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A Strange Disappearance Anna Katharine Green

The Contents Of A Bureau Drawer

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Mr. Blake was standing in the centre of the room when I entered, carelessly following with his eyes the motion of Mr. Gryce's finger as that gentleman pointed with unwearying assiduity to the various little details that had struck us. His hat was still in his hand, and he presented a very formidable and imposing appearance, or so Mrs. Daniels appeared to think as she stood watching him from the corner, whither she had withdrawn herself.

"A forcible departure you see," exclaimed Mr. Gryce; "she had not even time to gather up her clothes;" and with a sudden movement he stooped and pulled out one of the bureau drawers before the eyes of his nonchalant listener.

Immediately a smothered exclamation struck our ears, and Mrs. Daniels started forward.

"I pray, gentlemen," she entreated, advancing in such a way as to place herself against the front of the bureau in a manner to preclude the opening of any more drawers, "that you will remember that a modest woman such as this girl was, would hardly like to have her clothing displayed before the eyes of strangers."

Mr. Gryce instantly closed the drawer.

"You are right," said he; "pardon the rough ways of a somewhat hardened officer of the law."

She drew up closer to the bureau, still protecting it with her meagre but energetic form while her eyes rested with almost a savage expression upon the master of the house as if he, and not the detective, had been the aggressor whose advances she feared.

Mr. Blake did not return the look.

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"If that is all you can show me, I think I will proceed to my appointment," said he. "The matter does seem to be more serious than I thought, and if you judge it necessary to take any active measures, why, let no consideration of my great and inherent dislike to notoriety of any kind, interfere with what you consider your duty. As for the house, it is at your command, under Mrs. Daniels' direction. Good morning." And returning our bows with one singularly impressive for all its elegant carelessness, he at once withdrew.

Mrs. Daniels took one long deep breath and came from the bureau. Instantly Mr. Gryce stooped and pulled out the drawer she had so visibly protected. A white towel met our eyes, spread neatly out at its full length. Lifting it, we looked beneath. A carefully folded dress of dark blue silk, to all appearance elegantly made, confronted our rather eager eyes. Beside it, a collar of exquisite lace--I know enough of such matters to be a judge--pricked through by a gold breast-pin of a strange and unique pattern. A withered bunch of what appeared to have been a bouquet of red roses, surmounted the whole, giving to the otherwise commonplace collection the appearance of a relic from the tomb.

We both drew back in some amazement, involuntarily glancing up at Mrs. Daniels.

"I have no explanation to give," said that woman, with a calmness strangely in contrast to the agitation she had displayed while Mr. Blake had remained in the room. "That those things rich as they are, really belonged to the girl, I have no doubt. She brought them when she came, and they only confirm what I have before intimated: that she was no ordinary sewing girl, but a woman who had seen better days."

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A Strange Disappearance
Anna Katharine Green

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