A Strange Disappearance HTML version
eyes of the housekeeper. "But indeed, I have been in no position to communicate
with you, nor could I do so without risking that to protect which I so outraged my
feelings as to leave the house at all. I mean the life and welfare of its master,
"Ha, what is that?" quoth Mr. Blake. "It was to save me, you consented to follow
"Yes; what else would have led me to such an action? They might have killed
me, I would not have cared, but when they began to utter threats against you--"
"Mrs. Blake," exclaimed Mrs. Daniels, catching hold of her mistress's uplifted
hand, and pointing to a scar that slightly disfigured her white arm a little above
the wrist, "Mrs. Blake, what's that?"
A pink flush, the first I had seen on her usually pale countenance, rose for an
instant to her cheeks, and she seemed to hesitate.
"It was not there when I last saw you, Mrs. Blake."
"No," was the slow reply, "I found myself forced that night to inflict upon myself a
little wound. It is nothing, let it go."
"No, Luttra I cannot let it go," said her husband, advancing towards her with
something like gentle command. "I must hear not only about this but all the other
occurrences of that night. How came they to find you in the refuge you had
"I think," said she in a low tone the underlying suffering of which it would be hard
to describe, "that it was not to seek me they first invaded your house. They had
heard you were a rich man, and the sight of that ladder running up the side of the
new extension was too much for them. Indeed I know that it was for purposes of
robbery they came, for they had hired this room opposite you some days
previous to making the attempt. You see they were almost destitute of money
and though they had some buried in the cellar of the old house in Vermont, they
dared not leave the city to procure it. My brother was obliged to do so later,
however. It was a surprise to them seeing me in your house. They had reached
the roof of the extension and were just lifting up the corner of the shade I had
dropped across the open window--I always open my window a few minutes
before preparing to retire--when I rose from the chair in which I had been
brooding, and turned up the gas. I was combing my hair at the time and so of
course they recognized me. Instantly they gave a secret signal I, alas,
remembered only too well, and crouching back, bade me put out the light that
they might enter with safety. I was at first too much startled to realize the
consequences of my action, and with some vague idea that they had discovered
my retreat and come for purposes of advice or assistance, I did what they bid.
Immediately they threw back the shade and came in, their huge figures looming
frightfully in the faint light made by a distant gas lamp in the street below. 'What
do you want?' were my first words uttered in a voice I scarcely recognized for my
own; 'why do you steal on me like this in the night and through an open window
fifty feet from the ground? Aren't you afraid you will be discovered and sent back
to the prison from which you have escaped?' Their reply sent a chill through my
blood and awoke me to a realization of what I had done in thus allowing two
escaped convicts to enter a house not my own. 'We want money and we're not