THE UNKNOWN MR. KENT
guard of adventurers who stood at stiff attention against the corridor walls.
Provarsk felt the strength of the rigid arm that clasped his own against the American's side, and the rigid pressure beneath it of the firmly- held steel tube. Any doubts he had relative to the helplessness of his position were confirmed. Any hope he cherished of escape was subdued by the fear and certainty of death, imminent, ready, and inexorable; for now, to increase his discom- fiture, the hobbling, dragging man, a picture of physical incapacity, had bent a trifle forward and turned his gaze upward that he might watch even the expression of his prisoner's face. The surrep- titious wink of an eye would, Provarsk felt, be as fatal as a shrill scream.
"Ah! My dear Baron, you were saying ?"
He writhed mentally at the sound of the high, querulous, assumed voice, and hastened to reply when he felt the pressure of the pistol's muzzle harshly increased against his ribs.
"I was saying," he replied, with cool, untrem- bling bravado, "that we can finally rearrange our affairs at a later date. At present, of course, you have the best of it."
"Decidedly! Decidedly!" croaked the visitor. "And there is nothing I love better than a man who tries to balance his obligations. But I trust,
my dear Baron Provarsk, that the cares of state