THE UNKNOWN MR. KENT
found that common ground between the women of the kingdom and yourself. And you have done it alone, and unadvised. I am afraid you were a little too liberal, though. It must have strained your private resources."
"Strained them?" she said, and then laughed softly. "It did more than that, Mr. Kent. But I didn't want to do it by halves, and the more I thought over it, the more I became enthused, and there we are!"
"Was it worth while?" he asked, quietly, and staring at her profile that, against the darkness of the foliage, looked pale under the swinging fete lamps above them.
She turned toward him in a frank outburst.
"Yes ! More than worth while ! And I owe this new world of mine to you. I started badly. I must tell you, to be really honest, that I came to you that day through pique. I saw that you per- mitted nearly all the others to be friends with you, but barred me out. I wanted to be your friend, too. I couldn't come to you as the others had, because I had insulted you. And Mr. Kent, if you knew half how much I suffered, and despised my- self, for my insolence and rudeness, I think you would take pity on me, and forgive."
"I have nothing to forgive!" he declared, stoutly. "You said nothing more than the truth.
You called me a money lender. I am. You said