He went into the street, and a sallow-faced man with a slender malacca cane held in his hand as if it were a rapier, came to the door of the room and said something in French, indignant that he should be disturbed. He waved the cane menacingly after Meeker and slammed the door. Leaving the bank, I turned toward the Escolta, which is the principal business street of Manila.
One day in late December a forlorn-looking fellow begged a drink of the bartender at the Alhambra on the Escolta said he was out of money, deserted by his friends, and took occasion to remind the dispenser of fluid refreshment that a few weeks ago when he had funds and friends both he had spent many a dollar there. The bartender waved him away.
The basement-floor of the houses being generally uninhabited, there are no windows opened in their walls, which present a mass of whitewashed stone and lime, without an object to divert the eye, except here and there, where small shops have been opened in them, these being generally for selling rice, fruit, oil, &c., and entirely deficient in the glare or glittering colours of gay merchandise, nearly all of which is confined to the shops of the Escolta, Rosario, and Santo Christo.
I will follow my young sergentes inside in five minutes or ten. Then they will be ripe for the man who talks money." Hal and Noll had entered one of the most attractive little shops to be found anywhere along the Escolta. This store is kept by a Chinaman, who sells the more costly curios of the Far East.
Here are wonderful beaded portieres and the most costly of curious Chinese garments for women. In a word, the bazaars of China are nobly represented on the Escolta. But there is much more besides. The most attractive curios from India, from Ceylon, the Malay Peninsula and of native Filipino workmanship are all to be found here. It is not the place to enter when one has not much money.
Have the secretary make out an order to the lieutenant of the Civil Guard for the old man's release. They sha'n't say that we're not clement and merciful." He looked at Ben-Zayb. The journalist winked. Reluctantly, and almost with tearful eyes, Placido Penitente was going along the Escolta on his way to the University of Santo Tomas.
Sergeant Hal briefly related the adventure that he and Noll had had with Vicente Tomba on the Escolta, and their subsequent meeting with Tomba and Draney on the south side of the Pasig. Hal also repeated what they had overheard Tomba saying to Draney. Hal then described the flight of the pair in the quilez. "Yet Draney declares that he never heard of Tomba," said the captain musingly.
Seized by the instinct of self-preservation, he thought then of saving himself. It might occur to any of the guests through curiosity to tamper with the wick and then would come the explosion to overwhelm them all. Still he heard Simoun say to the cochero, "The Escolta, hurry!"
He invariably kept about a hundred feet behind them in this queerly bustling yet ever leisurely crowd that thronged the sidewalks of the Escolta.
While Hal and Noll were curiously noting the fact that the Escolta seems always so busy, but the individuals who make up the life there seem never in a hurry the man who was plainly following them never glanced at them directly, yet never once lost sight of them. Neither Hal nor Noll had yet noted the man, about whom there were some points that would have been amusing to the American youngsters.