The men opened their army cots on the forward deck, where the big sail cut them off from the rest of the ship. The next morning they reported a fine night’s rest. I could not make so felicitous a report, for my stateroom was considerably warmer than the open air, and a steamer chair, though comfortable by day, does not make an acceptable bed.
We breakfasted from our private stores, and I found myself longing for hot coffee, instead of which I had to drink evaporated milk diluted with mineral water. The day was sunny, the heat beat fiercely off the water, and I burned abominably. Near noon we sighted a town close to the coast, and knew that we were nearing our journey’s end.
We skirted the horn of a crescent-shaped bay, found a river’s mouth, and entered. Here at least was the tropical scene of my imagination—a tide-swollen current, its marshy banks covered with strange foliage, and innumerable water lanes leading out of it into palmy depths. Down these lanes came bancas, sometimes with a single occupant paddling at the stern, sometimes with a whole family sitting motionless on their heels. Once we passed the ruins of what had been a sugar mill or a bino factory—probably the latter. Then the Blanco, puffing ahead, whistled twice, we rounded a curve and came full upon the town.
Though subsequent familiarity has brought to my notice many details that I then overlooked, that first impression was the one of greatest charm, and the one I love best to remember. There were the great, square, white-painted, red-tiled houses lining both banks of the river; the picturesque groups beating their clothes on the flat steps which led down to the water; and the sprawling wooden bridge in the distance where the stream made an abrupt sweep to the right.
On the left of the bridge was a grassy plaza shaded with almond trees, a stately church, several squat stone buildings which I knew for jail and municipal quarters, and a flag staff with the Stars and Stripes whipping the breeze from its top. Over all hung a sky dazzlingly blue and an atmosphere crystal clear. Back of the town a low unforested mountain heaved a grassy shoulder above the palms, and far off there was a violet tracery of more mountains.
I knew that I should like Capiz.
My First Experiences As a Teacher of Filipinos
After Resting in a Saloon I Arrive at My Lodging—I Attend an Evening Party—Filipino Babies—I Take Temporary Charge of the Boys’ School—How the Opening of the Girls’ School Was Announced—Curiosity of the Natives Regarding the New School—Difficulty of Securing Order at First.