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THE UNKNOWN MR. KENT

"How dare you attempt to block my way?" it demanded. "Who are you and your scrapheap band of adventurers to attempt to keep me from coming into my own palaceĀ ? "

"But, but, Madame!" they heard the voice of Ubaldo protesting.

"I am not Madame. I am Her Royal Highness the Princess Eloise, and I am going to see and talk to Baron Provarsk, no matter who interferes. Out of my way!"

"That's the bird the baron wanted us to make sure of last night, Captain," another voice, coarse and heavy, called out. "Better let her go in. He'll be glad to see her."

"But the princess does not understand that my orders are "

It was evident that Ubaldo was retreating in front of her up the corridor toward the entrance to the throne room, and that she was steadily ad- vancing, bravely and impetuously intent on con- fronting the usurper. Kent's face hardened. He thrust his hand into his pocket, brought out a heavy automatic pistol, slipped the safety catch off with hands that did not tremble, and planted himself just inside the door. Ivan, obedient to previous understanding that, no matter what occurred after they were in the pal- ace, Provarsk was to be his especial charge, held

the usurper down with the steadiness of a stone

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