The Kingdom of the Blind HTML version

Chapter 21
At about half-past ten that evening, Granet suddenly threw down his cue in the middle of
a game of billiards, and stood, for a moment, in a listening attitude.
"Jove, I believe that's an airship!" he exclaimed, and hurried out of the room.
They all followed him. He was standing just outside the French-windows of the sitting-
room, upon the gravel walk, his head upturned, listening intently. There was scarcely a
breath of wind, no moon nor any stars. Little clouds of grey mist hung about on the
marshes, shutting out their view of the sea. The stillness was more than usually intense.
"Can't hear a thing," young Anselman muttered at last.
"It may have been fancy," Granet admitted.
"A motor-cycle going along the Huntstanton Road," Major Harrison suggested.
"It's a magnificent night for a raid," Dickens remarked glancing around.
"No chance of Zepps over here, I should say," Collins declared, a little didactically. "I
was looking at your map at the golf club only this morning."
They all made their way back to the house. Granet, however, seemed still dissatisfied.
"I'm going to see that my car's all right," he told them. "I left it in the open shed."
He was absent for about twenty minutes. When he returned, they had finished the game
of snooker pool without him and were all sitting on the lounge by the side of the billiard
table, talking of the war. Granet listened for a few minutes and then said good-night a
little abruptly. He lit his candle outside and went slowly to his room. Arrived there, he
glanced at his watch and locked the door. It was half-past eleven. He changed his clothes
quickly, put on some rubber-soled shoes and slipped a brandy flask and a revolver into
his pocket. Then he sat down before his window with his watch in his hand. He was
conscious of a certain foreboding from which he had never been able to escape since his
arrival. In France and Belgium he had lived through fateful hours, carrying more than
once his life in his hands. His risk to-night was an equal one but the exhilaration seemed
lacking. This work in a country apparently at peace seemed somehow on a different level.
If it were less dangerous, it was also less stimulating. In those few moments the soldier
blood in him called for the turmoil of war, the panorama of life and death, the fierce, hot
excitement of juggling with fate while the heavens themselves seemed raining death on
every side. Here there was nothing but silence, the soft splash of the distant sea, the
barking of a distant dog. The danger was vivid and actual but without the stimulus of that
blood-red background. He glanced at his watch. It wanted still ten minutes to twelve. For
a moment then he suffered his thoughts to go back to the new thing which had crept into