THE WRECKED STAGE.
John Craig takes all the precautions that the courier mentions, for he does not care to awaken in the night and find a dark-faced fanatic of a Mohammedan in his room, sworn to accomplish his death.
Perhaps his safety is in part due to this; at any rate morning comes and finds him undisturbed.
When he descends from his room he has a vague hope that some word may have come from Ben Taleb.
In this respect he is doomed to disappointment, for there is no letter. So another day of waiting begins. The doctor is determined by nature, and has made up his mind that he will not give up his mission until he has accomplished that which he set out to perform, no matter if he spends weeks in the African city at the foot of the hills known as Sahel.
The others join him by degrees.
Such charming weather; a dozen trips for the day are proposed and rejected. All conclude to wait until after breakfast, when they will be in a condition to discuss the matter and decide just what is best to be done.
John is ready to join them and see the sights, for there is a chance that he may in this way run across the one he seeks, if she be moving about the city on errands of mercy, as becomes her order.
Besides, he places considerable dependence upon the promise of the old Moor.
So he enters into the discussion with assumed vigor, being magnetized now by the blue eyes of Lady Ruth.
They ask the advice of Mustapha Cadi, and he promises to show them many queer sights before the sun sinks behind the hills and the boom of the gun in the fortress announces the close of another day.
Thus, all of them prepare for a day’s outing, and Lady Ruth looks quite charming in her jaunty costume, especially suited for such business.
John no longer remembers the dazzling beauty of the Moorish girl who sat at the feet of old Ben Taleb on the preceding night; it could not compare with the vivacious intelligence of an educated girl coming from the countries beyond the seas.
First of all they mount the terraces of Mustapha Superieur and enjoy the magnificent view of the city and harbor. Many modern yachts lie upon the blue waters, side by side with strange vessels peculiar to the Mediterranean, while the incoming steamer from Oran is just entering the harbor.
Upon this ridge above the city lie numerous palatial residences now occupied by French and English families, but which were once owned by the pirate kings of Algiers, whose names may often be found upon the gate post, cut in letters of gold.
From this eyrie they scanned the sea with their glasses, and the appearance of a sail in the dim distance would be the signal for a mad chase to see which piratical felucca could first overhaul the stranger.
Uncle Sam had something to do with breaking up this tremendous pirates’ den, and France has since redeemed it.