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Page:Roy Norton--The unknown Mr Kent.djvu/121

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ordered the chauffeur, wondering in the mean- time if Baron Von Hertz had neglected to arrange for the opening of the gates whenever his visitor wished. He saw that such instructions had been given by the very promptitude with which they were widely flung, and then settled back into his seat as the car gathered momentum, and carefully took the curves of the winding road leading to the valley below. Speculatively he studied the rich valley with its farms and clusters of farm cot- tages, appearing from that height like a great garden trimly cultivated, the distant ranges of mountains where carefully maintained forests al- ternated with fields, and, far beyond, the spires of Marken. It was a land capable of rendering profit, he decided, reflectively, and what was more, he, the American, unhampered by tradition and eager for such an experiment, would see that it did yield profit or prove his own incompetence as a manager. Also, he concluded, this was the finest sport in which he had ever engaged and better, somewhat, than trout fishing.

His meditations were brought to an abrupt stop by a sharp explosion, the car swerved, and came to a halt beside the highway. Almost as the chauf- feur's feet struck the macadam he was by his side. The cause was plain, a flattened tire sagging flaccidly under the weight above it. Anxiously

the American looked at his watch.