A Strange Disappearance
I stared at Mr. Gryce good and roundly. "You have come across something which
I have missed," observed I, "or you could not speak so positively."
"I have come across nothing that was not in plain sight of any body who had eyes
to see it," he returned shortly.
I shook my head slightly mortified.
"You had it all before you," continued he, "and if you were not able to pick up
sufficient facts on which to base a conclusion, you mustn't blame me for it."
More nettled than I would be willing to confess, I walked back with him to the
station, saying nothing then, but inwardly determined to reestablish my reputation
with Mr. Gryce before the affair was over. Accordingly hunting up the man who
had patrolled the district the night before, I inquired if he had seen any one go in
or out of the side gate of Mr. Blake's house on ----- street, between the hours of
eleven and one.
"No," said he, "but I heard Thompson tell a curious story this morning about
some one he had seen."
"What was it?"
"He said he was passing that way last night about twelve o'clock when he
remarked standing under the lamp on the corner of Second Avenue, a group
consisting of two men and a woman, who no sooner beheld him than they
separated, the men drawing back into Second Avenue and the woman coming
hastily towards him. Not understanding the move, he stood waiting her approach,
when instead of advancing to where he was, she paused at the gate of Mr.
Blake's house and lifted her hand as if to open it, when with a wild and terrified
gesture she started back, covering her face with her hands, and before he knew
it, had actually fled in the direction from which she had come. A little startled,
Thompson advanced and looked through the gate before him to see if possible
what had alarmed her, when to his great surprise, he beheld the pale face of the
master of the house, Mr. Blake himself, looking through the bars from the other
side of the gate. He in his turn started back and before he could recover himself,
Mr. Blake had disappeared. He says he tried the gate after that, but found it
"Thompson tells you this story, does he?"
"Well," said I, "it's a pretty wild kind of a tale, and all I have got to say is, that
neither you nor Thompson had better go blabbing it around too much. Mum is the
word where such men as Mr. Blake are concerned." And I departed to hunt up
But he had nothing to add to his statement, except that the girl appeared to be
tall and thin, and was closely wrapped about in a shawl. My next move was to
make such inquiries as I could with safety into the private concerns of Mr. Blake
and his family, and discovered--well, such facts as these:
That Mr. Blake was a man who if he paid but little attention to domestic affairs
was yet rarely seen out of his own house, except upon occasions of great
political importance, when he was always to be found on the platform at meetings
of his constituents. Though to the ordinary observer a man eminently calculated,
from his good looks, fine position, and solid wealth to enjoy society, he not only