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- The Adventures of a Boy Reporter - 20/23 -


and he at once hunted up the bashful hero, and insisted that he leave at once, and make the trip with him. This was finally agreed to, and when it was settled that the two old chums were to travel homeward together the whole camp in Manila was interested in the news. They were both very popular, and almost every night before their departure there was a pleasure party of some kind arranged for them. One night they would give a regular "stag," as they called them, and then again they would arrange a sort of musicale, at which there would be clog-dancing, banjo music, and various games to increase the fun.

The four days passed very quickly indeed, and at last the day for sailing arrived. There was a great throng at the pier to see them off, and there was no end of good wishes and stories of the good times now gone by. When the steamer finally moved out into the open, there were three cheers each for Archie and "brave Bill Hickson," in which every man appeared to join with all his heart and voice. And there were tears in Archie's eyes at having to part from such true friends. It was hard to tell, too, when he would ever see any of them again. He realised that hereafter his path and theirs would probably lie in different directions. He was going to New York to work as a reporter, and they, if they were not killed in battle, would be scattered in all parts of the great United States, at the mustering out of the troops. It was all very sad, and even Bill Hickson seemed to feel the solemnity of the occasion, for he had nothing to say for many hours after the vessel had started on its journey.

Archie, too, felt homesick at having to leave, and they went to bed very early, apparently feeling that the best thing under such circumstances was to be asleep. And when morning came they both felt somewhat better, for Archie arose filled with hope for the future, and more anxious than ever to reach home. Bill Hickson, too, was not loath to return to the United States, even though he had no relatives waiting there to welcome him. The poor fellow had been through a great deal while in the Philippines, and his constitution was almost wrecked by the constant strain to which he was subjected. He had never fully recovered from his accident of several weeks before, and he felt that he needed a rest from the constant excitement and worry of life in the army. He was tired, too, of being a spy. He had never relished the work, but he had realised how necessary it was for the Americans to have some one to follow up Aguinaldo and let the general know of his movements. "They'll be a long time catching him now," he said, time and again, to Archie. "He's a much shrewder man than they think, and he knows his Philippine Islands like a book. He can go from one place to another without the Americans ever knowing where he disappeared to, and without some one to follow him they will never be able to learn anything of his movements."

Bill had received nearly two hundred dollars in back pay, so he felt quite rich, and Archie told him that if he should happen to run out, and need more money, he would be very glad to furnish it to him, For Archie was now determined to take Bill Hickson to New York, and introduce him to Mr. Van Bunting, feeling sure that the wise editor would thank him for bringing to his attention a man at once so interesting and so worthy as this hero of the war had proved himself to be. But for the present Bill would discuss nothing of the kind. He was thoroughly content to sit beside Archie on the warm steamer deck, and watch the ever varied surface of the Indian Ocean.

CHAPTER XXIII.

HONG KONG-- A HAPPY TIME IN TOKIO-- HONOLULU AGAIN-- ARRIVAL IN SAN FRANCISCO, AND A GREAT RECEPTION BY THE PRESS-- ARCHIE AND BILL ARRIVE IN NEW YORK, AND ARE THE HEROES OF THE HOUR.

AFTER a short and pleasant voyage they reached Hong Kong, and Archie found this city to be much more interesting than he had expected to find it. It was charming, he thought, to run across a place which combined the conveniences of England and America with the picturesque oddities of China and Japan, and he enjoyed himself to the utmost during the two days they spent there. Bill Hickson enjoyed the place, too, and they would both have liked to remain longer had it been possible for them to do so, but they were anxious to see something of Japan before sailing for San Francisco, and their steamer was due to leave Yokohama in eleven days.

But they did enjoy Hong Kong to the utmost while they were there. They called first, of course, upon the American consul, whom they found to be an exceedingly pleasant man. They learned, to their great surprise, that he had read of Archie Dunn, and of Bill Hickson, too, in the Enterprise, and Archie began to think that his paper had a much wider circulation than even the editors claimed for it. He thought it very remarkable, at first, that a man living in Hong Kong should have read about his Philippine experiences in a New York paper, but of course, after he thought of it awhile, it didn't seem such a very remarkable thing, after all. And after this, when they heard of people having read of them, they weren't so much surprised, having come to realise the tremendous circulation of this paper.

The consul did all in his power to make their stay in Hong Kong pleasant. He was anxious to have a formal dinner for them, but Bill Hickson said that he would much prefer not having to dress up, and Archie was willing for Bill's sake to forego the honour. So they spent their two days in going about the city, visiting the quaint Chinese shops, and seeing everything of particular interest. They found many wonderful things to look at, and Archie said that he couldn't imagine any more delightful place; but Bill told him to wait until they reached Japan, for he'd find that much more charming than Hong Kong. "I've been there before," said Bill, "and I know what I'm talkin' about, and I say there ain't no such place on earth as Japan for interestin' things to look at, and pleasant things to do." And when, a few days later, Archie was initiated into some of the mysteries of Japanese life by his experienced friend, he was willing to admit the truth of all he had heard concerning the land of the chrysanthemum. He found everything quite beyond his expectations. The people themselves were more quaint in their dress and manners than he had expected to find them, and the houses and the pagodas were much more picturesque than he had imagined they would be. And the whole atmosphere of the country seemed filled with romance and history, and it wasn't at all hard to believe that the Japanese have longer family trees than any other nation on earth.

They spent a few days travelling through the provincial districts of the little kingdom, and then they reached Tokio, where Bill was anxious to spend several days. "I know some folks here who can take us around and show us everything that's worth seeing," he said, "and we can spend our time to better advantage here than anywhere else I know of." And sure enough, Bill did know some people in the capital city, some pleasant English people, who had met the open-hearted Westerner when he was in the city years before, and who had at once appreciated the true nobility of his character. They were very kind to Archie,-- so kind that the lad thought he had never before met such pleasant people. And they were thoroughly interested in all his adventures, from the time he left home late in the preceding summer until now. He had to tell them all about his New York adventures, and also about their experiences together in the Philippines, and his new friends showed the greatest interest in all he had to say, and seemed to find it all vastly entertaining. They were anxious, Archie thought, to make him have a very good time in Tokio, to make up for some of his hard experiences, and if this were indeed their object, they succeeded admirably in accomplishing it. Every day was filled with surprises, and every night Archie thought he had enjoyed himself more this day than the day before. They travelled about the city so persistently, on foot and in the quaint jinrikishas, that he felt that he knew almost every part of Tokio, and he witnessed every side of native existence, as well as the life in the foreign quarter. It was all charmingly new and interesting, and, as in Hong Kong, they were both sorry when the day for their sailing came around. And always since Archie has declared that no one can be more kindly hospitable than the English.

The voyage from Yokohama to San Francisco was slow and monotonous, Archie thought, for he was now very impatient to reach the United States, and he had also grown very tired of travel by water. There were some very pleasant passengers, but Archie couldn't see that he had a much better time than when he was peeling potatoes corning over. That was interesting enough, anyhow. The only break in the monotony was the day they were enabled to spend in Honolulu, and on that day Archie went again to some of the places he had seen during his first visit to the attractive city. And he called again upon some of the friends of his first visit, and found that most of them had read of his great success as a war correspondent, and of his many exciting experiences in the Philippines. They were all profuse in congratulating him upon what he had accomplished, and every one seemed to think he had been very successful indeed.

While they were in Honolulu a vessel arrived, bound for Japan, and Archie was delighted to find it was the same vessel upon which he had worked his passage from San Francisco on his way to Manila. He went aboard and met some of the friends he had made there, and found that they all knew now who it was they had carried as chore-boy in the galley. They all seemed glad to hear of his success, and to know that he was coming home as a first-class passenger. The cook treated him with much deference, and started to apologise for his treatment of Archie on the way over; but the boy stopped him, and told him that no apology was necessary. "I think I may have been an unwilling worker," he said, "because of course I didn't like the work at all, and it was hard for me to take an interest in peeling potatoes when I was looking forward to accomplishing such great things in the Philippines."

"Oh," said the cook, "you was a fine worker. Sure, I ain't had so good a boy since." And Archie laughed to see the change in opinion which is sometimes brought about by a change in circumstances.

Archie enjoyed the city quite as much as before, but he was glad, nevertheless, when the steamer continued her voyage east. And then he began to count the days until they should arrive in San Francisco, and of course these last days seemed the longest ones of the voyage. But they gradually passed away, and as they steamed ahead, coming nearer every hour to that dear land called "home," both Archie and Bill began to wonder how they would like it all, after their adventurous life in the Philippines. Bill, in particular, was doubtful whether he would again be able to settle down to a quiet existence in some small place, and Archie assured him that he must live in New York, where he would be sure to find things lively enough to suit him.

At last came the eventful day when the great steamer threaded her way through the beautiful Golden Gate, and discharged her passengers at the pier. As Archie and Bill had but little baggage, they were almost the first ones to leave the vessel, and were hurrying away to find a hotel where they could remain overnight when Archie felt some one touch him on the shoulder, and, turning about and seeing no one he knew, was about to go on, when a man introduced himself as being the San Francisco correspondent of the Enterprise. "And these gentlemen here," said he, "are reporters from the newspapers here. They would be glad to have you say a few words about your experiences during the last few months." Archie was quite dumbfounded. It had never occurred to him that he was a person so important as to be interviewed, but he was willing and glad to accommodate the reporters, and told them to accompany him to his hotel. Once there, he answered all their questions, and didn't find it hard at all to give them his opinion of the situation in the Philippines, and what he thought should be done


The Adventures of a Boy Reporter - 20/23

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