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Caybigan   By: (1876-1956)

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Caybigan

BY JAMES HOPPER

NEW YORK MCCLURE, PHILLIPS & CO. MCMVI

Copyright, 1906 by McCLURE, PHILLIPS & CO.

Published, September, 1906

Copyright, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, by The S. S. McClure Company

[Illustration: " The subsequent walk across the plaza with the hard won bundle, beneath the appreciative eyes of the whole town, had been humiliating "]

CONTENTS

I. THE JUDGMENT OF MAN 3

II. THE MAESTRO OF BALANGILANG 27

III. HER READING 52

IV. THE STRUGGLES AND TRIUMPH OF ISIDRO DE LOS MAESTROS 74

V. THE FAILURE 98

VI. SOME BENEVOLENT ASSIMILATION 124

VII. A JEST OF THE GODS 153

VIII. THE COMING OF THE MAESTRA 178

IX. CAYBIGAN 202

X. THE CAPTURE OF PAPA GATO 226

XI. THE MA√ĎANGETE 257

XII. THE PAST 267

XIII. THE PREROGATIVE 277

XIV. THE CONFLUENCE 289

XV. THE CALL 331

CAYBIGAN

I

THE JUDGMENT OF MAN

We were sitting around the big centre table in the sala of the "House of Guests" in Ilo Ilo. We were teachers from Occidental Negros. It was near Christmas; we had left our stations for the holidays the cholera had just swept them and the aftermath was not pleasant to contemplate and so we were leaning over the polished narra table, sipping a sweet, false Spanish wine from which we drew, not a convivial spirit, but rather a quiet, reflective gloom. All the shell shutters were drawn back; we could see the tin roofed city gleam and crackle with the heat, and beyond the lithe line of coconuts, the iridescent sea, tugging the heart with offer of coolness. But, all of us, we knew the promise to be Fake, monumental Fake, knew the alluring depths to be hot as corruption, and full of sharks.

Somebody in a monotonous voice was cataloguing the dead, enumerating those of us who had been conquered by the climate, by the work, or through their own inward flaws. He mentioned Miller with some sort of disparaging gesture, and then Carter of Balangilang, who had been very silent, suddenly burst into speech with singular fury.

"Who are you, to judge him?" he shouted. "Who are you, eh? Who are we, anyway, to judge him?"

Headlong outbursts from Carter were nothing new to us, so we took no offence. Finally someone said, "Well, he's dead," with that tone that signifies final judgment, the last, best, most charitable thing which can be said of the man being weighed.

But Carter did not stop there. "You didn't know him, did you?" he asked. "You didn't know him; tell me now, did you know him?" He was still extraordinarily angry.

We did not answer. Really, we knew little of the dead man excepting that he was mean and small, and not worth knowing. He was mean, and he was a coward; and to us in our uncompromising youth these were just the unpardonable sins. Because of that we had left him alone, yes, come to think of it, very much alone. And we knew little about him.

"Here, I'll tell you what I know," Carter began again, in a more conciliatory tone; "I'll tell you everything I know of him." He lit a cheroot.

"I first met him right here in Ilo Ilo. I had crossed over for supplies; he was fresh from Manila and wanted to get over to Bacolod to report to the Sup. and be assigned to his station. When I saw him he was on the muelle, surrounded by an army of bluffing cargadores. About twelve of them had managed to get a finger upon his lone carpet bag while it was being carried down the gang plank, and each and all of them wanted to get paid for the job... Continue reading book >>




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