A Strange Disappearance HTML version

"More difficult things have been done," said I; and was about to step out upon the
roof when I bethought to inquire of Mrs. Daniels if any of the girl's clothing was
She immediately flew to the closets and thence to bureau drawers which she
turned hastily over. "No, nothing is missing but a hat and cloak and--" She
paused confusedly.
"And what?" I asked.
"Nothing," returned she, hurriedly closing the bureau drawer; "only some little
"Knick-knacks!" quoth I. "If she stopped for knick-knacks, she couldn't have gone
in any very unwilling frame of mind." And somewhat disgusted, I was about to
throw up the whole affair and leave the room. But the indecision in Mrs. Daniels'
own face deterred me.
"I don't understand it," murmured she, drawing her hand across her eyes. "I don't
understand it. But," she went on with even an increase in her old tone of heart-
felt conviction, "no matter whether we understand it or not, the case is serious; I
tell you so, and she must be found."
I resolved to know the nature of that must, used as few women in her position
would use it even under circumstances to all appearance more aggravated than
Why, must?" said I. "If the girl went of her own accord as some things seem to
show, why should you, no relative as you acknowledge take the matter so to
heart as to insist she shall be followed and brought back?"
She turned away, uneasily taking up and putting down some little matters on the
table before her. "Is it not enough that I promise to pay for all expenses which a
search will occasion, without my being forced to declare just why I should be
willing to do so? Am I bound to tell you I love the girl? that I believe she has been
taken away by foul means, and that to her great suffering and distress? that
being fond of her and believing this, I am conscientious enough to put every
means I possess at the command of those who will recover her?"
I was not satisfied with this but on that very account felt my enthusiasm revive.
"But Mr. Blake? Surely he is the one to take this interest if anybody."
"I have before said," returned she, paling however as she spoke, "that Mr. Blake
takes very little interest in his servants."
I cast another glance about the room. "How long have you been in this house?"
asked I.
"I was in the service of Mr. Blake's father and he died a year ago."
"Since when you have remained with Mr. Blake himself?"
"Yes sir."
"And this Emily, when did she come here?"
"Oh it must be eleven months or so ago."
"An Irish girl?"
"O no, American. She is not a common person, sir,"
"What do you mean by that? That she was educated, lady-like, pretty, or what?"
"I don't know what to say. She was educated, yes, but not as you would call a
lady educated. Yet she knew a great many things the rest of us did'nt. She liked