A Strange Disappearance
the prostrate form before me. "Yellow hair or black, this is the girl I saw him
speaking to that day in Broome Street. I remember her clothes if nothing more."
And opening my pocketbook, I took out the morsel of cloth I had plucked that day
from the ash barrel, lifted up the discolored rags that hung about the body and
compared the two. The pattern, texture and color were the same.
"Well," said Mr. Gryce, pointing to certain contusions, like marks from the blow of
some heavy instrument on the head and bared arms of the girl before us; "he will
have to answer me one question anyhow, and that is, who this poor creature is
who lies here the victim of treachery or despair." And turning to the official he
asked if there were any other signs of violence on the body.
The answer came deliberately, "Yes, she has evidently been battered to death."
Mr. Gryce's lips closed with grim decision. "A most brutal murder," said he and
lifting up the cloth with a hand that visibly trembled, he softly covered her face.
"Well," said I as we slowly paced back up the pier, "there is one thing certain, she
is not the one who disappeared from Mr. Blake's house."
"I am not so sure of that."
"How!" said I. "You believed Fanny lied when she gave that description of the
missing girl upon which we have gone till now?"
Mr. Gryce smiled, and turning back, beckoned to the official behind us. "Let me
have that description," said he, "which I distributed among the Harbor Police
some days ago for the identification of a certain corpse I was on the lookout for."
The man opened his coat and drew out a printed paper which at Mr. Gryce's
word he put into my hand. It ran as follows:
Look out for the body of a young girl, tall, well shaped but thin, of fair complexion
and golden hair of a peculiar bright and beautiful color, and when found, acquaint
me at once. G.
"I don't understand," began I.
But Mr. Gryce tapping me on the arm said in his most deliberate tones, "Next
time you examine a room in which anything of a mysterious nature has occurred,
look under the bureau and if you find a comb there with several long golden hairs
tangled in it, be very sure before you draw any definite conclusions, that your
Fannys know what they are talking about when they declare the girl who used
that comb had black hair on her head."