American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Leaves from the Diary of a Law-Clerk by the Author of “Recollections of a Detective Police Officer,” &c. London: J.C. Brown & Co., 1857.
Bigamy or Not Bigamy?
  of a distinguished client— known, I am quite sure, by reputation, to most of my readers—whom our character for practical sagacity and pro­fessional shrewdness brought us, will, I think, be admitted to in some degree substantiate.

Our connection was a mercantile rather than an aristocratic one, and my surprise was therefore consi­derable, when, on looking through the office-blinds to ascertain what vehicle it was that had driven so rapidly up to the door, I observed a handsomely-appointed car­riage with a coronet emblazoned on the panels, out of which a tall footman was handing a lady attired in deep but elegant mourning, and closely veiled. I in­stantly withdrew to my private room, and desired that the lady should be immediately admitted. Greatly was my surprise increased when the graceful and still youthful visitor withdrew her veil, and disclosed the features of the Countess of Seyton, upon whose mild, luminous beauty,as rendered by the engraving from Sir Thomas Lawrence’s picture, I had so frequently gazed with admiration. That rare and touching . . .


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THE firm of Flint and Sharp enjoyed, whether deservedly or not, when I was connected with it, as it still does, a high reputation for keen practice and shrewd business-management. This kind of professional fame is usually far more profitable than the drum- and-trumpet variety of the same article; or at least we found it so; and often, from blush of morn to far later than dewy eve—which natural phenomena, by the way, were only emblematically observed by me during thirty busy years in the extinguishment of the street lamps at dawn, and their reillumination at dusk—did I and my partner incessantly pursue our golden avocations; deferring what are usually esteemed the pleasures of life—its banquets, music, flowers, and lettered ease—till the toil, and heat, and hurry of the day were past, and a calm, luminous evening, unclouded by care or anxiety, had arrived. This conduct may or may not have been wise; but at all events it daily increased the connection and transactions of the firm, and ultimately anchored us both very comfortably in the three per cents; and this too, I am bold to say, not without our having effected some good in our generation. This boast of mine the follow­ing passage in the life





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