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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Strange Stories of a Detective; or, Curiosities of Crime. New York: Dick and Fitzgerald, 1863. 69-83.
 
The Ebony Box

by A Retired Member of the Detective Police

[William Russell]

  of flaxen-haired children, with pippin cheeks and roguish eyes, attracted me. They leaned too far out of the window, and the mother had just caught each rather roughly behind; as she drew them back, our eyes met, and I recognized the beautiful face of my friend Alice Liston, of former years. The recognition was mutual. I heard a little scream of surprise. Alice disappeared from the window, and reappeared at the front door. I was not loath to accept the cordial invitation which she gave me to come in.
 
“How did you get into this pretty house? Where have you been these five years? How came little Dick and Alice by those round red cheeks? And, finally, where, in the name of patience, is that husband of yours?”
 
“He is within: not a word more till you see him,” she said, blushing with delight, and pressing both my hands with genuine and cordial friendliness.
 
I followed her through the house and into . . .

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    Early in June, in the spring of 185—, it chanced that while enjoying my customary ride along the eastern shore of M—, in the vicinity of the ferry of A—, I turned off through a narrow lane to the left, and came near to a cottage house, standing midway in front of a well-cultivated garden. There were indications of wealth, or at least of competency, about the place, and an air of neatness and elegance which pleased my fancy, prone as it is to look always at the prosperous, the happy, and the fair. My horse, a livery saddle hack, was struck with equal admiration at the greenness of the grass and herbage within the inclosure, and insisted upon looking at it over the paling. The house of wood, painted of a delicate cream color, with white cornices and windowframes, was neatly covered in some parts with sweetbrier, and the white climbingrose of our grandparents, now so rarely seen.

The green blinds of the windows were open on the eastern side, and at one of these two heads

   

 

 

 
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