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Page:Roy Norton--The unknown Mr Kent.djvu/82

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worked, himself, with pruning shears and spade. He had approached sacrilege by modernizing the palace itself, something criminally undigni- fied, inasmuch as no good palace should have either drains or sanitary contrivances. It makes them too much like other folks' houses, and, somehow, people expect kings to be different from everybody else. Furthermore, as a final proof that he was not fit to be a real king, he tried to pay his debts!

From the palace windows the quaint old city of Marken, red or moss roofed, flowering from win- dow ledges, its streets dotted here and there with colourfully-clad inhabitants, could be scanned as it stretched away on three sides.

From the smaller throne room, by stepping to a balcony, on this morning, a great deal might have been seen; but nobody in the throne room took the trouble. There was much other business to be done, because when a first-class usurper usurps, there are usually several things that re- quire attention. At least that was the opinion of one Baron Provarsk, who, on this gay morning, was, as Kent might have said, "on the job."

The usurper sat in a big chair at the head of a table, the like of which could be seen any day, in any directors' room of any bank in America. Neatly proportioned, middle-sized, carelessly but

well clothed, and about thirty-five years of age,