THE UNKNOWN MR. KENT
ingly as a duty, reverently as a sacrifice, his life.
Life stretched before her like the corridor, in two directions, each leading from the other. Steadily, with clear eyes and clarity of mind, she weighed one route against the other, and then, with bent head, and tremulous breath, she made her decision. She turned, retraced her steps, opened the door very gently, stepped inside the room she had left, and closed the door behind. Kent, grave, embarrassed, and yet determined, came but a moment later from his sleeping chamber, and closed the door leading to it; but not with his habitual directness and decision. This was not the man she had seen confidently striding his way, staring direct with the radiation of personal power and purpose, intent on some goal beyond other eyes. Instead, there was about him a curious attitude of awkwardness, appeal and reverence, a strange lack of confidence. For an instant only she forced herself to meet his eyes. They cried their message to hers across the silent, waiting room. The sounds of the outside world, in which that day the future of a nation was being irrevocably decided, became hushed and still. She seemed to hear in that same soundless silence the struggle of his mind as it fell upon and conquered his tongue. Forced by decision to meet this portentous issue, she heard him coming toward her. His voice sounded as if reaching her from a long dis-