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Page:Roy Norton--The unknown Mr Kent.djvu/161

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"Opening a new set of government books, Sire, under the direction of a London accountant to whom Mr. Kent telegraphed."

The king looked helpless and puzzled and said, "Weren't the old ones—Ummh!"

"Mr. Kent said all the old books were mere waste. Said he would put the accounts of Marken in such shape that he could tell each night exactly where the kingdom stood, or know the reason why."

"Incredible!" exclaimed the king. "No one ever heard of such a thing."

"That is what Baron Von Glutz told Mr. Kent."

The king grinned and his eyes lighted as he asked what Mr. Kent had replied.

"Mr. Kent asked the baron if he had ever heard that in America there were now large and thriving orchards of cheese trees, and when the baron answered that he had not, Mr. Kent said, 'There you are! You see there's a lot of things you never heard of. Every child in America knows as well about the cheese tree as every big corporation knows about the watermelon. Whenever possible, every big board of directors in America assembles in solemn conclave and cuts one."

The king looked as if he almost believed it; but did not disclose ignorance, having been carefully instructed on this point when a crown prince.