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A Strange Disappearance Anna Katharine Green

A Few Golden Hairs

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"Tall, thin, white face, black eyes." I heard him whisper to himself. "It is a pity the features are not better preserved."

"But," said I, taking him by the arm, "Fanny spoke particularly of her hair being black, while this girl's--Good heavens!" I suddenly ejaculated as I looked again at the prostrate form before me. "Yellow hair or black, this is the girl I saw him speaking to that day in Broome Street. I remember her clothes if nothing more." And opening my pocketbook, I took out the morsel of cloth I had plucked that day from the ash barrel, lifted up the discolored rags that hung about the body and compared the two. The pattern, texture and color were the same.

"Well," said Mr. Gryce, pointing to certain contusions, like marks from the blow of some heavy instrument on the head and bared arms of the girl before us; "he will have to answer me one question anyhow, and that is, who this poor creature is who lies here the victim of treachery or despair." And turning to the official he asked if there were any other signs of violence on the body.

The answer came deliberately, "Yes, she has evidently been battered to death."

Mr. Gryce's lips closed with grim decision. "A most brutal murder," said he and lifting up the cloth with a hand that visibly trembled, he softly covered her face.

"Well," said I as we slowly paced back up the pier, "there is one thing certain, she is not the one who disappeared from Mr. Blake's house."

"I am not so sure of that."

"How!" said I. "You believed Fanny lied when she gave that description of the missing girl upon which we have gone till now?"

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Mr. Gryce smiled, and turning back, beckoned to the official behind us. "Let me have that description," said he, "which I distributed among the Harbor Police some days ago for the identification of a certain corpse I was on the lookout for."

The man opened his coat and drew out a printed paper which at Mr. Gryce's word he put into my hand. It ran as follows:

    Look out for the body of a young girl, tall, well shaped but thin,
    of fair complexion and golden hair of a peculiar bright and
    beautiful color, and when found, acquaint me at once.

"I don't understand," began I.

But Mr. Gryce tapping me on the arm said in his most deliberate tones, "Next time you examine a room in which anything of a mysterious nature has occurred, look under the bureau and if you find a comb there with several long golden hairs tangled in it, be very sure before you draw any definite conclusions, that your Fannys know what they are talking about when they declare the girl who used that comb had black hair on her head."

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A Strange Disappearance
Anna Katharine Green

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