Trent's Trust and Other Stories
umbrella of felicity, parted with her at her own doorstep all too soon, although consoled
with the permission to come and see her when the child returned.
He went back to his room a very hopeful, foolish, but happy youth. As he entered he
seemed to feel the charm of her presence again in the humble apartment she had
sanctified. The furniture she had moved with her own little hands, the bed on which she
had sat for a half moment, was glorified to his youthful fancy. And even that magic
portmanteau which had brought him all this happiness, that, too,—but he gave a sudden
start. The closet door, which he had shut as he went out, was unlocked and open, the
Randolph Trent's consternation at the loss of the portmanteau was partly superstitious.
For, although it was easy to make up the small sum taken, and the papers were safe in
Miss Avondale's possession, yet this displacement of the only link between him and his
missing benefactor, and the mystery of its disappearance, raised all his old doubts and
suspicions. A vague uneasiness, a still more vague sense of some remissness on his own
part, possessed him.
That the portmanteau was taken from his room during his absence with Miss Avondale
that afternoon was evident. The door had been opened by a skeleton key, and as the
building was deserted on Sunday, there had been no chance of interference with the thief.
If mere booty had been his object, the purse would have satisfied him without his
burdening himself with a portmanteau which might be identified. Nothing else in the
room had been disturbed. The thief must have had some cognizance of its location, and
have kept some espionage over Randolph's movements—a circumstance which added to
the mystery and his disquiet. He placed a description of his loss with the police
authorities, but their only idea of recovering it was by leaving that description with
pawnbrokers and second-hand dealers, a proceeding that Randolph instinctively felt was
A singular but instinctive reluctance to inform Miss Avondale of his loss kept him from
calling upon her for the first few days. When he did, she seemed concerned at the news,
although far from participating in his superstition or his suspicions.
"You still have the letter and photograph—whatever they may be worth—for
identification," she said dryly, "although Bobby cannot remember about the letter. He
thinks he went once with his father to a photographer and had a picture taken, but he
cannot remember seeing it afterward." She was holding them in her hand, and Randolph
almost mechanically took them from her and put them in his pocket. He would not,
perhaps, have noticed his own brusqueness had she not looked a little surprised, and, he
thought, annoyed. "Are you quite sure you won't lose them?" she said gently. "Perhaps I
had better keep them for you."