tomassen's carabao mail
HE island received a
new Governor at this time, an ex-captain of constabulary, six feet two
inches in his stockinged feet, as broad as a native weaver's loom and
with a fist that could smash a two-inch oak board. He also had a taste
for pork and beans. A good-hearted fellow he was, but blunt and brusque
and quite uncowed by the limp in his right foot, caused by a Moro
spear, and minor cuts all over his body. These were his reward for
attempting to pacify the natives.
took no notice of me until one day, on a tour of inspection in the
interior, a Moro's kris caught him fairly on the left arm. He strangled
the would-be assassin with his right hand and collapsed on top of him.
When he was brought to the hospital, I went to inquire after him twice
a day and he began to take an interest in me.
the Governor was fond of cards and I was not. His invitations to a game
of poker were tantamount to a royal command, and I enjoyed these
occasions as a man condemned to the guillotine enjoys the haircut that
precedes the carving of his neck; for I was not the only duffer at
bluffing, and the Governor's misguided bluffs meant that his ledger
accounts with me showed too many debit entries.
was anxious to do the right thing by the natives and to establish
good-will and peace on the island, though he had the American's disdain
for a colored skin. He spoke of the Sultan as "That squint-eyed,
rice-eating son of a gun," and on more than one occasion was distinctly
rude to that potentate. But when speaking to me, knowing that I was a
bit of a stickler for manners, good form and mode of expression, he
made great efforts to please and in many other ways showed me