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Page:Roy Norton--The unknown Mr Kent.djvu/136

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"Is that Her Royal Highness* conception of honour in financial undertakings?'* questioned a dry voice behind them, and they turned to observe Kent standing quietly in the doorway.

"I didn't hear any one announce you," she said, nettled by his unexpected interruption.

"No," he replied, affably, "I don't suppose you did. As an admission, I will say that I'm so un- used to court affairs, and dwelling with royalty, and the presence of superiority, that I have not yet learned all that is expected of one under such, circumstances. In many ways I'm what we call, over home, a Rube. But now that I am here, I

don't remember that you answered my question." His eyes met hers unflinchingly, insistently. She wondered if there was not a little of scorn in them; tolerant, but, just the same, scorn such as one bestows upon those guilty of moral delin- quency. She was driven to defence.

"I feel no compulsion to answer the questions of one who is merely a financial agent," she re- torted, "but since you have wilfully tried to mis- construe my meaning, I will explain that there are occasions when, of necessity, one is forced to adopt measures that under other conditions would not be at all considered. This is one of them. The dignity of royalty must be maintained."

"The dignity of royalty—must be maintained,

even by the repudiation of its honest debts! You