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Page:Roy Norton--The unknown Mr Kent.djvu/229

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A STRANGE lassitude seemed to have overtaken Kent. In direct contrast to his old habitual energy, he now loitered habitually, taking long walks alone, dreaming alone, like a man who, finding his task done, has no further ambition and devotes himself to useless meditation. For weeks he appeared apathetic; so much so that the king, industrious, and the others of that little cohort whose activities he had directed and stimulated were gravely concerned. They suggested that he needed a rest; that he must be ailing; that it were better if he sought change. And to all these suggestions he smiled gravely and shook his head.

"It's like this," explained Ivan to Paulo, in private conference. "There is something on his mind, some trouble, some worry, that none shall ever know. I can not understand it—I who for years have been his shadow, his right hand, his friend of thought and service. He has not confided in me, which in itself is strange! Were he a youth, I should say he was involved in a hopeless love affair; but, being what he is, a rock, a