There was no life visible in the settlement. Almost every hut had its shades drawn at the windows, and there was absolutely no one to be seen in the street. As he passed down the road, Archie could catch occasional glimpses of black eyes staring at him through a lattice, or he could hear some muttered word as he walked close to a window. From these signs he knew that he was observed, and he felt very much embarrassed as he continued his walk down this deserted lane, for he felt instinctively now that hundreds of eyes were watching his every movement.
Finally, he came to the public square, and he sat down here to look about him. From general appearances, he judged this to be a town of some two thousand inhabitants, for there was a very respectable administration building, and a good-sized church. There were but two streets of any consequence, the one by which he had entered the town, and another running at right angles in the opposite direction. In this latter street, as he stood in the square, he noticed a three-story structure with a sign outside, and he decided to go there and make inquiries as to where he might be able to secure a lodging for the night. It looked as if it might be an inn of some sort, or at least a store, so he walked rapidly up to the entrance and knocked twice upon the door. This place, in spite of its sign, looked more deserted and shut-up than any other building he had yet seen in the town, and he wondered whether he would receive any answer to his knocks. It was indeed a long time before he heard a sound within, but at last there was some muttering inside, the door flew open, and Archie found himself in the arms of three Filipinos, who threw him upon the floor and bound him, hands and feet. It was all so sudden that he had no time to cry out, and before he could say anything at all he was thrown into a dark room, and the door shut behind him.
A PLEASANT CAPTOR— BRAVE BILL HICKSON ALLOWS ARCHIE TO ESCAPE— FIRST GLIMPSE OF AGUINALDO.
For a long time Archie lay still upon the floor, being unable to move a muscle from the shock of his encounter with the men, and because he was tightly bound with ropes. And then he at last went off to sleep, feeling frightened because he was in the hands of strange men, and a little satisfied, too, because he was the victim of some adventure which might turn out in a very interesting way.
When he awoke, it was morning, and the light came into the room through two small square windows, set high up in the wall. Archie looked about the room with great curiosity, but found little there to interest him. There was nothing to be seen but an old bed without spring or mattress, and a rickety chair with but three legs, which stood in one corner. The walls, he was surprised to observe, were handsomely decorated with tapestries, and Archie at once made up his mind that this had at one time been a private dwelling-house, and had probably been owned by some rich Spaniard who kept a store on the ground floor, and lived in these rooms. The insurgents had probably driven the family out of the country and had taken possession of the house, which they had stripped of everything useful, leaving the tapestries and works of art behind them.