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Thomas J. Maher
down Manila Bay, I noticed a number of unfamiliar faces. As the men
were paid in cash, I called for several of the latest pay rolls and
saw there had been no changes in names. Questioning the Philippine
clerk, I learned of a smooth-working, well-established system. If
Jose wanted a vacation, he brought aboard another Filipino, who immediately
became Jose. If Cruz wanted to go home for a month or two, he brought
a substitute, who immediately became Cruz. After a time, the old faces
would reappear and the newcomers disappear. I never had any crew trouble
and always had good men. The monthly pay rolls were always the same.
This was the best, the smoothest, and most efficient racket I ever
heard of; and these are the people we think we can teach! These marineros
must not be confused with the house boy type with which most of us
was carried on in the northern Sulu Sea and around the Cuyo group,
a number of fine fertile islands with a climate superior to that found
in most parts of the Philippines, as they get the benefit of both
monsoons. At night, we occasionally anchored off one of these islands.
Many of the crew would go ashore and join the residents on the beach,
where they would play stringed instruments for several hours. The
music was soft and tuneful, apparently of native composition. Some
day it may even displace the barbaric war dances, or imitations thereof,
so popular with some Americans.
The scenery in this general area was beautiful. From massive Mt.
Cavite, the home of the wild timarau, to Iloilo Straits, is a chain
of peaks ranging from 3000 to 6000 feet in height, which were used
to control the hydrographic surveys. Mt. Sibuyan, distant about ninety
miles, was often visible. The weather at times was remarkably clear,
often heralding the approach of a distant typhoon. The channels between
Culion and Busuanga Islands, leading to the China Sea, in beauty do
not take second place to the Inland Sea of Japan nor to Wrangell Narrows,
Alaska. There are several excellent typhoon anchorages in this area.
The islands of the Cuyo group differ considerably from those of the
Quinalubin Islands, as the latter present a rugged, barren appearance.
There are no typhoon anchorages in either group, though the FATHOMER
rode out a typhoon in the bight formed by the Tahuayan Islands, not
through choice but through necessity, not having sufficient coal for
the ship to buck head seas to the nearest typhoon anchorage. We made
three miles in five hours before turning around. On the narrow low
neck connecting the two islands lay the rusted wreck of a steamer.
There were a few poverty-stricken natives living in a small valley
or depression. They had little except a strain of tough virile gamecocks
which our sailors bought whenever we anchored there, paying about
one peso apiece and selling them at a good profit in Iloilo.
Cock fighting is now frowned upon. A more civilized sport has been
introduced wherein two men within a small enclosure try to knock each
other's heads off. The Filipinos took quite readily to this sport
and have produced some excellent material. There is some question
as to whether it is as stimulating as the old Moro pastime of whacking
off heads with a bolo. Baseball had quite a hold in the larger towns,
even among the girls.
During the holidays, of which there are many, cockfights were arranged
on a rather elaborate scale. I attended some of these fights, if I
remember correctly, at Caloocan . The bets were handled by Chinamen.
I never won and I have since thought that if I bet on both birds,
I still would have lost - an old Oriental custom. These birds wore
steel spurs, two to three inches long, which were sharp as razor blades.
A fight seldom lasted more than a few minutes, terminating in the
speedy death of one of the birds, though occasionally one turned tail
and ran. In either case the loser wound up in the soup kettle. Some
of the birds were veterans, who showed considerable skill and finesse,
and, generally, speedily dispatched the novice.
Cockfighting was general throughout the Islands. It was frowned upon
as low and degrading, and attempts were made to suppress it. It is
the poor man's sport, that of the poverty-stricken Malay, who is paid,
perhaps, twenty centavos a day - the sport of the Malay, whose outfit
consists of a pair of rope-soled slippers, tattered shorts, torn shirt,
and an old straw hat. Of course, it doesn't compare with the dog fight
- the glamorous sport of the white man.
During the break of the monsoon, this northern section of the Sulu
Sea seemed to be the breeding place for waterspouts, and I have seen
as many as five at one time in the area we were surveying. They appeared
to be stationary. With some, a lower part appeared to rise from the
water, joining a descending part. Others seemed just to rise; others
just descend. At such time, the air was quite calm and the sea smooth.
Our sounding lines occasionally approached close to one but we noticed
no atmospheric change of wind or temperature. We had an excellent
opportunity to study these phenomena but neglected to do so. Some
seemed transparent, as though formed of vapor; others had darker sections.
We did not notice any swell, such as might be produced by the sucking-up
of surface water into the funnel-shaped spout. There was an inclination
to approach one of these spouts closely, but before doing so, it would
have been necessary to take in all double awnings, put deck stores
below and batten down all hatches, in case of collapse, if other than
vapor, the deluge might cause considerable damage. While the result
might be of scientific value, the interruption of survey work was
When the monsoon changed, shifting to the southwest, with winds of
increasing force, water snakes and waterspouts disappeared. When the
typhoon season approached, a feathering formation, spreading fan-shaped,
of cirrus clouds, was watched at sunrise and sunset, as it often indicated
the center of an approaching typhoon. A similar formation of heavier
clouds at lower altitudes often had no significance. At midnight and
at 4 a.m., barometer readings and the direction of the wind were reported
to the Commanding Officer. An exceptionally clear atmosphere and a
glassy sea with a long swell frequently indicated a distant storm.
These ships did not have radio and a Commanding Officer, working at
a distance from a typhoon anchorage, was on what might be termed,
Father Algue, of the Manila Weather Observatory, wrote a fine book,
"Typhoons of the Far East," which gave the mariner all the information
he needed to keep out of trouble if he had sea room. He invented a
small instrument, the barocyclometer, by means of which the approximate
distance and direction of the center of the storm could be obtained.
An instrument of considerable value in our search for shoals was
the James Submarine Sentry. A kite could be towed at any set depth
and if it struck a shoal, a bell would ring on deck. A small rudder
placed on a kite would cause it to deflect. Using two kites, one from
port quarter, the other from starboard quarter, with small rudders,
a wire drag of about 100 feet in length would be obtained if the kites
were connected. Then, of course, the sounding machine could not be
used; the span would foul the sounding wire.
We used quite a number of these kites, which came from England, and
replacements could not always be obtained. As they were simple in
design, I ordered the ship's carpenter to make some. Upon returning
to Manila, he asked for his discharge. I had difficulty in learning
why. It seems he was a high class carpenter, and metal-working was
an inferior trade. When shown that these were scientific instruments,
calling for exceptional skill, he became interested and, in fact,
A Chinese carpenter who served his apprenticeship was generally a
cabinetmaker, and his roughest work, comparable in speed with the
ordinary wood butcher, was of cabinetmaking grade. Lee Gam, the carpenter,
never bought hinges. We bought sheet brass and rods. He made the hinges.
His tools were few. To bore holes, he did not use the brace, but a
fiddle drill, a spindle which was rotated by means of a bow. He frequently
held pieces of wood with his toes, which served almost as well as
Lee Gam went around deck wearing shineales which had soles made of
lead about one-half inch thick. I questioned him about this foot gear.
His story was as follows: "I belong to New China party, which some
day will chase out all Mandarins. When fighting comes, I go back to
China. Soldiers must have strong legs. Carpenter on ship gets no exercise.
To have strong legs, I wear these shoes. My father needed some money.
He went to Mandarin and got it. Mandarin charge twenty percent each
month. My father pay many times, but all the time the Mandarin say
he owes more. I have four brothers; I send money every month to my
father. I get out of work and have no money. My brothers get out of
work. My father had no money to pay Mandarin. Mandarin say, 'You pay
money next month or I cut one of brother's head off.' Could not pay
next month and Mandarin cut off my brother's head and tell Father,
'Next month you pay or another brother's head will be cut off.'" The
old Mandarin regime, the part diplomats and travelers did not see,
was pretty tough. Captain Derickson, one of my former Commanding Officers,
went to the Philippines shortly after the American occupation. He
was in China. He had photographs showing Chinamen buried in the ground,
up to their necks. The executioner had the sword with the long blade,
broad at the end. He went down the line and took off the heads, one
at each swoop - such for the Old Mandarin regime.
Lee Gam wanted to return to China. He could not get clearance. It
appeared that when Lee Gam shipped aboard the Steamer FATHOMER a Mr.
Bernhard was acting Executive Officer. He had some trouble with Gam's
Chinese name, so he told the Chinaman, "Your name now Lee Gam," and
so it appeared on the pay roll for years. The change was perfectly
satisfactory to the Chinaman. It was all the same to him whether he
was Lee Gam, Pat Murphy, Fritz Schwartz, or Frenchy. Gam's original
papers were found and I guess he got to China. A fine man. There are
many in all races; some wear queues; some wear breech clothes; once
in a while one may be found wearing a top hat.
1915, I assumed command of the Steamer PATHFINDER. She was the largest
survey ship in the Islands and was owned by the Federal Government;
the four or five others were owned by the Insular Government. She
was a beautiful vessel, built by Lewis Nixon, on the East Coast of
the United States. The Coast Survey appropriation was too small to
cover the cost of the type of ship desired, so the Nixon organization
offered to build a ship, using the plans of the Vanderbilt Yacht,
the NOURMAHAL, if I remember correctly, cutting out about forty feet
amidships and shortening the vessel. She came around the Horn, surveyed
in Alaska, then the Hawaiian Islands, winding up in the Philippines,
where her bones now rest on the west shore of Manila Bay, where she
went down, having been bombed off Corregidor by the Japs.
Orders were issued to proceed to Balabac, off the southern end of
Palawan Island, across Balabac Straits from Borneo. Before sailing,
an order was placed with the Bureau of Supplies for about 200 tons
of coal. A typhoon was approaching with its torrential rains and this
coal was not delivered by the contractor until it was soaked. Apparently,
it is an old Oriental custom not to deliver coal until the rain has
stopped, so as not to lose any of the water. The quantity delivered
was correct as far as weight was concerned, but the bunkers were only
two-thirds full. I figured I was being charged for thirty tons of
water, and I refused to pay. The matter was settled somehow by the
There was considerable traffic in opium in the Balabac Straits area,
and instructions were issued for the PATHFINDER to overhaul proas
and other craft in an attempt to suppress that smuggling. The PATHFINDER
at that time was the fastest vessel in that area. I felt I was there
to make surveys for the U. S. Government, not to suppress smuggling
for the Insular Government, not to antagonize natives, nor to have
my men boloed in the woods. If the Filipinos wanted smuggling suppressed
or screws put on some of the boys in that area, I felt they should
use their own facilities instead of a U.S. outfit. The Moros had friendly
feelings for the U.S. However, the orders were enthusiastically and
cheerfully accepted and placed in the ship's safe, where they would
come to no harm.
Arriving at Balabac, we met the Moros with whom we established very
cordial relations in a rather unusual way. A coal pile had been established
there a dozen or more years earlier and I was directed to use that
coal, giving a receipt to some local custodian for the amount taken.
We moored off the edge of the reef where there was a small platform
from which mounted on bamboo poles, a two-plank runway led to the
coal pile, about 100 meters away. We arranged with the Cacique at
Balabac to furnish men to coal the ship, as our sailors were employed
on survey work. He sent thirty or forty men. These men paired off,
every two carrying a long pole, from which was suspended a basket
which was filled with coal and carried aboard, where every fifth basket
was weighed. Lieutenant R. V. Miller, later with the U.S. Engineers,
supervised the checking. As I was leaving the ship to go back in the
hills on reconnaissance, a rather small, elderly Moro came to me,
smiling. Being in excellent spirits, I smiled back and Barrientos,
my Philippine clerk and interpreter, said, "Captain, he wants paper
and pencil to check." I remarked that he did not have to do that,
but Barrientos said he would like to. The Quartermaster was called
and directed to get a large pad of yellow paper and a pencil, which
were turned over to the Moro. He was so pleased that the Quartermaster
was told to get one of the pencils, red at one end and blue at the
other. The Moro marked first with one end, then with the other, repeating
the performance, grinning and looking at me each time. This became
so interesting that I ordered the Quartermaster to get my large wicker
chair from the quarterdeck and place it where the Moro could sit and
then secure to the back of the chair one of the large wagon umbrellas
we used when observing. During this time the coaling crew stood still,
watching. I went ashore, giving the incident no further thought.
Returning about dusk, I saw my Moro, pad in hand waiting for me.
Instead of using four marks and the cross dash for the tally, he made
four little blue circles, every fifth being red. The men got two centavos
for each basket brought aboard, each one making about forty centavos
(twenty cents, U. S.) per day. As the old Moro was not hired, I paid
him two pesos from my own pocket. I reflected on the peculiar look
he gave me when he took the pesos. He turned out to be the big chief
in this neck of the woods, and the little courtesy I unintentionally
gave, paid good dividends. In those days and those waters, the PATHFINDER
was a big ship, and my attention increased the prestige of this Moro
in the eyes of his men.
We measured a base somewhat over 9000 meters long on Montangule Island,
in 100-meter sections, each being marked by a surface and underground
mark. Necks of bottles set in cement were used, and these were placed
in position by the Moros. Knowing what they were, the marks would
not be disturbed after our departure and, not being of metal, would
not be removed. This island, or coral formation, had only a very thin
layer of soil, perhaps not more than six inches; yet it supported
a heavy growth of hardwood trees, molava, narra, ipil, ebony, etc.,
rising to heights of 100 to 150 feet. The trees were supported by
buttresses which started out from the trunks eight or ten feet above
the ground and then, spreading out, terminated in roots which ran
along the ground for many feet. These buttresses, when struck by a
sledge, gave a deep bell sound which carried long distances. It was
remarkable how these magnificent hardwood trees could reach such heights
and sizes, rising from just a thin layer of soil. I could attribute
this only to the uniformly moist tropical climate. Mr. Loudon had
the concession for cutting timber there, but at the time wasn't operating,
as he lacked the necessary machinery to get the lumber cut and he
could not use carabao over that coral surface.
The old Cacique gave valuable information. He warned against the
wild pig, of which there were many on Montangule Island. He said,
"If you shoot one and don't kill it, the herd will charge and keep
coming, no matter how many you shoot, and if you take to a tree, they
will root and root to get you." He said there were pythons, but he
did not worry much about them. Earlier, while on reconnaissance with
Slarrow, our Bo'sun, Barrientos, two sailors, and, I believe, Lieutenant
Kyle, we heard a piercing scream and saw a bolo flash. The thought
crossed my mind that we were ambushed for the Colt 45's which we carried,
but joining the sailors we saw only one ambushed who was ashen-colored,
almost the color of white paper. He pointed over a log and on the
ground lay a squirming python with its neck almost severed. A python
will lie coiled on the ground, head up, at a pig or deer run and will
lunge forward, striking the victim with its head and stunning it.
When the Filipino started to cross the log, the snake lunged, and
instinctively the Filipino swung his bolo, striking the neck of the
snake. I guess the snake was six to eight feet long. The Cacique said
the python seldom attacks a man; that the snake to be feared was a
small one, about one foot in length and greenish in color. It was
I informed the Moro of my instructions to suppress smuggling, and,
as he was head man in the district, he would undoubtedly know if there
were any. He assured me that there wasn't any and would inform me
if he learned of any. Smilingly he arose and agreed to furnish all
the men I needed for the survey. We understood each other very well.
At intervals he withdrew his men for a fiesta, so he said. Then he
remarked, "I be back in so many days. You be here?" "Oh, yes, we will
be here." Where he went and what he did was his business. Mine was
to get this job completed. However, a situation developed which might
have been tragic. Moslems will not eat pork. Apparently they cannot
get into Moslem Heaven if they do. One of our very capable generals
had much trouble in the early days with Moros who ran amuck on Mindanao
Island, I believe. Juramentado, it is called. A native would take
his bolo, charge into a crowd of Christians, slashing right and left.
The more he killed, the better the place which awaited him in Moro
Heaven. Well, the General took these crazed natives who had been shot
and had their bodies placed inside the carcasses of pigs. These chaps
could never get to Moro Heaven. That stopped this monkey business
to some extent. Today this, of course, would not be tolerated. The
General would be fired and the Moro given a bonus.
At noon one
day Barrientos, pale faced, came to my cabin and said, "Captain,
the Moros are eating pork." I swore, visualizing bloodshed,
and said, "Who gave it to them?" "No one. The Filipinos were
eating lunch on the port side of the forecastle head while the
Moros were eating theirs on the starboard side. One Moro decided
he would find out what a Filipino was eating, so he just took
a sailor's lunch. He like it and told his friends, who then
helped themselves. The Filipino had been eating deviled ham."
Well, the deed was done; it could not be undone, and bloodshed
had to be averted. The fact that the Moros were to blame was
immaterial. I asked Barrientos if the Moros knew what they were
eating. He said, "No, Senor; the Filipinos do, but they won't
say anything, - too scared." "All right - send for the Bo'sun."
"Bo'sun, you and Barrientos go to the storeroom, take the labels
off every can of deviled ham and burn them in the galley. Then
take the labels from tins of canned chicken and paste them on
the deviled ham cans." I thought one of the Moros might be able
to read or know enough to discover he ate pork.
Later the Cacique said, "Good minook; new kind?"
I said, "Yes, other kind came from Australia; this Yankee minook."
He smiled; I smiled. He knew that I knew that he knew what it
was; but why upset amicable relations over part of a pig that
was in a can, anyway? If discovered, the subject, of course,
was one for discussion. Mohammet did not taboo pig in a can,
as the kind did not exist during Mohammet's time.
The Malays and other Orientals are practical,
matter-of-fact individuals. Many years later the Standard Oil
Company of California outfitted a ship to proceed to Bahrien
Island with a party to develop or arrange for the development
of oil fields. Captain Smith came to my office to ascertain
if the Coast Survey would make a survey of the approaches to
the Island or loan officers for that purpose, the Company to
pay all expenses. The proposition was turned down flat in Washington.
A novel idea like that disturbed the equanimity and mental equilibrium
of the swivel-chair boys. However, Commander Clay Jones, one
of our wire-drag experts, was in the vicinity of San Francisco,
and he made out a list of items needed for the drag outfit.
Upon his return, Captain Smith visited my office and mentioned
a little incident which caused some embarrassment. Smith made
some remark about the earth being round. The Sheik was very
keen and immediately caught him up, stating that the earth was
flat. It was necessary to avoid anything that might disturb
cordial relations, and he was at a loss how to proceed. However,
the Sheik grasped Smith's explanations. Smith said there was
a shouting of orders and a number of Arabs came to the tent.
The Sheik wanted to know what they meant by teaching the boys
the earth was flat. They said, "Mohammet and the Koran said
so." The Sheik agreed but said Standard Oil not there then.
Koran said nothing about oil under sand, either.
Well, Mohammet and the Koran did not have the
advice of Standard Oil, so the earth was left flat. They did
not have the advice of Swift, Armour, Wilson and others about
pig in a can, either. I guess the pig in the can was pig, though
I never did find a horseshoe nail. Well, I received orders to
report to Manila and transfer command to Captain Denson.
At Balabac, before leaving, I filled bunkers
with the dried coal from the coal pile and had a deck load,
making up for the water I was furnished in Manila. Before departing,
I shook hands with the Old Cacique and told him I was supposed
to catch opium smugglers, but he assured me there weren't any
and smiling, he said, "All same; Yankee Minook." A nice old
chap. I regretted leaving - never had such a smooth-working
Surveyors, in general, have very little trouble
with natives. Juramentado and boloing, I believe, occasionally
result from amorous monkey business of a crude type by overambitious
youth with native women, which the male sometimes resents through
a vigorous application of a bolo, a most effective method of
discouraging such inclinations. However, this biological urge
is somewhat universal, as the story was told to me of similar
proclivities on the part of a prominent mestizo with respect
to a charming American woman, which action was resented by the
young lady's husband, a young Army officer, by a thorough massaging
of the Old Coot's snout - a very poor reaction compared to the
masculine procedure of the Moro. Such is the decadent influence
The following was told to me by an Old Timer,
one of the first of the Survey's officers to go to the Islands
at the time of the American occupation. Insurrection was prevalent
throughout the Islands, and no one ever traveled without a military
guard. Ferguson was sent there. He was small, with fiery red
hair and the wit and humor of his race. He would have no guard.
Once he contacted the natives, they were with him. He hired
those he needed. The natives considered him "loco," as he went
up trees, putting up little flags, then up mountains where he
set up poles with flags on them. He also looked through something
which showed everything upside down. He never went back. To
them he sure was "loco" and word went from village to village
about the redheaded man who was "loco." The natives never harmed
anyone who was "loco." We accord the same treatment to many
in high political and social life, some anti-anti-reds. Some
are elevated to the highest ranks from which, with lavish hands,
they distribute the patronage of children of the future.
EN ROUTE TO THE STATES
Upon returning to Manila I transferred command
of the PATHFINDER about February 14, 1916, but it was not until
May 16, 1916, that I felt the Islands to get transportation on
the EMPRESS OF ASIA from Hong Kong to Vancouver, B. C. The First
World War was in progress. Englishmen, returning from India and
other Asiatic places, were routed across the Pacific, to Canada
and the Atlantic, as the Mediterranean was by-passed on account
of the submarine hazard. As a result of this diversion, reservations
were hard to get. Officers, upon completion of an assignment in
the Philippines, generally returned to Washington via the Trans-Siberian
Railroad and Europe, or else the Straits Settlements, India, Egypt,
Europe, etc., with all expenses paid by themselves, less an allowance
of the minimum of the first-class fare by the most direct route.
It was my intention to return via Europe and although the United
States had not entered the War and permission to return via India
was not denied, the procedure followed was equally effective.
Visas were refused. I might mention that passage on the EMPRESS
OF ASIA, being a superior, speedy craft, was higher than on American
ships. I paid my transportation and submitted the bill to Washington
for reimbursement. A hundred or so dollars was disallowed. I wrote
to the C.P.R.R. Their reply was somewhat to the effect that they
thought our officers were entitled to first-class passage; if
not, they would reimburse me. There were no comments from Washington,
but the disallowance was paid.
In Hong Kong, the King Edward Hotel furnished excellent
accommodations. My room was exceptionally large. The bed was large
enough for a family. There was one large bathtub on each floor.
Each guest was given a bathing period of fifteen minutes, to suit
his convenience, if possible, otherwise given a selection from
the vacant periods on the schedule. The bath was ready at the
designated time; if tardy, the lateness was cut off the guest's
allotted time, so that at the termination of his period the China
boy could clean the tub and then fill it with warm water for the
next guest. The bathing then was on an assembly line basis. The
water supply of Hong Kong was quite limited and its use had to
The meals were excellent and various Chinese condiments were
served. At several meals, eggs of ancient vintage, black in
color, were a feature which I passed up. These were a novel
variation from some sold in the Philippine markets known as
ballut, where an egg on the eighteenth or nineteenth day of
hatching was given a quick boiling and when opened produced
a fresh young bird, said to be real tasty by Americans who tried
the dish. Being curious, I was informed that the chicken was
perfectly formed, without feathers and with only a grisly framework.
Another item in the menu of some of the wild tribes in the Philippines
were grubs about six inches long and about three-eighths inch
thick, said by some to come from growths among mangrove roots,
but by my marineros said to come from logs. These it was claimed
had a sweetish taste. Not very appetizing items, of course,
but on the menu of a San Francisco restaurant appear the following
items: octopus, French fried grasshoppers, Diamond Back Rattlers,
muskrats, smoked frogs' legs, etc. And of course we have the
snail, the European delicacy, and our own clams and oysters
on the half shell. The Chinese eggs were less ripe as regards
odor than our famous cheeses. The pig is about the only animal
which shows the cosmopolitan tastes of the satiated gourmet,
carnivorous animals being more selective or restrictive in their
tastes, though the hyena, pariah among animals, shows a predilection
for what in sporting circles is termed "well hung game."
During the short time I was in Hong Kong, a Standard Oil man
from Delhi, India, an American from Singapore, and myself roamed
around. We desired to visit Canton but found that it was necessary
to get a permit from the Prefect of Chief of Police to leave
the Colony. I saw him. Quite courteously he refused to issue
any. I then inquired as to whether we could go to Canton. "Oh,
yes, that is possible, but you would probably be shot." "How
so?" "Well, there are a couple of Chinese armies between Hong
Kong and Canton shooting at each other. Regular thing, you know."
"Now, suppose we did not get shot?" "You would be quite lucky,
but then you know you could not get back in the Colony without
the permit." We did not go to Macao, either. At this time there
was a Chinese store in Hong Kong which the owners were trying
to operate on the same plan as American stores, strictly one
price. The display cases were of the American type. As the tourist
trade always wants to haggle over prices, the idea did not seem
practical to me.
The Colony was in a sort of war status, and upon going up the
Peak on the funicular railroad, we were stopped by an Old Cockney
sailor. He said, "You sure you are not spies? Now are you sure
you are Americans?" We told him we were quite positive about
that and talked with him for some time. He told us of the great
care he had to take in watching the Peak. I had with me some
of those fine Manila cigars, Vigueros Chicos. I gave him one.
Thereafter, at almost every corner we met our Cockney friend,
who always had some cock-and-bull story, the culmination being
the transfer of another cigar. These cigars were made from a
tobacco grown in northern Luzon. They were quite black in color
with a flavor equaling the best Havanas. This grade at that
time was shipped to Europe, American concerns being interested
in another brand.
In Japan, we stopped in the store of Nishimura & Co., a
two-story building. My Singapore friend presented a card from
a passenger, a representative of A. A. Vantine & Co., Oriental
Goods, New York. We were welcomed most cordially by a Japanese
who spoke excellent English. He conducted us to the upper story,
where only the highest grade art goods were carried. There were
a number of tourists at the counters on the first floor, where
the stock for that trade was carried. He said they would prefer
to do business on a fixed price basis, but the tourist liked
the Oriental custom of bargaining and haggling, and prices were
set sufficiently high so that after bartering and dickering,
reductions were gradually made to meet the tourist demands.
"The tourist gets the goods at his price; we get our profit
often above the fixed price basis, and everybody is happy."
In the upper gallery prices were fixed. Once
a year a representative from the Imperial Art Gallery visited
the place and selected what was wanted for the galleries. The
rest was for sale. The items were costly. The Japanese said
such sales were made mostly to Europeans, very little to Americans,
though a representative of J. P. Morgan called about once a
year. He showed a screen, priced 3,000 yen, which he thought
Morgan would probably take.