American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
The Defiance [OH] Democrat, August 16, 1862

by George Arnold


He failed, but made a little money out of a contract for illustrating Patent Reports, which he farmed out to some engravers of his acquaintance. The engraving business having been thus brought to his notice, he endeavored to perfect the zincographic process to supersede the use of boxwood, and, in time, made some very interesting discoveries. Among these was the fact that the new process was a total failure.

During one of his “flush” periods, he had lent three hundred dollars to a friend who was about to go to Cuba with a cargo of ice. This friend now returned with a shipload of cigars and oranges, and offered to pay Bagley in trade. He took the amount then in cigars, and opened a neat little store in Broadway for their sale. It was near a theatre, and in time, the actors and managers made it a sort of rendezvous. Robert sold his cigar store next winter, and undertook the management of the theatre.

It was during the season that the great diamond robbery was perpetrated, when Mad’lle de Bavarde lost the splendid jewels given her . . .


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    Robert Bagley was one of those odd geniuses who seem to have no defined sphere or mission here on this lower earth. He was always engaging in a grand speculation of some sort, which was sure to make a fortune for him; and something was certain to frustrate his plans — some rare and almost impossible combination of circumstances, that nobody could have foreseen — just when the future smiled most brightly upon him.

He began life in a mercantile countinghouse; but found commerce slow in its remuneration, so he took to the stock exchange. — This soon exhausted the small capital he possessed, and a wealthy uncle purchased a share in a newspaper for the young man. Robert wrote the money articles, and used them with some success in his stockjobbing operations, but the newspaper shortly died, and my hero became agent for a patent connected with a printing press. The fortune he had confidently expected did not suddenly accrue to him; so he dropped this patent for another; and falling in with some political people, tried to get a fat berth in the Patent Office at Washington.




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