THE UNKNOWN MR. KENT
objected the chancellor pleadingly, "that you are making a powerful enemy of the only man, possibly, who can assit us in the future?"
"Future? There is no future!" she declared, impatiently gesturing the baron aside; but Kent, who stood almost stolidly under her words, objected to interference.
"If you please, Baron," he said, steadily, "I prefer that the princess have her say. She is at least candid and honest. From her at least I shall not find subterfuge." He stepped around the side of the desk until his back was to Von Glutz, and also by the change he carelessly and impolitely ignored the king.
"I implore your Highness to proceed," he said, respectfully, yet firmly meeting her eyes. "There is nothing that so clarifies the atmosphere of misunderstandings as freely uttered truths. And Mademoiselle even a money lender may be permitted to admire bravery such as yours. I have told you that my being here was an accident. I told the truth. Is it fair and just to believe that I also may not be candid? To condemn me, unheard, as a liar? Neither of us is afraid! I listen."
For some reason that she could not have analysed, her defiance faltered and waned. There was the protest of honour affronted in his quiet musical voice, that had dismissed severity and