A Strange Disappearance
I nodded, and she at once moved towards the door. "I come from No. ---- Second
Avenue: Mr. Blake's house," she whispered, uttering a name so well known, I at
once understood Mr. Gryce's movement of sudden interest "A girl--one who
sewed for us--disappeared last night in a way to alarm us very much. She was
taken from her room--" "Yes," she cried vehemently, seeing my look of sarcastic
incredulity, "taken from her room; she never went of her own accord; and she
must be found if I spend every dollar of the pittance I have laid up in the bank
against my old age."
Her manner was so intense, her tone so marked and her words so vehement, I at
once and naturally asked if the girl was a relative of hers that she felt her
abduction so keenly.
"No," she replied, "not a relative, but," she went on, looking every way but in my
face, "a very dear friend--a--a--protegee, I think they call it, of mine; I--I--She
must be found," she again reiterated.
We were by this time in the street.
"Nothing must be said about it," she now whispered, catching me by the arm. "I
told him so," nodding back to the building from which we had just issued, "and he
promised secrecy. It can be done without folks knowing anything about it, can't
"What?" I asked.
"Finding the girl."
"Well," said I, "we can tell you better about that when we know a few more of the
facts. What is the girl's name and what makes you think she didn't go out of the
house-door of her own accord?"
"Why, why, everything. She wasn't the person to do it; then the looks of her
room, and--They all got out of the window," she cried suddenly, "and went away
by the side gate into ------ Street."
"They? Who do you mean by they?"
"Why, whoever they were who carried her off."
I could not suppress the "bah!" that rose to my lips. Mr. Gryce might have been
able to, but I am not Gryce.
"You don't believe," said she, "that she was carried off?"
"Well, no," said I, "not in the sense you mean."
She gave another nod back to the police station now a block or so distant. "He
did'nt seem to doubt it at all."
I laughed. "Did you tell him you thought she had been taken off in this way?"
"Yes, and he said, 'Very likely.' And well he might, for I heard the men talking in
her room, and--"
"You heard men talking in her room--when?"
"O, it must have been as late as half-past twelve. I had been asleep and the
noise they made whispering, woke me."
"Wait," I said, "tell me where her room is, hers and yours."
"Hers is the third story back, mine the front one on the same floor."
"Who are you?" I now inquired. "What position do you occupy in Mr. Blake's
"I am the housekeeper."