Archie starts out
on an exploring tour and has
some strange adventures
among the natives— seized by the rebels.
The days passed very quickly in Manila. the regiment was quartered in an old palace which had once been used as a residence by the Spanish governors of the islands, and Archie remained in the palace with them. There was very little to do while they were there. Each morning there were anxious inquiries for news from the front, but there was always the same discouraging reply that no trace had yet been found of the fleeing Aguinaldo. The men were gradually becoming disheartened at the long wait, and there were frequent statements by the officers that Aguinaldo would soon be caught if they were sent out after him. The dissatisfaction with the general in command grew stronger every day, and at last things reached a point where there was very little loyalty and patriotism displayed among the troops.
The drilling was continued, however, by order of the colonel, and every morning the troops marched out to a public square near the palace, and went through the same old manoeuvres which they had practised for months past. And it was harder for them to drill each week. At first they were willing enough to work, for there was then some prospect of their being able to use their knowledge in a fight, but now it was beginning to seem that they would simply remain in this old palace for a few months longer, and then go back again to San Francisco. With this opinion in their hearts, it is not to be wondered at that most of the men became slouchy and careless in their manners and dress, or that even the officers themselves became disgusted at the long wait for marching orders.
Things had been going on in this way for a long time, when Archie made up his mind that it was time he was hustling about and finding something to write about which would be interesting to readers of the Enterprise. He had sent two articles describing his life with the soldiers in the old palace, but he knew that he ought to find something more exciting, and more like his first articles. So, after much thought, he decided that a good plan would be for him to take a little trip into the interior of the island, to see whether he could find any traces of the insurgents. The colonel had held all along for a month, now, that the Filipinos were probably all about Manila, and still he couldn’t get the permission of the general in command to go out and investigate the matter. The colonel figured that it would be an easy thing for the insurgents to come as near to the city as they cared to now, for Lawton and Wheeler were far away in the interior after Aguinaldo, and the troops in Manila were quietly drilling, and eating, and sleeping, with no thought of doing anything else. This