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The White Slave
by [?]

Kennedy and I had just tossed a coin to decide whether it should be a comic opera or a good walk in the mellow spring night air and the opera had won, but we had scarcely begun to argue the vital point as to where to go, when the door buzzer sounded – a sure sign that some box-office had lost four dollars.

It was a much agitated middle-aged couple who entered as Craig threw open the door. Of our two visitors, the woman attracted my attention first, for on her pale face the lines of sorrow were almost visibly deepening. Her nervous manner interested me greatly, though I took pains to conceal the fact that I noticed it. It was quickly accounted for, however, by the card which the man presented, bearing the name “Mr. George Gilbert” and a short scribble from First Deputy O’Connor:

Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert desire to consult you with regard to the mysterious disappearance of their daughter, Georgette. I am sure I need say nothing further to interest you than that the M.P. Squad is completely baffled.


“H-m,” remarked Kennedy; “not strange for the Missing Persons Squad to be baffled – at least, at this case.”

“Then you know of our daughter’s strange – er – departure?” asked Mr. Gilbert, eagerly scanning Kennedy’s face and using a euphemism that would fall less harshly on his wife’s ears than the truth.

“Indeed, yes,” nodded Craig with marked sympathy: “that is, I have read most of what the papers have said. Let me introduce my friend, Mr. Jameson. You recall we were discussing the Georgette Gilbert case this morning, Walter?”

I did, and perhaps before I proceed further with the story I should quote at least the important parts of the article in the morning Star which had occasioned the discussion. The article had been headed, “When Personalities Are Lost,” and with the Gilbert case as a text many instances had been cited which had later been solved by the return of the memory of the sufferer. In part the article had said:

Mysterious disappearances, such as that of Georgette Gilbert, have alarmed the public and baffled the police before this, disappearances that in their suddenness, apparent lack of purpose, and inexplicability, have had much in common with the case of Miss Gilbert.

Leaving out of account the class of disappearances such as embezzlers, blackmailers, and other criminals, there is still a large number of recorded cases where the subjects have dropped out of sight without apparent cause or reason and have left behind them untarnished reputations. Of these a small percentage are found to have met with violence; others have been victims of a suicidal mania ; and sooner or later a clue has come to light, for the dead are often easier to find than the living, Of the remaining small proportion there are on record a number of carefully authenticated cases where the subjects have been the victims of a sudden and complete loss of memory.

This dislocation of memory is a variety of aphasia known as amnesia, and when the memory is recurrently lost and restored it is an “alternating personality.” The psychical researchers and psychologists have reported many cases of alternating personality. Studious efforts are being made to understand and to explain the strange type of mental phenomena exhibited in these cases, but no one has as yet given a final, clear, and comprehensive explanation of them. Such cases are by no means always connected with disappearances, but the variety known as the ambulatory type, where the patient suddenly loses all knowledge of his own identity and of his past and takes himself off, leaving no trace or clue, is the variety which the present case calls to popular attention.