Page:Roy Norton--The unknown Mr Kent.djvu/64

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THE UNKNOWN MR. KENT

the back and say, 'It's all right, Boy. You're not licked yet! Get up and try again!' And most always, they take heart and go in and win ! That's what I want you to do. Go in and win! Your duty is to be a king ! And I now tell you, go and be one! If you'll do as I say, Provarsk is much abler than I think he is, if we don't best him, hand and foot. In any event, he shall have a struggle that will make him about the busiest usurper that ever tried for a throne!"

The king, trained to repress display of emo- tions since childhood, and passed through the course which makes of princes wooden-faced im- ages, forgot all that education as the American progressed, and became merely a desperate hurt human being, craving friendship and support. His lips twitched and strained under this unex- pected tender of sympathy. They might have remained unmoved had he walked upon the scaf- fold of a guillotine, but here was a new emotion, that rendered him defenceless. With something akin to boyish amazement, he stared at the grim, satirical, strong face above him as if to make cer- tain of the character that offered open support in return for secret domination, and what he saw there gave him confidence. For a long time he weighed the situation with all its alternatives, ask- ing now and then cautious questions and receiv-

ing reassuring answers. At last, quite like one

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