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Kingdom of the Blind - E. Phillips Oppenheim

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The Kingdom of the Blind
by E. Phillips Oppenheim

CHAPTER I

Lady Anselman stood in the centre of the lounge at the Ritz Hotel and with a
delicately-poised forefinger counted her guests.  There was the great French
actress who had every charm but youth, chatting vivaciously with a tall,
pale-faced man whose French seemed to be as perfect as his attitude was
correct.  The popular wife of a great actor was discussing her husband's
latest play with a Cabinet Minister who had the air of a school-boy present at
an illicit feast.  A very beautiful young woman, tall and fair, with grey-blue
eyes and a wealth of golden, almost yellow hair, was talking to a famous
musician.  A little further in the background, a young man in the uniform of a
naval lieutenant was exchanging what seemed to be rather impressive chaff with
a petite but exceedingly good-looking girl.  Lady Anselman counted them twice,
glanced at the clock and frowned.

"I can't remember whom we are waiting for!" she exclaimed a little helplessly
to the remaining guest, a somewhat tired-looking publisher who stood by her
side.  "I am one short.  I dare say it will come to me in a minute.  You know
every one, I suppose, Mr. Daniell?"

The publisher shook his head.

"I have met Lord Romsey and also Madame Selarne," he observed.  "For the rest,
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