THE UNKNOWN MR. KENT
night, Mr. Richard Kent ! I hope you have a very comfortable rest. I may call on you in the morn- ing to assure myself of your comfort."
Kent, for once astonished at the man's ingenu- ity, turned and led the way out with never a word. Provarsk had proved a better enemy than he had believed him to be. He could but think of the letter and enclosures to John Rhodes and remem- ber that the financier's reputation was that of be- ing an inflexibly hard and unrelenting man when- ever one of his underlings had proved delinquent. He tried to recall whether John Rhodes had al- ways been just in such cases. Perhaps poor Barry, who had been sent to an American prison for something similar, had been a victim of some other Provarsk. And Simmons, the Englishman, when led from the dock to serve his sentence of three years hard labour, had protested his inno- cence to the very last. And both Simmons and Barry had been master agents, entrusted with great transactions, enjoying intimate acquain- tance with John Rhodes! He looked very grave and preoccupied as they escorted him through the long, resounding corridors of the palace, dimly lighted, and suggestive of the long corridors of a prison where a man who was innocent of the crime for which he had been convicted, might helplessly eat his heart away. The very sound of their foot-
steps suggested the tread of warders and guards.