736 OUR ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE.
boiling the milk of the cocoanut and dropping a piece of red-hot iron into it. The iron and the milk form an oxide that has the appearance of black carriage varnish, and a plaster of this compound applied to the teeth will last for several weeks.
When it begins to [fade, a new coat of paint is put on.
The maiden is now ready for business, and both young and old men begin to cast sheepa s eyes at hera for a Moro never gets too old to marry. A prospective husband is soon discovered, when the parents on both sides are notified, and the negotiations begin. Marriage is always a question of price, the girl being valued in proportion to her charms and accomplishments. If she is pretty and can read the Koran, she is regarded as a a special catch,a and her price is fixed accordingly. The usual price, however, is about $10 in silver. If ready cash is scarce, they resort to barter, in which event a buffalo worth perhaps $15, or several hundred rice cakes valued at one cent each, are given in lieu of money. A small portion of the purchase price goes to the girl, and the remainder is used in spreading forth the marriage feast; so that the expenses of the occasion are paid by the bridegroom, and this explains the custom. In the beginning, however, the parents of the prospective groom call upon those of the girl, and formally announce to them that their son desires her hand in marriage. A council follows, during which the two families discuss the situation and chew betel nuts, which the party of the groom have brought with them for that purpose. The bridea s parents usually require three days to reach a conclusion, when, if everything is satisfactory, arrangements are made for the feast. For this occasion the buffalo is killed, cut into small pieces and stewed. The rice cakes are then spread out, and the friends of the two families begin in the morning and eat until all is consumed. No intoxicating drinks are imbibed, for these are forbidden by the Koran.
The ceremony takes place at the bridea s home, and is performed by a pandita. The couple stand while the pandita repeats along prayer from the Koran over them. At its close the man is asked if he takes this woman for his wife, and he replies yes. Then the question is put to the woman. She
IDEAL HOME, ISLAND OF PANAY.
This is a Visayan country house, showing more evidences than usual of thrift and comfort.
does not answer for herself, but her relatives reply in the affirmative. These questions and answers are thrice repeated, and during this time the pandita holds the groom's hand in such a way that his right thumb rests against that of the groom. At the close the groom presses this thumb upon the forehead of the bride. Next he mixes up a chew of betel for her, and, waving it about her head, throws, it down in front of her. She pretends not to notice it, but one of her friends picks it up, and later on she chews it in secret.
After the betel-throwing and the thumb-pressing the service is over and the couple are man and wife. When the wedding feast has ended, the family of the groom goes away and the groom stays with the bride. There are some other visits of ceremony, and then the two conclude whether they will stay with the parents or go off to live by themselves.
The bride is not consulted during the preliminary arrange ments. She is regarded as the obliged party, and it is taken for granted that she is well pleased at the opportunity to secure a husband. However, if for any reason the girl seriously objects, the affair is sometimes declared off, though this depends on the will of her parents, for they can compel her to marry if they choose. It seems strange that so much ceremony should attend marriage among a polygamous people, where the wife occupies a position similar to that of a slave; but in this, as well as numerous other respects, the Moros are a peculiar race. The marriage ceremony is a decided advantage to the women, for it serves to impress the men with their worth. Even a savage appreciates his possessions in proportion to the difficulty he experiences in obtaining them; and the Moro husband who is required to endure a certain formula of ceremony each time he gets a new wife, is apt to associate her in his memory therewith, and appreciate her all the more. In their domestic economy, the women are supreme, men being regarded merely as necessary inconveniences.
NATIVE PONY CARTS, OR CARROMATAS.