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A Riveting Tale..

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A Riveting Tale.. Wow..

ROOM 342
(there r many a versions of this and this is quite unique)..
The following story is said to have been
taken from the secret archives of the Paris
Police from the time of the Great Exhibition
of 1889. Several writers have told the story.
It seems to have gone round the world. Here
it is given for the first time in the form of
The story opens in Bombay. Captain Day,
who was stationed in India, has just died,
leaving his wife and daughter of seventeen
alone in India.
Mrs. Day: At last I have some good news
for you, my dear. As you know, I was down
at the officers’ mess for lunch to-day, and the
general told me that his new assistant is will-
ing to take over the house and all the fur-
nitu’re as well.
Miss Day: I’m so delighted to hear it,
mother. I never did think it was a good idea
to take any of our things back to England
with us. I know you can’t help thinking of
daddy very often, but I’m glad we are leaving
the things behind. You would be thinking of
daddy, Sitting there reading and writing,
every time you looked at his desk.
Mrs. Day: Perhaps you are right, Joan,
but you will understand that many of these
things have a great sentimental value.
Miss Day: I understand, mother, but we
have to begin life anew in England, and we
shall do it ever so much better without all
these things around you.
Mrs. Day: I’m sorry that, as soon as we
get to England, it will be necessary to go
to Paris and sign certain papers in con-
nection with your father’s property. I should
just like to go to England and stay there.
Miss Day: I have a very good idea, mother.
Many of the boats call at Marseilles. I suggest
that we get off the boat at Marseilles and take
the train from there to Paris. Then you could
sign the papers, and we could continue our
journey to England. In fact, it would be just
as quick as going by boat the whole way.
M rs. Day: That is an excellent suggestion,
Joan, and I think I’ll go down to the shipping
company in the morning to find out when the
first boat is leaving for Marseilles.
A few weeks later at Marseilles.
Mrs. Day: I feel rather nervous about the
hotel in Paris, Joan. From the papers I have
been reading, it seems as if the whole world
has come to Paris for the Exhibition. I re-
member once, soon after we were married,
your father and I stayed at the Crillon. I think 
we had better go along to the post-office and 
send a telegram for a double-room. It’ll only
be for one or two nights at the most. I’d like 
to stay longer so that you could see something 
of the Exhibition, but I have not been feeling
very well for the last few days.
Miss Day: In that case it is much more 
important for us to get back to England as 
soon as possible. I am sure that, after a few
weeks in the beautiful English countryside,
you will begin to feel much better. And,
mother, there will be other chances for me of
seeing Paris later on. I’m simply longing to 
see my own country, and to Visit the places that
you and daddy come from. England is the
place for me at the moment, just as much as
it is for you.
Twenty-four hours later.
Mrs. Day: In a few minutes we shall be
running into the Gare de Lyons. I do hope
that the Crillon was able to find a room for us.
I must say, Joan, that I have never been on
a journey that has made me so tired. I have
only one desire at the moment, and that is to
lie down on my bed as soon as possible.
Miss Day: Poor mother, you do look tired
and worn out. Still, if there is no room for us
at the Crillon, we should be able to get a room
elsewhere, for I understand that Paris is just
full of hotels. We are running into the station
now. (A few seconds later.) Oh, mother, we
are lucky 3 I have just seen a man with the
name of our shipping company on his cap.
If we’re not able to get in at the Crillon, he’ll
know where to send us. (Calling to the man.)
Hallo, hallo there! Will you give us some
help, please?
Shipping company man: Why certainly,
mademoiselle. What can I do for you.P
Miss Day: Mother and I left one of your
boats at Marseilles and are proceeding via
Paris to England. We sent a wire from Mar-
seilles to the Crillon, ordering a double-room.
If we find the'hotel is full up, perhaps you
could recommend another one to us.
Shipping company man: Certainly, made-
moiselle. I will come with you myself and
explain to the driver that he is to take you to
the Crillon first, and then I will give him the
name of a hotel where you will certainly find
an empty room, if there is no room for you
at the Crilldn.
Miss Day: That is very kind of you.
Shipping company man: The pleasure is
all mine. Will you please show me your lug-
gage, and then I will get a porter. Then per-
haps you would follow me to the cab.
A few minutes later at the Crillon.
Miss Day: I am Miss Day, and this is my
mother, Mrs. Day. We sent you a wire from
Marseilles, ordering a double-room.
Hotel clerk: Yes, mademoiselle, you are
very lucky indeed. We were quite full up, but
just before your telegram arrived, we received
another from a client who was not able to
come. It is only a single-room, but we have
put in an extra bed for mademoiselle.
Miss Day: That is excellent. What is the
number of the room?
Clerk: N o. 342, mademoiselle. Here is the
key, and I will get a porter to take your things
up to your room.
In the hotel bedroom.
Miss Day: Well, here we are, mother.
Everything has turned out well. It could
hardly be better. To-morrow you can go and
sign those papers, and then we can catch the
first train for England. Now that we’re get-
ting so near to England, I’m getting quite
excited. It won’t be very long before we’re
living in our own little house in the beautiful
English countryside. I suggest that we wash
and then go down to the restaurant for dinner.
Mrs. Day: I hope you will forgive me,
Joan, if I don’t come to dinner with you.
I feel far too tired to eat and could not face
all the people in the restaurant.
Miss Day: I’m sorry that you won’t have
anything. I’ll change and go down alone then.
The following morning.
Miss Day: Hallo, good morning, mother,
I hope you’ve slept well.
Mrs. Day: Goo-d morning, Joan. I’m afraid
I didn’t sleep very well. But that doesn’t
mean anything. When you get too tired, it is
often very difficult to fall asleep.
Miss Day: I’m very sorry to hear it,
mother, but now I’ll ring for some breakfast.
A few minutes later a maia’ appears with
a tray.
Miss Day: Here’s a cup of tea, mother. It
doesn’t look quite so strong as the tea in India,
but better than I expected French tea to be.
Mrs. Day: Thank you, my dear. It doesn’t
look too bad.
Miss Day: You must really try it. It’ll do
you good, and then we can start thinking
about those papers that want signing.
Mrs. Day: I don’t feel very much like get-
ting up and going out just now. I should
prefer to wait until this afternoon or to-mor-
row morning. It might be a good idea if you
went round to see the man and asked him if
it were possible for him to come here. That
would be much easier still. I’ll be all right
again by to-morrow, and then we can start
on the last stage of our journey.
Miss Day: All right, mother, I’ll certainly
go round and see him, but first of all I’m
going straight down to see that the hotel
doctor comes to see you without delay.
A little later. M other ana’ daughter are again
talking in their room.
Miss Day: The manager was in his office
all right, and he promised me to arrange for
the doctor to come at once.
There is a knock at the door.
Miss Day: I expect that’s the doctor. I’ll
go and open the door.
Doctor: Good morning, mademoiselle, my
name is Doctor Dupont. The manager tells
me that your mother is not Well.
Miss Day: Good morning, Doctor Dupont,
will you please come in. It was very good of
you to come so quickly. This is my mother,
Doctor Dupont.
Doctor: Good morning, madam. I do not
speak the English language so well. I’m sure
you will forgive me. First of all I will take
your temperature and pulse, and then I can
ask you some questions.
A minute or two later.
Doctor: May I ask where you have come
M rs. Day : My daughter and I left Bombay
after the death of my husband, and as I have
some business to do in Paris, we travelled
overland from Marseilles, arriving here
yesterday evening.
Doctor: I understand that you are feeling
very tired, and that the appetite has gone
is it not so.P
M rs. Day : Yes, doctor. To be quite honest,
I felt too tired to get up this morning, and now
I seem to have lost my appetite altogether.
Doctor: Yes, madam. When people are
overtired, they do not feel like eating. Iwill
send for some medicine for you that will help
you. I will see you again, madam, but now I
must say adieu. ( To Miss Day.) Perhaps ma-
demoiselle will come with me.
Doctor: I am sorry to say that it is very
serious, mademoiselle. You must not think of
continuing your journey to England to-
morrow. It might be better to move your
mother to a hospital. Of course, I shall arrange
everything for you. But, mademoiselle, it will
be necessary for you to go at once to my house
and fetch some medicine for your mother.
I am very sorry, mademoiselle, that my house
is at the other end of Paris. It is very unfor-
tunate that I do not have a telephone in the
house. The best and quickest way would be
for mademoiselle to go to my house herself.
I will give mademoiselle a note for my wife,
telling her what to do.
Miss Day: But, doctor, if you live so far
away, wouldn’t it be much quicker to get the
medicine from a Chemist’s?
Doctor: Mademoiselle, this is a very spe-
cial medicine of my own, and it will be much
quicker for you to go to my house for it. You
may trust me, mademoiselle, that I will do
the very best for you. Now I must write a
note to my wife, giving her instructions, and
then I will get a cab that will take you to my
house, and afterwards bring you back here
with the medicine.
The doctor wrote a note, gave it to the girl,
and having got a cab for her, gave the driver
instructions. The girl was very impatient,
especially as the cab seemed to crawl along
as slowly as possible. She got the idea that the
doctor’s house was at the very end of the
world. Several times she thought that the cab
was going in the wrong direction, for when
she looked out of the window, she was certain
that they were going along streets that they
had already been through once. At last,
however, the cab stopped in front of a house.
The girl got out and rang the bell. She had
to ring the bell several times before the door
was opened.

Miss Day: Good morning! I am Miss Day.
I have a note from Mr. Dupont.
Mrs. Dupont: Good morning, mademoi-
selle, please come inside and sit down. I am
Mrs. Dupont. I will see What my'husband
has to say. ( She reads the note.) I will attend
to it at once, mademoiselle, but it will take
some time to prepare the medicine. Won’ t you
sit down until it is ready.
The wait seemed to have no end. Hundreds
of times she got up from her chair and walked
to the door of the room and then went back
and sat down again. Sometimes, she felt like
running hack to her mother without the
medicine, out having come so far for it, she
waited on. She was surprised to hear the tele-
phone ring, because she remembered the doc-
tor’s words, that he had not got one. The long
wait brought tears to her eyes as she thought
of her mother lying in bed at the hotel,
waiting for her. At last, however, the medi-
cine was ready, and she went out to the cab.
The drive back to the hotel was even slower
than the drive out, and when they got back
to the centre of the town, the cab driver
stopped outside a hotel that was unknown to
her. She now felt certain that something was
wrong. A few yards away she noticed a young
man, who to judge by his clothes could not be
anything else but English, and although
modest by nature, she jumped out of the cab
and ran up to him.
Miss Day: Excuse me for addressing a per-
fect stranger, but you are English, aren’t you?
Stranger ( with cordiality): Oh yes, I’m
English all right. You look worried. Can I
help you in any way.P
Miss Day: My name is Miss Day. My
mother and I are staying at the Crillon. As
she wasn’t very well this morning, I got the
hotel doctor to see her. He told me that it
was serious, and sent me off to his house at
the other end of Paris to fetch some medicine
for her. I just don’t understand things. The
doctor gave the driver instructions, and he
drove as slowly as possible, very often driving,
I am sure, in the wrong direction, for we
drove up several streets more than once. Then
I had to wait for ages at the doctor’s house,
while the medicine was prepared. The doctor
said that he couldn’t phone his wife as he
had no phone, but while I was waiting, I
heard the telephone ring in the next room.
Then on the way back, the driver drove
slower than ever, and now instead of taking
me back to the Crillon, he has brought me
here. I just can’t understand it all.
Stronger: I’ll introduce myself. My name
is John Bates. I’m a junior secretary at the
Embassy here. I’ll come along with you as
far as the Crillon, for it does all sound rather
At the Crillon they find the door of No. 342
looked and go down to the clerk.
Miss Day: Can I have my key, please?
Clerk: Whom do you wish to see, made-
M lss Day: I registered here last night with
my mother, and we were given No. 342.
Please give me my key.
Clerk: But surely you are wrong, made-
moiselle .You could not have come here yester-
day evening; it must have been some other
hotel. What did you say was the number of
the room, mademoiselle?
Miss Day: No. 342.
Clerk: But I do not understand, mademoi-
selle, for No. 34.2 has been taken by Monsieur
Ley. He often stays at the hotel. He is a very
good friend of ours.
M lss Day: But I did register here yester-
day evening with my mother. I demand to
see the registration papers which were filled
in by people yesterday.
Clerk: As you wish, mademoiselle, but you
will certainly find that you have not registered
She goes through the previous day’s regis-
tration papers several times, but falls to find
those filled in by her mother and herself.
Clerk: Is mademoiselle satisfied now?
M iss Day: N o, I am far from satisfied.
As a matter of fact, you were the one that gave
us the papers to fill in. I remember you quite
distinctly on account of that ring you have on
your finger with the blood-red stone in it.
Clerk: But I never saw mademoiselle be-
fore in my life. Perhaps mademoiselle is not
well, it is very hot. to-day.
Miss Day: My mother wasn’t well this
morning, so I made the manager arrange for
the doctor to call and see her. Both the doctor
and the manager will remember me. Will you
please call the manager?
Clerk ( speaking in a tone of resignation):
If you think it will help, mademoiselle, I will
call the manager.
The clerk returns with the manager, who does
not seem to recognize her either.
Bates ( to Miss Day) : Don’t you think the
doctor who is in charge of your mother would
recognize you? ( To the manager.) Perhaps I
had better introduce myself - John Bates, a
secretary of the British Embassy here. I think
that I must insist that you call the doctor.
After a twenty minutes’ wait the doctor ap-
Doctor: I understand that mademoiselle
and monsieur wish to see me. In what way can
I be of assistance to you?
Miss Day: Oh, doctor, I have now got the
medicine for mother. Have you seen her
again? Can you tell me how long it will be
before we’re able to continue our journey to
England? I don’t understand these people at
the hotel. They say they have never seen me
before. Tell them, doctor, that they are
wrong. Tell them that you saw my mother in
room 34.2 this morning, and then sent me to
your house for some medicine for her.
Doctor: I think you must be suffering from
the heat. Perhaps I could arrange to get some-
thing for you. You are looking extremely
white and nervous.
Miss Day: But, doctor, what about my
mother? Don’t worry about me! How’s my
mother? Will it be necessary to send her to
Doctor: I am sorry, mademoiselle, but I
have never seen your mother. Until a few
minutes ago, I had never seen you either. But
I should be pleased to help you.
M in Day (turning to John; Bates): Take
me away from here, otherwise I’ll go quite
mad, just like these people here.
John Bates, who is quite sure that the girl
is telling the truth - although he does not
know why he should be so sure after hearing
the clerk, the manager, and the doctor at the
hotel - takes her to a small restaurant. Here,
with much difficulty, he succeeds in getting
her to eat a little, while at the same time she
tells him the whole of the story from the time
of the death of her father in India, until the
happenings of the same morning.
Bates: Now, Miss Day, I’ll tell you at once
that I believe every word of your story, and
I’m prepared to do everything I can to help
you. To be true, I’m only a junior secretary
at the Embassy, but I’m sure that they’ll
help, too. Before I tell them the story, I think
it would be a very good idea to be able to
prove as much of it as possible. N ow, what
I suggest is this. You must stay somewhere
while we’re looking into things. I’ve got a
room at a hotel; it is quite a small one, but
it’s clean and cheap. I’m sure I could get them
to find a room for you there. As soon as you’re
fixed there, I suggest we go to see the ship-
ping company by whose boat you travelled to
Marseilles. We can get them to confirm that
you and your mother were passengers as far
as Marseilles. We can also get hold of the man
from the shipping company who helped you
at the station. Through him it may be possible
to get into touch with the cab driver who
drove you to the Crillon. When we have this
information, I can go to the people at the
Embassy and get them to do something.
Miss Day (gratefully): Oh, Mr. Bates, I
don’t know how to thank you. After listening
to those people at the Crillon, I almost began
to think that I was mad myself. It’s so nice of
you to trust me. I think your idea is excellent,
but when I went to the doctor’s this morning,
I didn’t take my purse with me, so that I’m
now entirely without money. I hate to men-
tion it to you - I’ve never before had to do
such a thing in all my life.
Bates: You needn’t worry about the hotel
bill, for I can get the people at the Embassy
to look after that. And I’ll be pleased to help
you until you have time to see the man who
has the papers which your mother was going
to sign
Miss Day: I think you are wonderful, Mr.
Bates. I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you
for your kindness.
Bates: I’m only too glad to be able to do a
little for you. Since we are going to work to-
gether for a time, wouldn’t it make matters
easier if you drop the Mr. Bates and start call-
ing me John right away?
Miss Day: All right, you call me Joan
Bates spent the afternoon in talking to the
shipping company, their representative who
was at the Gare de Lyons, and the caé drifcer.
All confirmed the story the girl had told him.
He then placed the matter before a senior of-
ficial of the Emoassy. The same evening at
the hotel.
Bates: Now, Joan, I want you to think hard
and tell me exactly what furniture was in
room 342 at the Crillon. The Embassy is
going to arrange through the French Police
to get permission to look at room 342, perhaps
Miss Day: I remember the curtains very
distinctly; they were cream-coloured. Then
the chairs were covered with some red mate-
rial. The wall-paper I can also remember, for
I didn’t like it - it was cream-coloured, too,
and was covered with big red roses. The bed
was just an ordinary wooden bed, nothing
special about it. They are the most important
things that I can remember.
Bates: That’s quite enough.
The following afternoon Miss Day is wait-
ing at the door of their hotel for the return of
Bates. After a long wait, he appears.
Miss Day: Oh, John, do tell me if you
were able to arrange the matter with the
French Police!
Bates: Yes, Joan. The first secretary of the
Embassy arrange-d everything. We went to
the Crillon this afternoon, but found that
everything in the room was quite different
from the description given by you. The cur-
tains were blue and white; the chairs were
covered with grey material, and the wall”-
paper was white and had many small flowers.
But now we come to a most surprising thing.
The wall-paper had only just been put up!
I noticed one or two places where it was not
yet quite dry.
M iss Day: Oh, John, what can it all mean?
I wonder where poor mother is? I’ve got the
idea that I shall never see her again.
Bates: Cheer up, Joan! We’ll get to the
bottom of this matter, even if it should take us
weeks. When we had finished looking at room
342, I thought it might be a good idea to try
and find the name and address of the man
who does the paper-hanging for the hotel. It
wasn’t very easy, but, as usual, a little money
helped. So I suggest that we go round to see
him as soon as we’ve had some dinner.
Later in the evening at the paper-hanger’s
Paper-hanger: So you want to know if I
papered a room at the Crillon yesterday? I
can’t understand why you should be interested
in my work.
Bates: It’s very important for this lady to
know, and, if you did, which room it was.

Paper-hanger: So it’s important for this
young lady to know, is it? Well, like all good
Frenchmen, I should be pleased to help a nice
young lady. But these are hard times, and
paper-hangers are not overpaid for their work.
Bates: I know that room 342 was papered
yesterday. I was there this afternoon and saw
that the paper was not yet quite dry. What I
really want to know is whether you can give
us any information. If the information were
worth it, I should be ready to give twenty-five
francs for it.
Paper-hanger: Well, for a nice young lady
Bate-r: You mean, that for twenty-five
francs you might tell us something. All right,
if you have anything to tell us, the money is
Paper-banger: Well, I was sent for suddenly
yesterday morning. When I got to the Crillon,
they were busy moving furniture out of a room
No. 342. I was told to put up fresh paper
as quickly as possible. I tried to find out the
reason for it, monsieur, for it is not only
Women who are curious in this world. No,
body could, or would, explain anything to
me. That is all I can tell you.
Bates: Here is the money. I think you have
earned it. Are you certain that another twen-
ty-five francs would not help you to remember
still more?
Paper-hanger: If I could tell you any
more, I would do it for the sake of the young
A fortnight later.
Bates: Well, my dear Joan, I have now
tried all the servants at the Crillon who might
be able to tell us what happened. I cannot get
a word out of them. There are probably very
few that know the truth, and they have been
well paid to keep their mouths shut.
Miss Day: I’ve given up all hope of ever
seeing mother again. You have been wonder-
ful to me, John. Without you to help and
comfort me, I don’t know what I should have
Bates: Nothing has ever given me greater
pleasure, Joan. I am not looking forward to
the day when you go to your father’s people
in England! I shall miss you, Joan. But I hope
to make you stay a little longer. There is still
one chance left of being able to find out what
happened. The first secretary told me to-day
that he is very friendly with one of the heads
of the French Police. This man has been in
America for some time, but he will be return-
ing in four or five days. The first secretary
thinks that he will be able to get the true story
out of him. Won’t you wait, Joan, until the
two of them have had a chat about the affair?
Miss: Day: Oh, John, although I know that
I shall never see mother again, I should feel
much happier if only I knew what had hap-
pened to her. It would seem strange to go back
to England to daddy’s people and tell them
that I had just given up. Of course I’ll wait.
A week later.
Bates (with a very serious face): The first
secretary has talked to his friend in the police.
MissDay: Oh, John, I can tell from your
face that the news is not good. I will try to
be brave. Tell me the whole story, just what
really happened.
Bates: You are a very brave girl, Joan; the
best I’ve ever met. I’m afraid you’ll never see
your mother again. Well, er - er
Miss Day: Tell me, John! I will try to
be brave.
Bates: Well, then I must tell you that the
doctor who came to see your mother recog-
nized at once that she was suffering from the
black plague. He sent you off so that he would
have time to remove your mother to hospital.
Your poor mother died there that afternoon.
The French did not want the news of your
mother’s death to get into the French papers.
The Exhibition had started only a short time
before, and they were afraid that the news of
a visitor dying of the black plague would
cause Paris to be emptied of visitors at once.
It was agreed that the whole thing must be
kept secret.
Miss Day: Poor mother - and yet I am
glad that I now know the truth. I’ll try to
forget the troubles I’ve had in Paris. I shall
be glad to get to England - that will help me
to forget.
Bates: I hope you will not forget every-
thing connected with Paris, Joan.
MissDay: N 0, John, I’ll never forget you.
Bates: I shan’t give you the chance, Joan.
In a month’s time I’ll be coming to England
on leave.
--- E N D ---

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The basis for this episode is the urban legend of “The Vanishing Lady,” featured in Alexander Woollcott’s book While Rome Burns. (Woollcott was a member of the Algonquin Round Table; he’s a colorful, interesting character himself, a sort of mean-spirited Robert Benchley.) Hitchcock turned this into a film in 1938. It’s called The Lady Vanishes, and it is, by far, my most favorite Hitchcock film of all time. In addition to the confusion and suspense, the film is overflowing with sweetness and good-nature, care of the two leads, Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave. They have a remarkable chemistry, and both of their characters are very lovable, somethingrarely found in a Hitchcock film.


Episode Summary & Commentary:

It is 1889, in Paris. It is the Exposition Universelle. A hansom cab pulls up to the Hotel Madeleine (which has suspiciously small lettering), and Diana Winthrop (Pat Hitchcock) and her mother (Mary Forbes) alight from the cab. Diana attempts to ask the cabbie (in awful French) how much she should tip him, but then decides to hold out her gloved hand filled with coins while he takes what he needs. Mrs. Winthrop tells her daughter that she feels extremely tired, and doesn’t know why. They’re greeted by the porter, and brought to the Concierge (Maurice Malsac). They tell him they reserved two rooms six weeks prior, on a cable from India. The Concierge tells them they don’t have two rooms for them, only one, but it’s a very large room. Diana signs the register and Concierge says “Trois cent quatre vingt deux!” to the bellhop, and the luggage is brought up to the room. Diana is pleased with the room, with dark velvet and damask curtains, an ornate mantel clock, a four-poster bed. Mrs. Winthrop is feeling worse by the minute, so the maid turns the bed down immediately. Mrs. Winthrop is so tired, she just lays down in her dress, bustle and corset and hat and all. And then there’s a fade-out. There are A LOT of fade-outs in this episode, making it seem more like a tiny film than a television episode. There are also a lot of red herrings.


source : https://pieladyanthology.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/episode-1-5-into-thin-air/

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This is what "Look and Learn" has to say..


When bubonic plague threatened to cause panic at the 1889 Paris Exposition

This edited article about the Paris Exposition of 1889 originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 727 published on 20 December 1975.

Paris Exposition 1889, picture, image, illustration


Exhibit buildings and grounds seen through the lower part of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Exposition of 1889

If the story is an invented one, it is sad that we do not know who started it, for he or she deserves the credit of hatching one of the greatest plots in the annals of storytelling. The thought of the wretched daughter’s plight has stirred the imagination and pity of millions.


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How much interest generated also is evident in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/So_Long_at_the_Fair , 



  • The plot of the film is based on an apparent urban legend that originated during the Paris Exposition and has taken many forms since. The original features a mother and daughter. The mother is ill, and the doctor sends the daughter across town to his house to get medicine from his wife. When the girl returns, the doctor and the hotel staff insist that she arrived alone and that they have never seen her mother. Alexander Woollcott, in an essay called "The Vanishing Lady", explored various aspects of this legend, including the possibility that it was based on some sort of real event at the time of the exposition, but he came to no definite conclusion. For an explanation of this 1897/1898 urban legend beginnings see Quote Investigator Legend: The Vanishing Lady and the vanishing Hotel Room; for an example of the 1897 newspaper reports see also The Salt Lake Herald November 15, 1897.


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