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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
The New York Ledger, September 24, 1859.
 
A Camp Adventure
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by Sylvanus Cobb, Jr.
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  tell the plain truth, Whit had the most to laugh at, for of all the big, overfed, fat, lazy mortals that I ever fell in with, I think Old Ben was the “beatermost.” However, they were both good fellows, and both particular friends of mine, and Ben had been kind enough to accompany me on the present trip on the express condition that I should find the team, carry all luggage to be carried, and do all the cooking, he reserving the right to ride over all the rough places, to catch fish if he could, and to eat as much as he wanted. If I hadn’t loved him for his thousand-and-one good qualities, I wouldn’t have borne him as I did.

But to return to the little sheriff: When we asked Whit what he was doing so far away in that dreary section, he told us he was on very particular business, and then he went on to explain. Two notorious scamps, named Aaron Grow and Jack Walrus, who had been guilty of almost every conceivable crime, had been lately engaged, in different parts of the country, in robbing, and stealing, and issuing counterfeit money. Whit had gained a pretty clear description of their persons, and was now . . .

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    It was in the latter part of September that Ben Clark and myself started off for the lakes on a fishing excursion—those lakes which form the head waters of the Androscoggin, and of which the Umbagog is most generally known, because it is about the only one of the lot which has a pronounceable name. On our way up, and after we had left the settlements of men behind us, we met Whit Greeley, and we tried to persuade him to go with us; but he said he had other fish to catch than trout. Whit was at that time sheriff, and a very excellent officer he made. A revolution in the political wheel has since tipped him over into private life, but I doubt if they will ever find a better man for that post than was he. To be sure, he wasn’t so large as some men—in fact, he was rather smaller than the average of men—he was smaller in size, if anything, than was that brother of his who got tipped into office when he fell out. But for all this, he was a smart officer; for of all his inches he was in every inch a man. He was like one of those old, round Dutch cheeses—”good and strong all through.” Ben used to laugh at him because he was so small and “Dutchy”; but to    

 

 


 

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