Return to headquarters—
A letter from the editor, with
return to new York— bill Hickson goes, too.
Archie left the cruiser when she was once more at anchor, and, going ashore to the American camp, he found things in a very lively condition at the close of the afternoon’s battle. Every man was very jubilant over the retreat which had been turned into a great victory, and Archie was congratulated on having been the lucky man to carry the news of the coming of the rebels to the admiral. The officers were all in the best of humour, except the colonel, who felt somewhat sad on account of the death of his five faithful servants, as the men first shot turned out to have been.
“There were never any better men than they,” said the colonel, “and I would almost as soon my own men had been shot.” But he bore the ship’s company no malice for their mistake, which he said was a very natural one.
After the capture of so many rebels, and the killing of so many others, it was felt that the rebel army in this part of the island was pretty well disbanded, and that it would soon disappear altogether. It had been known, from the very beginning of hostilities, that there was a large force of insurgents somewhere in this neighbourhood, but not until to-day had the colonel seen anything of them. But it was impossible, all the officers said, that there could be any more troops about, for these two thousand represented a very considerable portion of the entire rebel army. And now that these were done away with, the colonel said there was no need of his remaining any longer in this place, and that he would like to get back to Manila as quickly as possible. Hearing this, the admiral said he thought room could be made for all the men aboard the cruiser, and that they could all return at once if they so desired. This generous offer was at once accepted by the colonel, and the next day the work of embarkation began. By night every man was aboard, and a place of some kind had been found where he could sleep, but of course, every portion of the vessel was much overcrowded. This only made things all the more lively, however, and Archie, as well as all the others, thought he had never enjoyed any trip so much as these three days spent in getting back again to Manila. There was always fun of some sort going on. If some one wasn’t dancing, there was sure to be singing. And then there were several ingenious games which were invented for the occasion, so that time never passed slowly. Indeed, there were many who were sorry when the capital was finally reached, but Archie was not among these, for he expected some mail to be awaiting him from the editor of the Enterprise. And he hoped that in this mail he would find permission to return to New York.