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A Strange Disappearance

With a frown expressive of annoyance, Mr. Blake glanced around and detecting
Mrs. Daniels, said: "Did you consider the affair so serious as that?"
She nodded, seeming to find it difficult to speak.
He remained looking at her with an expression of some doubt. "I can hardly
think," said he, "such extreme measures were necessary; the girl will doubtless
come back, or if not--" His shoulders gave a slight shrug and he took out his
gloves.
"The difficulty seems to be," quoth Mr. Gryce eyeing those gloves with his most
intent and concentrated look, "that the girl did not go alone, but was helped away,
or forced away, by parties who had previously broken into your house."
"That is a strange circumstance," remarked Mr. Blake, but still without any
appearance of interest, "and if you are sure of what you say, demands, perhaps,
some inquiry. I would not wish to put anything in the way of justice succoring the
injured. But--" again he gave that slight shrug of the shoulders, indicative of
doubt, if not indifference.
Mrs. Daniels trembled, and took a step forward. I thought she was going to
speak, but instead of that she drew back again in her strange hesitating way.
Mr. Gryce did not seem to notice.
"Perhaps sir," said he, "if you will step upstairs with me to the room occupied by
this girl, I may be able to show you certain evidences which will convince you that
our errand here is not one of presumption."
"I am ready to concede that without troubling myself with proof," observed the
master of the house with the faintest show of asperity. "Yet if there is anything to
see of a startling nature, perhaps I had best yield to your wishes. Whereabouts in
the house is this girl's room, Mrs. Daniels?"
"It is--I gave her the third story back, Mr. Blake;" replied that woman, nervously
eyeing his face. "It was large and light for sewing, and she was so nice--"
He impatiently waved his hand on which he had by this time fitted his glove to a
nicety, as if these details were an unnecessary bore to him, and motioned her to
show the way. Instantly a new feeling appeared to seize her, that of alarm.
"I hardly think you need trouble Mr. Blake to go up-stairs," she murmured, turning
towards Mr. Gryce. "I am sure when you tell him the Curtains were torn, and the
chair upset, the window open and--"
But Mr. Gryce was already on the stairs with Mr. Blake, whom this small
opposition seemed to have at once determined.
"O my God!" she murmured to herself, "who could have foreseen this." And
ignoring my presence with all the egotism of extreme agitation, she hurried past
me to the room above, where I speedily joined her.
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