It was a happy day, one of those photographic experiences to be treasured forever, but the dream of yachts and country houses never has become a reality. If an energetic prospector wishes to try, he will find in a cleft between two tall mountains an abandoned shaft and the remains of a dam spanning a mountain stream. But let him not taste of the babbling water. I did, and put in six weeks of illness therefor.
An Unpleasant Vacation
The Inspector’s Nightly Bonfires—Our Vacation in Manila and in Quarantine—After Our Return to Capiz Cholera Breaks Out—Record of Our Experiences During the Epidemic.
School closed in March, and Miss C—— and I decided to spend our vacation in Manila. We were to leave Capiz on the small army transport Indianapolis and go to Iloilo, thence by the Compania Maritima’s boat to Manila.
The Indianapolis was carrying an inspector around the island, which gave us a four days’ trip to Iloilo. The sea was perfectly smooth and the nights brilliant moonlight. We ran from town to town wherever a military detachment was stationed, and the inspector went ashore and inspected. This rite usually culminated in a huge bonfire on the beach, in which old stoves, chairs, harnesses, bath towels, and typewriters were indiscriminately heaped. I remarked once with civilian density that this seemed a most extravagant custom. If the army did not want these things longer, why not let them fall into the hands of others who could patch them up and make use of them? The captain of the transport explained to me that all condemned articles must be irretrievably destroyed to prevent fraud in subsequent quartermasters’ accounts. For example, if a quartermaster has a condemned stove which is not destroyed, he can sell a perfectly new stove, and on the next visit of the inspector present again the condemned article to be recondemned, and continue to follow this practice till he has robbed the Government of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Of course it was plain enough after the explanation, and I wondered at my stupidity.
Our four days’ trip around the island was uneventful save for the nightly bonfires of the inspector. Once at San Joaquin a fine military band came down to the beach and played for an hour in the silver moonlight. I enjoyed immensely the music, the bonfire (which was burning enthusiastically), the wonderful light, the tranquil expanse of the China Sea, and the delicate spire of the village church, rising in the ethereal distance from glinting palm fronds. Nothing is more beautiful than the glisten of moonlight on palms.