National Geographic : 1890 Apr
28 National Geographic M1agazine. of the work, rather an amusing incident occurred. As the com munity was full of all sorts and conditions of men, Koreans, Chinamen and Russian exiles, the last not political but criminal offenders ; it was thought wise to have a sentry stationed at the observatory to guard against any possible harm to the instru ments. So the Governor of the town was asked to furnish a soldier for that purpose, which request was readily granted, and one night the sentry was posted with orders to let no one touch the observatory. These orders he construed literally, and when the observers appeared to commence their night's work, he kept them off at the point of the bayonet. His only language being Russian with which the observers were not familiar, it was impos sible to explain the true state of affairs, and it was only after hunting up an interpreter and communicating with his command ing officer that an entry was finally effected. A good deal of bad weather was experienced at this place, but at the end of six weeks enough observations had been made for the required pur pose, and the party was fortunate enough to secure passage to Nagasaki, in a small steamer that had brought a load of coal out from Germany. In the expedition to the Asiatic coast one of the most interesting experiences was the trip to Manila in the Philippine Islands. This is quite a large town when intact, but a great portion of it is usu ally in the condition of being shaken down by an earthquake or blown over by a typhoon. The inhabitants are full of energy, however, and find time between downfalls to build up again. The cable from Hong Kong lands at a point about one hundred and twenty miles from Manila, and the writer was directed to proceed thither, with a chronometer and chronograph for the purpose of transmitting time signals. The first part of the journey was made in a small coasting steamer uncommonly dirty, and occu pied about thirty-six hours. At the end of that time the village of Sual in the Gulf of Lingayen was reached. This was distant from the cable station about thirty miles, and the remainder of the journey was made in a native boat, with mat sails, and bam boo outriggers, part of the time through channels between nume rous small islands and for some distance in the open sea. The progress was slow, but it was a pleasant way of traveling, except for the sleeping accommodations which were primitive; consist ing of a palm leaf mat thrown over a platform made of split bamboo, in which all the knots had been carefully preserved.