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Page:Roy Norton--The unknown Mr Kent.djvu/17

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cluding the aged but competent widow who owned it. Proof of his daring! It requires nerve to rent a widow, although anybody can rent a house.

He paid therefor what seemed a prodigal sum in those wretched, penurious times that followed on the heels of that great war, when old boundaries disappeared and new states either sprang into existence or were resuscitated after decades of suppression. He wished to be free, obscure, unmolested, and within a month he must have been gratified, having been accepted as a part of the village, like the village forge, the shabby little priest, or the town pump, because none might suspect that within his uncommunicative mind were concealed the methods by which so many of the old-new or new-old states had been financed; but not so with Ivan. He commanded an uncanny interest. He couldn't avoid it. First, because of his enormous size, strength and agility; second, because of his strange manner of ignoring all sounds and of speaking only to those who faced him in the light. It took longer to accustom the villagers to this giant, stalking ever at the fisherman's elbow, silent, taciturn, alert with the absorbed alertness of a wild animal watchful to the four ways of the wind. Visualisation is necessary to attract the attention of the unimaginative, and without visualisation they have small interest; hence on a certain night in Steinweg no one had