipinas, Hong-Kong, Singapore, Canton, and Amoy--only
the experts of the Government could tell where it all came from. With
the public at large, any coin that looked as if it contained the fair
average of silver was accepted. Every month the paymasters of the
United States Army and Navy issued thousands of dollars in American
silver and paper, but this disappeared in a twinkling, swallowed up
by the local agents who were buying gold with which China paid her
indemnity. Each incoming steamer brought loads of "Dobie" from the
Asiatic coast, but our good dollars and quarters went out of sight
like falling stars.

The silver coins consisted of pesos, medio-pesos, pesetas (twenty-cent
pieces), media-pesetas (ten-cent pieces), and it seems to me that I
have a hazy recollection of a silver five-cent piece, though I cannot
be certain. The copper coins were as mongrel as the silver.

There were English, Dutch, Spanish, and Chinese coins from the
neighboring coasts, but the greater part of the copper coins consisted
of roughly pounded discs with ragged edges, which were made, they
said, by the Igorrotes. The coins had no inscriptions, but went with
the natives by the name of "dacolds"--the native word for "big,"
The Americans renamed the dacolds "claquers," and used either name
at pleasure. It required eighty dacolds to equal one peso, forty to a
half-peso, sixteen to a peseta, eight to a media-peseta. Theoretically
a peso was a hundred cents, as a peseta was twenty cents, but there
was no cent with which to make change. You accepted the dacold at
its value of eighty to a peso, or you transacted no business. The
Filipinos also had a way of figuring a medio-peso as _cuatro reales_,
thus giving the _real_ a value of twelve and a half cents, though
there was no coin called a _real_. Nevertheless, the _real_ figured
in all business transactions.

At the time we landed in Manila "Mex" stood with gold at an even
ratio of two pesos "Mex" for one dollar gold. I innocently allowed a
bank to transfer a gold balance on a letter of credit to an account
in local currency at that ratio. A few weeks later, when I wanted to
change back and carry my account in gold, they wrote me courteously
but firmly that I would have to buy back that account at the ratio
of 2.27, and by the time that the transfer was finally effected,
gold had jumped to 2.66. We had been told by a circular from the War
Department, at the time our appointments were made, that we should be
paid in gold. I drew just one cheque in U.S. currency after reaching
the Islands. My second cheque was drawn in local currency at a ratio
of 2.27, but, by the time it had reached me at Capiz, gold had gone
to 2.46. We had to endure the evils of a fluctuating currency for
over two years. On all money sent to the States we lost heavily. So
far as our daily expenses were concerned we in the provinces had very
little inconvenience to suffer on account of "Mex"; but in Manila all
merchants fixed their prices in gold and took occasion to put them
up mercilessly. I remember trying to buy some Japanese matting which
could have been bought for twenty-five cents a yard in the States,
but which was priced at seventy-five cents in Manila. The merchant
wanted me to pay him in "Mex" at a ratio of 2.66, or at the rate of
two pesos a yard for matting which he bought in Japan at probably
less than twenty sen a yard.

There was a tremendous protest against the fluctuating currency and
the extortion which grew out of it, and we were all relieved when we
learned that Congress had adopted the so-called "Conant" system of
currency for the Islands. Mr. Conant was the expert who investigated
conditions for the Government and devised the system.

The Conant system followed the old Spanish values for coins, the new
coins being pesos, medio-pesos, pesetas, media-pesetas, nickels,
and copper cents. There was also a copped half-cent, but neither
Congress nor Mr. Conant read the Filipino aright. In two years we
had taught him to sniff at any value less than a cent. The new system
is held at a ratio of two to one by the Government's redeeming it in


Back to Full Books