Lady Ruth is pale—she has looked upon sights such as are not usually seen by her sex—sights that make strong men shudder until they become battle hardened, for war is always cruel and bloody.
“Let us get to the hotel as soon as possible,” she says to Aunt Gwen.
“My goodness, are you going to faint?” exclaims that good soul.
“Oh, no, I don’t think so, but the sooner I am at the hotel the better,” replies the girl.
“There comes John Craig. He has been talking with the officer in command of the soldiers, and I guess has made some sort of arrangements for us.”
What Aunt Gwen says is true enough, for John leads them to captured horses, and ere long they are moving in the direction of Algiers, escorted by a detachment of the zouaves on foot.
Their trials for the night are over, but they will never forget what they have seen and endured. John is secretly fuming, as he ponders over the facts. If he could only prove that Sir Lionel is the direct cause of all this trouble, he would demand satisfaction from the Briton in some shape. That is where the trouble lies, in proving it. What he has learned thus far can be put down as only suspicions or hints, though they look bad for the Briton.
If Lady Ruth has observed enough to open her eyes with regard to the veteran soldier, John will call it quits.
A thought occurs to him, even as he rides toward Algiers, that causes a grim smile to break out upon his face. It is a thought worthy of a Richelieu—an idea brilliant with possibilities.
“Here are Sir Lionel and Pauline—two despairing people who long for the unattainable. Why should they not be mated? It is perhaps possible, and would be a master stroke of genius on my part. Jove! I’ll see what I can do! Great pity to have all the plotting on one side of the house.”
From that hour John Craig devotes his whole mind to the accomplishment of this purpose, for he sees the benefit of diplomacy.
This is the great idea that is struggling in his mind as he rides along.
SHE CALLS HIM JOHN NOW.
When the news of the battle is known in Algiers, great excitement abounds. There are many sympathizers of Bab Azoun among the native population, and in some quarters their ugly teeth are shown; but France has too secure a hold of Algeria not to be ready for such an emergency, and her troops parade the streets, armed for battle.
Consequently no demonstration on the part of the natives is attempted. Among the foreigners, and in the better circles of merchants and traders, there is great rejoicing over the victory, for it has long been dangerous to travel in the region of the coast because of the bold forays of this same Bab Azoun. They hope his power will now be broken, and that perhaps the outlaw himself may be dead.
In the morning our friends gather for breakfast. John alone is absent, nor do they know what has become of him, for the clerk of the hotel informs them that the Chicagoan was early astir.