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The Count nodded, and if he felt any annoyance at this unexpected development he showed no sign of it on his face.

"I know of Mr. Potts," he answered quietly. "Your big shipping man, isn't he? I agree to your reservation."

"Good," said the American. "Let's discuss some details."

Without a trace of emotion on his face the Count drew up a chair to the table. It was only when he sat down that he started to play a tattoo on his knee with his left hand.…


Half an hour later he entered his luxurious suite of rooms at the Hôtel Magnificent.

A girl, who had been lying by the fire reading a French novel, looked up at the sound of the door. She did not speak, for the look on his face told her all she wanted to know.

He crossed to the sofa and smiled down at her.

"Successful … on our own terms. To-morrow, Irma, the Comte de Guy dies, and Carl Peterson and his daughter leave for England. A country gentleman, I think, is Carl Peterson. He might keep hens, and possibly pigs."

The girl on the sofa rose, yawning.

"Mon Dieu! What a prospect! Pigs and hens—and in England! How long is it going to take?"

The Count looked thoughtfully into the fire.

"Perhaps a year—perhaps six months… It is on the lap of the gods.…"