“Not at all, madam. It is a misfortune, perhaps, but other families have the same trouble. Nothing is thought of it. The newspapers are the best means of tracing lost persons.”
“That’s right, mother,” interrupted Grace. “I often read descriptions of persons who have disappeared, and a few days later I see that they have been found, principally through an account in the paper. I am sure this young gentleman will help us.”
“I will do all I can,” said Larry. “So will the other papers, I am sure. Now when did he disappear? Is this a picture of him?” and he took one from the library table. “Suppose you let me take this to have a cut made of it. I will return it,” and before Mrs. Potter or Grace could object Larry had it in his pocket. That is the way reporters get along sometimes, by taking advantage of every opportunity. Once lost these golden chances seldom can be seized again.
Before mother or daughter could answer Larry’s question the door bell rang, and, a moment later, the butler announced:
“Some newspaper reporters, madam!”
“Oh, this is dreadful! I can’t see them!” exclaimed Mrs. Potter. “Tell them to go away. Let them see Mr. Potter’s lawyer!”
“Mother, let me attend to this for you,” said Grace. “I will see the reporters. I will tell them all that is necessary. I’m not afraid. I want to find poor, dear papa!”
“You are a brave girl,” murmured Mrs. Potter, as she wiped her eyes. “I would not dare face them all in our trouble.”
Larry agreed with Mrs. Potter’s characterization of Grace. It was no easy task for a girl of eighteen to thus assume the responsibility, but she had the courage, and Larry admired her for it.
“You had better go to your room, mother,” Grace went on. “I will see the newspaper men in here,” she added to the butler who was waiting. “You may stay,” she said, looking at Larry, “and you will learn all we ourselves know.”
Larry realized there was no opportunity for a beat in this matter of the disappearance of the millionaire, as the news the police get they give out indiscriminately to all papers. So he was content to get what information he needed in common with the other reporters. But he had a picture, and he doubted if all the others would get one.
The butler showed the reporters in. They were nearly all young men, about Larry’s age, though one or two were gray-haired veterans of the pencil.
“What is it you wish to inquire about first?” asked Grace, as she faced the newspaper men, more calmly than could her mother, who had gone to her room.
WHERE IS HE?
“When did Mr. Potter run away?” asked a voice from the group of press representatives, and Larry saw it was his old enemy, Peter Manton, of the Scorcher—a sensational sheet—who had made the inquiry.