THE UNKNOWN MR. KENT
think of it, Princess Eloise! You were told the news by the wives of three men who work in the mines! Don't you see how you have won them the wives of the men who work in the mines? Would any of them have done so six months ago f Did any of them, six months ago, care enough for you, the royal princess, to be alarmed when any- thing threatened you or your house ? "
She had not considered it in that light before. There was a change, and it had come so gradually, so imperceptibly, that she had been the last one to recognise it. Somehow, this knowledge that there were those in Marken who cared for her for her own sake, gave her a greater sense of security and bravery than she had ever known.
"Come," he said, gently, "what harm do you think a man like Provarsk capable of, now? Why, if I wanted to take the trouble, I could start whis- pers throughout the kingdom to-night that the real reason for his plotting is that he intends to seize the throne, and exile your brother and yourself, and the people yes the very ones that he is now stirring to make foolish demands, would tear him to pieces and feed them to their dogs!"
"But why not do it?" she demanded, with all the eagerness of a conspirator.
"Because," he said, slowly, "I don't want it done that way. I want to punish him in my own
way. Also, because I enjoy watching him, just