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Page:Roy Norton--The unknown Mr Kent.djvu/203

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like of functions. He forgot to change clothes several times a day and formed an affection for an ordinary sack suit, which, she observed with horror, was gradually bagging at the knees. Also, he had cultivated a blotch of ink on the inner sides of his first and second fingers, and was impatient when she spoke to him of this delinquency.

" We've got no time, Kent and I, to waste on pumice stone and perfume!" he declared at the table one evening when she reproached him.

And worst of all, he was eating like a working- man! As if he wanted no amenities and only food. Plain deterioration, she thought it. Also, his conversation had undergone a subtle change. He no longer talked of the standard topics of royalty such as the weather, reports from the last yacht regatta, and the court scandal of neigh- bouring kingdoms. Instead, he waxed enthusi- astic over another electric power plant, of the pos- sibilities of all taxation being remitted, owing to state prosperity, of old age pensions, and how a new way had been found to increase production and lower costs of this or that, by Kent. Always Kent! Kent did this, or Kent said that! Had to lay a cornerstone to-morrow for a new plant, because Kent thought it best. Beastly bore, but Kent insisted that he should do it because the people liked it. Kent ragged him because he laid

the last one without enough ceremony.