“The house was in perfect order when we came in,” said the girl. “Nothing else was missing. It seems as if father took that picture to—to remind him of us—and—and that we would never see him again.”
“Oh, yes, you will!” exclaimed Larry heartily. “You will find him all right. Perhaps he has some business matters to attend to out West, and hasn’t time to come home.”
“He could have written.”
“Maybe he is some place where the mails are infrequent.”
Thus Larry tried to comfort Grace, but it was hard work, for the disappearance of Hamden Potter certainly was strange and difficult to explain.
“I will let you know if we hear any news,” said Larry as he prepared to go.
“Will you? That will be very kind of you. I thank you very much for your help. I would never have known what to do if it had not been for your suggestions. Come any time you have any news for us—and I hope you will come soon—and often,” Grace added with a blush.
Larry’s heart beat a little faster than usual, for it was not every day he received such an invitation to a millionaire’s house, nor from such a pretty girl as Grace.
“Afraid I’ll not have much chance, though,” he thought to himself as he went down the steps. “I’ll probably be taken off this case after to-day, and some other reporter will get it. If I had a little more experience they might let me work on it. Never mind, I’ll get there some day,” and with this Larry comforted himself.
IN THE TENEMENT HOUSE
The story of Hamden Potter’s disappearance, as Larry wrote it, made interesting reading. He used that part about the picture which Grace had told him, but which the other reporters did not know about. The photograph of the missing millionaire, which showed a man in the prime of life, with a large moustache, came out well in the paper, and as Larry saw the article, on the front page, under a “big head,” he could not but feel he had done well.
In this he was confirmed by the city editor, who, seeing copies of the other afternoon papers, as they were brought in to him, exclaimed:
“Well, Larry, you did fine!”
“How’s that?” asked the youth.
“Why you’ve got ’em all beat on the picture proposition, and none of ’em have that part about his coming back to the house and taking the miniature of his wife and daughter. That’s the best part of the whole yarn.”
“I got that by luck, almost at the last minute, when the others were gone,” said Larry.
“That’s the kind of luck that makes big stories,” commented Mr. Emberg. “You might take a run up to the house this evening and see if there’s anything new, and then you can pay a visit in the morning. I’ll have the police end looked after by Harvey, and I’ll send a man to Mr. Potter’s office. It’s barely possible he may turn up there any minute. I have an idea that he is temporarily insane because of his heavy business responsibilities, and that he has wandered off somewhere. He’ll come back in a few days. What do you think about it yourself, Larry?”