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.

But if the Church in the Philippines is in no real danger from Protestantism, it is in more or less imminent danger from two sources—­the necessity for reform in the Church itself, and the growing national sense of the Filipinos, which leads them to demand their own clergy, and to resent to the point of secession a too firm hold by the new American clergy.

CHAPTER XVI

My Gold-Hunting Expedition

Word of an Abandoned Gold Mine near Manila—­I Arise Before Three A.M. and Find the Town Asleep—­Our Trip down the River—­Scenery and Sights by the Way—­Three Buffaloes Are Brought to Drag Us over the Mud—­Digging for Gold—­I Fail As an Overseer of Diggers—­Results of the Digging Unsatisfactory—­The Homeward Trip.

After Christmas we settled down to humdrum work, and barring my gold-hunting experience there was little to relieve the daily monotony of existence.  I wrote an account of the gold-hunting expedition as one of a series of newspaper articles published in The Manila Times, With the consent of the editors, I now transcribe it bodily here, for, without any gleam of romance or adventure, the experience was one typical of the land and of our life here, which I believe the generous reader will be willing to accept without any attempt on my part to embellish it with excitement and lurid writing.

Our Supervisor had gotten hold of a legend of an abandoned mine in a mountain some four or five miles from town.  According to the native story, half a century or more before this period the mine was worked, and considerable quantities of gold were taken out of it.  But dissensions arose between the barrios that supplied the labor, and finally the native priests ordered the shaft to be filled and closed, and all work to cease, lest it bring a curse upon the people.  They obeyed, and the mining interests thereabouts fell into oblivion.

The Supervisor had, with native assistance, located the spot, and made a few crude washings in which he found “color.”  Then he came back to make a sluice box, and, together with a young lieutenant of constabulary, intended to pass the Sabbath day in further investigation of the mine’s possibilities.

The occasion was too tempting.  I promptly laid siege to the Supervisor’s wife, pleading that she induce her liege to let us accompany him.  As he was good-natured and the trip was short and easy, he consented.  We were to leave town in a baroto at three A.M. to get the benefit of the tide.  At half-past nine the night before, the lunch basket containing my contribution to the commissary department was packed and suspended from the ceiling by a rope, protected by a petroleum-soaked rag, and I went to bed to dream of gold mines, country houses, yachts, and European travel.  It was ten minutes to three when I scrambled out in a great fright lest I should be late and keep the others waiting.  I lighted the alcohol lamp to boil the coffee, and flew into my garments.  But I dressed and ate and still they came not.  So I poked my head out of the window into the sad radiance of a setting moon.

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