THE UNKNOWN MR. KENT
sire to appear democratic, and also to conduct the affairs of the kingdom with the utmost econ- omy, of barely four-score men, of whom but five are ever on palace duty. Provarsk had about fifty followers," he concluded, as if to explain how the palace had been overwhelmed.
Kent leaned his chin on his hand and meditated for a time and then said, "I don't see how you could have done anything else than escape from the palace; but why cross the border?"
"There seemed no other direction open," re- plied the king, with a heavy sigh of discourage- ment.
"But certainly, if what I understand is correct, you must have had some friend who could shel- ter you until you could formulate some definite plan?"
"Yes; but that," said the king, "might have meant civil war. Bloodshed. And I don't want any of my people killed on my account. If they have decided that the country and their happiness are more assured by my going—well—I must go!"
"What do you think on those points?" Kent demanded, frowning at the king.
"If it were anybody but Provarsk——" the lat- ter faltered, with an air of resignation.
"Provarsk is a reactionary! A would-be ty-
rant ! A man who would think no more of taking