The Poisoned Pen and Other Stories
The White Slave
Kennedy and I had just tossed a coin to decide whether it should be a comic opera or a
good walk in the mellow spring night air and the opera had won, but we had scarcely
begun to argue the vital point as to where to go, when the door buzzer sounded - a sure
sign that some box-office had lost four dollars.
It was a much agitated middle-aged couple who entered as Craig threw open the door. Of
our two visitors, the woman attracted my attention first, for on her pale face the lines of
sorrow were almost visibly deepening. Her nervous manner interested me greatly, though
I took pains to conceal the fact that I noticed it. It was quickly accounted for, however, by
the card which the man presented, bearing the name "Mr. George Gilbert" and a short
scribble from First Deputy O'Connor:
Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert desire to consult you with regard to the mysterious disappearance of
their daughter, Georgette. I am sure I need say nothing further to interest you than that the
M.P. Squad is completely baffled.
"H-m," remarked Kennedy; "not strange for the Missing Persons Squad to be baffled - at
least, at this case."
"Then you know of our daughter's strange - er - departure?" asked Mr. Gilbert, eagerly
scanning Kennedy's face and using a euphemism that would fall less harshly on his wife's
ears than the truth.
"Indeed, yes," nodded Craig with marked sympathy: "that is, I have read most of what the
papers have said. Let me introduce my friend, Mr. Jameson. You recall we were
discussing the Georgette Gilbert case this morning, Walter?"
I did, and perhaps before I proceed further with the story I should quote at least the
important parts of the article in the morning Star which had occasioned the discussion.
The article had been headed, "When Personalities Are Lost," and with the Gilbert case as
a text many instances had been cited which had later been solved by the return of the
memory of the sufferer. In part the article had said:
Mysterious disappearances, such as that of Georgette Gilbert,
have alarmed the public and baffled the police before this,
disappearances that in their suddenness, apparent lack of
purpose, and inexplicability, have had much in common with
the case of Miss Gilbert.
Leaving out of account the class of disappearances such as
embezzlers, blackmailers, and other criminals, there is still
a large number of recorded cases where the subjects have
dropped out of sight without apparent cause or reason and
have left behind them untarnished reputations. Of these a