The Kingdom of the Blind
There was a shrill whistle from the captain's bridge, and the steamer, which had scarcely
yet gathered way, swung slowly around. Rushing up towards it through the mists came a
little naval launch, in the stern of which a single man was seated. In an incredibly short
space of time it was alongside, the passenger had climbed up the rope ladder, the pinnace
had sheered off and the steamer was once more heading towards the Channel.
The newly-arrived passenger was making his way towards the saloon when a voice which
seemed to come from behind a pile of rugs heaped around a steamer-chair, arrested his
"Hugh! Major Thomson!"
He stopped short. Geraldine shook herself free from her rugs and sat up. They looked at
one another in astonishment.
"Why, Geraldine," he exclaimed, "where are you off to?"
"To Boulogne, of course," she answered. "Don't pretend that you are surprised. Why, you
got me the appointment yourself."
"Of course," he agreed, "only I had no idea that you were going just yet, or that you were
on this boat."
"They told me to come out this week," she said, as he drew a chair to her side, "and so
many of the nurses and doctors were going by this boat that I thought I would come, too.
I feel quite a professional already. Nearly all the women here are in nurse's uniform and
three-quarters of the men on board are doctors. Where are you going, Hugh?"
"Just to the Base and back again to-morrow," he told here. "There's a court martial I want
"Still mysterious," she laughed. "What have you to do with courts martial, Hugh?"
"Too much, just for the moment," he answered lightly. "Would you like some coffee or
She shook her head.
"No, thank you. I had an excellent supper before we started. I looked at some of the
cabins but I decided to spend the night on deck. What about you? You seem to have
arrived in a hurry."