The two visitors aboard took their meals at the officers’ table, and they kept the whole party interested for many days, with their stories of the war in Luzon and of their very unusual adventures both at home and in the Philippines. For it turned out that Bill Hickson had visited almost every part of the United States, and had lived in all sorts of places. He had been a cowboy in Texas, and a miner in the Klondike, and he had also been a policeman in Chicago. He knew more stories to tell than any other man at the table could think of, and he told them in a way that was wholly charming.
Archie found that every one was very much interested in hearing about his leaving home, and how he had happened to become a reporter on the New York Enterprise. No one seemed to tire of listening to his stories of his adventures in the great American city, and many of the officers told him that they would give a good deal to have had his experiences in life.
And so it wasn’t long until the two chums were friendly with all on board, and after awhile things went along as though Archie and Bill had never lived elsewhere than aboard ship. There was nothing exciting for nearly a week. The cruiser steamed slowly along the shore, sometimes stopping entirely, while the officers levelled their glasses upon the beach, to see whether there were any signs of the rebels being there. Sometimes, if things looked suspicious, parties were sent ashore to reconnoitre, but they seldom returned with news that would encourage the admiral to investigate further. The days passed quietly, and the two convalescents enjoyed themselves well enough. They were both much improved already by the trip, and felt almost as well as ever. They each had a steamer chair, and hour after hour they sat upon the deck and watched the ever-changing panorama of the tropical shore. Now the beach would descend slowly to the sea, and there would be numerous palm-trees and luxuriant vegetation growing close within view, but again there would be steep clips, which looked menacing to a ship in the dark. But it was all beautiful, cliffs or sandy beach, and Archie thought he had seldom passed such a wholly delightful week.
But, of course, it all became monotonous in time, and every one, even the officers, longed for a change. The reconnoitring parties were sent out more frequently now, and every one hoped each time that they would return with news of the rebels, but they were always disappointed. The admiral now determined to steam ahead more rapidly, so that they might get around the western end of the island. It was evident that there were no insurgents along this shore, and as there were no villages of any consequence, either, he was anxious to reach the southern shore, where it was known the rebels had recently been gathering. The towns, too, were very numerous here on account of the excellent fishing, and it was hoped that some good work might be accomplished for Uncle Sam before another week passed.