He drove to the office of a trucking and moving concern and asked if there were green vans. The proprietor said his vans were always yellow. Folks could see them farther and the paint wore better; but all men didn’t follow his judgment. Yes, there were green vans, though not so good as his, and not so careful of the furniture. He told Bonbright who owned the green vans. It was a storage house.
Bonbright went to the huge brick storage building, and persuaded a clerk to search the records. A bill from Bonbright’s pocketbook added to the persuasion. ... An hour’s wait developed that a green van belonging to the company had moved goods from that address—and the spinster was vindicated.
“Brought ’em here and stored ’em,” said the young man. “Here’s the name—Frazer. Ruth Frazer.”
“That’s it,” said Bonbright. “That’s it.”
“Storage hain’t been paid. ... No word from the party. Maybe she’ll show up some day to claim ’em. If not, we’ll sell ’em for the charges.”
“Didn’t she leave any address?”
It had been only a cul de sac. Bonbright had come to the end of it, and had only to retrace his steps. It had led him no nearer to his wife. What to do now? He didn’t see what he could do, or that anybody could do better than he had done. ... He thought of going to the police, but rejected that plan. It was repulsive to him and would be repulsive to Ruth. ... He might insert a personal in the paper. Such things were done. But if Ruth were ill she would not see it. If she wanted to hide from him she would not reply.
He went to Mrs. Frazer, but Mrs. Frazer only sobbed and bewailed her fate, and stated her opinion of Bonbright in many confused words. It seemed to be her idea that her daughter was dead or kidnapped, and sometimes she appeared to hold both notions simultaneously. ... Bonbright got nothing there.
Discouraged, he went back to his office, but not to his work. He could not work. His mind would hold no thought but of Ruth. ... He must find her. He must. ... Nothing mattered unless he could find her, and until he found her he would be good for nothing else.
He tried to pull himself together. “I’ve got to work,” he said. “I’ve got to think about something else. ...” But his will was unequal to the performance. ... “Where is she?... Where is she?..” The question, the demand, repeated itself over and over and over.
There was a chance that a specialist, a professional, might find traces of Ruth where Bonbright’s untrained eyes missed them altogether. So, convinced that he could do nothing, that he did not in the least know how to go about the search, he retained a firm of discreet, well-recommended searchers for missing persons. With that he had to be content. He still searched, but it was because he had to search; he had to feel that he was trying, doing something, but no one realized the uselessness of it more than himself. He was always looking for her, scanned every face in the crowd, looked up at every window.