American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Daily Alta California, November 27, 1859
The Double Elopement

“How have you made division of yourself?
An apple cleft in two is not more twin
Than these two creatures. Which is Sebastian?”
—Twelfth Night

  will you desert me at such a point as this? It is not for myself alone I plead; heaven knows the disappointment would be bitter enough, but I could endure that. But to see my poor Lucy fretting and pining, with failing hope and harsh words—and I fear treatment—of her parents, is too much. I cannot bear that; it drives me almost mad. Come, throw the rules of puritanical ceremoniousness overboard for once, and be natural. Your sister is with us heart and hand; and it is you who are able to make two loving ones happy or to crush their hopes forever, to save a fond and affectionate girl from a thraldom which is slowly destroying her, or to rivet her fetters tighter and break her heart.”

The quick working of his handsome features stamped the generousness of his emotion; and, carried away by his eloquence and the thronging memories of our long friendship, I at last reluctantly gave my consent to aid his enterprise; and with a disagreeable feeling in my bosom, that the part I was about to play was not one of perfect rectitude, I walked slowly homewards. . . .


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“My dear fellow, you really must assist me; hang it, man, you must not sacrifice the future happiness of your friend to a mere punctilio.”

“But an elopement, Frank?”

“Is now our only resource; since old Muggins’s unfortunate elevation, he has become so blown with pride and self-importance, that he is determined to bestow the hand of my own sweet little Lucy on no one under the rank of a nobleman, a prince, a grandee, or some such presumptuous absurdity.”

“But really Frank—”

He cut short my remonstrance abruptly, almost angrily. “I tell you my dear fellow, there’s no ‘but’ in the case. We were schoolfellows together, students together, we have been in fifty scrapes and fifty pleasures together; and,




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