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Page:Roy Norton--The unknown Mr Kent.djvu/48

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THE king, harassed by his own misfortunes, slowly dropped back to his seat, and resumed his listless attitude while staring into the fire that crackled and glowed as a black log dropped, broken, to be consumed in the bed of embers beneath, symbol of his broken kingdom from which he had fled. The chancellor, diplomatic, become obsequious in the presence of the man who stood as a possible dictator of destiny, stared at Kent, and resumed that nervous tugging at his moustache. Kent, bent from the hips forward, still leaned across the desk, with his eyes fastened absently on the door through which the princess had departed.

"I hope," said the chancellor, apologetically, "that Mister Kent does not take too seriously what the Princess Eloise has said! Her Royal Highness is exhausted. She has endured much to-night, and at times all of us are worn to irritability."

Abruptly Kent scowled at him and stood erect. Almost resentfully, he said, "The princess requires no champion. She appears abundantly