A Strange Disappearance HTML version

4. Thompson's Story
"An affair of some mystery," remarked Mr. Gryce, as we halted at the corner to
take a final look at the house and its environs. "Why a girl should choose such a
method of descent as that,"--and he pointed to the ladder down which we
believed her to have come-- "to leave a house of which she had been an inmate
for a year, baffles me, I can tell you. If it were not for those marks of blood which
betray her track, I would be disinclined to believe any such hare-brained
adventure was ever perpetrated by a woman. As it is, what would'nt I give for her
photograph. Black hair, black eyes, white face and thin figure! what a description
whereby to find a girl in this great city of New York. Ah!" said he with sudden
gratification, "here is Mr. Blake again; his appointment must have been a failure.
Let us see if his description will be any more definite." And hurrying towards the
advancing figure of that gentleman, he put some questions to him.
Instantly Mr. Blake stopped, looked at him blankly for a moment, then replied in a
tone sufficiently loud for me to hear:
"I am sorry, sir, if my description could have done you any good, but I have not
the remotest idea how the girl looked. I did not know till this morning even, that
there was such a person in my house as a sewing-woman. I leave all such
domestic concerns entirely with Mrs. Daniels."
Mr. Gryce again bowed low and ventured another question. The answer came as
before, distinctly to my ears.
"O, I may have seen her, I can not say about that; I very often run across the
servants in the hall; but whether she is tall or short, light or dark, pretty or ugly, I
know no more than you do, sir." Then with a dignified nod calculated to abash a
man in Mr. Gryce's position, inquired,
"Is that all?"
It did not seem to be, Mr. Gryce put another question.
Mr. Blake give him a surprised stare before replying, then courteously remarked,
"I do not concern myself with servants after they have left me. Henry was an
excellent valet, but a trifle domineering, something which I never allow in any one
who approaches me. I dismissed him and that was the end of it, I know nothing
of what has become of him."
Mr. Gryce bowed and drew back, and Mr. Blake, with the haughty step peculiar
to him, passed by him and reentered his house.
"I should not like to get into that man's clutches," said I, as my superior rejoined
me; "he has a way of making one appear so small."
Mr. Gryce shot an askance look at his shadow gloomily following him along the
pavement. "Yet it may happen that you will have to run the risk of that very
I glanced towards him in amazement.
"If the girl does not turn up of her own accord, or if we do not succeed in getting
some trace of her movements, I shall be tempted to place you where you can
study into the ways of this gentleman's household. If the affair is a mystery, it has
its centre in that house."