THE UNKNOWN MR. KENT
little in doubt on that point, and finding no sufficient reason of their own. Legend said that away back in distant times, some of their kings, a very few, being those who could read, had in person bawled their own decrees. But that had been a long time ago, and — well — the ways of God's anointed were sometimes incomprehensible to those of meeker mould. An unexpurgated history, now suppressed, declared that Ferdinand First while addressing his loyal subjects had fallen over the platform rail because at the time he happened to be drunk; but none dared criticise a king lest, being God's chosen, one commit sacrilege. It was too much like scratching one's head when reading the Poet Laureate's poem dedicated to "Princess Ann Elize on Her Sixteenth Birthday," which called her fairer and more divine than all the angels ever before loaned direct from Heaven, when one who had seen her knew that she had a face like an oyster shell, with a pendent lower lip, and drooled when, straining her intelligence to its limit, she talked about the weather.
Kent reached the platform and saw one of his own men there, clad as a king's crier. The man looked like a cross between haughtiness and an attack of fever and ague. Kent thanked the officer, climbed to a back seat on the tiny platform and stared over the crowd below. He observed, with satisfaction, that here and there in this crowd