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Page:Roy Norton--The unknown Mr Kent.djvu/200

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the king drew the line. Paulo had already suc- cumbed and become as busy an office man as any concern might wish, Von Glutz had been burdened with the department of highways and railways, and could be daily seen inspecting steam rollers and consulting with traffic officials, and the chan- cellor was the only man about the palace who was entrusted with nothing at all. It began to be rumoured that the king of Marken was due in time to make the distinguished Prince of Monaco look like a deuce spot in the financial world. Meanwhile, Richard Kent, hustling, scheming, sat like a spider in a den and pulled webs from morn- ing to night, and remained the least-known man on the scene. The Markenites liked him and called him, familiarly, the King's Errand Boy, a title to which he njade not the slightest objection. But the Princess Eloise was troubled.

Prior to that day in the palace when the throne seemed rocking on its stately legs, the American had striven for her friendship. She had disap- proved of him with an intensity that she could not now understand. He had lashed her with gen- tle, ironical raillery; he had dared to command and subdue her; and then, after the day of her brave championship, when she had wished to be his friend and ally, he had cultivated a studious and aloof politeness. She could not decide which

of her actions had caused this change. Surely