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A Strange Disappearance Anna Katharine Green

The House At The Granby Cross Roads

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Discerning nothing more in that quarter inviting interest, I asked myself if I had nerve to descend into the cellar. Finally concluding that that was more than could be expected from any man in my position, I gave one look of farewell to the damp and desolate walls about me, then with a breath of relief jumped from the kitchen window again into the light and air of day. As I did so I could swear I heard a door within that old house swing on its hinges and softly close. With a thrill I recognized the fact that it came from the cellar.

* * * *

My thoughts on the road back to Melville were many and conflicting. Chief above them all, however, rose the comfortable conclusion that in the pursuit of one mysterious affair, I had stumbled, as is often the case, upon the clue to another of yet greater importance, and by so doing got a start that might yet redound greatly to my advantage. For the reward offered for the recapture of the Schoenmakers was large, and the possibility of my being the one to put the authorities upon their track, certainly appeared after this day's developements, open at least to a very reasonable hope. At all events I determined not to let the grass grow under my feet till I had informed the Superintendent of what I had seen and heard that day in the old haunt of these two escaped convicts.

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Arrived at the public house in Melville, and learning that Mr. Blake had safely returned there an hour before, I drew the landlord to one side and asked what he could tell me about that old house of the two noted robbers Schoenmaker, I had passed on my way back among the hills.

"Wa'al now," replied he, "this is curious. Here I've just been answering the gentleman up stairs a heap of questions concerning that self same old place, and now you come along with another batch of them; just as if that rickety old den was the only spot of interest we had in these parts."

"Perhaps that may be the truth," I laughed. "Just now when the papers are full of these rogues, anything concerning them must be of superior interest of course." And I pressed him again to give me a history of the house and the two thieves who had inhabited it.

"Wa'al," drawled he "'taint much we know about them, yet after all it may be a trifle too much for their necks some day. Time was when nobody thought especial ill of them beyond a suspicion or so of their being somewhat mean about money. That was when they kept an inn there, but when the robbery of the Rutland bank was so clearly traced to them, more than one man about here started up and said as how they had always suspected them Shoenmakers of being villains, and even hinted at something worse than robbery. But nothing beyond that one rascality has yet been proved against them, and for that they were sent to jail for twenty years as you know. Two months ago they escaped, and that is the last known of them. A precious set, too, they are; the father being only so much the greater rogue than the son as he is years older."

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A Strange Disappearance
Anna Katharine Green

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