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A Strange Disappearance Anna Katharine Green


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"'You had better go in,' said he, 'the rain will come next.'

"I at once leaped from my horse and pushing open the door with main strength, entered the house. Another man met me on the threshold who merely pointing over his shoulder to a lighted room in his rear, passed out without a word, to help the somewhat younger man, who had first appeared, in putting up my horse. I at once accepted his silent invitation and stepped into the room before me. Instantly I found myself confronted by the rather startling vision of a young girl of a unique and haunting style of beauty, who rising at my approach now stood with her eyes on my face and her hands resting on the deal table before which she had been sitting, in an attitude expressive of mingled surprise and alarm. To see a woman in that place was not so strange; but such a woman! Even in the first casual glance I gave her, I at once acknowledged to myself her extraordinary power. Not the slightness of her form, the palor of her countenance, or the fairness of the locks of golden red hair that fell in two long braids over her bosom, could for a moment counteract the effect of her dark glance or the vivid almost unearthly force of her expression. It was as if you saw a flame upstarting before you, waving tremulously here and there, but burning and resistless in its white heat. I took off my hat with deference.

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"A shudder passed over her, but she made no effort to return my acknowledgement. As we cast our eyes dilating with horror, down some horrible pit upon whose verge we suddenly find ourselves, she allowed her gaze for a moment to dwell upon my face, then with a sudden lifting of her hand, pointed towards the door as if to bid me depart--when it swung open with that shrill rushing of wind that involuntarily awakes a shudder within you, and the two men entered and came stamping up to my side. Instantly her hand sunk, not feebly as with fear, but calmly as if at the bidding of her will, and without waiting for them to speak, she turned away and quietly left the room. As the door closed upon her I noticed that she wore a calico frock and that her face did not own one perfect feature.

"'Go after Luttra and tell her to make up the bed in the northwest room,' said the elder of the two in deep gutteral tones unmistakably German in their accent, to the other who stood shaking the wet off his coat into the leaping flames of a small wood fire that burned on the hearth before us.

"'O, she'll do without my bothering,' was the sullen return. 'I'm wet through.'

"The elder man, a large powerfully framed fellow of some fifty years or so, frowned. It was an evil frown, and the younger one seemed to feel it. He immediately tossed his coat onto a chair and left the room.

"'Boys are so obstropolous now-a-days,' remarked his companion to me with what he evidently intended for a conciliatory nod. 'In my time they were broke in, did what they were told and asked no questions.'

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A Strange Disappearance
Anna Katharine Green

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