766 OUR ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE.
streets of Canton or Pekin.
On the Escolta, the main business street, the signs are nearly all in Spanish, and the shops are owned and run by men of that nation; while in other localities the little bazaars that occupy mere holes in the walls, with awnings of dirty canvas flapping in the wind, are kept by the dark-skinned natives of Delhi or Agra, in northern India. The city is so divided and cut up by the rivers, canals and estuaries as to constitute a second Venice, and in these waterways there are many strange crafts in which people are born and spend their lives and die.
But the houses are the most curious feature
of the city. In the native sections they consist of the bamboo frame and grass thatch which the photographs in this work have made so familiar to the reader, but in the city proper they are built more substantially, usually consisting of two stories, with balconies jutting out over the sidewalk. The roofs are made of red tiling, on which the birds have dropped the seeds of various trees and plants of the islands, and these springing into life have in many instances grown into roof-gardens and miniature forests, where green boughs wave and flowers bloom all the year round. The sides of the houses above the balconies of the second stories are made of light framework, filled with transparent shells until they resemble a shell mosaic of many colors. These admit the light, softened and mellowed, and exclude the heat. The frames are usually movable, and may be rolled aside in good weather, leaving the rooms exposed to the open air. There are but few chimneys to the houses, for fire is not needed except for cooking or laundry purposes, and then it is usually made of charcoal or little sticks the size of your finger, and the smoke goeth where it listeth. Our gas and gasoline stove manufacturers ought to do an immense business in the Philippines. There are no tall buildings, except the churches and cathedrals, whose domes and steeples rise here and there high above the rest of the city. Manila lies in a plain, backed by distant blue mountains wrhose tall peaks unite with the sea in tempering a climate that would otherwise be unbearable for any but black-skinned people. All over the flat plain
A CHINESE) PEDDLER AND HIS PACK.
These peripatetic merchants carry their goods to the homes of the people, and sell them, principally to the women, at enormous profits.
immediately surrounding the city are thick forests, interspersed with fields of rice and vegetable gardens; while nestling in their midst are many native villages of bamboo and thatch. When che sun sets the roads through these plains are filled with carts and people who make black and white lines through the green fields, going home from market or daily labor in the city. Many of them are women, wearing bright red skirts, which catch the rays of the sinking sun and reflect gorgeous colors in the moving caravans.
In their homes and shops the people cook, eat and work on the ground. Tailors sit cross-legged on the ground and run sewing machines. Blacksmiths work on their knees, and it takes six of them to shoe a native pony so small that they could almost devour it at a single meal. They fit the shoe on cold and one rarely sees a fire in their forges. Tinners sit or kneel 011 the ground while wrorking, and so do the laundrymen and women, except when they wade into a stream or pond and stand waist-deep in the water, which they frequently do. Shoemakers are for the most part Chinese, and they work with the most primitive tools. Instead of a knife they use a tool about the size and shape of a ship-carpentera s adz, to cut the leather with. These Chinese shoemakers are a dishonest lot, and if you do not watch them they will make or patch your shoes wTith brown paper made to imitate leather. Some of the soldiers who had shoes made in Manila, returned from a two daysa campaign with nothing but the strings; as soon as the shoes got wret they disappeared. John Chinaman is a model army contractor, and he thoroughly understands his business.
a Up the street 011 which our barracks are situated,a writes a soldier, a and distant only about three short blocks, one sees a stone wall, possibly nine feet in height, running parallel writh a narrow cross street, the wall being in length one thousand or twelve hundred feet, and serving to enclose a parcel of ground ten acres in size, in which hundreds of vaults for the reception of the dead are erected. Many are now empty, waiting for some occupant, whose influence while living or whose wealth after death will throw into the coffers of the church twenty-five dollars for the repose of his or her bones for a term of five years, and an annual payment thereafter of five dollars, until that great day of resurrection; 011 failure to pay which, the vault again becomes the property of the representatives of the church, and the bones of the defaulting occupant are raked out as a fireman rakes cinders out of a firebox. The bonesa and there are tons and tons of thema are carted or wheeled off to some obscure corner of the cemetery and there dumped in a common heap, where birds of prey occasionally find some rare bit, for not in all cases has the flesh decayed. I saw in several instances flesh still clinging to the bones. Hundreds of skulls, arm and leg bones, ribs and several portions of the vertebra are scattered here and there. Five skulls Which I counted
A CHINESE COBBLER.
The cobbler carries his kit in baskets, supported by a stick across his shoulders. He will mend your shoes in the street, at the side of a lane, in the woods, or wherever you may happen to meet hima and he will also cheat you out of your eyes if you give him half a chance.