Lady Conyers watched her daughter searchingly. Then she shook her head.
“I hope you have done wisely, dear,” she said.
At a little after noon on the following day Captain Granet descended from a taxicab in the courtyard of the Milan Hotel, and, passing through the swing doors, made his way to the inquiry office. A suave, black-coated young clerk hastened to the desk.
“Can you tell me,” Granet inquired, “whether a gentlemen named Guillot is staying here?”
The young man bowed.
“Monsieur Guillot arrived last night, sir,” he announced. “He has just rung down to say that if a gentlemen called to see him he could be shown up. Here, page,” he went on, turning to a diminutive youth in the background, “show this gentleman to number 322.”
Granet followed the boy to the lift and was conducted to a room on the third floor. The door was opened by a tall, white-haired Frenchman.
“Monsieur Guillot?” Captain Granet inquired pleasantly. “My name is Granet.”
The Frenchman ushered him in. The door was closed and carefully locked. Then Monsieur Guillot swung around and looked at his visitor with some curiosity. Granet was still wearing his uniform.
“France must live,” Granet murmured.
The Frenchman at once extended his hand.
“My friend,” he confessed, “for a moment I was surprised. It did not occur to me to see you in this guise.”
“I have been out at the Front,” he explained, “and am home wounded.”
“But an English officer?” Monsieur Guillot remarked dubiously. “I do not quite understand, then. The nature of the communication which I have come to receive is known to you?”
Granet nodded and accepted the chair which his host had offered.
“I do not think that you should be so much surprised,” he said simply. “If the war is grievous for your country, it is ruin to mine. We do not, perhaps, advertise our apprehensions in the papers. We prefer to keep them locked up in our own brain. There is one great fact always before us. Germany is unconquerable. One must find peace or perish.”
Monsieur Guillot listened with a curious look upon his face. His forefinger tapped the copy of the Times which was lying upon the table. The other nodded gravely.
“Yes,” he continued, “I know that our Press is carrying on a magnificent campaign of bluff. I know that many of the ignorant people of the country believe that this war is still being prosecuted with every hope of success. We who have been to the Front, especially those who have any source of information in Germany, know differently. The longer the war, the more ruinous the burden which your country and mine will have to bear.”