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|A Strange Disappearance||Anna Katharine Green|
A Few Points
|Page 5 of 7||
I did not venture a word.
When Mrs. Daniels came back she had with her a trim-looking girl of prepossessing appearance.
"This is Fanny," said she; "she knows Emily well, being in the habit of waiting on her at table; she will tell you what you want to hear. I have explained to her," she went on, nodding towards Mr. Gryce with a composure such as she had not before displayed; "that you are looking for your niece who ran away from home some time ago to go into some sort of service."
"Certainly, ma'am," quoth that gentleman, bowing with mock admiration to the gas-fixture. Then carelessly shifting his glance to the cleaning-cloth which Fanny held rather conspicuously in her hand, he repeated the question he had already put to Mrs. Daniels.
The girl, tossing her head just a trifle, at once replied:
"O she was good-looking enough, if that is what you mean, for them as likes a girl with cheeks as white as this cloth was afore I rubbed the spoons with it. As for her eyes, they was blacker than her hair, which was the Blackest I ever see. She had no flesh at all, and as for her figure--" Fanny glanced down on her own well developed person, and gave a shrug inexpressibly suggestive.
"Is this description true?" Mr. Gryce asked, seemingly of Mrs. Daniels, though his gaze rested with curious intentness on the girl's head which was covered with a little cap.
"Sufficiently so," returned Mrs. Daniels in a very low tone, however. Then with a sudden display of energy, "Emily's figure is not what you would call plump. I have seen her--" She broke off as if a little startled at herself and motioned Fanny to go.
"Wait a moment," interposed Mr. Gryce in his soft way. "You said the girl's hair and eyes were dark; were they darker than yours?"
"O, yes sir;" replied the girl simpering, as she settled the ribbons on her cap.
"Let me see your hair."
She took off her cap with a smile.
"Ha, very pretty, very pretty. And the other girls? You have other girls I suppose?"
"Two, sir;" returned Mrs. Daniels.
"How about their complexions? Are they lighter too than Emily's?"
"Yes, sir; about like Fanny's."
Mr. Gryce spread his hand over his breast in a way that assured me of his satisfaction, and allowed the girl to go.
"We will now proceed to the yard," said he. But at that moment the door of the front room opened and a gentleman stepped leisurely into the hall, whom at first glance I recognized as the master of the house. He was dressed for the street and had his hat in his hand. At the sight we all stood silent, Mrs. Daniels flushing up to the roots of her gray hair.
Mr. Blake is an elegant-looking man as you perhaps know; proud, reserved, and a trifle sombre. As he turned to come towards us, the light shining through the windows at our right, fell full upon his face, revealing such a self-absorbed and melancholy expression, I involuntarily drew back as if I had unwittingly intruded upon a great man's privacy. Mr. Gryce on the contrary stepped forward.
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|A Strange Disappearance
Anna Katharine Green
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