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Page:Roy Norton--The unknown Mr Kent.djvu/256

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that murmuring diapason of sound that swept monotonously through the room, the sound of some one clanking his way through the outer cor- ridor. It stormed his ears like the call of a trum- pet announcing battle. It whirled him back to his own sphere of action, where men were to be met, where a fight, the fight he knew as a veteran, was imminent. His hands shot forward and caught hers, and his big body became endowed with a suggestion of bent steel, alive, ready to spring. He was the master again.

"Listen!" he commanded her, his words crowd- ing one upon the other. * * Go quickly behind that screen and sit down ! Hurry ! Sit there and hear what is said. Say nothing! My honour in your eyes may depend upon it and that is more to me than everything else in the world."

He caught her by the shoulders in his strong hands, whirled her, bewildered, across the few steps intervening, thrust her into an easy chair behind the screen, and was out again toward the door through which Provarsk was entering and which he locked behind him. She heard Kent's voice, cool, casual, greeting his sole opponent.

"Well," it said, "I've been expecting you. Did you open that vault yet?"

Provarsk laughed; but not with mirth.

"Yes, I opened it. And found just what I

rather expected. Nothing."