The transport remained in port but one day, and in thirty hours after her arrival Archie found himself sailing again over the blue Pacific. The weather, for a few days, was almost perfect. A cloudless sky overhead, a warm breeze from the west, and a smooth sea made things very pleasant aboard ship, and Archie began to realise that there are times when it is delightful to be at sea. The vessel was very much overcrowded with troops, and the sleeping quarters were but little more pleasant than aboard the liner. Archie shared a stateroom with three sergeants, and they managed to have a lively time during the voyage. They played games, told stories, and slept in the afternoons, but all this, of course, grew rather tiresome after a time, and the voyage was becoming monotonous, when there came a severe storm which kept things moving for three days.
None of the navigating officers had expected a gale, so that when it came every one was taken wholly by surprise, and it came so suddenly that there was no time at all for preparation. The sky became quickly dark one afternoon about three o’clock, and soon the whole horizon was a mass of great black clouds, which every moment seemed to come lower and lower until they directly overhung the ship. There was great excitement aboard the ship. Officers hurried here and there shouting orders to their men, and the cavalrymen rushed about in a frenzy of haste, trying to devise means to save their horses, most of which were stabled upon the deck. Archie looked on in breathless interest, and was surprised to find that he wasn’t at all frightened. He even found himself making mental notes of the scene, so that he could send the story of it all to Mr. Van Bunting when he reached Manila.
There was but little time for rushing about, and it was soon evident that the horses would many of them be lost, because there seemed to be absolutely no way of saving them if the waves were high enough to break over the bulwarks. The storm soon broke in great fury, beginning with a fierce wind which swept the waves before it. There was but little rain, and the waves rose higher and higher with every minute, until the heavy ship began to roll and pitch in a frightful way, so that the soldiers began to think, some of them, that she would certainly sink. Finally the waves were so high they dashed themselves over the decks, and no one was allowed above the gangways.