The Kingdom of the Blind HTML version

Chapter 14
Monsieur Guillot was a man of emotional temperament. For more than an hour after
Granet had left him, he paced up and down his little room, stood before the high windows
which overlooked the Thames, raised his hands above his head and gazed with flashing
eyes into the future--such a future! All his life he had been a schemer, his eyes turned
towards the big things, yet with himself always occupying the one glorified place in the
centre of the arena. He was, in one sense of the word, a patriot, but it was the meanest
and smallest sense. There was no great France for him in which his was not the
commanding figure. In every dream of that wonderful future, of a more splendid and
triumphant France, he saw himself on the pinnacle of fame, himself acclaimed by
millions the strong great man, the liberator. France outside himself lived only as a
phantasy. And now at last his chance had come. The minutes passed unnoticed as he built
his way up into the future. He was shrewd and calculating, he took note of the pitfalls he
must avoid. One by one he decided upon the men whom gradually and cautiously he
would draw into his confidence. Finally he saw the whole scheme complete, the bomb-
shell thrown, France hysterically casting laurels upon the man who had brought her
unexpected peace.
The door-bell rang. He answered it a little impatiently. A slim, fashionably dressed young
Frenchman stood there, whose face was vaguely familiar to him.
"Monsieur Guillot?" the newcomer inquired politely.
Guillot bowed. The young man handed him a card.
"I am the Baron D'Evignon," he announced, "second secretary at the Embassy here."
Monsieur Guillot held the card and looked at his visitor. He was very puzzled. Some dim
sense of foreboding was beginning to steal in upon him.
"Be so kind as to come in, Monsieur le Baron," he invited. "Will you not be seated and
explain to me to what I am indebted for this honour? You do not, by any chance, mistake
me for another? I am Monsieur Guillot, lately, alas! Of Lille."
The Baron smiled ever so slightly as he waved away the chair.
"There is no mistake, Monsieur Guillot," he said. "I come to you with a message from my
Chief. He would be greatly honoured if you would accompany me to the Embassy. He
wishes a few minutes' conversation with you."
"With me?" Monsieur Guillot echoed incredulously. "But there is some mistake."
"No mistake, I assure you," the young man insisted.