The Kingdom of the Blind HTML version

Chapter 17
Lady Anselman stood once more in the foyer of the Ritz Hotel and counted her guests. It
was a smaller party this time, and in its way a less distinguished one. There were a couple
of officers, friends of Granet's, back from the Front on leave; Lady Conyers, with
Geraldine and Olive; Granet himself; and a tall, dark girl with pallid complexion and
brilliant eyes, who had come with Lady Anselman and who was standing now by her
"I suppose you know everybody, my dear?" Lady Anselman asked her genially.
The girl shook her head a little disconsolately.
"We are so little in London, Lady Anselman," she murmured. "You know how difficult
father is, and just now he is worse than ever. In fact, if he weren't so hard at work I don't
believe he'd have let me come even now."
"These scientific men," Lady Anselman declared, "are great boons to the country, but as
parent I am afraid they are just a little thoughtless. Major Harrison and Colonel Grey, let
me present you to my young charge--for the day only, unfortunately--Miss Worth. Now,
Ronnie, if you can be persuaded to let Miss Conyers have a moment's peace perhaps you
will show us the way in to lunch."
Granet promptly abandoned his whispered conversation with Geraldine. The little
company moved in and took their places at the round table which was usually reserved
for Lady Anselman on Tuesdays.
"Some people," the latter remarked, as she seated herself, "find fault with me for going on
with my luncheons this season. Even Alfred won't come except now and then. Personally,
I have very strong views about it. I think we all ought to keep on doing just the same as
usual--to a certain extent, of course. There is no reason why we should bring the hotel
proprietors and shopkeepers to the brink of ruin because we are all feeling more or less
"Quite right," her neighbour, Colonel Grey, assented. "I am sure it wouldn't do us any
good out there to feel that you were all sitting in sackcloth and ashes. Besides, think how
pleasant this is to come home to," he added, looking around the little table. "Jove! What a
good-looking girl Miss Conyers is!"
Lady Anselman nodded and lowered her voice a little.
"She has just broken her engagement to Surgeon-Major Thomson. I wonder whether you
know him?"