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A Strange Disappearance Anna Katharine Green


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"Why I did this I can scarcely say. As I have before intimated, I was under no special apprehension. I was at that time anything but a suspicious man, and the manner and appearance of the men below struck me as unpleasantly disagreeable but nothing more. But I not only did what I have related, but allowed the lamp to remain lighted, lying down finally in my clothes; an almost unprecedented act on my part, warranted however as I said to myself, by the fury of the gale which at that time seemed as if it would tumble the roof over our heads.

"How long I lay listening to the creakings and groanings of the rickety old house, I cannot say, nor how long I remained in the doze which finally seized me as I became accustomed to the sounds around and over me. Enough that before the storm had passed its height, I awoke as if at the touch of a hand, and leaping with a bound out of the bed, beheld to my incredible amazememt, the alert, nervous form of Luttra standing before me. She had my coat in her hand, and it was her touch that had evidently awakened me.

"'I want you to put this on,' said she in a low thrilling tone totally new in my experience, 'and come with me. The house is unsafe for you to remain in. Hear how it cracks and trembles. Another blast like that and we shall be roofless.'

"She was moving toward the door, which to my amazement stood ajar, but my hesitation stopped her.

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"'Won't you come?' she whispered, turning her face towards me with a look of such potent determination, I followed in spite of myself 'I dare not let you stay here, your blood will be upon my head.'

"'You exaggerate,' I replied, shrinking back with a longing look at the comfortable bed I had just left. 'These old houses are always strong. It will take many such a gust as that you hear, to overturn it, I assure you.'

"'I exaggerate!' she returned with a look of scorn impossible to describe. 'Hark!' she said, 'hear that.'

"I did hear, and I must acknowledge that it seemed is if we were about to be swept from our foundations.

"'Yes,' said I, 'but it is a fearful night to be out in.'

"'I shall go with you,' said she.

"'In that case--' I began with an ill-advised attempt at gallantry which she cut short with a gesture.

"'Here is your hat,' remarked she, 'and here is your bag. The fishing-pole must remain, you cannot carry it.'

"'But,--' I expostulated.

"'Hush!' said she with her ear turned towards the depths of the staircase at the top of which we stood. 'My father and brother will think as you do that it is folly to leave the shelter of a roof for the uncertainties of the road on such a night as this, but you must not heed them. I tell you shelter this night is danger, and that the only safety to be found is on the stormy highway.'

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A Strange Disappearance
Anna Katharine Green

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