By Mary Helen Fee
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Extra info for A Woman's Impression of the Philippines
What he meant to convey in the carefully pieced mosaic was that he was a dangerous fellow, and that when he came around the fathers kept a close eye on their daughters. That is dubious wit in a man of thirty. In a child of twelve it is loathsome. Engagements are usually announced at once and are seldom long--from three weeks to three or four months. If the marriage is really for love, as is not infrequently the case, the lovers must have a hard time of it; for they never see each other alone, and "spooning" before others would seem to them in the last degree scandalous.
Nor can we fancy that John Hay while dealing with the Chinese crisis in 1900 was continually distracting his mind from the tremendously grave points at issue by wondering if he could not do something a little cleverer than the other diplomats would do. All the natural laws of development are turned around in the Philippines, and motives which should belong to the crowning years of a nation's life seem to have become mixed in at the beginning--a condition, due, of course, to the fact that the Filipinos began the march of progress at a time when the telegraph and the cable and books and newspapers and globe-trotters submitted their early development to a harrowing comparison and observation.
The provincial man who is well to do puts his money into houses and lands or into jewellery for his womankind. The poor emulate the rich, and wear in imitation what their wealthy neighbors can afford in the real. Filipino women never affect the dominating attitude assumed by young American coquettes. They have an infinite capacity for what we call small talk and repartee; and, as they never aim for brilliancy and are quite natural and unaffected, their pretty ways have all the charm that an unconscious child's have.