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|A Strange Disappearance||Anna Katharine Green|
The Contents Of A Bureau Drawer
|Page 3 of 5||
"This is Mr. Blake's room," said she with dignity; "no one ever intrudes here but myself, not even the servants."
"I beg pardon," said I, glancing around in vain for the something which had awakened that look of satisfaction in Mr. Gryce's eyes. "I was attracted by the beauty of this picture visible through the half open door and stepped in to favor myself with a nearer view. It is very lovely. A sister of Mr. Blake?"
"No, his cousin;" and she closed the door after us with an emphasis that proclaimed she was anything but pleased.
It was my last effort to obtain information on my own account. In a few moments later Mr. Gryce appeared from below, and a conversation ensued with Mrs. Daniels that absorbed my whole attention.
"You are very anxious, my man here tells me, that this girl should be found?" remarked Mr. Gryce; "so much so that you are willing to defray all the expenses of a search?"
She bowed. "As far as I am able sir; I have a few hundreds in the bank, you are welcome to them. I would not keep a dollar back if I had thousands, but I am poor, and can only promise you what I myself possess; though--" and her cheeks grew flushed and hot with an unnatural agitation--"I believe that thousands would not be lacking if they were found necessary. I--I could almost swear you shall have anything in reason which you require; only the girl must be found and soon."
"Have you thought," proceeded Mr. Gryce, utterly ignoring the wildness of these statements, "that the girl may come back herself if let alone?"
"She will come back if she can," quoth Mrs. Daniels.
"Did she seem so well satisfied with her home as to warrant you in saying that?"
"She liked her home, but she loved me," returned the woman steadily. "She loved me so well she would never have gone as she did without being forced. Yes," said she, "though she made no outcry and stopped to put on her bonnet and shawl. She was not a girl to make a fuss. If they had killed her outright, she would never have uttered a cry."
"Why do you say they?"
"Because I am confident I heard more than one man's voice in her room."
"Humph! Would you know those voices if you heard them again?"
There was a surprise in this last negative which Mr. Gryce evidently noticed.
"I ask," said he, "because I have been told that Mr. Blake lately kept a body servant who has been seen to look at this girl more than once, when she has passed him on the stairs."
Mrs. Daniels' face turned scarlet with rage and she hastily rose from the chair. "I don't believe it," said she; "Henry was a man who knew his place, and--I won't hear such things," she suddenly exclaimed; "Emily was--was a lady, and--"
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|A Strange Disappearance
Anna Katharine Green
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