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Page:Roy Norton--The unknown Mr Kent.djvu/225

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had ever been told to keep a stiff upper lip. And, strangest of all, she enjoyed it. She began to understand, dimly, that in his attitude was no dis- respect, but a mere intolerance for forms to which she had been accustomed, and that he bent his neck to no one, not through stubbornness, but because it was habitually held in complete independence. Once she had heard him remark that he was just a plain American, and that "the woods were full of his kind over there." Perhaps that accounted for his fearlessness, she thought, as she pictured all those Americans running through primeval forests and fighting red Indians.

She was annoyed when her duties as hostess called her back to the brilliantly-lit palace from which the music of the guards' band came seduc- tively through the windows, and where she must appear and talk court platitudes with very gal- lant gentlemen in uniforms, who somehow never seemed to have much worth while to say.

It was nearly two weeks later when she again sought Kent, and this time she was in a state of angry alarm. She did not wait to be announced, BO urgent was her haste to speak to him. She scarcely took time to respond to his friendly greeting.

"I've got news ! Terrible news ! ' ' she exclaimed desperately. "It was told me by three different

women, wives of men who work in the mines. Pro-