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Page:Roy Norton--The unknown Mr Kent.djvu/42

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Even his voice underwent a subtle change and became frigid and emphatic. His eyes coldly met and held those of the chancellor.

"If any one had the right to investigate the procedure by which you and your king, between you, botched up the affairs of Marken, I am that man. Let's be done with paltering, flattery, and rubbish, and talk plainly. I happen to be Richard Kent, who, as confidential agent for John Rhodes, gave the unfortunate advice by which he advanced five million dollars in gold to start Karl the Second, just come to the throne, free from other debt. Oh, I had right enough! You may rest assured."

As if touched by an electric spark, the king arose from his chair, stared for an instant, and then slowly dropped back again with a long sigh of resignation. Von Glutz breathed heavily through his nose, and appeared to wilt into an equal state of helplessness. There was a moment's silence in which Kent sternly eyed him, and then a voice broke out, filled with anger and defiance, that of the princess Eloise.

"And so," she said, scornfully, "the vultures gather on the borders, waiting to fatten from our misfortunes!"

"Mademoiselle Your Royal Highness! You——"