THE UNKNOWN MR. KENT
command from its tone when he turned to her from the faltering chancellor; and she suddenly discerned in this alien some prodigious power, some inflexible strength, that hitherto, blinded by anger, she had not recognised.
"What is the need?" she asked lamely. "You are in a position to laugh at our distress; a distress that you do not, and can not, understand! Oh, if I were a man———" She paused. He smiled vaguely, at this sign of femininity.
"Other women have said that," he declared, softly. "Other brave women ever since thrones and kings began. It is the most hackneyed cry of creation. And I doubt not that if you were———"
He turned sharply as the sound of a door opening disturbed him, and glanced across the room to where the lady-in-waiting had entered and stood with her hand upon the latch.
"Your Royal Highness' apartment is ready," the lady-in-waiting said, as perfunctorily as if they were still in a royal palace and undisturbed. The king arose to his feet, wearily, and the chancellor bowed punctiliously before the princess as she slowly turned and advanced toward the door. She paused for an instant, as if torn by a desire to speak again, hesitated with other words on her lips, perhaps those of appeal to the man she had so valiantly defied, and then slowly passed from sight.