The Kingdom of the Blind
Surgeon-Major Thomson looked up almost eagerly as Ambrose entered his room the next
morning. The young man's manner was dejected and there were black lines under his
eyes. He answered his chief's unspoken question by a little shake of the head.
"No luck, sir," he announced. "I spent the whole of last night at it, too--never went to bed
at all. I've tried it with thirty-one codes. Then I've taken the first line or two and tried
every possible change."
"I couldn't make anything of it myself," Thomson confessed, looking at the sheet of paper
which even at that moment was spread out before him. "All the same, Ambrose, I don't
believe in it."
"Neither do I, sir." The other assented eagerly. "I am going to have another try this
afternoon. Perhaps there'll be some more letters in then and we can tell whether there's
"I've a sort of feeling, Ambrose," he said, "that we sha'n't have many of these letters."
"Why not, sir?"
"I heard by telephone, just before you came," Thomson announced, "that a certain very
distinguished person was on his way to see me. Cabinet Ministers don't come here for
nothing, and this one happens to be a friend of Sir Alfred's."
"More interference, sir," he groaned. "I don't see how they can expect us to run our
department with the civilians butting in wherever they like. They want us to save the
country and they're to have the credit for it."
There was a knock at the door. A boy scout entered. His eyes were a little protuberant, his
manner betokened awe.
"Mr. Gordon Jones, sir!"
Mr. Gordon Jones entered without waiting for any further announcement. Thomson rose
to his feet and received a genial handshake, after which the newcomer glanced at
Ambrose. Thomson signed to his assistant to leave the room.
"Major Thomson," the Cabinet Minister began impressively, as he settled down in his
chair, "I have come here to confer with you, to throw myself, to a certain extent, upon