THE UNKNOWN MR. KENT
II, repudiates Rhodes loan. The action previously agreed upon between us is now expected and will be responded to as promised. Immediate results will be easy of accomplishment."
(Signed) "Richard Kent, agent for John Rhodes."
The baron read it with an unmoved face.
"Of course," he said, as placidly as if discuss- ing the weather, "I don't understand its mean- ing."
"That's easy to explain," declared the Ameri- can, and there was something in his attitude quite like that of a cat playing with a beetle, or a gen- tleman holding a royal flush while the others con- sider. "Austria has borrowed money, quite a lot of it, and wants more, I might add, from Mr. Rhodes. Funny condition attached to that loan, Baron. Might interest you to know about it. Laughable and unusual, in fact!"
He bent forward and smiled sweetly at the usurper.
"Something like this: that loan was granted and the second request considered, with the pro- viso that if Marken refused to pay that five mil- lion dollars, Austria was to immediately take Itarken and assume the indebtedness."
Provarsk read the message again, and pondered,
while gazing at the sheet. Then he laid it on the