A Strange Disappearance HTML version

18. Love And Duty
Dismissing the men who had assisted us in the capture of these two hardy
villains, we ranged our prisoners before us.
"Now," said Mr. Gryce, "no fuss and no swearing; you are in for it, and you might
as well take it quietly as any other way."
"Give me a clutch on that girl, that's all," said her father, "Where is she? Let me
see her; every father has a right to see his own daughter,"
"You shall see her," returned my superior, "but not till her husband is here to
protect her."
"Her husband? ah, you know about that do you?" growled the heavy voice of the
son. "A rich man they say he is and a proud one. Let him come and look at us
lying here like dogs and say how he will enjoy having his wife's father and brother
grinding away their lives in prison."
"Mr. Blake is coming," quoth Mr. Gryce, who by some preconcerted signal from
the window had drawn that gentleman across the street. "He will tell you himself
that he considers prison the best place for you. Blast you! but he--"
"But he, what?" inquired I, as the door opened and Mr. Blake with a pale face
and agitated mien entered the room.
The wretch did not answer. Rousing from the cowering position in which they had
both lain since their capture, the father and son struggled up in some sort of
measure to their feet, and with hot, anxious eyes surveyed the countenance of
the gentleman before them, as if they felt their fate hung upon the expression of
his pallid face. The son was the first to speak.
"How do you do, brother-in-law," were his sullen and insulting words.
Mr. Blake shuddered and cast a look around.
"My wife?" murmured he.
"She is well," was the assurance given by Mr. Gryce, "and in a room not far from
this. I will send for her if you say so."
"No, not yet," came in a sort of gasp; "let me look at these wretches first, and
understand if I can what my wife has to suffer from her connection with them."
"Your wife," broke in the father, "what's that to do with it; the question is how do
you like it and what will you do to get us clear of this thing."
"I will do nothing," returned Mr. Blake. "You amply merit your doom and you shall
suffer it to the end for all time."
"It will read well in the papers," exclaimed the son.
"The papers are to know nothing about it," I broke in. "All knowledge of your
connection with Mr. or Mrs. Blake is to be buried in this spot before we or you
leave it. Not a word of her or him is to cross the lips of either of you from this
hour. I have set that down as a condition and it has got to be kept."
"You have, have you," thundered in chorus from father and son. "And who are
you to make conditions, and what do you think we are that you expect us to keep
them? Can you do anymore than put us back from where we came from?"