A Strange Disappearance
15. A Confab
Next morning Mr. Gryce and I met in serious consultation. How, and in what
direction should we extend the inquiries necessary to a discovery of these
"I advise a thorough overhauling of the German quarter," said my superior.
"Schmidt, and Rosenthal will help us and the result ought to be satisfactory."
But I shook my head at this. "I don't believe," said I, "that they will hide among
their own people. You must remember they are not alone, but have with them a
young woman of a somewhat distinguished appearance, whose presence in a
crowded district, like that, would be sure to awaken gossip; something which
above all else they must want to avoid."
"That is true; the Germans are a dreadful race for gossip."
"If they dared to ill-dress her or ill-treat her, it would be different. But she is a
valuable piece of property to them you see, a choice lot of goods which it is for
their interest to preserve in first-class condition till the day comes for its disposal.
For I presume you have no doubt that it is for the purpose of extorting money
from Mr. Blake that they have carried off his young wife."
"For that reason or one similar. He is a man of resources, they may have hoped
he would help them to escape the country."
"If they don't hide in the German quarter they certainly won't in the Italian, French
or Irish. What they want is too keep close and rouse no questions. I think they will
be found to have gone up the river somewhere, or over to Jersey. Hoboken
would'nt be a bad place to send Schmidt to."
"You forget what it is they've got on their minds; besides no conspicuous party
such as they could live in a rural district without attracting more attention than in
the most crowded tenement house in the city."
"Where do you think, then, they would be liable to go?"
"Well my most matured thought on the subject," returned Mr. Gryce, after a
moment's deliberation, "is this,--you say, and I agree, that they have hampered
themselves with this woman at this time for the purpose of using her hereafter in
a scheme of black-mail upon Mr. Blake. He, then, must be the object about which
their thoughts revolve and toward which whatever operations or plans they may
be engaged upon must tend. What follows? When a company of men have made
up their minds to rob a bank, what is the first thing they do? They hire, if possible,
a house next to the especial building they intend to enter, and for months work
upon the secret passage through which they hope to reach the safe and its
contents; or they make friends with the watchman that guards its treasures, and
the janitor who opens and shuts the doors. In short they hang about their prey
before they pounce upon it. And so will these Schoenmakers do in the somewhat
different robbery which they plan sooner or later to effect. Whatever may keep
them close at this moment, Mr. Blake and Mr. Blake's house is the point toward
which their eyes are turned, and if we had time--"
"But we have'nt," I broke in impetuously. "It is horrible to think of that grand
woman languishing away in the power of such rascals."