A Strange Disappearance HTML version
2. A Few Points
Mrs. Daniels, for that was her name, took me at once up stairs to the third story
back room. As we passed through the halls, I could not but notice how rich,
though sombre were the old fashioned walls and heavily frescoed ceilings, so
different in style and coloring from what we see now-a-days in our secret
penetrations into Fifth Avenue mansions. Many as are the wealthy houses I have
been called upon to enter in the line of my profession, I had never crossed the
threshold of such an one as this before, and impervious as I am to any foolish
sentimentalities, I felt a certain degree of awe at the thought of invading with
police investigation, this home of ancient Knicker-bocker respectability. But once
in the room of the missing girl, every consideration fled save that of professional
pride and curiosity. For almost at first blush, I saw that whether Mrs. Daniels was
correct or not in her surmises as to the manner of the girl's disappearance, the
fact that she had disappeared was likely to prove an affair of some importance.
For, let me state the facts in the order in which I noticed them. The first thing that
impressed me was, that whatever Mrs. Daniels called her, this was no sewing
girl's room into which I now stepped. Plain as was the furniture in comparison
with the elaborate richness of the walls and ceiling, there were still scattered
through the room, which was large even for a thirty foot house, articles of
sufficient elegance to make the supposition that it was the abode of an ordinary
seamstress open to suspicion, if no more.
Mrs. Daniels, seeing my look of surprise, hastened to provide some explanation.
"It is the room which has always been devoted to sewing," said she; "and when
Emily came, I thought it would be easier to put up a bed here than to send her
upstairs. She was a very nice girl and disarranged nothing."
I glanced around on the writing-case lying open on a small table in the centre of
the room, on the vase half full of partly withered roses, on the mantel-piece, the
Shakespeare, and Macaulay's History lying on the stand at my right, thought my
own thoughts, but said nothing.
"You found the door locked this morning?" asked I, after a moment's scrutiny of
the room in which three facts had become manifest: first, that the girl had not
occupied the bed the night before; second, that there had been some sort of
struggle or surprise,--one of the curtains being violently torn as if grasped by an
agitated hand, to say nothing of a chair lying upset on the floor with one of its
legs broken; third, that the departure, strange as it may seem, had been by the
"Yes," returned she; "but there is a passageway leading from my room to hers
and it was by that means we entered. There was a chair placed against the door
on this side but we easily pushed it away."
I stepped to the window and looked out. Ah, it would not be so very difficult for a
man to gain the street from that spot in a dark night, for the roof of the newly-
erected extension was almost on a level with the window."
"Well," said she anxiously, "couldn't she have been got out that way?"