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A Strange Disappearance Anna Katharine Green

A New York Belle

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Meanwhile all our efforts to obtain information in regard to the fate or whereabouts of the missing girl, had so far proved utterly futile. Even the advertisements inserted by Mrs. Daniels had produced no effect; and frustrated in my scheme I began to despair, when the accounts of that same Mrs. Daniel's strange and unaccountable behavior during these days of suspense, which came to me through Fanny, (the pretty housemaid at Mr. Blake's, whose acquaintance I had lately taken to cultivating,) aroused once more my dormant energies and led me to ask myself if the affair was quite as hopeless as it seemed.

"If she was a ghost," was her final expression on the subject, "she could'nt go peramberlating this house more than she does. It seems as if she could'nt keep still a minute. Upstairs and down, upstairs and down, till we're most wild. And so white as she is and so trembling! Why her hands shake so all the time she never dares lift a dish off the table. And then the way she hangs about Mr. Blake's door when he's at home! She never goes in, that's the oddest part of it, but walks up and down before it, wringing her hands and talking to herself just like a mad woman. Why, I have seen her almost put her hand on the knob twice in an afternoon perhaps, then draw back as if she was afraid it would burn her; and if by any chance the door opened and Mr. Blake came out, you ought to have seen how she run. What it all means I don't know, but I have my imaginings, and if she is'nt crazy, why--" etc., etc.

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In face of facts like these I felt it would be pure insanity to despair. Let there be but a mystery, though it involved a man of the position of Mr. Blake and I was safe. My only apprehension had been that the whole affair would dissolve itself into an ordinary elopement or some such common-place matter.

Where, therefore, a few minutes later, Fanny announced that Mr. Blake had ordered a carriage to take him to the Charity Ball that evening, I determined to follow him and learn if possible what change had taken place in himself or his circumstances, to lead him into such an innovation upon his usual habits. Though the hour was late I had but little difficulty in carrying out my plan, arriving at the Academy something less than an hour after the opening dance.

The crowd was great and I circulated the floor three times before I came upon him. When I did, I own I was slightly disappointed; for instead of finding him as I anticipated, the centre of an admiring circle of ladies and gentlemen, I espied him withdrawn into a corner with a bland old politician of the Fifteenth Ward, discussing, as I presently overheard, the merits and demerits of a certain Smith who at that time was making some disturbance in the party.

"If that is all he has come for," thought I, "I had better have stayed at home and made love to the pretty Fanny." And somewhat chagrined, I took up my stand near by, and began scrutinizing the ladies.

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A Strange Disappearance
Anna Katharine Green

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