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A Strange Disappearance Anna Katharine Green

The Contents Of A Bureau Drawer

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With a low "humph!" and another glance at the dark blue dress and delicate collar, Mr. Gryce carefully replaced the cloth he had taken from them, and softly closed the drawer without either of us having laid a finger upon a single article. Five minutes later he disappeared from the room.

I did not see him again till occasion took me below, when I beheld him softly issue from Mr. Blake's private apartment. Meeting me, he smiled, and I saw that whether he was conscious of betraying it or not, he had come upon some clue or at the least fashioned for himself some theory with which he was more or less satisfied.

"An elegant apartment, that," whispered he, nodding sideways toward the room he had just left, "pity you haven't time to examine it."

"Are you sure that I haven't?" returned I, drawing a step nearer to escape the eyes of Mrs. Daniels who had descended after me.

"Quite sure;" and we hastened down together into the yard.

But my curiosity once aroused in this way would not let me rest. Taking an opportunity when Mr. Gryce was engaged in banter with the girls below, and in this way learning more in a minute of what he wanted to know than some men would gather in an hour by that or any other method, I stole lightly back and entered this room.

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I almost started in my surprise. Instead of the luxurious apartment I had prepared myself to behold, a plain, scantily-furnished room opened before me, of a nature between a library and a studio. There was not even a carpet on the polished floor, only a rug, which strange to say was not placed in the centre of the room or even before the fireplace, but on one side, and directly in front of a picture that almost at first blush had attracted my attention as being the only article in the room worth looking at. It was the portrait of a woman, handsome, haughty and alluring; a modern beauty, with eyes of fire burning beneath high piled locks of jetty blackness, that were only relieved from being too intense by the scarlet hood of an opera cloak, that was drawn over them. "A sister," I thought to myself, "it is too modern for his mother," and I took a step nearer to see if I could trace any likeness in the chiselled features of this disdainful brunette, to the more characteristic ones of the careless gentleman who had stood but a few moments before in my presence. As I did so, I was struck with the distance with which the picture stood out from the wall, and thought to myself that the awkwardness of the framing came near marring the beauty of this otherwise lovely work of art. As for the likeness I was in search of, I found it or thought I did, in the expression of the eyes which were of the same color as Mr. Blake's but more full and passionate; and satisfied that I had exhausted all the picture could tell me, I turned to make what other observations I could, when I was startled by confronting the agitated countenance of Mrs. Daniels who had entered behind me.

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A Strange Disappearance
Anna Katharine Green

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