John tries to study his father in secret, but finds it a hard task.
Craig, Sr., is a lawyer of repute in Chicago, a man with a large income. He has been called a Sphinx, and well deserves the cognomen, for no man shows less upon his face the emotions of his heart.
Only in debate, and when addressing a jury that hangs breathlessly upon his words, does he drop the mask and show what fire is in his soul.
So John, as in times of old, is unable to fathom the depths of his father’s thoughts.
He is wretched, not knowing whether the coming of Craig, Sr., will influence his mission for good or evil.
And still the expected message from Ben Taleb does not come.
Once more evening vails day’s splendor, and another night approaches, a night that John hopes will make a change in this monotonous run of luck, and bring him news.
Imagine his astonishment and secret delight when an open carriage stops at the door of the hotel, and as he glances at the elegant couple seated therein discovers Sir Lionel and the Potter.
It almost takes his breath away.
“Well, he is a hurricane in love, I declare. If he fought in the same way, the Victoria cross wouldn’t be enough to decorate him. Jove! they already are dead set, each with the other. That was the cleverest piece of business I ever attempted. If success comes, I’ll have to set up as a match-maker.”
How gallantly Sir Lionel assists the lovely actress from the vehicle, as if he expects that the whole town may be watching.
Doubtless his actions are in part studied with a view to the effect upon a certain person, nameless, who must assuredly be looking from her chamber window above.
In that case he is apt to go too far, and soon find himself in the wiles of Pauline, who, accustomed to playing with men as one might the pieces on a chess-board, would have little trouble in manipulating one Englishman, fresh from the wilds of South Africa.
So John rests on his oars and waits for the chance to come; and the unseen hand that weaves the fabric of their lives, manipulates the shuttle through the woof.
FOUND—IN THE HOUSE OF THE MOOR.
John hears at last.
A native servant brings him a note, and it can be set down as positive that the young Chicagoan eagerly breaks the seal.
It is from Ben Taleb. He writes a fair English hand, for he is a man of much education.
“Come again this night at eleven. Tell Mustapha to be at the wall where you departed from my house, at that hour, and to rap upon the large stone with the handle of his knife, giving the signal of Mahomet’s tomb.
“Ben Taleb, of Morocco.”
So John’s heart thrills with expectation. This looks friendly; he may be near the end of his journey. It is still dark and uncertain ahead, for even when he has found his mother, a reconciliation between these separated parents seems impossible. The past has too much of bitterness in it to be easily put aside.