The Kingdom of the Blind HTML version

Chapter 30
Granet, on his return to Sackville Street, paid the taxicab driver, ascended the stairs and
let himself into his rooms with very much the air of a man who has passed through a
dream. A single glance around, however, brought him vivid realisations of his
unwelcome visitor. The little plate of sandwiches, half finished, the partly emptied bottle
of wine, were still there. One of her gloves lay in the corner of the easy-chair. He picked
it up, drew it for a moment through his fingers, then crushed it into a ball and flung it into
the fire. Jarvis, who had heard him enter, came from one of the back rooms.
"Clear these things away, Jarvis,' his master ordered. "Leave the whiskey and soda and
tobacco on the table. I may be late."
Jarvis silently obeyed. As soon as he was alone, Granet threw himself into the easy-chair.
He was filled with a bitter sense of being entrapped. He had been a little rash at Market
Burnham, perhaps, but if any other man except Thomson had been sent there, his
explanations would have been accepted without a word, and all this miserable
complication would have been avoided. He thought over Isabel's coming, all that she had
said. She had left him no loophole. She had the air of a young woman who knew her own
mind excellently well. A single word from her to Thomson and the whole superstructure
of his ingeniously built-up life might tumble to pieces. He sat with folded arms in a grim
attitude of unrest, thinking bitter thoughts. They rolled into his brain like black shadows.
He had been honest in the first instance. With ancestors from both countries, he had
deliberately chosen the country to which he felt the greatest attachment. He remembered
his long travels in Germany, he remembered on his return his growing disapproval of
English slackness, her physical and moral decadence. Her faults had inspired him not
with the sorrow of one of her real sons, but with the contempt of one only half bound to
her by natural ties. The ground had been laid ready for the poison. He had started
honestly enough. His philosophy had satisfied himself. He had felt no moral degradation
in wearing the uniform of one country for the benefit of another. All this self-disgust he
dated from the coming of Geraldine Conyers. Now he was weary of it all, face to face,
too, with a disagreeable and insistent problem.
He started suddenly in his chair. An interruption ordinary enough, but never without a
certain startling effect, had broken in upon his thoughts. The telephone on his table was
ringing insistently. He rose to his feet and glanced at the clock as he crossed the room. It
was five minutes past twelve. As he took up the receiver a familiar voice greeted him.
"Is that Ronnie? Yes, this is Lady Anselman. Your uncle told me to ring you up to see if
you were in. He wants you to come round."
"What, to-night?"
"Do come, Ronnie," his aunt continued. "I don't suppose it's anything important but your
uncle seems to want it. No, I sha'n't see you. I'm just going to bed. I have been playing