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comfortable, perhaps it is as well, considering the confidential nature of our interview, that you dismiss your man for a few minutes, Mr.—ah—" He consulted the card to refresh his memory, "Mr. Kent."

"Quite impossible! Quite impossible! Quite impossible!" declared the agent, resuming some of his former air of irritability. "Can't you see for yourself that he is both hands and feet to me? I'll answer for him. He always goes where I go. Don't mind him. Talk as if he isn't here. He forgets. I pay him for that—and for being dumb. Besides, if he ever said that you said, or that I said, or that anybody ever said anything, at any time, or any place, I'd say he was a liar! All men of affairs deny all interviews and call all reporters liars when it suits their convenience. So they're all liars—everybody's a liar, but you and me."

Provarsk decided that there was quite a lot of wisdom in that speech. It indicated possibilities. Moreover, as it fitted in so closely with his own cynical code, it was up to this money lender to take the responsibility if anything was said that might prove embarrassing.

"As you wish," he said, with a little shrug.

"What I came for, and all that interests me," said the agent, "is to know what provisions the new government proposes to make for the payment of its bonds. They are almost due. I don't