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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
The Revelations of a Private Detective by Andrew Forrester, Jr. London: Ward and Lock, 1863. 173-83.
 
A Convict’s Gratitude
by Andrew Forrester, Jr.

  and in the tacit belief that a casual glance willbe not at all embarrassing to either party, they are suffered to meet on the passage, staircase, or lobby. An act of thoughtlessness, or want of precaution, on the occasion I speak of, led to a very disagreeable incident, although it also brought to my knowledge one of the finest illustrations of persistent gratitude that I, or perhaps the reader, ever heard of, My story, I think, fully equals that of Mr. Charles Dickens’s Mr. Pip and the convict, in that able novelist’s “Great Expectations.” My story has also the merit of being true. The great novelist’s narrative is, I suppose, a pure fiction. I am about to tell what did happen, and he has related what at best might have occurred.
 
After waiting about ten minutes, I was told that Mr. Goodman, the solicitor, who wished to see me, was then disengaged, and that I might walk in. As I entered the private room of this gentleman, through a door communicating with his clerk’s office, another person was quitting the sanctum by a door which . . .

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    ABOUT four years ago I had occasion to call upon a solicitor in Westminster, and, in the usual manner, sent my name in from the clerks’ office to the principal’s sitting-room. This it is perhaps needless to inform the reader is a practice adopted by solicitors to avoid unpleasant rencontres. The debtor and creditor, or plaintiff and defendant, who sometimes entertain a lively animosity towards one another, thus avoid collisions. If Mr. Jones, the tailor, happens to be in conference with Mr. Ferret, his attorney, when Mr. Smith, a debtor of Jones’, who has been served with a writ, to recover an unsettled account, calls upon the smart lawyer, the client is always allowed to get clear off before the supplicating customer is admitted to Ferret’s presence. Sometimes, however, it happens that this salutary rule of’ letting off one gentleman before another is asked to-”walk in” is broken. The attorney and his clerks do not imagine that the departing and the awaiting persons can be acquainted with one another, or are at least unconscious of the respective business they have with Mr. Ferret,    

 

 

 
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