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The Kingdom of the Blind

Chapter 7
"I wonder why you don't like Captain Granet?" Geraldine asked her fiance, as they stood
in the drawing-room waiting for dinner.
"Not like him?" Thomson repeated. "Have I really given you that impression,
Geraldine?"
The girl nodded.
"Perhaps I ought not to say that, though," she confessed. "You are never particularly
enthusiastic about people, are you?"
One of his rare smiles transfigured his face. He leaned a little towards her.
"Not about many people, Geraldine," he whispered.
She made a charming little grimace but a moment afterwards she was serious again.
"But really," she continued, "to me Captain Granet seems just the type of young
Englishman who is going to save the country. He is a keen soldier, clever, modest, and a
wonderful sportsman. I can't think what there is about him fro any one to dislike."
Major Thomson glanced across the room. In a way, he and the man whom he felt
instinctively was in some sense of the word his rival, even though an undeclared one,
were of exactly opposite types. Granet was the centre of a little group of people who all
seemed to be hanging upon his conversation. He was full of high spirits and humour,
debonair, with all the obvious claims to popularity. Thomson, on the other hand, although
good-looking, even distinguished in his way, was almost too slim and pale. His face was
more the face of a scholar than of one interested in or anxious to shine in the social side
of life. His manners and his speech were alike reserved, his air of breeding was apparent,
but he had not the natural ease or charm which was making Granet, even in those few
minutes, persona grata with Geraldine's mother and a little circle of newly-arrived guests.
"At least I appreciate your point of view," Major Thomson admitted, with a faint sigh.
"Don't be such a dear old stick," Geraldine laughed. "I want you to like him because I
find him so interesting. You see, as he gets to know one a little better he doesn't seem to
mind talking about the war. You others will scarcely say a word of what you have seen or
of what is being done out there. I like to be told things by people who have actually seen
them. He happened to be ten minutes early this evening and he gave me a most
fascinating description of some skirmishing near La Bassee."
"You must remember," Thomson told her, "that personally I do not, in an ordinary way,
see a great deal of fighting until the whole show is over. It may be a fine enough
 
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