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A Strange Disappearance

8. A Word Overheard
That evening I had a talk with Fanny over the area gate. She came out when she
saw me approach, with her eyes staring and her whole form in a flutter.
"O," she cried, "such things as I have heard this day!"
"Well," said I, "what? let me hear too." She put her hand on her heart. "I never
was so frightened," whispered she, "I thought I should have fainted right away.
To hear that elegant lady use such a word as crime,--"
"What elegant lady?" interrupted I. "Don't begin in the middle of your story, that's
a good girl; I want to hear it all."
"Well," said she, calming down a little, "Mrs. Daniels had a visitor to-day, a lady.
She was dressed--"
"O, now," interrupted I for the second time, "you can leave that out. Tell me what
her name was and let the fol-de-rols go."
"Her name?" exclaimed the girl with some sharpness, "how should I know her
name; she did'nt come to see me."
"How did she look then? You saw her I suppose?"
"And was'nt that what I was telling you, when you stopped me. She looked like a
queen, that she did; as grand a lady as ever I see, in her velvet dress sweeping
over the floor, and her diamonds as big as--"
"Was she a dark woman?" I asked.
"Her hair was black and so were her eyes, if that is what you mean."
"And was she very tall and proud looking ?"
The girl nodded. "You know her? 'whispered she.
"No," said I, "not exactly; but I think I can tell who she is. And so she called to-
day on Mrs. Daniels, did she."
"Yes, but I guess she knew master would be home before she got away."
"Come," said I, "tell me all about it; I'm getting impatient."
"And ain't I telling you?" said she. "It was about three o'clock this afternoon, the
time I go up stairs to dress, so I just hangs about in the hall a bit, near the parlor
door, and I hear her gossiping with Mrs. Daniels almost as if she was an old
friend, and Mrs. Daniels answering her mighty stiffly and as if she was'nt glad to
see her at all. But the lady didn't seem to mind, but went on talking as sweet as
honey, and when they came out, you would have thought she loved the old
woman like a sister to see her look into her face and say something about
knowing how busy she was, but that it would give her so much pleasure if she
would come some day to see her and talk over old times. But Mrs. Daniels was'nt
pleased a bit and showed plain enough she did'nt like the lady, fine as she was in
her ways. She was going to answer her too, but just then the front door opened
and Mr. Blake with his satchel in his hand, came into the house. And how he did
start, to be sure, when he saw them, though he tried to say something perlite
which she did'nt seem to take to at all, for after muttering something about not
expecting to see him, she put her hand on the knob and was going right out. But
he stopped her and they went into the parlor together while Mrs. Daniels stood
 
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