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

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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