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THE UNKNOWN MR. KENT

even the slightest curiosity in either the widow, Mr. Kent, or Ivan, because it stormed; stormed as it can in those mountains, with sweeping rain, thunder that is a punctual and close comrade of lightning stabs; an erratic, capricious pair out on a rampage, like a pair of drunken rioters, one of whom is boisterous, swaggering, shouting, and harmless, the other snapping, deadly, intent, and out to kill. The villagers were inside and under cover on that turbulent night of late spring. So were Kent, financial agent on a holiday, and Ivan, factotum, always at work.

Kent, the master, lounged in the room that he had converted into a den, and luxuriously stuck his feet, carpet-slippered, toward the fireplace wherein surged a blaze that robbed the spring dampness of a winter chill. He wondered if, despite his sense of freedom and independence, he could endure such a place in real winter, and yawned, casually thanking God, in the meantime, that Rhodes had decided to extend his vacation indefinitely. Kent liked him for that decision. Lazily he swung round in his chair to see what Ivan was doing; but the light, a sharp, white flame from the student's lamp on the oaken desk by his side, bothered him, and he held his fine head sidewise to escape its rays. It accentuated the individuality of his square jaws, the lumpiness of his high brow, the whimsical lines at the corners

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