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.