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THE UNKNOWN MR. KENT

fectly willing to use it on slight provocation. The three men stood to their feet and for a moment he glared at them, then entering the room, hastily deposited the shotgun in a corner, turned his head and bawled to the watchman, "It's all right! Go on outside and watch the weather. I'm expecting a hailstorm."

After that he came quickly forward and offered both hands to his sovereign.

"Well, Karl, what is up now? What brings you here at this time of night? Some one been lifting the lid to let the sulphur out?"

"Provarsk," replied the king, sententiously.

The old man smiled a wry smile, nodded to Von Glutz, and favoured Kent with a harsh stare from under his scowling eyebrows.

"It's all right!" said the king. "We can talk freely. This is an American gentleman, Mr. Kent, who is the agent for John Rhodes, the financial magnate."

"Oh! Can't he collect interest in daylight?" demanded the irascible old man. "Since when did you begin to make night journeys with money lenders?"

Kent stood unmoved; but the king rushed to his defence.

"Baron," he asserted, steadily, "Mr. Kent has proved to be my friend. As such I am certain you will regard him."

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