THE UNKNOWN MR. KENT
matters. You see, as I have confessed, being an American, I have never before been a sort of mem- ber of a king's household."
A slow, patient smile spread over his ingenuous face as he looked at her, and she, more than ever angered at the strange sense of power that this man exhaled, felt herself again worsted in the tilt and in proportion hated herself for her weakness. She felt that it was unbecoming to her dignity of position, that had perforce commanded respect, to her beauty, that had brought leaders of her own class to her feet, to stand meekly and in a ridiculous light before this scoffer from an alien land. She had regarded America as a great blatant nation, without historical precedent, ruled by an official known as a president, who, while in power, must be tolerated and addressed patron- isingly, and promptly forgotten and ignored after his departure from office. Marken was, after all, its superior. It was a kingdom! Ruled by those whose ancestors had ruled it for hundreds of years ! A king, no matter what his personal habits or strength, must as a matter of course be far greater, and of an entirely superior mould to a mere accident of popularity thrust into power by an impossible people. Once some one had told her, laughingly, that the kingdom of Marken was not so important in the world's affairs as New
York, and she, a school girl, had felt highly in-