THE UNKNOWN MR. KENT
table, impolitely yawned while holding his finely- shaped hand over his mouth, excused himself and drawled, "That was rather neat of you. All right ! I'll have it sent," and arose to reach for the bell on the far side of the table.
"Just a moment," the American interrupted. " Why are you so willing to destroy Marken, your native state?"
Provarsk laughed heartily.
"Destroy nothing!" he retorted, contemptuous- ly. "I am merely amused at the bewilderment which will be sustained by the Austrian minister on receipt of this message!"
The American continued to watch him unmoved. The baron, indicating that he would no longer dally with a situation over which he had control, sharply rapped his knuckles on the outspread message and said, insolently, "This is what your countrymen call a bluff! You know it. I'll let you know a little more. It doesn't in the least in- fluence me. You can send it if you wish. I don't care! Furthermore, this twaddle about destroy- ing the country makes me laugh. Rubbish ! Sheer rubbish! When addressed to a man who has seized a throne and who thereby stakes not only his fortunes but his life on the result and his ability to maintain himself. I don't care much more about this country than you do, and you may
as well know that, too. "