THE UNKNOWN MR. KENT
" Very unkind of you, " Kent murmured. "And maybe they are already convinced that you are one."
Ubaldo wasted no time in retort.
"The only chance we've got," he said, loudly, "is to hold this palace until Baron Provarsk re- turns, or until we can make terms ! Besides, we 've got this old imbecile as a hostage and, if he's a friend of the king's, they'll let us go rather than let him be toasted. Get back to the gates, some of you fellows. Others of you go to the walls. Don't let any one but Provarsk in. I've warned you about that before, and now you see what kind of a fix you are in by not obeying my orders. Get out and ready to defend yourselves," he shouted to spur them to action. But before any of them could obey, the pretended paralytic had leapt from his chair and now stood in the door with his hand upraised, and his eyes blazing at them.
"Stop!" he commanded.
They paused, astonished at his physical agility, and the aspect of power presented by his com- manding gesture. Suddenly, while they hesitated, through the corridor rang the loud blare of a trumpet.
"Gentlemen ! You are too late ! See ! "
He sprang to the hangings that barred the view of the corridor, jerked them aside, and the dis-
comfited adventurers huddled backward to a solid