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Page:Roy Norton--The unknown Mr Kent.djvu/44

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"It is true," he said, thoughtfully, "that I am the agent of John Rhodes. But I have not, as your Royal Highness implies, been set here as a spy in waiting for your flight — for an abdication, or to make terms for John Rhodes' protection. My being here is an accident."

She shrugged her shoulders with an air of disdain, as if expecting a financial agent to evade or lie. It added to his distress. Men he understood, and could fight. He was no quaverer. He had, in his capacity as agent, boldly met and boldly browbeaten half the chancelleries of Europe. His nerve and bravery were recognised by those of far more importance than any one connected with this paltry, petty, betinselled little kingdom that had survived by accident, and whose disruption had been delayed by his own efforts, merely because it was the whim of John Rhodes, for financial purposes of his own, that it should continue to exist.

"An accident?" she said, mockingly. "An accident! They are strange, such accidents as these! Mr. Richard Kent admits to being the financial emissary for the gentle Mr. Rhodes! Rhodes! whose crimes of selfishness and remissness are greater than those of any man living. Who ever heard of John Rhodes ever doing anything to lessen the cares and sorrows of kingdoms, or of peoples? The Rothschilds, with less power than