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EARLY the next morning we sailed into Cebu harbour, and found it alive with ships of all sorts and conditions. From the sea there is nothing picturesque about the town. It is a grimy, dirty place that might be located anywhere in the world, with huge warehouses and rows of squat, ugly buildings near the shore, and in the distance, over the gray walls of the inevitable fort, church spires and green tree tops intermingle under a burning sky.
Before we were really at anchor small boats filled with boys and girls clustered around our ship, the children yelling in English — English, mark you! — for coins to be thrown overboard that they might plunge into the swift current after them. There was a veritable pandemonium of noise, for while some of the occupants of the bancas dove for the pennies, amid wild shrieks of laughter, others, most of them quite young boys, went through the manual of arms very acceptably, with little sticks in lieu of rifles; still others danced and acted a Spanish fandango; while the more mature among our entertainers sang a song so swinging in measure that it appealed to me instantly as one that would be immensely taking were it sung in an American music-hall. It had an indescribable roof garden cadence, and I found myself humming it delightedly. At the end of the second verse I was so carried away by its possibilities that, turning to a group of people talking near the rail, I remarked that with rag-time words, it would be vastly popular in American vaudeville. At which everyone stared incredulously for a moment, until one of the number, realizing the situation, managed to explain, between gasps of laughter, that “Hello, my Baby, Hello, my Honey” was in its dotage in the United States. Then the laughter became general, for all were more recent arrivals from America than I, and it was hard for them to understand how so elderly and decrepit a ditty could be unfamiliar to any one.
When the classic words of “Hello, my Baby, Hello, my Honey,” were repeated for my benefit, and I realized that not only had these Cebu natives picked up the air of the song, but the component parts of its speech as well, my disgust was complete, for it showed that Cebu, dirty and disagreeable as it was, also lacked local colour, liberal applications of which we had found so necessary in the Philippines.
Despite our several visits to Cebu, few of us found cause to change our first opinion as to its unpleasantness. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a more uninteresting, bedraggled, down-at-the-heel place than this. Aside from the old churches and conventos, a few pretty drives, and a wonderful view from the top of the fort, we found nothing to like about it, for the natives were sullen and unfriendly, while the town itself was not wild or barbaric enough to be interesting, nor yet civilized enough for comfort.
ST. THOMAS CHURCH, CEBU
Of course the officers stationed in Cebu, and their respective families, were delightful people, who varied the monotony of their existence with tennis, drives, little dinners, and once, I believe, even a ball was indulged in. There was an excellent club and reading-room for the men, and every week, on ladies’ day, the women donned their prettiest frocks, and chatted over their teacups on the club veranda, quite as if they were not hundreds of miles away from everything that makes life bearable.
Cebu is a town with a past, like the Ibsen woman; it also has a future; but at present it is in the transmigratory period between the two, and is in consequence odious. The place is chiefly interesting because it is the oldest town in the archipelago settled by Europeans, and one revels in its queer, moss-grown churches and conventos, each of them said to be the most ancient edifice in the Islands. This occasions much amicable dispute among the different religious orders of Cebu, and it is really edifying to hear them mildly slander one another, as they give conclusive evidence why their particular building is far older than some other for which is claimed that not always enviable distinction.
Not far from the shore stands an octagonal chapel or oratory, said to be built on the very spot where the first mass was celebrated after the landing of Magellan. Even the old stone fort is claimed by some earnest prevaricators as a relic of those early Spanish days, but as the architecture is clearly that of the eighteenth century we took the liberty of doubting the veracity of these statements.
As to Cebu’s future, it is assured, for the harbour is excellent, and, although not large, is well sheltered from both monsoons and has good anchorage, so the place is growing quite rapidly and should in time rank next in importance to Manila. A number of “godowns,” as large warehouses are called in the Philippines, were in the process of construction at the time of our visit, and so many industrial and commercial improvements were being inaugurated that my little note-book reads like a leaf from a geography — “manufactures — imports — exports — chief industries,” and the like. As for climate, it was hot, is hot, and will be hot on into infinity.
Had it not been for the Santo Niño, I fear our memories of the place would have been purely statistical, a perfect orgy of useful information. But the Santo Niño saved the day, though it was not until our last visit to Cebu that most of us saw this image so famous among the island group. Calling upon the Philippine fathers in charge of the Santo Niño convent, and stating our interest in the Santo Niño itself, we were received with the utmost cordiality. Were we Catholics? No? Ah, that was too bad. But, yes, of course we could see the Santo Niño. People often came all the way from Manila just for that. And then we were taken into the clean, barely furnished drawing-room of the convento, where an anticipatory refreshment was served, the while we were regaled with a history of Cebu’s famous image. This refection consisted of a wee glass of delicious Muscatelle apiece and some crisp, very rich cakes made by the sisters of a neighbouring convent, and as we ate and drank, a fat, jolly old padre, who thought he could speak English, tried to tell us about the Santo Niño in that language. As his enthusiasm and interest increased, he often forgot to use his newly acquired tongue and lapsed into Spanish, which was far more comprehensible to us than was his sublime disregard of syntax when attempting Anglo-Saxon, notwithstanding the fact that he tried to better his linguistic efforts by shouting out each English sentence like a phonograph gone mad. It was from him we first heard the legend of the Santo Niño — how it was an idol in the old days, worshipped by savage Visayans, and how, after the advent of the Spaniards with Magellan, there was a great fire in the town, everything in one populous section being burned, save a little nipa shack in which stood the wooden idol. On every side buildings crashed down, sending showers of sparks over the inflammable thatched roof of the nipa house. A monsoon was blowing at the time, which fanned the flames into so fierce a blaze that finally all attempts were abandoned to save property in that section of the town, and people fled to the woods with the few belongings they could gather together, there to watch the cruel flames spreading in every direction.
MAGELLAN’S CHAPEL, CEBU
It is probable that Cebu would have gone up in smoke had it not been that the monsoon brought on its wings a fierce tropical rain that beat down upon the burning city and quenched the fire. But in that section where it had raged hottest, nothing was left standing save the little nipa shack already mentioned. Around it were the ruins of pretentious Spanish houses, across its threshold lay a smouldering, blackened piece of wood, which alone should have converted it into cinders.
But there it stood unharmed, not even scorched by the fierce heat to which it had been subjected, and within its walls the Visayan idol smiled down on the curious crowd, with a superhuman intelligence. Recognizing at once its miraculous powers, the Spanish priests obtained it from the savages for a mere bagatelle, and enshrined it in their Catholic chapel as the Santo Niño of Cebu. Blessed by the presence of so holy a thing, the little chapel grew and prospered until a handsome stone church and convento were built, the church being the very one where the image now stands.
Other stories have it that some time during the sixteenth century, a Spanish sailor found the Santo Niño cast up on the eastern coast of Cebu after a terrific storm. On picking it up, he was rejoiced to find that the use of his left arm, long withered by palsy, was miraculously restored, whereupon he carried the image into Cebu with him. There numberless wonderful things were accomplished by the Santo Niño, till at last the sailor, half frightened at possessing so sacred an object, turned it over to the priests, who promptly enshrined it in the one Catholic church of the place. Some fifty or sixty years later, the church was burned to the ground — for both stories agree as to a destructive fire — and all was lost save the Santo Niño itself, which escaped by a miracle only.
Whatever may have been its origin, many wonderful things are attributed to the Santo Niño of Cebu. It is to him that childless women pray for offspring; to him that mothers bring their little ones, and beg a thousand blessings upon them; from him that distracted parents beseech renewed health and strength for their children, ill unto death with diseases that baffle the doctors, for the Santo Niño, being but a child himself, is especially tender toward the little ones.
It is said that once an attempt was made to send the Santo Niño to Rome, as the Pope had expressed a wish to see the much talked of Philippine image. Very tenderly was it packed away in soft wrappings, after which it was placed in a wooden box, fitted with an intricate lock, the key of which was carried by the old bishop who was to accompany the Santo Niño on its travels. To ensure the safety of so valuable a thing, the wooden box was put into a metal casket, which in turn was fastened securely. Then the ship sailed for Italy, and the little niche in the wall of the cathedral which had been the Santo Niño’s shrine was boarded up, and the natives came to the church but seldom, so bitter were they that the Holy Child had been taken from them.
Hard times followed; crops failed; there was an epidemic of sickness; and Cebu was shrouded in gloom, a gloom which deepened when word came from Rome that the image was either lost or stolen, for although the bishop had never let the sacred box out of his sight, yet when he came to unlock it before a hushed throng at the Vatican, there was no Santo Niño within. It was thought that in some mysterious way the bishop had been robbed and that the Holy Child was forever lost. Great was the grief and terror and excitement in Cebu. Masses were said, and individual prayers offered up, novenas were held, and vows taken, all to the effect that the Santo Niño should be restored to the island.
One day, months later, while the church was being repaired, the partition of wood over the Holy Child’s shrine was accidentally knocked out of place by a workman, and what should he discover there but the Santo Niño himself, gravely smiling, his little hands outstretched in benediction. He had not wanted to go abroad, and so had left the carefully locked boxes and returned to his old home. What more natural? Of course there was a great fiesta, and the miracles performed in that week of rejoicing will never be forgotten.
But even to this day the Santo Niño gives numerous evidences of his supernatural power, and any native will tell you how he walks abroad of a night, and visits the homes where his image is enshrined, a tremendous undertaking, as hardly a nipa shack on the island but boasts its picture or statue of Cebu’s patron saint. On returning from these nocturnal tramps, the Holy Child is wont to bring back with him food and drink for his own consumption, the evidence of these midnight feasts being found on many a morning in the shape of crumbs scattered over the altar, a touch of nature which makes him indeed kin to the natives, who, we were told, invariably save a bit from their scanty suppers, putting it where the Santo Niño will be sure to find it does he honour them with a visit.
But at last we were to see the Santo Niño for ourselves, and as we left the reception-room and passed down a long corridor, hung with atrocious native paintings of Christian martyrs in every degree of discomfort and uneasiness, through a wide refectory with three great dining tables, the top of each being a solid piece of wood, and finally into the chapel itself, I plead guilty to a distinct thrill of interest in every Protestant pulse.
The chapel was a large, rather bare room, with an altar to the Virgin on one side, and directly opposite it a small shrine painted white and picked out with gold. This shrine was locked, and as one of the little altar boys unfastened the double doors, we noticed the pictures on either side. To the left was Saint Joseph with the child Jesus in his arms; on the right, Mary, sweet and sad-eyed, the premonition of Gethsemane in her tender smile.
UNLOADING HEMP AT CEBU
When the white doors had been unlocked and lifted off their hinges, a door of silver was discovered. On being opened, it revealed an interior so rich as to surprise a simultaneous exclamation of delight from us all. Gold and silver predominated in the decorations, and in the midst of this splendour stood a little figure about twelve or fourteen inches high, its back turned toward us as it faced the dark interior of the church so far below. A pale blue curtain was drawn over the front of the shrine, but we fortunate ones in the little chapel were looking at the Holy Child more intimately; from the back, to be sure, but so close that we could have touched him with our hands.
On the day of our visit the little figure was attired in a flowing coronation robe of crimson velvet, richly encrusted with elaborate gold embroidery, and while we were admiring this work of art, the priest slowly and very reverently turned the Holy Child around on his pedestal until he faced us squarely.
He is not beautiful — the Santo Niño — nor does he even faintly resemble our conception of the Christ-child. His face is flat and lifeless, carved very roughly out of some dark wood, which, when contrasted with his rich vestments and ornamentation, seems strangely incongruous. From out of this brown face, eyes painted a vivid blue stare straight into one’s own. Around his cheeks fall golden curls. This is not a figure of speech, but a reality, for the curls are of solid metal, the locks of hair being pressed into it like the china hair on the dolls of our childhood.
These golden locks were surmounted by a golden crown. In one wooden hand he held a golden globe with the cross of Catholicism above it, and in the other a golden staff, both of his hands being covered by long golden gauntlets. Right under his feet, which I have no doubt were booted in that precious metal, although they were hidden by the coronation robe, was a gold encrusted medallion containing the tiny bone relics of eight Christian martyrs. Never have I seen anything so barbarically splendid as that little Santo Niño, with his brown wooden face and bright blue eyes, for all the shining metal surrounding him was real, and not a specious tinsel masquerading as something of value.
Legend has it that originally, when the Santo Niño was a Visayan idol, it, too, was made of gold, and not of wood as it is today. It seems that after its conversion to Catholicism, on Magellan’s arrival in Cebu, it was sent to Spain at the request of that pious king, Charles the Fifth, where many extraordinary performances were accredited to it, perhaps the most miraculous and unaccountable thing of all being that on its return to Cebu, the people found it had changed itself en route from gold to wood, a reversal of alchemy strangely defective in wisdom on the part of the Santo Niño. Though, indeed, the transmutation may have been entirely without his volition, in which case it is small wonder that the Holy Child objected so strongly to a subsequent visit on the Continent.
At one side of this very elaborate shrine of gold and silver stood a small tin box in which one was expected to place his contribution to the Santo Niño. We paid handsomely for our glimpse of it, saw the little figure turned slowly around on its pedestal so that it again faced the church below, saw the silver door locked and the two white removable outside doors placed in position, and then somewhat reluctantly left.
Once down the broad stairway of the convento, whose massive hand-rail of carved ebony would make the heart of a collector leap for joy, we stepped into the church where many natives knelt in prayer, glancing up reverently now and then at the tiny shrine so far above their heads. In front of it the blue silk curtains were fast drawn, for except on holy days, it takes at least a peso to see the Santo Niño face to face.
On the following morning two of the padres from the convento returned our call, and evinced the most satisfying interest in all that was shown them aboard ship. Everything delighted them, and they even gathered up the long skirts of their cassocks, and grasped their birettas firmly in one hand, preparatory to descending into the noisome cable-tanks, should it be demanded of them. When the ship had been inspected, we all returned to the quarter-deck, where refreshments were served, the while we showed our guests some photographs of America.
As Manila had heretofore represented to these native priests the apotheosis of urban magnitude, it may well be imagined how delighted they were with their first glimpse of our larger cities. How excitedly they talked and gesticulated over the elevated railways and cable-cars; the height of the buildings; the suspension bridges; the magnificent private residences, which at first it was hard to convince them were not in reality hotels; the theatres, parks, and churches, though they shook their heads sadly at so many of Protestant denomination. When, however, they were told how many Catholic churches were in New York alone, they regained their lost interest, and grew more enthusiastic than ever, while the English-speaking padre, in his excitement, fairly screamed his uncertain vocabulary in our direction, though when he addressed his confrères in Spanish his voice was of normal register.
A few days later, as an evidence of their enjoyment aboard ship, the padres sent each of us a silver medal of the Santo Niño and a history of the image written in Spanish, con superior permiso; a lithographic picture of the Holy Child in its shrine, giving but a faint idea of its appearance; and a queer stone jar, the shape, if not the size of those in which the forty thieves were hidden. These jars were full of those delicious pastry cakes already mentioned, ojaldres, they are called, made by the sisters of the Convento Maria Natividad de Albero. Rich the cookies were, and crisp, fairly melting on the tongue, but each one, wrapped in its protecting bit of tissue-paper, was “a gastronomic delusion and a dyspeptic snare,” to be treated as were the forty thieves themselves by the implacable Ali Baba.
It is not at all impossible that some of our distaste for Cebu arose from the fact that, on the several occasions of our visits there, we were coaling, a circumstance which would detract from the Pearly City itself. No sooner were we at anchor than huge cascos came alongside and the coaling would begin.
Inky black shapes flitted back and forth through great clouds of dust, each carrying a basket on its head. Hoarse commands were shouted, demoniacal voices answered somewhere from the pit, and then would come a period of comparative quiet, followed by what seemed to be a burst of frenzied rage from the different lighters, though in reality I believe the natives were on the best of terms, and were just inviting each other to dinner. This state of affairs continued without intermission for eight days on each of our several visits there. For eight days the soot fell alike on the quarter-deck and the forecastle. The ship became a black abomination. The very towels in our staterooms left grimy, unpremeditated streaks on face and hands.
During this period I do protest that we suffered those torments usually reserved for the unregenerate, and as the furnace over which the town is built was several degrees hotter each trip than on the previous visit, we were thus precluded from going ashore to either of the badly managed hotels for which the place is infamous.
So dangerous was the country around Cebu in those days that one afternoon on a little drive to an encampment about four miles from the town, we were escorted there and back by a guard of armed soldiers on horseback, some of them heading the cavalcade, the others bringing up the rear. It was a most unusual day for Cebu, as the slightly overcast sky made the temperature quite endurable. The country passed on our drive was unusually fine, with its groves of palms and plantains; its tall cottonwood-trees by the roadside, the ripe pods on the bare branches bursting and showing the soft, white fluff within; its giant mango-trees with bonfires built beneath them, as a quick method of ripening the fruit for market. Then there were acres of corn and fields of rice ready for harvesting, proving conclusively, as some one suggested, that the natives of Cebu could raise something besides h——, though he had never believed it before.
At our destination we were cordially welcomed by the officers of the infantry company stationed there, a native band shrilled its salute, and the big American soldiers stopped their preparations for an approaching march against the enemy to stare at us long and undisguisedly. There were several women among us, a rare departure in those days, one of them being the wife of the young captain who was to command the detachment going into the field that night. She had arrived from America but a few days before, bringing with her a splendid boy nearly three years old, whom up to that time the young father had never seen. Even after so long a separation the husband and wife were together but seldom, as she was obliged to live in town because of insurrectionary troubles, nor did she ever know from day to day what the next tidings might be from the little camp of San Nicolas.
GROVE OF PALMS NAER CEBU
Before our return to Cebu the officers took us to see the fortifications made by the Spaniards after Admiral Dewey’s victory in Manila Bay, fortifications they expected to use as a last defence against invading Americans. Not far from these earthworks was an old nipa church, most picturesque in its decay. It was nipa within as well as without, the floor and ceiling being of braided bamboo and the walls of the nipa-palm. Its high altar was innocent of any attempt at decoration save for some faded paper flowers stuck into empty beer bottles, while the niche above was unfilled by patron saint of any description. At the very door grazed a lean carabao, completing a picture of the desolation and ruin in the wake of an army.
And now as to cable work, for even here, where we had expected only to coal, the Signal Corps was kept busy, as it was found on investigation that an old cable landing two miles up the beach at Mabola was in such bad condition and the line so insecure that the cable must be put directly into the Cebu office, thus avoiding the defect of a shaky land terminal. So prisoners were engaged to dig a trench from the office to the beach, where the cable was landed, after which it was placed in the trench and so laid up to the very door of the telegraph station, the lead covered wire being inserted there into an iron tube lashed to an upright pole, and thence into the window where the operator had his desk. Surely a novel way to lay a shore end! It reminded one of that nice old lady’s suggestion to the London Times in 1858, just after the Atlantic cable failure, that in future it should be laid above the ocean instead of in it, mentioning that in her opinion the rock of Gibraltar, peak of Teneriffe, and the Andes should be used as points of suspension.
This work, coupled with the entire refitting of the office, took several days, and meanwhile on board ship the cable was being turned over from one tank to the other in search of faults, and numerous experiments were made in splicing, so that much learned conversation might be heard anent the necessity of homogeneity in core joints and the like.
On February 3d we left Cebu for Liloan, island of Cebu, where a cable put in eleven months before needed repairing. After a two hours’ run we anchored off our destination, which proved to be a most deserted little hole, rich in vegetation only. There were but a few men, commanded by a noncommissioned officer at Liloan, and as our stay there was to be very brief, only the Signal Corps detachment went ashore. By one o’clock the defective splice in the trench had been cut out, a new one made, and the office overhauled, after which, as the tests showed the cable working satisfactorily at its Cebu end, but unsatisfactorily at the other, we sailed for Ormoc, Leyte, arriving there about seven o’clock that evening.
On the following morning the Signal Corps men went ashore in a small boat, and while some of the party rehabilitated the office, others underran the cable, cut in near the shore end, and after finding communication satisfactory with Cebu and Liloan, located the fault, the ship’s volt-meter indicating when the small boat underrunning the cable came to the break. It proved to be a defective factory joint, which was cut out and repaired, so that by three o’clock communication was established between Cebu and Liloan.
Ormoc did not prove interesting enough for a trip ashore in the hot sun, so my only recollection of the place is a white tribunal and a great preponderance of green foliage, toned down by the dull gray-brown of nipa buildings and the dull gray-blue of sky and sea.
Then, too, it will always bring to mind the sad experience of a very delightful officer we met there. At the time of our visit he was en route to Northern Leyte, a hostile part of the island where several hundred insurgents were strongly entrenched. With him were fifty soldiers, all of them eager for a scrap, while the young fellow himself was “insatiable of glory.” We were everyone of us enthused by his prospects, the officers perhaps a bit envious of the stirring times ahead for him, the women fearful of the outcome with such tremendous odds in favour of the well entrenched Filipinos.
On a subsequent visit to Cebu we heard the last deplorable chapter of his little story, the beginning of which had so interested us, for while there had been no loss of life in his command, the whole expedition had been a complete failure. It seems he was vanquished, disarmed, and routed by the enemy at every turn, notwithstanding the fact that he had studied strategy so that his plans of employing and combining his resources would have filled any general officer with admiration. Nor did his overthrow have the merit of dignity. It was irresistibly droll, and no one laughed more heartily at the preposterous ending of the expedition than did the victim himself.
For according to his own story at every town and village in the enemy’s country, he and his brave followers, all of them thirsting for gore, were met by a brass band, and, accompanied by the leading citizens of the place, were marched down the principal street with great pomp and ceremony to where a fiesta in honour of the great American captain was in progress. There the people, in gala-attire, clapped their hands and called “Viva, viva,” at their discomfited enemy, and later in the day a great banquet would be given, at which the leading citizens threw oral bouquets at their disgusted prisoner, while the soldiers walked disconsolately around the little village they had expected to conquer. Had fate not willed it otherwise the captain might have rendered such distinguished service as would have merited at least recognition from Congress, perhaps a medal of honour, or even the star of a brigadier; while now all he can expect from a grateful country is some slight acknowledgment of his undoubted heroism in partaking of the food at the natives banquets, surely an intrepid performance!
After an eight hours’ run from Ormoc we reached Cebu, remaining there just long enough to put ashore some iron poles for the construction of a cross-country line to Oslob, Cebu, where it was intended to land the cable from Dumaguete; then sailed for Misamis, where we completed the ill-fated Lintogup line, finding that the break in the cable was caused by the Disgrace’s propeller on that memorable trip in January.
The day was wet, and raw, and gray, and we could see the beach strewn with trees and timber, the thatched roof of a bamboo house, and all the aftermath of a terrible storm that had swept over the islands five days before, and of which we, in the safe shelter of Cebu’s harbour, were ignorant. It was here we were told by cable that the line from Iligan to Cagayan had not been working since the storm had torn up the wharf and beach at the former place a week before, so the next morning we sailed for Iligan again, feeling as blue as the day itself.
Arriving off our destination some three hours later, a party, shivering in the misty rain, was sent ashore to ascertain the trouble. After careful tests it was found to have been caused by a submarine landslide which had crushed a part of the cable, laid by necessity on a steep hill under water.
So for a whole day we grappled there near Iligan, “ fishing for bights,” as the punster on board called it, and surely even Izaak Walton’s piscatorial patience would have been tried on this fishing trip. Once after having successfully hooked the cable, it broke as we were drawing it in, and only one end came on board. It was the shore end, and through it we spoke Iligan, finding the cable satisfactory in that direction. So we buoyed the shore end and continued our fishing with the heavy tackle. For hours we unsuccessfully lowered the massive grapnel iron, where our charts indicated the cable should be, but without success until late in the afternoon, when the strain on the dynamometer indicated another “bight.”
Then it was pulled up very slowly, for we could not afford to have it break a second time, when suddenly it slipped the grapnel and was again lost at the sea-bottom. As it was getting dark we put lights on our two buoys, one placed where the cable had slipped the grapnel, the other, as I said before, attached to the captured end. Now it is by no means easy to jump from a small boat to a buoy in such rough water as that in Iligan harbour, and we watchers on the ship felt some little uneasiness until the lights from both buoys proclaimed that it had been accomplished by the young native who always did that work.
In the morning our scientific fishermen were rewarded for their patience. They had a bite, and everyone on board watched with interest the heavy machinery as it slowly and steadily pulled the sea end of the cable out of the water. It was hooked at half after eight, and not until an hour later was it landed, the dynamometer showing a strain at times of from one to two tons.
Immediately after getting the cable on board, Cagayan was called over and over again without response, which would have indicated that the trouble was farther out at sea, had not tests shown the resistances were what they should have been, from which it was easily inferred that the operator at Cagayan was not attending strictly to business. “Gone to Sunday school, probably!” ironically observed the Powers-that-Be, chewing the end of an unlighted cigar, as he always did when worried, and, Sunday though it was, we felt the sarcasm to be a just one, Sunday schools not being a chief industry of Cagayan.
Reasoning on the premise that all was right at that end of the line, the splice was made, and we paid out the cable until reaching the buoyed shore end, which in turn was spliced to the deep-sea cable, and the bight dropped overboard. Then a Signal Corps man returning from shore reported all communicating lines in good order, at which there was great rejoicing on board the Burnside, and, our Cagayan friend having condescended meanwhile to communicate with us, we were soon under way for Zamboanga, Mindanao.
The next day was a perfect one for sailing, and eventful, in that while turning over cable the long objurgated fault in the tanks came to light, proving to be the result of carelessness on the part of the manufacturer, a carelessness which had caused much agony of mind to the Signal Corps, and many groans and imprecations from all concerned. But at last the fault was cut out, and a nice healthy splice substituted by the reparative surgery which has been so often mentioned.
It seemed such a small thing, the fault, only a little break in the armour wire, and yet it had induced the most severe nerve paralysis in that sentient thread of copper in the cable’s centre. “Words and words of men” could not “flicker and flutter and beat” until the wound had been healed, which was promptly done, accompanied by vigorous language concerning the aforesaid careless manufacturer.
RELEASING THE BUOY FROM THE CABLE IN A HEAVY SEA