Open main menu

Page:Roy Norton--The unknown Mr Kent.djvu/45

This page needs to be proofread.

THE UNKNOWN MR. KENT

this hard-hearted American, found ways to save many; but not so Rhodes. There was in them a respect for the dignity of those who had suffered responsibilities and a desire to assist those nations that struggled for existence, and because they had endured, were worthy of some respect and veneration; but Rhodes, the cruel, uncanny, and monstrous genius of money, has no such saving grace. Not even you, his agent, can truthfully tell of one unselfish and kindly act in his career. I am not afraid to tell you this, though 'like master like man' is a fine old proverb in your tongue. And you have the temerity to declare that you were not lying here in wait; that you——"

Without thought she had advanced, as she tempestuously spoke, until she stood at the end of the desk, and he, to meet her approach, arose and, from its opposite side, stood and looked at her. The king and chancellor in turn tried to check her, but she imperiously waved them aside. Her beauty alone would have commanded deference from Kent; but there was added to it the desperate indignation of tricked fearlessness, and a reckless desire to speak that over which she had thought in previous days. It was debt that had ruined her house. And the agent of debt, justly or unjustly, stood before her for arraignment.

"Does not your Royal Highness understand,"

[41]