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Guy Marshall, March 10, 1900

Seeing Manila

What Filipinos Are Like. Base Ball in the East. Attending Service.  Not Enough Fighting.

                                                Candidad Outpost, P.I., Mch. 10 [1900]

I want to tell you about my visit to Manila . I went over there day before yesterday and was agreeably surprised to find almost a modern city. They have street cars, an ice factory, and many other things up to date, so a fellow could almost imagine he was in America .

I saw several fine buildings and many American stores, and if all of the natives and the Chinese were out, it would be a fine place, except for cleanliness, in that respect Filipinos are inferior to the Negroes--at least that is my opinion, and if I were compelled to take either for an associate I’d choose the latter. They learn to smoke almost as soon as they learn to walk.

The men smoke dopy cigarettes and the women smoke cigars and chew the ends, causing their teeth to be as yellow as an ancient wharf rat. One would imagine in this climate the girls would have large, dark, dreamy eyes, but instead they have small beady eyes, almost expressionless. The look they give the sentry on duty, when we search their baskets, to see that forbidden goods are not carried out, is neither hatred nor fear, but something like a combination of both. Their mode of locomotion (it can scarcely be called walking) is an awfully stiff, shambling gait and is caused by their shoes, which have no heel piece and would fall off unless brought forward with a drag. They hold themselves as straight as a bean pole, and just about as graceful. The men are all good riders. This I could not understand, until I saw a Filipino mother carrying her baby. The infant is caught under the arms and held on the hip, where he sits and gazes around and grows wise.

The women are generally expert washwomen and take advantage of the many muddy streams to ply their trade. It is astonishing how they manage to get them so white in such dirty water. A wash board is an unheard of luxury and is supplanted by a flat stick and a large rock on which the garment is place and flailed.

Well to change the subject I saw a fine game of base ball today between the team of the battleship Brooklyn and the gun boat Petrel. The game was played in Cavite , and the Brookly[n] beat, just saved themselves in the last inning. Their left fielder knocked a “home bagger” and made the score 9 to 8 in favor of Brooklyn . It was a tight game and everyone seemed to enjoy it. A large crowd of officers and men were present.

Two Chinamen have died of Bubonic plague in Cavite , and a block is quarantined against every one. It does not seem to affect the white people like it does the natives, but the fever that nearly every one has when they first arrive here, is more fatal than it was at first. We buried one fellow Saturday and another yesterday, I was one of the “firing party” to fire the last salute, and our bugler piped taps. It was very solemn, and I was relieved when it was all over.

Sunday I attended service in the company mess stall, and although the congregation was small, we had what you would call a “good meeting.” I enjoyed it, and I tell you it made a fellow feel as he was home. It was the first time I’ve had an opportunity of attending service in four months. Sunday evening there was a concert by the 29th Infantry Band from Manila . Most of them are Southern volunteers, and they wound up by playing a piece consisting of Yankee Doodle and Down in Dixie , and ended with the Star Spangled Banner. I felt as though I could cheer until I was hoarse when they played Dixie ; for though I am wearing the blue, I am by instinct a Reb! and I wish I was in a regiment composed of Southern boys and in the firing line, “we would astonish the natives!”

We have been ordered into town Monday Company C is to relieve us, and we will take their quarters in Ft. St. Philipi. Their quarters are the best in the city. There are all kinds of sweet smelling shrubbery and beautiful flowers and tropical plants. The officers quarters are just opposite, and that is why everything is tended so carefully. Everything is quiet around us, and I am afraid I won’t get in a fight after all. Well I’ll have to close as it is nearly taps, and with that the lights go out.

                                                            Very truly yours,

                                                                        Guy Marshall

                                                Co. D., 1st Bat. Naval Station, Cavite .

[New Bern Daily Journal, May 6, 1900 , page 4, col. 4]

Nearby Affairs...

Guy Marshall, whose letter from the Philippines is in this issue, is the son of the late George Marshall, who for many years was an ornamental painter at the R.R. shops in this city [New Bern] and later moved to Atlanta where he died.

[New Bern Daily Journal, May 6, 1900 , page 4, col. 2]

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