him a rather forbidding appearance. His bearing was that of a man who
is accustomed from youth to be flattered and obeyed, but there was that
in his face which showed that he had known disappointments and
tribulations. He was simply dressed in a Chinese-cut loose-fitting suit
of pongee, with five-dollar gold pieces for buttons on the coat, and
his head was covered with a black velvet pill-box hat of a kind much
affected by the Moro nobility.
simply said as I entered "How d'ye do?" to which he replied, "Salaam
alaikum." How really stupid of me. I should have salaamed instead of
howdedoing. He held out his small brown hand, however, which I took.
This, by the way, was the only thing he ever gave me. Then he motioned
me to a seat by his side, but I remained standing, having once read in
a book that it wasn't good form to sit in the presence of royalty. I
balanced on one foot, scratching my calf with the other, because the
royal mosquitoes in that room were as bloodthirsty as their vulgar
sisters outside. Only at his second bidding would I sit down on the
edge of a Tecona Grande chair, but I hadn't a word to say, for he had
no English and I no Moro.
servants brought in food on lacquered trays—slices of pawpaw cooled
with ayer batu, snowy mangosteens peeping out of their russet
half-shells, tangerines in sections and almond cakes. On another tray
were slender-stemmed glasses such as we use for champagne, but the
three jugs containing the liquor were filled to the brim, the first
with San Miguel Cerveza—that is, Manila-brewed beer, the second with
Bear-brand condensed milk, and the third with coconut water: something
to suit every taste, as it were.
then Hadji Butu, the Sultan's chief adviser, came into the room. He
wore dark trousers, a white coat of military cut and a red fez on his
head. He also had a cast in his right eye— or was it a star? In his
hand he carried the inevitable betel-nut box. He spoke English
perfectly, said, "How you?" and went straight for the trays.
I partook of the refreshment in my turn, and when the prime minister asked me what I would drink I voted for coco-