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10. BLACK FOR LUCK (continued)
And then one afternoon he disappeared.
Having searched the flat without finding him, Elizabeth went to the window, with the intention of making a bird's-eye survey of the street. She was not hopeful, for she had just come from the street, and there had been no sign of him then.
Outside the window was a broad ledge, running the width of the building. It terminated on the left, in a shallow balcony belonging to the flat whose front door faced hers--the flat of the young man whose footsteps she sometimes heard. She knew he was a young man, because Francis had told her so. His name, James Renshaw Boyd, she had learned from the same source.
On this shallow balcony, licking his fur with the tip of a crimson tongue and generally behaving as if he were in his own backyard, sat Joseph.
'Jo-seph!' cried Elizabeth--surprise, joy, and reproach combining to give her voice an almost melodramatic quiver.
He looked at her coldly. Worse, he looked at her as if she had been an utter stranger. Bulging with her meat and drink, he cut her dead; and, having done so, turned and walked into the next flat.
Elizabeth was a girl of spirit. Joseph might look at her as if she were a saucerful of tainted milk, but he was her cat, and she meant to get him back. She went out and rang the bell of Mr James Renshaw Boyd's flat.
The door was opened by a shirt-sleeved young man. He was by no means an unsightly young man. Indeed, of his type--the rough-haired, clean-shaven, square-jawed type--he was a distinctly good-looking young man. Even though she was regarding him at the moment purely in the light of a machine for returning strayed cats, Elizabeth noticed that.
She smiled upon him. It was not the fault of this nice-looking young man that his sitting-room window was open; or that Joseph was an ungrateful little beast who should have no fish that night.
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