A Woman's Impression of the Philippines eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 221 pages of information about A Woman's Impression of the Philippines.

November 2. The rains have come, and whether they have anything to do with it or not, the epidemic is subsiding.  Two days ago, when the first shower broke after an inconceivably sultry morning, the bearers were passing with a couple of cholera patients on stretchers.  They were at first minded to set them down in the rain, but thought better of it, and carried them into my lower hall.  The shower lasted only a few minutes, and then they went on their way, and Ciriaco and I descended and sprinkled the floor all over with chloride of lime.  While they were there, I was nervously dreading the sounds of the great suffering which accompanies cholera.  But the patients were very quiet.

To-night at dinner Mr. C——­ tasted his coffee and looked suspicious.  In my capacity of boarding-house keeper, I was instantly alarmed and tasted mine.  It seemed to have been made with agua finecada.  Miss P——­ said plaintively that she had as lief die of cholera as of carbolic acid poison.  Neither Ciriaco nor Ceferiana could explain.  They conceded that the agua finecada was there, but could not say how.  They were not much concerned, and seemed to regard it as a pleasing sleight-of-hand performance on their part.

November 5. Only eighteen deaths to-day!  If the decrease continue steady, we shall open school in a few days.  It will be a relief after the long tension of these two months—­for it was a tension in spite of our refusal to discuss its more serious aspects.  We have taken all legitimate precautions, and laughed at each other’s oddities, knowing that it is better to laugh than to cry.  But had sickness come to any of us as in the case of poor M——­, everybody stood ready to chance all things to aid.  But we come out unscathed with the exception of that one poor fellow.

November 14. School will begin to-morrow!  Have had to discharge Tomas.  He went to Baliwagan, a barrio where the cholera is still raging, last night, and Mr. S——­ was properly incensed.  As a parting benediction, Tomas stole a lamp of mine, but I haven’t the energy to go after him.  Besides, I have a guilty conscience, and if Tomas feels our account is square, I am willing to accept his terms.

November 15. Began work again to-day.  The school is much fallen off.  Many pupils are dead, and the rest have lost relatives.  It is a gloomy school, but the worst is over.

CHAPTER XVIII

The Aristocracy, the Poor, and American Women

Aristocracy and “Caciquism” in the Philippines—­Poverty of the Filipino Poor—­Happiness in Spite of Poverty—­Virtual Slavery of the Rustics—­Their Loyalty to Their Employers—­Wages in Manila and in the Provinces—­Many Resources Possessed by the Upper Classes—­Chaffering for All Kinds of Produce—­Happiness Within the Reach of American Women if Employed—­American Women Safe in the Philippines—­After a Visit to America I Am Glad to Return to the islands.

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A Woman's Impression of the Philippines from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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