Violet Strange the Millionaire Baby

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    The Millionaire Baby, by

    Anna Katharine Green

    The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Millionaire Baby, byAnna Katharine Green

    This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no costand with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may

    copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of theProject Gutenberg License included with this eBook oronline at www.gutenberg.org

    Title: The Millionaire Baby

    Author: Anna Katharine Green

    Release Date: June 22, 2007 [eBook #21904]

    Language: English

    Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

    ***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THEMILLIONAIRE BABY***

    E-text prepared by Suzanne Shell, Mary Meehan, and theProject Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team(http://www.pgdp.net)

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    Note: Project Gutenberg also has an HTML version of thisfile which includes the original illustrations. See 21904-h.htm or 21904-h.zip:(http://www.gutenberg.net/dirs/2/1/9/0/21904/21904-

    h/21904-h.htm) or(http://www.gutenberg.net/dirs/2/1/9/0/21904/21904-h.zip)

    THE MILLIONAIRE BABY

    by

    ANNA KATHARINE GREEN

    Author of "The Filigree Ball," "The Leavenworth Case,"Etc.

    A. L. Burt Company, Publishers, New York

    Copyright 1905 The Bobbs-Merrill Company January

    Press of Braunworth & Co. Bookbinders and PrintersBrooklyn, N. Y.

    [Illustration: "HUSH! THERE IS NO DOUBT ON THATTOPIC; THE CHILD IS DEAD. LET THAT BE UNDERSTOODBETWEEN US." ]

    CONTENTS

    I Two Little Shoes

    II "A Fearsome Man"

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    III A Charming Woman

    IV Chalk-Marks

    V The Old House in YonkersVI Doctor Pool

    VII "Find the Child!"

    VIII "Philo! Philo! Philo!"

    IX The Bungalow

    X Temptation

    XI The Secret of the Old Pavilion

    XII Behind the Wall

    XIII "We Shall Have to Begin Again"

    XIV Espionage

    XV A Phantasm

    XVI "An All-Conquering Beauty"

    XVII In the Green Boudoir

    XVIII "You Look As If--As If--"

    XIX Frenzy

    XX "What Do You Know?"

    XXI Providence

    XXII On the Second Terrace

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    XXIII A Coral Bead

    XXIV "Shall I Give Him My Word, Harry?"

    XXV The Work of an InstantXXVI "He Will Never Forgive"

    XXVII The Final Struggle

    THE MILLIONAIRE BABY

    I

    TWO LITTLE SHOES

    The morning of August eighteenth, 190-, was amemorable one to me. For two months I had had a run ofbad luck. During that time I had failed to score in at leastthree affairs of unusual importance, and the result was a

    decided loss in repute as well as great financialembarrassment. As I had a mother and two sisters tosupport and knew but one way to do it, I was in a stateof profound discouragement. This was before I took upthe morning papers. After I had opened and read them,not a man in New York could boast of higher hopes orgreater confidence in his power to rise by one boldstroke from threatened bankruptcy to immediateindependence.

    The paragraph which had occasioned this amazingchange must have passed under the eyes of many ofyou. It created a wide-spread excitement at the time andraised in more than one breast the hope of speedyfortune. It was attached to, or rather introduced, themost startling feature of the week, and it ran thus:

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    A FORTUNE FOR A CHILD.

    By cable from Southampton.

    A reward of five thousand dollars is offered, by PhiloOcumpaugh, to whoever will give such information aswill lead to the recovery, alive or dead, of his six-year-olddaughter, Gwendolen, missing since the afternoon ofAugust the 16th, from her home in ----- on-the-Hudson,New York, U. S. A.

    Fifty thousand dollars additional and no questions askedif she is restored unharmed within the week to her

    mother at Homewood.

    All communications to be addressed to Samuel Atwater,----- on-the-Hudson.

    A minute description of the child followed, but this didnot interest me, and I did not linger over it. The childwas no stranger to me. I knew her well and consequentlywas quite aware of her personal characteristics. It was

    the great amount offered for her discovery andrestoration which moved me so deeply. Fifty thousanddollars! A fortune for any man. More than a fortune tome, who stood in such need of ready money. I wasdetermined to win this extraordinary sum. I had myreason for hope and, in the light of this unexpectedlymunificent reward, decided to waive all theconsiderations which had hitherto prevented me fromstirring in the matter.

    There were other reasons less selfish which gaveimpetus to my resolve. I had done business for theOcumpaughs before and been well treated in thetransaction. I recognized and understood both Mr.Ocumpaugh's peculiarities and those of his admired and

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    devoted wife. As man and woman they were kindly,honorable and devoted to many more interests thanthose connected with their own wealth. I also knew theirhearts to be wrapped up in this child,--the sole offspring

    of a long and happy union, and the actual as well asprospective inheritor of more millions than I shall eversee thousands, unless I am fortunate enough to solvethe mystery now exercising the sympathies of the wholeNew York public.

    You have all heard of this child under another name.From her birth she has been known as the MillionaireBaby, being the direct heir to three fortunes, two of

    which she had already received. I saw her first when shewas three years old--a cherubic little being, lovely to lookupon and possessing unusual qualities for so young achild. Indeed, her picturesque beauty and appealingways would have attracted all eyes and won all hearts,even if she had not represented in her small person thewealth both of the Ocumpaugh and Rathbone families.There was an individuality about her, combined withsensibilities of no ordinary nature, which fully accounted

    for the devoted affection with which she was universallyregarded; and when she suddenly disappeared, it waseasy to comprehend, if one did not share, the thrill ofhorror which swept from one end of our broad continentto the other. Those who knew the parents, and thosewho did not, suffered an equal pang at the awful thoughtof this petted innocent lost in the depths of the greatunknown, with only the false caresses of her abductorsto comfort her for the deprivation of all those delightswhich love and unlimited means could provide to make achild of her years supremely happy.

    Her father--and this was what gave the keen edge ofhorror to the whole occurrence--was in Europe when shedisappeared. He had been cabled at once and his answer

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    was the proffered reward with which I have opened thishistory. An accompanying despatch to his distracted wifeannounced his relinquishment of the project which hadtaken him abroad and his immediate return on the next

    steamer sailing from Southampton. As this chanced tobe the fastest on the line, we had reason to expect himin six days; meanwhile--

    But to complete my personal recapitulations. When thefirst news of this startling abduction flashed upon myeyes from the bulletin boards, I looked on the matter asone of too great magnitude to be dealt with by any butthe metropolitan police; but as time passed and further

    details of the strange and seemingly inexplicable affaircame to light, I began to feel the stirring of the detectiveinstinct within me (did I say that I was connected with aprivate detective agency of some note in themetropolis?) and a desire, quite apart from any merehumane interest in the event itself, to locate theintelligence back of such a desperate crime: anintelligence so keen that, up to the present moment, ifwe may trust the published accounts of the affair, not a

    clue had been unearthed by which its author could betraced, or the means employed for carrying off thispetted object of a thousand cares.

    To be sure, there was a theory which eliminated all crimefrom the occurrence as well as the intervention of anyone in the child's fate: she might have strayed down tothe river and been drowned. But the probabilities wereso opposed to this supposition, that the police hadrefused to embrace it, although the mother hadaccepted it from the first, and up to the presentmoment, or so it was stated, had refused to consider anyother. As she had some basis for this conclusion--I amstill quoting the papers, you understand--I was notdisposed to ignore it in the study I proceeded to make of

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    the situation. The details, as I ran them over in thehurried trip I now made up the river to ----, were asfollows:

    On the afternoon of Wednesday, August sixteenth, 190--,the guests assembled in Mrs. Ocumpaugh's white andgold music-room were suddenly thrown into confusion bythe appearance among them of a young girl in a state ofgreat perturbation, who, running up to the startledhostess, announced that Gwendolen, the petted darlingof the house, was missing from the bungalow where shehad been lying asleep, and could not be found, though adozen men had been out on search.

    The wretched mother, who, as it afterward transpired,had not only given the orders by which the child hadbeen thus removed from the excitement up at thehouse, but had actually been herself but a few momentsbefore to see that the little one was well cared for andhappy, seemed struck as by a mortal blow at thesewords and,