THE UNKNOWN MR. KENT
was his plain duty, as he was well aware, to travel without delay to Marken and do what he could to protect Rhodes' interests, and that might mean the end of this vacation, and the trout were at their best. Scowling, he swung to his desk, unlocked a drawer, took therefrom a steel despatch box, unlocked that, and sought a paper which he opened and scanned. It was a private report he had caused to be made on Marken affairs, and, now that its substance was recalled and his memory refreshed, it did not appear to add to his mental comfort. He used one or two very vigorous Americanisms, and replaced paper and box in the desk. He thumped vigorously on the floor with his heel and when the huge man in the corner, feeling the shock, looked up, addressed him in a voiceless whisper of the lips.
"Ivan, have you happened to learn anything about a revolt over in Marken? You see more of these tongue-wagging peasants than I do."
The giant advanced to the desk across which he spoke.
"No, sir, not exactly a revolution; but I heard they were discontented over there. Some of the villagers said—you know it is an autocratic government?"
"Yes. Autocratic government with a man born to the job who doesn't happen to be a real, good, all-wool-and-a-yard-wide autocrat. Good deal like