Even in the midst of his happiness John Craig has not forgotten the one important fact that brought him to Algiers.
While he can devote himself to laying a plan for the accomplishment of a certain object, and with the assistance of Lady Ruth arrange to surprise Sir Lionel Blunt, he is at the same time anxiously awaiting news.
Will old Ben Taleb carry out his promise? The heart of the young man beats high with hope.
Unconscious of a great surprise in store for him, John enters the hotel with Lady Ruth.
“A gentleman in the parlor to see you, sir.”
John’s face flashes; the instantaneous thought flashes into his mind that a messenger has at length come from the Moorish doctor.
His eyes are dazzled a little by the glare of the sun on white buildings, and the room is dim. A man’s figure advances toward him. Surely that step is familiar. Good heavens, what a shock comes upon him!
“John, my boy!”
He has believed this father to be at the other side of the world. He is surprised at the warmth of the greeting he receives. Really, this is quite unlike the proud man John has known all his life, a man who seemed to ever surround himself with a wall of coldness.
A sudden shock runs through John’s frame. It is as if he has been given the negative and positive ends of a battery. He believes that his mother is here, in this city. Can that have anything to do with his father’s coming?
A feeling of resentment springs up, then dies away as he gets a good look at his parent’s face.
“Father, what has happened? Have you failed; has any disaster come upon us?”
“Why do you ask that, John?”
“Your face; it is changed so. I miss something I have been accustomed to see there.”
Duncan Craig smiles.
“Ah! John, my boy, please Heaven, I am changed. I have been humbled in the dust, and I believe I have emerged from the furnace, I trust, a far better man.”
John is puzzled. He cannot make out what has caused this humbling on the part of his proud paternal ancestor, nor is he able to hazard a guess as to the effect it may have upon his fortunes.
Craig, Sr., does not explain what brings him to Algiers at this particular time, but immediately starts asking questions regarding the scenes John has gazed upon since leaving the German college of medicine where he received his graduation diploma.
While they are yet talking, who should appear on the scene but Lady Ruth.
“You carried off my fan, John, and I wanted to mend it while I had the chance. Oh! I beg your pardon; I did not know you were engaged. The clerk told me you were in here, but—”
John has eagerly darted forward and has hold of the fair girl’s arm.