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Adventures in the Philippine Islands
by Paul P. de La Gironiere
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We pursued our road through the wood, keeping as much as possible to the south, in order to get near the province of Batangas, where I was to meet my poor patient, who no doubt was very uneasy about my long absence. When I started I said not a word about my project, and had I done so it is most likely I should have been thought as no longer belonging to this world. The recollection of my wife, whom I had left at Manilla, and who was far from supposing me to be among the Igorrots, inspired me with the most anxious desire of returning home to my family as quick as possible. Absorbed in my thoughts, and carried away by my reflections, I walked silently along, without even casting a glance upon the luxuriant vegetation all around us. I must indeed have been very much pre-occupied, for a virgin forest between the tropics, and particularly in the Philippine islands, is in nowise to be compared with our European forests. I was aroused from my pensiveness, and recalled to the remembrance of my whereabouts, by the noise of a torrent, and I gratefully admired nature in her gigantic productions. I looked up, and before me I perceived an immense balete, an extraordinary fig-tree, that thrives in the sombre and mysterious forests of the Philippines, and I stopped to admire it. This immense tree springs from a seed similar to the seed of the ordinary fig-tree; its wood is white and spongy, and in a few years it grows to an extraordinary size. Nature, who has had foresight in all things, and who allows the young lamb to leave its wool on the bushes for the timid bird to pick it up and build its nest with—Nature, I say, has shown herself in all her genius in the fig-tree of the Philippine islands, which grows so rapidly and so immensely. The branches of this tree generally spring from the base of the trunk; they extend themselves horizontally, and, after forming an elbow or curve, rise up perpendicularly; but, as I said before, the tree is spongy, and easily broken, and the branch, while forming the curve, would inevitably be broken, did not a ligament, which the Indians call a drop of water—goutte d'eau—fall from the tree and take root in the earth; there it swells, and grows in proportion with the size of the branch, and acts to it as a living prop. Besides which, around the trunk, and at a considerable distance from the ground, are natural supports, which rise up in points or spirals to about the middle of the trunk. Has not the Grand Architect of the world foreseen everything?

The appearance presented by the balete is very frequently indescribably picturesque; and this is so true that, within a space of some hundred paces in diameter—which these gigantic fig-trees usually occupy—one may see by turns grottoes, halls, chambers, that are often furnished with natural seats, formed out of and by the roots themselves. No! no vegetation is more diversified, nor more extraordinary! This tree sometimes grows out of a rock, where there is not an inch of earth; its long roots run along the rock, encompass it, and then plunge into the neighbouring brook. It is indeed a masterpiece of nature—a chef d'oeuvre—which, however, is very ordinary in the virgin forests of the Philippine islands.

"Here," said I to my lieutenant, "is a good spot for us to spend the night on."

He recoiled some paces.

"What!" said he; "do you wish to stop here, master?"

"Certainly," replied I.

"Oh! but you don't see that we are in still more danger here than in the midst of the Igorrots!"

"And why, then, are we in danger?" asked I.

"Why? why? Do you not know that the Tic-balan dwells in the large baletes. If we stop here you may be very sure that I shan't sleep a moment, and that we shall be tormented the whole night."

I smiled, which my lieutenant perceiving:

"Oh! master," said he, most dolefully, "what should we do with an evil spirit that fears neither bullet nor dagger?"

The terror of the poor Tagal was really too great for me to resist him, so I yielded, and we took up our quarters for the night at a place much less to my own taste, but much more to Alila's. The night passed away like many others—I mean, perfectly well, and we woke up to resume our journey through the forest.

We had been walking about two hours, when, on leaving the wood, and entering on a plain, we met an Igorrot, mounted upon a buffalo, face to face. The encounter was somewhat curious. I levelled my gun at the savage: my lieutenant took hold of the animal by the long leather strap, and I made a sign to the Igorrot not to stir: then—always in my mimic language—I asked if he were alone. I understood from him that he was accompanied by no fellow-traveller, and that he was going northwards, in the opposite direction to our own. But Alila, who decidedly had a grudge against the savages, was most anxious to lodge a ball in this fellow's head. However, I strenuously opposed such a project, and ordered him to let go the bridle.

"But, master," said he, "allow me at least to see what these jars contain."

Around the neck of the Igorrot's buffalo were strung three or four jars, covered with leaves of the banana tree.

My lieutenant, without even waiting for my answer, applied his nose to them, and discovered, to his infinite satisfaction, that they contained a deer or stag ragout, which sent forth a certain perfume; so, still without consulting me, he undid the smallest of the jars, struck the buffalo a blow with the but-end of his gun, and, letting go the animal at the same time, exclaimed:

"Go, you rascal—go!"

The Igorrot, finding himself free, fled as quick as the beast could carry him, and we re-entered the woods, taking care to avoid the openings, for fear of being surprised by too large a number of savages.

Towards four o'clock we halted to take our repast. This wished-for moment was impatiently expected by my lieutenant, as the savage's jar sent forth a very savoury smell. At last the desired moment arrived: we sat down on the grass. I stuck my poignard into the jar, which Alila had brought up to the fire, and I withdrew—an entire human hand! [12] My poor lieutenant was as stupified as I was myself, so we remained a few minutes without saying a word. At last I gave a vigorous kick to the jar, and smashed it in pieces, so that the human flesh it contained was scattered over the ground, while still I held the fatal hand on the point of my dagger.

That hand horrified me; yet I examined it most carefully, and it appeared to me to have been the hand of a child of an Ajetas, a species of savages that inhabit the mountains of Nueva-Exica and Maribeles, of which race I shall have an opportunity of speaking during the course of this work. I took some strips of palm-tree, roasted in the burning embers; Alila did the same, and we set out, not in the best of humours, in search of another resting-place for the night.

Two hours after sun-rise we issued from the forest and entered upon the plain. From time to time—that is, from distance to distance—we met with rice-fields, cultivated after the Tagal manner, and then did my lieutenant exclaim most joyously to me:

"Master, we are now in Christian ground."

He was right; the road was becoming more easy. We followed on a narrow pathway, and towards evening arrived in front of an Indian cabin, at the door of which a young girl was sitting, while abundant tears trickled down her sorrowful countenance. I drew near her, and inquired into the cause of her grief. On hearing my question she rose up, and without replying to my queries, conducted us into the interior of the habitation, where we beheld the inanimate body of an old woman, whom we learned was the mother of the young girl; the brother of the latter had gone to the village in quest of the relations of the deceased, to aid them in transporting the corpse to its final destination.

This scene affected me very much. I did my best to console the poor young girl, and solicited hospitality for the night, which was instantly granted. To be in company with a dead body nowise affrighted me; but I bethought of Alila, so superstitious and so fearful with regard to ghosts and evil spirits.

"Well," said I to him; "are you not afraid to spend the night near a corpse?"

"No, master," replied he, courageously; "this dead person is a Christian soul, which, far from wishing us evil, will watch over us."

I was really astonished at the answer of the Tagaloc, at his calmness and security: the rogue had his own motives for thus speaking to me. The Indian huts in the plains, are never composed of more than one room; the one we were in was scarcely large enough to hold us all four; however, we one and all managed as well as we could. The deceased occupied the back part; a small lamp, placed by her head, threw out a feeble light, and beside her lay the young Indian girl. I had established my quarters at a short distance from the bed of death, and my lieutenant was nearest the door, left open purposely to dispel the heat and foul air.

Towards two o'clock in the morning I was waked up by a shrill voice, and I felt at the same time that some one was passing over me, and uttering cries that soon were heard outside the cabin. I immediately stretched out my hand towards the place where Alila had lain down, but that place was empty; the lamp was out, and the darkness complete.

This made me very uneasy. I called to the young girl, who answered me that she had heard, like me, cries and noise, but she was ignorant of the cause. I snatched up my gun and sallied forth, calling out to my lieutenant; but to no purpose. No one answered; the stillness of death reigned all around. I then set out, walking over the fields at hazard, calling out now and then Alila's name. I had not, perhaps, gone a hundred paces when I heard the following words, pronounced most timidly, proceeding from a tree by which I was passing:

"I am here, master."

It was Alila himself. I drew nigh, and saw my lieutenant ensconced behind the trunk of the tree, and trembling like one of its leaves.

"What then has happened to you?" I inquired; "and what are you doing there?"

"Oh! master," said he to me; "pray forgive me! Bad thoughts got the better of me; it was the young Indian girl inspired me with them, and the demon blew them into my inner man. I—I—I—drew nigh, during the night, to the young girl's resting-place, and when I saw you fast asleep—I put out the lamp."

"Well, and then—" said I, most impatiently and angrily.

"And then—I wished to take a kiss from the young girl; but, at the very moment I drew nigh, the old dead woman took her daughter's place, so I only met with a cold and icy face, and at the same moment two long arms stretched out to seize upon me. Oh! it was then I gave such a cry—and I fled! fled! fled! but the old woman pursued me—yes, the corpse tracked me behind; and she has only just now disappeared, on hearing the sound of your voice. I then hid behind this tree, where you now see me, in a piteous plight."

The fright of the Tagal and his mistake made me almost laugh out; but I severely reprimanded him for the bad intention he had of abusing the hospitality that had been so graciously afforded us: he repented, and begged of me to excuse him. He was, I should think, sufficiently punished by his fright. I wished to take him back to the cabin with me; but for no consideration would he return. I therefore left my gun in his charge, and went back to the house of mourning, where I found the poor young girl just as frightened as he was. I soon made her acquainted with the adventure; so thanking her for her kind hospitality, and morning coming on, I returned to Alila, who was most impatiently expecting me.

The hope of seeing soon again our relations, our homes, our friends, gave us new courage, and before sunset we arrived at an Indian village, without anything remarkable having taken place: this was to be our last stage. [13]

After this long and interesting journey I arrived at Quingua, a village in the province of Boulacan, where I had left my friend in convalescence.



CHAPTER VII.

I return to Jala-Jala—An Excursion on the Lake—Relempago's Narrative—Re-organisation of my Government—A Letter from my Brother Henry—His Arrival—He joins me in the Management of my Plantations—Cajoui, the Bandit: Anten-Anten—Indian Superstition—A Combat with the Bandit—His Death—A Piratical Descent—My Lieutenant is Wounded—I extract the Ball, and cure him.

My prolonged absence from home caused great uneasiness. Very fortunately my wife remained at Manilla, and was totally ignorant of the journey I had recently undertaken.

My patient had not exactly followed the prescribed regimen, so that his distemper had increased, and he was impatiently expecting to return and die, he said, in his house: his wishes were complied with. A few days after my arrival we set out and arrived the next day at Manilla, where my poor friend rendered his last sigh in the middle of his family. This event damped, of course, the pleasure I should have enjoyed in beholding my wife once more.

A few days after the demise of our friend we embarked, and set sail for Jala-Jala.

We glided most agreeably upon the lake until we left the strait of Quinanbutasan, but, once there, we met with so violent an east wind, and the water of the lake was so ruffled, that we were obliged to re-enter the strait, and cast anchor near the cabin of the old fisherman, Relempago, whom I have already noticed.

Our sailors landed to prepare their supper; as for ourselves, we remained in our boat, where we stretched ourselves at our ease, the old fisherman, as he sat doubled up in the Indian fashion, amusing us in the best way he could by the narration of brigand stories.

I interrupted him all on a sudden, saying to him:

"Relempago, I should prefer hearing the history of your own personal adventures; do, therefore, relate your misfortunes to us."

The old fisherman heaved a sigh, and then, unwilling to disoblige me, began his story in the poetical terms so familiar to the Tagal tongue, and which it is almost impossible to reproduce by a translation:

"Lagune is not my native place," said he; "I was born in the island of Zebou, and was at the age of twenty what is called a fine young man; but, pray believe me, I was by no means proud of my physical advantages, and I preferred being the first fisherman of my village. Nevertheless, my comrades were jealous of me, and all that because the young girls would look at me with a certain complaisant air, and seemed to find me to their liking."

I could not but smile at this frank avowal of the old man, which he perceiving, continued:

"I tell you these things, sir," replied he, "because at my age one can speak of them without fearing to appear ridiculous—it is so long ago. And besides, allow me to inform you that I relate to you such things, not from vanity—Oh, no! but merely to furnish you with an exact recital. Besides, the sly and roguish looks that young girls threw at me, as I passed through the village, flattered me in no manner. I was in love with Theresa, sir; yes, I was passionately in love with her, and my love was returned, for fondly did she love me; a look from any other but from her was totally indifferent to me. Ah! Theresa was the prettiest lass in the village! but, poor soul! she has done like myself—she has greatly altered; for years are an enormous weight, which bends and breaks you down in spite of yourself, and against which there is no way of struggling.

"When, seated as I am at present, I bethink me of the fine by-gone days of my youth—of the strength, the courage, that we used to find in our mutual affection—Oh! I shed tears of regret and sensibility. Where are now those fine—those happy days? Gone, gone, gone! they have fled before the piercing and terrible winds that forerun the storms and the hurricanes. Like the day, life has its dawn; like the day, also, it has its decline!"

Here the poor old fisherman made a pause, and I was loth to interrupt him in his meditation. There then ensued a profound silence, that lasted several minutes. Suddenly Relempago seemed to start from a dream, and passing his hand over his forehead, looked at us for some time, as if to excuse himself for those few moments of mental absence, and then he continued as follows:

"We had been brought up together," said he, "and had been affianced as soon as we had grown up. Theresa would have died rather than belong to any other, and, as I shall hereafter prove it, I would have accepted any condition, even the most unfavourable one, rather than abandon the friend of my heart. Alas! it is almost always with our tears that we trace our painful way through life. Theresa's relations were opposed to our union; they even put forward vain and frivolous pretexts; and whatever efforts I made to bring them to decide upon bestowing her affianced hand on me, I never could succeed. And yet they well knew that, like the palm trees, we could not live without each other, and were we to be separated, it would be condemning us to die. But our tears, our prayers, our griefs, were only heard by senseless people, and we were labouring under the most poignant grief, while no one would understand or sympathise with our sorrow. I was beginning to lose all courage, when one morning there came into my mind the pious thought of offering to the Infant Jesus, in the church of Zebou, the first pearl I should fish up. I therefore repaired earlier than usual to the sea-shore, implored the Almighty to grant me his protection, and to have me married to my beloved Theresa. The sun was just beginning to dart his burning rays upon the earth, and was gilding the surface of the waters. Nature was awaking from her transitory sleep, and every living being or object was singing in its language a hymn to the Creator.

"With a beating heart I began diving to the bottom of the sea, in search of the pearl which I so ardently wished for, but my searches and struggles were completely fruitless at first. Had anyone been near me at that moment he would have easily read my disappointment in my face. Nevertheless, my courage failed me not. I began again, but with no better success. 'Oh, Lord!' cried I, 'thou hearest not then my prayers, my supplications! Thou wilt not then accept for thy beloved son the offering that I destine for him.' [14] For the sixth time I plunged, and brought up from the bottom of the sea two enormous oysters. Oh! how my heart leaped with joy! I opened one of them, and found it contained a pearl so large that never in my life had I seen one like it. My joy was so great that I set to dancing in my pirogue, as if I had lost my reason. The Lord, then, did vouchsafe to protect me, since He enabled me to accomplish my vow. With a joyful heart I retraced my steps to my dwelling, and, not wishing to fail in my word, I took my magnificent pearl to the curate of Zebou.

"The reverend father," continued the old fisherman, "was delighted with my present. That pearl was worth 5,000 piasters (or 25,000 francs, i.e., L1,000 English money), and you must have admired it—you, as well as all other persons who attend the church—for the Infant Jesus always holds it in his hand. The curate thanked and congratulated me on my very good idea.

"'Go home in peace, brother,' said he to me; 'go home in peace. Heaven will not forget thy meritorious action—yea, the disinterestedness of thy good work, and sooner or later thy desires will he hearkened to.'"

"I left the holy man with my heart joyful indeed, and I hastened to inform Theresa of the pastor's consoling words: we rejoiced like two children together. Ah! true indeed it is to say that youth has been endowed by the Almighty with every privilege, particularly with that of hope. At the age of twenty if the heart think that it may live in hope, away with all cares immediately; and, as the morning breeze sips up the drops of moisture that have been left by the storm in the chalice of flowers, so does hope dry up the tears that moisten the eyes of the young, and drive away the sighs that inflate and oppress the breast. So sure were we that our tribulations would ere long be over, that we no longer thought of our by gone sorrow! In the spring-time of life grief leaves do more trace after it than the nimble foot of the wily Indian on the strand, when the sea-wind has blown over it.

"The inhabitants of the village, seeing us so joyful, so purely happy, were envious of our lot, and Theresa's relations could no longer find any pretext for opposing our being united. We were now in full sight of connubial bliss; our boat of life was gently rocked by a very mild wind; we were singing the return-home hymn, not supposing, alas! that we were going to be dashed against a breaker! Our young Indians foresee not in the morning the storm that is to assail them in the evening. The buffalo cannot avoid the lasso, and most often, in order to avoid it, he anticipates the danger. I roved about, I may say heedlessly thoughtless of the precipice before my feet. Misfortune marked me for her own when I least expected it.

"One evening, on my return from fishing, at the moment when I was repairing to Theresa's, there to repose myself after my fatigues of the day, I saw one of my neighbours advancing towards me. That man had always shown me the greatest affection, so that on seeing him thus advance, my limbs began to tremble, and the pulsations of my heart gradually ceased. His face was pale, and entirely altered. His haggard eyes threw forth flashes of terror, and his voice was trembling and agitated.

"'Los Moros [15] have made a descent upon the coast,' said he to me.

"'Good Heavens!' exclaimed I, covering my face with my hands.

"'They surprised some persons of the village, and carried them off prisoners.'

"'And Theresa?' exclaimed I.

"'Carried off with the others,' he replied.

"I heard no more of this revelation, and for some minutes—like the warrior pierced to the heart by a poisoned arrow—was completely deprived of all consciousness.

"When I came back to myself tears flooded my face, and brought me some relief: but suddenly I resumed my courage, and felt that no time was to be lost. I ran to the shore where I had left my pirogue, which I unfastened, and, as quickly as oars could pull me, I pursued the Malays, not in the hope of wresting Theresa from them, but resolved upon partaking of her captivity and misfortune. We better endure the sufferings we have to undergo when we are two together than when we are alone. He who had brought me the fatal tidings saw me start, and thought I had lost my senses; the fact is, my countenance bore all the traces of mental alienation. Methought I was inspired by the grand master-spirit; my pirogue bounded along the troubled waters of the ocean as if it possessed wings. One would have said that I had twenty rowers at my disposal, and I cleft the waves with the same rapidity as the halcyon's flight, when wafted away by the hurricane. After a short time's laborious and painful rowing I at last came in view of the corsairs who were carrying away my treasure. At the sight my strength was renewed again, and I was soon up with them. When I was side by side with them I informed them, in words the most feeling, and which sprang from my poor lacerated heart, that Theresa was my wife, and that I would prefer being a slave with her to abandoning her. The pirates listened to my voice, stifled by my tears, and took me on board, not from commiseration, but from cruelty. In fact, I was a slave more added to their numbers: why should they have repulsed me? A few days after that fatal evening we arrived at Jolo. There the division of the slaves was made, and the master into whose hands we fell took us away with him. Was it, then, to undergo a like destiny that I had dived so early in the morning for a pearl for the Infant Jesus of Zebou? Yes, was it for this that I had made a vow to bring him the first pearl I should find? Notwithstanding my profound sorrow I murmured not, neither did I regret my offering. The Lord was the master! His will should be done."

Here Relempago paused, and looked towards Heaven with a smile of angelic resignation, and we then remarked upon his face the furrows traced by the deep sorrows of his life. The wind was still blowing with violence, and our boat was dancing on the waves; our sailors had finished their repast, and, in order to listen to the fisherman's tale of woe, had taken up their place by his side. Their features wore an expression of the most innocent attention; so, having made a sign to the narrator, he resumed his story as follows:—

"Our captivity lasted two years, during which time we had to endure very great sufferings. Very often would my master take me away with him to a lake in the interior of the island, and these absences lasted for whole months together, during which time I was perforce separated from my Theresa, my dear wife; for, not having been able to get united by a clergyman, we had joined ourselves, under the all-benevolent and protecting eye of the Almighty! On my return, I used to find my poor companion still the same good, faithful, devoted, and affectionate friend, whose courage sustained my own.

"One circumstance decided me upon taking an audacious resolution. Theresa was in an interesting situation! Oh! what would not my joy have been had I been at Zebou, in the midst of our family and of our friends! What happiness should I not have felt at the idea of being a father! Alas! in slavery, that very same thought froze my blood with terror, and I firmly resolved upon snatching both mother and child from the tortures of captivity. In one of our excursions I had been wounded in the leg, and this wound came greatly to my aid. One day my master set out for the borders of the grand lake, and, knowing I had a bad leg, left me at Jolo. I availed myself of this opportunity to put into execution a project that I had formed for a long time, that of flying with Theresa. The task was a daring one, but the desire of freedom doubles one's strength and increases one's courage, so I did not hesitate for a moment. When night had lowered, my dear Theresa took a road I had pointed out to her; I went by another one, and we both arrived at the sea-shore at a short distance from each other. There we jumped into a pirogue, and threw ourselves upon the protection of Divine mercy!

"We rowed vigorously the whole night, and never in my life shall I forget that mysterious flight. The wind blew rather violently, the night was dark, and the stars insensibly lost their vivid brightness. Every moment we thought we heard behind us the noise of our pursuers, and our hearts beat so loud and so violently that they could be heard in the midst of the silence that reigned around all nature.

"Day at last appeared: we descried by degrees, in the mist of the morning, the rocks that lined the shore, and we could see far enough in the distance that no one was pursuing us. Then were our hearts filled with cheering hope, and we continued rowing towards the north, in order to land on some Christian isle.

"I had taken with me some cocoa-nuts, but they were a very small resource, and we had been at sea three whole days without eating anything, when, exhausted by fatigue and want, we fell upon our knees and invoked the pity, compassion, and succour of the Infant Jesus of Zebou. Our prayer over, we felt our strength completely exhausted; the oars fell from our hands, and we lay down in the bottom of the pirogue, decided upon dying in each other's arms.

"Our weakness gradually increased, and finally we swooned away, the pirogue all the while dashing heedlessly on with the waves.

"When we recovered from our fainting fit—I know not how long it lasted—we found ourselves surrounded by Christians, who, having perceived us in our light skiff, had come to our aid, conveyed us to their hospitable dwelling, and took the most pious care of us. We had not long been disembarked when Theresa was taken with the pains of labour, and was confined of a very diminutive, sickly child. I went down on my knees before the innocent little creature that had so miraculously escaped from slavery, and prayed for it—it was a boy!"

Here the poor old fisherman heaved a heavy sigh, while tears were fast falling upon his shrunken hands.

We one and all respected this painful recollection of the poor old man.

"Our convalescence was very long indeed," said Relempago; "at last our health was sufficiently restored to permit of us leaving the isle of Negros, where the Infant Jesus had so miraculously caused us to land, and we came to settle here, on the side of this large lake, which, being situated in the interior of the isle of Lucon, afforded me the means of pursuing my avocation of fisherman without in any way fearing the Malays, who might very easily have captured us again at Zebou.

"My first care—yes, the dearest act of my life—on arriving, was to have our marriage celebrated in the church of Moron. I had promised it to God, and I would not fail in the promise I had made Him who reads all hearts. After that I built the little cottage you see hard-by, and my existence glided on most peacefully. The fishing trade went on prosperously. I was still a young man, active and intelligent, and sold my fish very easily to the vessels passing through the strait. My son had by this time become a fine young man."

"Of course he resembled his father," said I, recollecting the beginning of the old man's tale, but my remark could not excite a smile upon his countenance.

"Oh! the lad was a good fisherman," continued he, "and happily did we all three live together, till a dreadful misfortune befell us. The Infant Jesus had no doubt forsaken us, or perhaps the Almighty was displeased with us; but I am far from murmuring. He has visited us most severely, since He has overwhelmed us with grief of such a strong nature, that it must accompany us to our last resting-place!"

And here the poor old man's tears trickled down his weather-beaten cheeks once more, in abundance, in bitterness, and in sorrow.

Ah! how right was the Italian poet, when he said:—

"Nought lasteth here below but tears!"

The voice of Relempago was stifled by his sobbing; however, he made one more effort, and continued thus:

"One night—a fine moonlight night—we set our nets in a certain part of the strait, and as we felt some difficulty in drawing them up, the lad plunged into the water to ascertain what obstacle we had to contend with, and to set all to rights. I was in my pirogue, leaning over the side, waiting for his return, when all of a sudden I thought I saw, through the silvery beams of the lamp of night, a large spot of blood spreading itself over the surface of the water. Fear took possession of me, and I quickly hauled up my nets. My hapless child had seized upon and become entangled in them—but, alas! when he came to the surface he was a corpse!"

"What! your son?" cried I.

"My poor dear Jose-Maria," said he, "had his head bitten off by a cayman that had got entangled in our nets. Ever since that night—that fatal night!—Theresa and I offer up our prayers to the Omnipotent, imploring Him to take us to himself; for, alas! nothing now has any charms for us here below. The first of us that will depart for that bourn from whence no traveller returns will be interred by the survivor beside our beloved child—there, under that little hillock yonder, which is surmounted by a wooden cross, in front of my humble cottage; and the last of us two to leave this valley of tears will no doubt meet with some charitable Christian hand, to place our mortal remains beside the bodies of those we loved so tenderly during our hapless pilgrimage here below."

Here Relempago ceased his painful history, and, that he might give a free course to his grief and tears, he rose up, and bowed us his adieu, which we returned to him with hearts oppressed with sympathetic sorrow.

The wind had ceased blowing, and the attentive sailors were awaiting our orders, so that in a few moments afterwards we were sailing towards Jala-Jala, where we landed before sunset.

On the morrow of my arrival I entered on the business of my little government, to which my absence had been far from useful or favourable, so that I was obliged to suppress many abuses that had crept into it while I had been away. Some slight corrections, joined to an active and incessant surveillance, or inspection, soon established once more the most perfect order and discipline; so that, from that moment, I was at liberty to devote all my time and attention to the cultivation of my lands.

We were now at the beginning of the winter—the rainy and windy season. No stranger had dared crossing the lake, to come and visit us, so that, alone with my dear wife, our days glided most happily and tranquilly away, for we knew not what ennui was or meant: our mutual affection was so great that our own presence was sufficient company for each other.

This delightful solitude was soon interrupted by a fortunate and unforeseen event. A letter from Manilla—a very rare circumstance at Jala-Jala—reached me, informing me that my eldest brother, Henry, had just arrived there; that he had put up at my brother-in-law's; and that he was expecting me with all imaginable impatience. I was not aware that he had left France to come and see me, so that such news, and his sudden, as well as unexpected, arrival, surprised and overjoyed me.

I was once more to see one of my dearest relations—a brother whom I had always tenderly loved. Ah! he who has never quitted his home, his family, and his early attachments, will with difficulty understand the emotions I experienced on receiving this agreeable letter. When the first transports of my joy were somewhat allayed, I resolved to set out at once for Manilla. Preparations for my departure were speedily made. I chose my lightest canoe, and my two strongest Indians, and a few minutes after, having embraced my beloved Anna, I was scudding over the waters of the lake, slowly—too slowly for my impatience, as I wished to be able to give wings to my fragile skiff, and to traverse the distance that separated me from my brother as rapidly as my thoughts: no journey ever appeared to me so long, and nevertheless my two robust rowers exerted all their strength to favour my wishes. At length I arrived, and immediately hastened to my brother-in-law's, and there I threw myself into Henry's arms. Our emotions were such that for some time we could not speak; the abundant tears we shed alone showed the joy of our hearts. When the first transport was over, I asked him questions beyond number. Not one member of my family was forgotten; the smallest details concerning these beloved beings were to me of the greatest interest. We passed the remainder of the day and the following night in incessant and interesting conversation. The next day we started for Jala-Jala. Henry was eager to become acquainted with his sister-in-law, and I to make the dear companion of my life a sharer in my happiness. Excellent Anna! my joy was joy for you—my happiness was your delight! You received Henry as a brother, and this sisterly attachment was always, on your part, as sincere as your affection for me had ever been.

After a few days spent in the most agreeable conversation about France, and about all those beloved friends who remained there, feelings of sadness that I could with difficulty repress became intermingled with my joy. I thought of our numerous family, so far distant, and so scattered over the globe. My youngest brother was, to my great regret, dead at Madagascar. My second brother, Robert, resided at Porto-Rico; and my two brothers-in-law, both captains of vessels, engaged in long voyages, were gone to the Indies. My poor mother and my poor sisters were alone, without protectors, without support: what sad moments of fear and anxiety you must have spent in your solitude! Ah! how I should have rejoiced to have you near me; but, alas! a whole world separated us, and the hope of seeing you again one day could alone scatter the clouds that darkened occasionally the happy days adorned by the presence of my brother.

After some time of rest, Henry asked to join me in my labours. I then made him acquainted with my mode of cultivation, and he took upon himself the management of the plantations and of their products. I reserved to myself the regulation of my Indians, the charge of the flocks, and that of putting down the bandits.

I had frequent quarrels, and even incessant conflicts, with these turbulent Indians; but I never boasted of these petty engagements, in which I was often obliged to take a most active part. On the contrary, I recommended strict silence to my attendants, for I did not wish to cause anxiety to my excellent Anna, nor to give my brother the desire of accompanying me. I did not like to expose him to the dangers I ran myself, as I had not equal hopes of safety for him. I relied upon my star, and really, to a certain degree, all modesty aside, I think that the bandits' balls respected me. When I was engaged in contests in the plain, or in some of the skirmishes, the danger was not great; but it was quite a different thing when it was necessary to fight hand to hand, which happened more than once; and I cannot forbear the pleasure of relating one of those circumstances that made me say just now the bandits' balls respected me.

One day I was alone with my lieutenant, having both of us only our daggers, and we were coming back to our habitation, and passing through a thick forest, situated at the end of the lake. Alila said to me: "Master, this neighbourhood is much frequented by Cajoui." Cajoui was known as the chief of a most daring gang of brigands. Among his numerous atrocities he had amused himself, on that very day, by drowning twenty of his fellow-countrymen. I then determined to free the country of the odious assassin, and the advice of my lieutenant induced me to take a narrow path, that led us to a hut concealed in the midst of the woods. I told Alila to remain below, and to watch, while I went to endeavour to reconnoitre the persons who inhabited it. I went up by the small ladder that leads to the interior of the Tagalese huts; a young Indian woman was there, quite alone, and very busy plaiting a mat. I asked her for some fire to light my cigar, and returned to my lieutenant. Having accidentally cast my eyes upon the exterior of the hut, it appeared much larger than it did inside. I ran up again quickly, and looked all round the place in which the young girl was, and observed at the extremity of it a small door, covered over by a mat. I gave it a strong push, and at the moment, Cajoui, who, with his carbine on cock, was waiting for me behind the door, fired straight at me. The fire and the smoke blinded me, and by a most inconceivable chance the ball slightly grazed my clothes without wounding me. Alila, knowing I had no fire-arms, hearing the report, thought I was killed. He ran up to the top of the steps, and found me enveloped in a cloud of smoke, with my dagger in my hand, trying to find my enemy, who seeing me still standing erect, after he had shot at me, thought, no doubt, I had about me some anten-anten—a certain diabolic incantation that, according to the Indian belief, makes a man invulnerable to all sorts of fire-arms. The bandit was frightened, jumped out of a window, and ran away as fast as he could across the forest.

Alila could not believe what had happened to me; he felt all over my body, in order to convince himself that the ball had not passed through me. When he was quite sure that I had not received a wound, he said to me:

"Master, if you had not had the anten-anten about you you would have been killed."

My Indians always believed I was possessed of this secret, as well as of many others. For instance, when they often saw me go for twenty-four, even for thirty-six hours, without eating or drinking, they became persuaded that I could live in that manner for an indefinite period; and one day, a good Tagalese padre, in whose house I chanced to be, almost went upon his knees while begging me to communicate to him the power I possessed, as he said, to live without food.

The Tagals have retained all their old superstitions. However, thanks to the Spaniards, they are all Christians; but they understand that religion nearly in the way that children do. They believe that to attend on Sundays and festival days at the Divine offices, and to go to confession and to communion once a year, is sufficient for the remission of all their sins. A little anecdote that occurred to me will show how far they understand evangelical charity.

One day two young Indians stole some poultry from one of their neighbours, and they came to sell them to my major-domo for about sixpence. I had them called before me, to administer a lecture, and to punish them. With the utmost simplicity they made me this answer:

"It is true, master, we have done wrong, but we could not do otherwise; we are to go to communion to-morrow, and we had not money enough to get a cup of chocolate."

It is a custom with them to take a cup of chocolate after communion, and it was considered by them a greater sin to miss taking that than to commit the trifling theft of which they were guilty.

Two evil-doing demons play an important part among them, and in which all believed before the conquest of the Philippine islands. One of those malevolent demons is the Tic-balan which I have already mentioned, who dwells in the forests, in the interior of the large fig-trees. This demon can do every possible harm to anyone who dares not to respect him, or who does not carry certain herbs about his person; every time an Indian passes under one of these fig-trees he makes a movement towards it with his hand, saying: "Tavit-po," Tagal words, signifying: "Lord! with your permission!" The lord of the place is the Tic-balan.

The other demon is called Azuan. She presides especially over parturitions in an evil manner, and an Indian is often seen, when his wife is in labour, perched upon the roof of his hut, with a sabre in his hand, thrusting the point into the air, and striking on all sides with the edge, to drive away, as he says, the Azuan. Sometimes he continues this manoeuvring for hours, until the labour is over. One of their beliefs—and one that Europeans might envy—is, that when a child that has not reached the age of reason dies, it is happy for all the family, since it is an angel that has gone to heaven, to be the protector of all its relations. The day of the interment is a grand fete-day; relations and friends are invited; they drink, they dance, and they sing all night in the hut where the child died. But I perceive that the superstitions of the Indians are drawing me from my subject. I shall have occasion, further on, to describe the manners and customs of these singular people.

I now resume my statement, at the moment when my lieutenant tried to assure me that I had some anten-anten, and that consequently I could not be wounded by a shot fired at me.

He then addressed the young girl, who had remained in the corner, more dead than alive.

"Ah! cursed creature!" said he to her; "you are Cajoui's mistress: now your turn is come!"

At this moment he advanced towards her with his dagger in his hand. I ran between him and the poor girl, for I knew he was capable of killing anyone, particularly after I had been attacked in a manner that had placed me in danger.

"Wretch!" said I to him, "what are you going to do?"

"No great things, master; only to cut off the hair and ears of this vile woman, and then send her to tell Cajoui that we shall soon catch him!"

It cost me much trouble to prevent him from executing his plan. I was obliged to use all my authority, and to allow him to burn the cabin, after the terrified young girl, thanks to my protection, had fled into the forest.

My lieutenant was right in sending word to Cajoui that we should catch him. Some months after, and several leagues from the place where we had set fire to his cabin, one day, when three men of my guard accompanied me, we discovered, in the thickest part of the wood, a small hut. My Indians rushed forward in quick time to surround it; but almost all round it there was found a morass, covered over with sedges and bushes, when all three sunk in the mud, up to their middle. As I did not run as fast as they did I perceived the danger, and went round the marsh, so as to reach the cabin by the only accessible way. Suddenly I found myself face to face with Cajoui, and near enough almost to touch him. I had my dagger in my hand; he also had his—the struggle began. For a few seconds we aimed many strokes at each other, which each of us tried to avoid as well as he could. I think, however, that fortune was turning against me; the point of Cajoui's poignard had already entered rather deeply into my right arm, when with my left hand I took from my belt a large-sized pistol. I discharged it full at his breast: the ball and the wadding went through his body. For a few seconds Cajoui endeavoured still to defend himself; I struck him with all my force, and he fell at my feet; I then wrested from him his dagger, which I still retain. My people came out of the mud-hole and joined me. Compassion soon replaced the animosity we bore against Cajoui. We made a sort of litter; I bandaged his wound, and we carried him more than six leagues in this manner to my habitation, where he received all the care his state required. Every moment I expected him to die; every quarter of an hour my people came to tell me how he was; and they kept saying to me:

"Master, he cannot die, because he has the anten-anten upon him; and it is very lucky that you have some of it too, and that you fired at him, for our arms would have been of no avail against him."

I laughed at their simplicity, and expected from one minute to another to hear that the wounded man had breathed his last, when my lieutenant brought me, quite joyously, a small manuscript, about two inches square, saying to me:

"Here, master, is the anten-anten I found upon Cajoui's body."

At the same time one of my men announced his death.

"Ah!" said Alila, "if I had not taken the anten-anten from him he would be still alive."

I searched the small book through and through; prayers and invocations that had not much sense were therein written in the Tagalese language. A good friar who was present took it out of my hands. I imagined that he had the same curiosity as I had, but by no means; he rose up and went into the kitchen, and in a short time after came out and told me that he had made an auto-da-fe of it. My poor lieutenant almost cried with vexation, for he considered the little book to be his property, and thought that in possession of it he would be invulnerable. I should also have wished to have kept it, as a curious specimen of Indian superstition. The next day I had much trouble to persuade my stout friend, Father Miguel, to bury Cajoui in the cemetery. He maintained that a man who died with the anten-anten upon him ought not to receive Christian burial. To make him accede to my wishes it was necessary to tell him that the anten-anten had been taken from Cajoui before his death, and that he had time to repent.

A few days after Cajoui's death it was my faithful Alila's turn to encounter danger, not less imminent than that to which I had been exposed, at the time of my combat with the bandit chief. But Alila was brave, and, although he had no anten-anten, fire-arms did not frighten him.

Large vessels—real Noah's arks—freighted by various merchants, sailed every week from the town of Pasig for that of Santa-Cruz, where every Thursday a large market was held. Eight daring and determined brigands went on board one of these vessels: they hid their arms among the bales of goods. The ship was scarcely out at sea when they seized them, and a horrible scene of slaughter ensued. All who endeavoured to resist them were butchered, even the pilot was thrown overboard; at length, finding no more resistance, they plundered the passengers of the money they had upon them, took every article of value they could find, and, loaded with their booty, they steered the vessel to a deserted spot on the shore, where they landed.

I had been informed of this nefarious enterprise, and went with haste to the spot where they landed. Unfortunately I arrived too late, for they had already escaped to the mountains, after they had divided the spoil. Notwithstanding the slight hope I entertained of overtaking them, I set off in pursuit, and after a long march I met an Indian, who informed me that one of the bandits, not so good a walker as the others, was not far off, and that if I and my guards ran quickly we might overtake him. Alila was the best runner—he was as fleet as a deer; so I told him: "Set out, Alila, and bring me that runaway, either dead or alive."

My brave lieutenant, to be less encumbered in the race, left his gun with us, took a long spear, and went off. Shortly after we had lost sight of him we heard the report of firearms; we knew it must be the brigand firing upon Alila, and we all thought that he was killed or wounded. We hastened forward, in the hopes of arriving in time to render him assistance; but we soon saw him coming leisurely towards us; his face and clothes were covered with blood, the spear in his right hand, and in his left the hideous head of the bandit, which he carried by the hair—as Judith had formerly done with that of Holophernes. But my poor Alila was wounded, and my first care was to examine if the wound was serious. When I was satisfied it was not dangerous, I asked him for the details of his combat.

"Master," said he to me, "shortly after I left you I perceived the bandit; he saw me also, and ran off as quickly as he could, but I ran faster than he, and was soon close to him. When he lost all hopes of escaping he turned upon me and presented his pistol; I was not alarmed, and advanced towards him at all risk. The pistol was fired, and I felt myself wounded in the face; this wound did not stop me. I darted at him and pierced his body with my spear; but, as he was too heavy for me to bring to you, I cut off his head, and here it is."

When I had congratulated Alila upon his success, I examined his wound, and found that a fragment of a ball, cut into four pieces, had hit him upon the cheek, and was flattened on the bone. I extracted it, and a speedy cure followed.

Now, as I have almost terminated, and shall not return to, my numerous adventures with the bandits, I resume the continuation of my ordinary life at Jala-Jala.



CHAPTER VIII.

Death of my Brother Robert—Our Party at Jala-Jala—Illness and Last Moments of my Friend Bermigan—Recovery and Departure for France or Lafond—Joachim Balthazard: his Eccentricity—Tremendous Gale of Wind—Narrow Escape in Crossing the Lake—Safe Return to Jala-Jala—Destruction of my House and the Village by a Typhoon—Rendezvous with a Bandit—Ineffectual Attempts to Reform Him—His Death—Journey to Tapuzi—Its Inaccessibility—Government of the Tapuzians—Morality and Religious Character of their Chief—Their Curiosity at Beholding a White Man—Former Wickedness and Divine Punishment—We bid Adieu to the Tapuzians, and Return to Jala-Jala.

At this period a sad event plunged my house into mourning. Letters from my family announced to me that my brother Robert had returned from Porto-Rico, but that soon after a serious illness had carried him to the grave. He died in the arms of my mother and sisters, in the small house of La Planche, where, as I said before, we had all been brought up. My excellent Anna, wept with us, and exerted every means that interesting affection could suggest to alleviate the grief my brother Henry and myself experienced from this melancholy bereavement. A few months afterwards a new source of sorrow fell to our lot. Our little social party at Jala-Jala consisted of my sister-in-law; of Delaunay, a young man from St. Malo, who had come from Bourbon to establish at Manilla some manufactories for baking sugar; of Bermigan, a young Spaniard; and my friend, Captain Gabriel Lafond, like myself, from Nantes. He had come to the Philippine islands on board the Fils de France, had passed some years in South America, and had occupied several places of distinction in the navy, as captain-commandant, until at last, after many adventures and vicissitudes, he came with a small fortune to Manilla, where he bought a vessel, and set sail for the Pacific Ocean, to fish for the balate or sea-worm. He had scarcely readied the island of Tongatabou when the vessel struck upon the rocks that surround this island; he saved himself by swimming to the shore, having lost everything. From thence he went to the Marianne islands, where grief and bad food caused him to fall ill; he returned to Manilla, labouring under dysentry. I had him brought to my house, and whilst there attended to him with all the care a fellow-countryman and a good friend, endowed with sterling and amiable qualities, deserved. Our evenings were spent in amusing and instructive conversation. As we had all travelled a great deal, each had something to relate. During the day the invalids kept company with the ladies, while my brother and myself followed our respective avocations. But soon, alas! a shocking event disturbed the calm that reigned at Jala-Jala. Bermigan fell so dangerously ill, that a few days sufficed to convince me there was no hope of saving him. I shall never forget the fatal night: we were all assembled in the drawing-room, grief and consternation were in every heart and pourtrayed in every countenance; in an adjoining room a few short steps from us, we heard the death-rattle of poor Bermigan, who had only a few minutes to live. My excellent friend, Lafond, whom sickness had reduced almost to the last stage, broke silence, and said: "Well! poor Bermigan goes to-day, and in a few days, perhaps to-morrow, it will be my turn. Just see! my dear Don Pablo; I may almost say that I no longer exist. Look at my feet—my body! I am a mere skeleton; I can scarcely take any food. Ah! it is better to be dead than live like this!"

I was so persuaded that his forebodings would not be delayed in being realized, that I scarcely dared to utter the smallest consolation or any hopes. Who could then have told me that he and I alone were to survive all those who surrounded us, full of life and health? But, alas! let us not here anticipate future events.

Poor Bermigan breathed his last. Our house at Jala-Jala was no longer untouched by the hand of Death—a human being had expired therein; and on the following day, in sadness and silence, we all proceeded to the cemetery, to inter the body of our friend, and to render him the last proofs of our respect. The body was laid at the foot of a large cross, which is placed in the centre of the grave-yard. For many days sadness and silence prevailed in our home at Jala-Jala.

Some time afterwards I had the gratification to see the efforts I employed for my friend Lafond were successful. By means of the strong remedies I administered his health was speedily restored, his appetite returned, and he was soon able to set sail for France. He is now residing in Paris, married to a woman possessed of every quality necessary to make a man happy, and is the father of three children. Holding an honourable position, and enjoying public esteem, he has never forgotten the six months he spent at Jala-Jala, for ingratitude never sullied his noble, loving, and devoted heart. A sincere attachment still subsists between us, and I am happy thus to assure him that he is, and ever will be, to me a valued friend. [16]

As I have now mentioned several persons who resided for some time at Jala-Jala, I must not forget one of my colonists, Joachim Balthazard, a native of Marseilles, as eccentric a man as I have ever known. When Joachim was young, he set sail from Marseilles. When he arrived at Bourbon, his name not being on the crew's list, he was arrested, and put on board the Astrolabe, which was then making a voyage round the world. He deserted at the Marianne islands, and came to the Philippines in the greatest distress, and addressed himself to some good friars, in order, as he said, to effect his conversion and his salvation. He lived among them, and at their expense, for nearly two years; afterwards he opened a coffee-house at Manilla, and spent in pleasure and debauchery a large sum of money that a fellow-countryman and I had advanced him. He afterwards built upon my grounds a large straw edifice, that had more the appearance of a huge magazine than of a house. There he kept a kind of seraglio, adopted all the children which his numerous wives gave him, and, with his own family, made his house not unlike a mutual school. Whenever he was weary of either of his wives he called one of his workmen, saying to him in the most serious manner:

"There is a wife that I give you; be a good husband, treat her well: and you, woman, this is your husband, be faithful to him. Go, may God bless you! Be off, and let me never see you again."

He was generally without a farthing, or all of a sudden rich with heavy sums, that were spent in a few days. He borrowed from everybody, and never paid them back; he lived like a real Indian, and was as cowardly as a half-drowned chicken. His light-coloured hair, sallow complexion, and beardless face, gave him the nick-name among the Indians of Onela-Dogou, Tagalese words, that signify "one who has no blood."

As I was one day crossing over the lake in a small canoe with him and two Indians, we were assailed by one of those extraordinary gales of wind, which in the Chinese seas are called Tay-Foung (typhoon). These gales of wind, though extremely rare, are tremendous. The sky is covered with the heaviest clouds; the rain pours in torrents; the day-light disappears, almost as much as in the densest fog; and the wind blows with such fury that it throws down everything it reaches in its course. [17]

We were in our canoe; the wind had scarcely begun to blow with all its violence than Balthazard commenced to invoke all the saints in Paradise. Almost in despair, he cried out aloud:

"Oh, God! have mercy upon me, a wretched sinner! Grant me the grace that I may have an opportunity of confessing my sins, and of receiving absolution!"

All these lamentations and appeals served only to frighten my two Indians, and most undoubtedly our position was critical enough for us to endeavour to retain our presence of mind, so as to attend to the management of our little boat, which from one moment to another was in danger of being swamped. However, I was certain that, being provided with two large beams of bamboos, it could keep its position in the current between two waters and not capsize, if we had the precaution and strength to scud before the wind, and not turn the side to a wave, for in such case we should all have been drowned. What I foresaw, happened. A wave burst upon us; for a few minutes we were plunged in the deep, but when the wave passed over we came above water. Our canoe was swamped between the currents, but we did not abandon it; we put our legs under the seats, and held them fast; the half of our body was above water. But every time that a wave came towards us it passed over our heads, and then went off, giving us time to breathe until another wave came and dashed over us. Every three or four minutes the same manoeuvring took place. My Indians and I used all our strength and skill to scud on before the wind. Balthazard had ceased his lamentations; we all kept silence; from time to time I only uttered these words:

"Take courage, boys, we shall reach the shore."

Our position then became much worse, for night set in. The rain continued to pour in torrents, the wind increased in fury. From time to time we received some light from globes of fire, like what the sailors call "Saint Elmo's fire." While these rays of light continued I looked as far around me as I could, and only perceived an immense body of water in furious agitation. For nearly two hours we were tossed about by the waves that drove us towards the beach, and, at a moment when we least expected it, we found ourselves driven into the midst of an extensive grove of lofty bamboos. I then knew that we were over the land, and that the lake had inundated the country for several miles around. We were up to our breasts in water, and it was not in our power to pass through the inundation. The darkness was too great to allow us to go in any direction; our canoe was no longer of any use to us, as it was entangled among the bamboos. We climbed up the trees as well as we could, even to the height where the bamboos end in sharp points; our bodies were much torn by the sharp thorns growing on the small branches; the rain continued to pour without intermission; the wind still blowed, and each gust caused the bamboos to bend, the flexible branches of which tore our bodies and faces. I have suffered a great deal in the course of my life, but no night ever appeared to me so long and cruel as this! Joachim Balthazard then recovered his speech, and, in a trembling, broken voice, said to me:

"Ah! Don Pablo, do write I beg of you, to my mother, and tell her the tragical end of her son!"

I could not help answering him: "You cowardly rascal! Do you think, then, that I am more at my ease than you are? Hold your tongue, otherwise I shall make you turn diver, so that I may never hear you again." Poor Joachim then knew what to do, and did not utter a word; only from time to time he made us aware of his trouble by his deep moans.

The wind, which was blowing from the north-west, towards four o'clock in the morning suddenly changed to the east, and shortly afterwards gave over. It was almost daylight: we were saved. We could at last see one another; all four of us looked in a wretched condition; our clothes being torn to pieces. Our bodies were lacerated, and covered with deep scratches. The cold had penetrated into the very marrow of our bones, and the long bath we had taken had wrinkled the skin; we looked just like drowned people taken out of the water, where they had been for some hours. Nevertheless, crippled as we were, we slipped down from the bamboos, and were soon bathing in the waters of the lake. The effect was healthful and agreeable: it seemed like a warm bath at 30 degrees of heat.

We were quite restored by this mild temperature. We got our canoe out of the grove, where fortunately it had been caught so fast that neither the waves nor the currents could drive it any farther. We again set it afloat, and soon succeeded in reaching an Indian hut, where we dried ourselves, and recruited our strength. Calm was now re-established; the sun shone in all its splendour, but everywhere traces of the typhoon were visible. In the course of the day we reached Jala-Jala, where our arrival caused great joy. They knew at home that I was on the lake, and everything led them to presume that I had perished. My good and dear Anna threw herself into my arms in tears; she had been in such anxiety for my safety, that for some moments the tears that flowed down her cheeks alone expressed her joy at again seeing me.

Balthazard returned to his seraglio. As long as he was under my protection the Indians respected him, but after my departure from Jala-Jala he was assassinated; and all those who knew him agreed that he had deserved his fate for more than one cause.

As I have mentioned this typhoon, I am going to anticipate a little, in describing, as briefly as possible, a still more frightful one than that which I experienced in my slight canoe and in the bamboo grove.

I had just completed some pretty baths upon the lake opposite my house. I was quite satisfied and proud of procuring this new pleasure for my wife. On the very day that the Indians had added the last ornaments to them, towards evening a western wind began to blow furiously; by degrees the waters of the lake became agitated, and shortly we no longer doubted but that we were going to have a typhoon.

My brother and I stayed some time examining, through the panes of glass, whether the baths would resist the strength of the wind, but in a heavy squall my poor edifice disappeared like a castle made of cards. We withdrew from the window, and luckily too, for a heavier squall than that which had destroyed the baths burst in the windows that faced to the west. The wind drove through the house, and opened a way for itself, by throwing down all the wall over the entrance-door. The lake was so agitated that the waves went over my house, and inundated all the apartments. We were not able to remain there any longer. By assisting each other, my wife, my brother, a young Frenchman who was then staying at Jala-Jala, and myself, succeeded in reaching a room on the ground-floor; the light came from a very small window; there, in almost total darkness, we spent the greater part of the night, my brother and I leaning our shoulders against the window, opposing with all our strength that of the wind, which threatened to force it in. In this small room there were several jars of brandy: my excellent Anna poured some into the hollow of her hand, and gave it us to drink, to support our strength and to warm us. At break of day the wind ceased, and calm re-appeared. All the furniture and decorations of my house were broken and shattered to pieces; all the rooms were inundated, and the store-rooms were full of sand, carried there by the waters of the lake. Soon my house became an asylum for my colonists, who had all spent a wretched night, and were without shelter.

The sun soon shone splendidly; the sky was cloudless; but my sadness was extreme when, from a window, I examined the disasters produced by the typhoon. There was no village! Every hut was levelled to the ground. The church was thrown down—my store-houses, my sugar factory, were entirely destroyed; there was then nothing more than heaps of ruins. My fine cane-fields were altogether destroyed, and the country, which previously had appeared so beautiful, seemed as if it had passed through a long wintry season. There was no longer any verdure to be seen; the trees were entirely leafless, with their boughs broken, and portions of the wood were entirely torn down; and all this devastation had taken place within a few hours. During that and the following day the lake threw up, upon the shore, the bodies of several unfortunate Indians who had perished. The first care of Padre Miguel was to bury the dead, and for a long time afterwards there were to be seen, in the grave-yard of Jala-Jala, crosses, with the inscription: "An unknown who died during the typhoon." My Indians began immediately to rebuild their huts, and I, as far as possible, to repair my disasters.

The fertile nature of the Philippine islands speedily effaced the aspect of mourning which it had assumed. In less than eight days the trees were completely covered with new leaves, and exhibited themselves as in a brilliant summer, after the frightful winter had passed over. The typhoon had embraced a diameter of about two leagues, and, like a violent hurricane, had upset and shattered everything it met during its course.

But enough of disasters: I return to the epoch when the death of poor Bermigan caused affliction to us all.

All was prosperity in my dwelling: my Indians were happy; the population of Jala-Jala increased every day; I was beloved and respected. I had rendered great service to the Spanish government by the incessant warfare I carried on against the bandits; and I may say that even amongst them I enjoyed a high reputation. They looked upon me, indeed, as their enemy, but in the light of a brave enemy, incapable of committing any act of baseness against them, and who carried on an honourable warfare; and the Indian character was so well known to me, that I did not fear they would play me any low tricks, or would treacherously attack me. Such was my conviction, that around my house I was never accompanied by day or by night. I traversed without fear all the forests and mountains, and I often even treated with these honourable bandits, as one power does with another, by not disdaining the invitations sometimes sent to me to come to a certain place, where, without fear of surprise, they could consult me, or even invoke my assistance. This sort of rendezvous was always held in the night, and in very lonely places. On their side, as well as on mine, a promise given of not doing any injury to each other was religiously observed. In these nocturnal conversations, held without witnesses, I often brought back to a life of peace mistaken men, whom the turbulence of youth had thrown into a series of crimes, which the laws would have visited with most severe punishment. Sometimes, however, I failed in my attempts, and especially when I had to do with proud and untameable characters, such as are to be found among men who never have had any other guide but natural instinct. One day, among others, I received a letter from a half-breed, a great criminal, who infested the neighbouring province of Laguna; he told me that he wished to see me, and begged me to come alone in the middle of the night to a wild spot, where he would also come alone: I did not hesitate to go to the place appointed. I found him there as he had promised me. He told me that he wished to change his mode of life, and to dwell on my estate. He added, that he had never committed any crime against the Spaniards, but only against the Indians and the half-breeds. It would have been impossible for me to have received him without compromising myself. I proposed to place him in the house of a friar, where he might remain concealed for several years, until his crimes were forgotten, and then he could enter into society. After a moment's reflection, he replied:

"No, that would be to lose my liberty. To live as a slave! I would prefer to die."

I then proposed to him to go to Tapuzi, a place where the bandits, when hotly pursued, were enabled to conceal themselves with impunity.—(I shall very soon have occasion to speak of this village.)—The half-breed, with an insignificant gesture, replied:

"No; the person I wish to take with me would not come there. You can do nothing for me, adieu!"

He then pressed my hand, and we separated. Some days afterwards, a hut in which he was seen, near Manilla, was surrounded by the troops of the line. The bandit then caused the owners of the hut to quit it, and when he saw them out of danger he took his carabine and began firing upon the soldiers, who on their side returned the attack on the hut. When it was riddled with balls, and the bandit had ceased to defend himself, a soldier approached the hut and set fire to it, so great was the fear they entertained of then finding him alive.

These nocturnal interviews having led me to mention Tapuzi, I cannot refrain from dedicating a few lines to this remarkable retreat, where men, when proscribed by the law, live together in a sort of accord and union of a most extraordinary kind.

Tapuzi, [18] which in the Tagal language, signifies "end of the world," is a little village, situate in the interior of the mountains, nearly twenty-five leagues from Jala-Jala. It was formed there by bandits and men who had escaped from the galleys, who live in liberty, govern themselves, and are altogether, on account of the inaccessible position which they occupy, safe from any pursuit which could be ordered against them by the Spanish government. I had often heard this singular village mentioned, but I had never met anyone who had visited it, or could give me any positive details relative to it. One day, therefore, I resolved to go thither myself. I stated my intention to my lieutenant, who said:

"Master, I shall find there, no doubt, some of my old comrades, and then we shall have nothing to fear."

Three of us set out together, under the pretext of quite a different journey. For two days we walked in the midst of mountains, by paths almost impracticable. The third day we reached a torrent, the bed of which was blocked up by enormous stones. This ravine was the only road by which we could get to Tapuzi; it was the natural and impregnable rampart which defended the village against the attack of the Spanish troops. My lieutenant had just told me:

"Look, master, above your head. None but the inhabitants of Tapuzi know the paths which lead to the top of the mountains. All along the length of the ravine they have placed enormous stones, that they have only to push to throw them down upon those who should come to attack them; a whole army could not penetrate among them, if they wished to give any opposition."

I clearly saw that we were not in a very agreeable position, and against which, if the Tapuzians should consider us as enemies, we could oppose no defence. But we were involved in it, and there was no means of retreating, it was absolutely necessary to go to Tapuzi. We had been already more than an hour in this ravine when an immense block of stone fell down perpendicularly, and broke into pieces only twenty yards before us: it was a warning. We stopped, laid down our arms, and sat down. Perhaps just such another block as what had fallen was hanging over our heads, ready to crush us to pieces. We heard a scream near us. I told my lieutenant to proceed alone towards the direction it came from. In a few minutes he returned, accompanied by two Indians, who, confident in my pacific intentions towards them, came to fetch us, to take us to the village. We proceeded cheerfully on the remainder of the road until we reached the spot where ended the sort of funnel we were walking in. Upon this height there was to be seen a plain, some miles in circumference, surrounded by high mountains. The part that we were in was stopped up by enormous blocks of rocks, lying one on the top of the other. From behind stretched forth an abrupt threatening mountain, without any signs of vegetation—not unlike an ancient European fortress, that some magical power had raised in the midst of the high mountains that commanded it. With one glance I beheld the whole of the site we were crossing, and at the same time reflected upon the great varieties nature presents to our view. We soon reached the long wished-for object of our journey—the village of Tapuzi. It lies at the extreme end of a plain, composed of about sixty thatched huts, similar to those of the Indians. The inhabitants were all at their windows, to witness our arrival. Our guides conducted us to their chief, or Matanda-sanayon, a fine old man, from the look of his face about eighty years of age. He bowed affably to us, and addressed himself to me.

"How are you come here—as a friend, or is it curiosity—or do the cruel laws of the Spaniards perhaps compel you to seek refuge among us? If such is the case, you are welcome; you will find us brothers."

"No," I said to him; "we do not come to stay among you. I am your neighbour, and lord of Jala-Jala. I am come to see you, to offer you my friendship, and to ask yours."

At the name Jala-Jala the old man looked quite astonished; he then said to me:

"It is a long time since I heard you spoken of as an agent of the government for pursuing unfortunate men, but I have heard also that you fulfilled your mission with much kindness, and that often you were their protector, so be welcome."

After this first recognition they presented us some milk and some kidney potatoes, and during our repast the old man conversed freely with me.

"Several years ago," said he to me, "at a period I cannot recollect, some men came to live in Tapuzi. The peace and safety they enjoyed made others imitate their example, who sought like themselves to avoid the punishment of some faults they had committed. We soon saw fathers of families, with their wives and children flock hither; this was the foundation of the small government that you see. Now here almost all is in common; some fields of kidney potatoes or Indian corn, and hunting, suffice for us; he who possesses anything gives to him who has nothing. Almost all our clothing is knitted and woven by our wives; the abaca, or vegetable silk, from the forest supplies us the thread that is necessary; we do not know what money is, we do not require any. Here there is no ambition; each one is certain of not suffering from hunger. From time to time strangers come to visit us. If they are willing to submit to our laws, they remain with us; they have a fortnight of probation to go through before they decide. Our laws are lenient and indulgent. We have not forgotten the religion of our forefathers, and God no doubt will forgive me my first faults, on account of my efforts for so many years to promote his worship, and the well-being of my equals."

"But," said I to him, "who is your chief, who are your judges and priests?"

"It is I," said he, "who fulfil all those functions. Formerly they lived like savages here. I was young, robust, and devoted to all my brothers. Their chief had just expired: I was chosen to replace him. I then took care to do nothing but what was just, and conducive to the happiness of those who confided in me. Until then they had devoted but little attention to religion: I wished to put my people in mind that they were born Christians. I appointed one hour every Sunday for us to pray together, and I have invested myself with all the attributes of a minister of the Gospel. I celebrate the marriages, I pour water upon the foreheads of the infants, and I offer consolations to the dying. In my youth, I was a chorister; I remembered the church ceremonies; and if I do not actually possess the necessary attributes for the functions I have given myself, I practise them with faith and love. This is the reason I trust that my good intentions will obtain my forgiveness from Him who is the Sovereign Lord of all."

During the whole time of the old man's conversation I was in continual admiration. I was among people who had the reputation of living in the greatest licentiousness as thieves and robbers. Their character was altogether misunderstood. It was a real, great phalanstery, composed of brothers, almost all worthy of the name. Above all I admired this fine old man, who with moral principles and simple laws, had governed them for so many years. On the other hand, what an example that was of free men not being able to live without choosing a chief, and bringing one another back to the practice of virtuous actions!

I explained to the old man all my thoughts. I bestowed upon him a thousand praises for his conduct, and assured him that the Archbishop of Manilla would approve all the religious acts he performed with so noble an object. I even offered to intercede with the archbishop in his behalf, that he might send a pastor to assist him. But he replied:

"No, thank you, sir; never speak about us. We should certainly be glad to have a minister of the Gospel here, but soon, under his influence, we should be subjected to the Spanish government. It would be requisite for us to have money to pay our contributions. Ambition would soon creep in amongst us, and from the freedom which we now enjoy, we should gradually sink into a state of slavery, and should no longer be happy. Once more I entreat of you, do not speak of us: give me your word that you will not."

This argument appeared so just to me that I acquiesced to his request. I again gave him all the praise he deserved, and promised never to disturb the peace of the inhabitants of his village under any pretext whatever.

In the evening we received visits from all the inhabitants, particularly from the women and children, who all had an immoderate curiosity to see a white man. None of the Tapuzian women had ever been out of their village, and had scarcely ever lost sight of their huts; it was not, therefore, astonishing that they were so curious.

The next day I went round the plain, and visited the fields of kidney potatoes and Indian corn, the principal nourishment of the inhabitants. The old chief and some elderly people accompanied me. When we reached the spot where, upon the eve, I had already remarked enormous blocks of rock, the old man paused and told me:

"Look yonder, Castilla. [19] At a time when the Tapuzians were without religion, and lived as wild beasts, God punished them. Look at all the part of that mountain quite stripped of vegetation: one night, during a tremendous earthquake, that mountain split in two—one part swallowed up the half of the village that then stood on the place where those enormous rocks are. A few hundred steps further on all would have been destroyed; there would no longer have existed a single person in Tapuzi: but a part of the population was not injured, and came and settled themselves where the village now is. Since then we pray to the Almighty, and live in a manner so as not to deserve so severe a chastisement as that experienced by the wretched victims of that awful night."

The conversation and society of this old man—I might say the King of Tapuzi—was most interesting to me. But I had already been four days absent from Jala-Jala. I ordered my lieutenant to prepare for our departure. We bid most affectionate adieus to our hosts, and set off. In two days I returned home, quite pleased with my journey and the good inhabitants of Tapuzi.



CHAPTER IX.

Suppression of War between two Indian Towns—Flourishing Condition of Jala-Jala—Hospitality to Strangers—Field Sports—Bat and Lizard Shooting—Visit to, and Description of, the Isle of Socolme—Adventure with a Cayman—Cormorants—We Visit Los Banos—Monkey Shooting—Expedition to, and Description of, the Grotto of Sun-Mateo—Magnificent aspect of the Interior.

I found Anna in great trouble, not only on account of my absence, but because, on the previous evening, information had been received that the inhabitants of the two largest towns in the province had, as it was stated, declared war against each other; the most courageous amongst them, to the number of three or four hundred on each side, had started for the island of Talem. There both parties, in the presence of each other, were upon the point of engaging in a battle; already, while skirmishing, several had been mortally wounded.

This news frightened Anna she knew that I was not a man who would await quietly at home the issue of the battle; she already fancied she saw me, with my ten guards, engaged in the thick of the fight, and perhaps a victim of my devotedness. I comforted her as I had always done, promising to be prudent, and not forget her; but there was not a moment to lose; it was necessary, at all risks, to try to put an end to a conflict that might no doubt cause the death of many men. How could I do so with my ten guards? Dare I pretend to impose my will as law on this vast multitude? Clearly not. To attempt to do it by force would be to sacrifice all: what was to be done? Arm all my Indians—but I had not boats enough to carry them to Talem: in this difficulty I decided upon setting out alone with my lieutenant. We took our arms, and set sail in a canoe, that we steered ourselves; we had scarcely come near the beach within hail of the shore, when some armed Indians called out to us to stand off, otherwise they would fire upon us. Without paying attention to this threat, my lieutenant and I, some minutes later, jumped boldly on shore, and after a few steps we found ourselves in the midst of the combatants.

I went immediately up to the chiefs and addressed them, "Wretched men," I said to them, "what are you going to do? It is upon you who command that the severity of the law will fall. It is still time: try to deserve your pardon. Order your men to give me up their arms; lay down your own, or else in a few minutes I will place myself at the head of your enemies to fight against you. Obey, if not you will be treated as rebels."

They listened attentively to me; they were half conquered. However, one of them made me this reply:

"And if you take away our arms who will satisfy us that our enemies will not come to attack us?"

"I will," I told them; "I give you my word; and if they do not obey me as you are going to do, I will return to you, I will give you back your arms, and will fight at your head."

These words, said with a tone of authority and command, produced the effect I expected. The chiefs, without uttering a word, laid their arms at my feet. Their example was followed by all the combatants, and, in a moment, a heap of carabines, guns, spears, and cutlasses were laid down before me. I appointed ten among these individuals who had just obeyed me, gave them each a gun, and told them:

"I confide to you the care of these arms. If anyone attempts to take possession of them, fire upon the assailants."

I pretended to take down their names, and went off to the opposite camp, where I found all the combatants on foot, ready to march and fight against their enemies. I stopped them, saying:

"The battle is over—your enemies are disarmed. You, too, must give me up your arms, or else immediately embark in your canoes, and go home. If you do not obey me, I will give back their arms instantly to your opponents, and I will put myself at their head to fight against you. Perform what I command you; I promise you all shall be forgotten."

There was no room for hesitation. The Indians knew that I did not allow much time for reflection, and that my threats and chastisements followed each other closely. Shortly after, they all embarked in their canoes. I remained on the beach alone, with my lieutenant, until I had almost lost sight of this small fleet. I then returned to the other camp, where I was impatiently expected. I announced to the Indians they had no longer any enemies, and that consequently they could go back quietly to their village.

But a few days elapsed, as may be seen, without my having new dangers to encounter. I was accustomed to them: I relied upon my star, and triumphed from all my imprudences. My Indians were blindly submissive to me. I was so certain of their fidelity, that I no longer took against them the precautions which I considered necessary during the first year of my residence at Jala-Jala.

My Anna took part every day more and more in my labours, anxieties, and even in some of my dangers. Would it have been possible not to have loved her with deeper affection, than that which one feels for a companion leading a peaceful and insignificant life? With what gladness she received me after the shortest absence! Joy and satisfaction shone on her face, her caresses were as a balsam that healed all my lassitude, and even the reproaches she addressed me so gently, for the uneasiness I had caused her, fell upon my heart us drops of beatitude.

Jala-Jala was most flourishing; immense fields of rice, sugar-cane, and coffee, had taken the place of woods and forests unproductive in themselves. Rich pasture-grounds were covered with numerous flocks; and a fine Indian village stood in the centre of the labouring-ground. Here, there was everywhere to be seen plenty, activity; and joy smiled on the countenances of all the inhabitants. My own dwelling had become the rendezvous, or resorting-place, of all the travellers arriving at Manilla, and a refuge of convalescence of many patients, who would come and breath the good and mild air of Jala-Jala, as well as enjoy its pleasures and amusements. Under that roof there was no distinction, no difference; all were equals in our eyes, whether French, Spanish, English, American. No matter to what nation belonged those who landed at Jala-Jala, they were received like brothers, and with all that cordial hospitality to be found formerly in our colonies. My visitors enjoyed full and active liberty on my little estate; but he who was not desirous of eating alone was obliged to remember the time of meals: during the other hours of the day one and all followed their own inclinations. For instance, naturalists went in pursuit of insects and birds, and made an ample harvest of every species of plants. Persons ailing met with the assiduous care of a physician, as well as with the kind attention and enjoyed the company of a most amiable and well-informed mistress of the house, who had the natural talent of enchanting all those who spent but a short time in her society. They who liked walking might look about for the fine views, and choose their resting-place either in the woods, the mountains, near the cascades or the brooks, or on the beautiful borders of the lake.

But to sportsmen Jala-Jala was really a "promised land;" there they always found a good pack of hounds, Indians to guide them, good stout horses to carry them across the various mountains and plains, where the stag and wild boar were to be met with most plentifully; and were they desirous of less fatiguing exercise, they only had to jump into some of our light canoes, and skim over the blue waters, shooting on their way at the hosts of aquatic birds flying around them in all directions,—they could even land on the various small islands situated between Jala-Jala and the isle of Talem. There they could find a sort of sport utterly unknown in Europe—that is, immense bats, a species of vampire, designated by naturalists by the name of roussettes. During six months in the year, at the period of the eastern monsoon, every tree on these little isles is covered, from the topmost down to the lowest branch, with those huge bats, that supply the place of the foliage which they have entirely destroyed. Muffled up in their vast wings they sleep during the whole day, and in the nighttime they start off in large bodies roaming about in search of their prey. But as soon as the western monsoon has succeeded the eastern, they disappear, and repair always to the same place,—the eastern coast of Luzon, where they take shelter; after the monsoon changed, they return to their former quarters.

As soon as our guests would alight upon one of these islands, they opened their fire, and continued it till—frightened by so many explosions and the screams of the wounded, clinging to and hanging from the branches—the bats would fly away in a body—en masse. For some time they would whirl and turn round and round like a dense cloud over their abandoned home, imitating, in a most perfect way, those furies we see in certain engravings representing the infernal regions, and then, flying off a short distance, would perch upon the trees in a neighbouring isle. If the sportsmen were not over-fatigued by the slaughter they might then follow them, and set-to again; but they generally found they had made victims enough, and diversified their pleasure by picking up the slain from under the trees. The bat shooting over, our sportsmen would then proceed to a new sport—

"To fresh fields and pastures new;"

that is, in pursuit of and shooting at the iguanas, a large species of lizard, measuring from five to six feet long, which infest the rocks on the borders of the lake. Tired of firing without being obliged to show any skill, our chasseurs would re-embark in their pirogues and row in search of new amusement,—this was, to shoot at the eagles that came hovering over their heads. Here skill was requisite, as well as a prompt, sure glance of the eye, as it is only with ball that these enormous birds of prey can be reached. Our fowlers would then return home, with their boats full of game; and everyone, of course, had his own feats of prowess to relate.

The flesh of the iguana and the bat is savoury and delicate; but as for its taste, that entirely depends upon the imagination, as may here be seen.

After returning from one of these grand shooting excursions to the minor islands, a young American informed me that his friends and he himself were most desirous of tasting the iguana and the bat; so, supposing them all to be of the same mind, I ordered my maitre-d'hotel to prepare for dinner a curry of iguana and a ragout of bats. The first dish served round at dinner was the curry, of which they one and all partook with very good appetite; upon which I ventured to say: "You see the flesh of the iguana is most delicate." At these words all my guests turned pale, and they all, by a sudden motion, pushed their plates from before them, not even being able to swallow what their mouths contained. I was therefore obliged to order the removal of the entrees of iguana and bats before we could proceed with the repast.

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