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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. 126-41.
 
The Ex-Policeman’s Story

by A New York Detective

  good deal older. Altogether his rigid, utterly unjoyous face, and those lank, talon-like hands of his, left nervous and bare by a pair of very ragged sleeves, made him look like a statue of Troublous Times done in Berlin iron.

This was the man’s only room in that house in Broad Street. But there were other lodgers—there always are other lodgers in houses in that street, whose numbers vary from ten to fifty, and they have on the average a dozen very small and dirty boys apiece. Accordingly, when I first came into the room of which I speak, and saw a fireplace there without any fire in it, and thought how mighty cold the old man must be if I had to shiver in my topcoat and Hessians, I put my head out into the dark passage and halloed,
“John! Jim! Pat!” secure of a liberal answer to my invitation from one, at least, of the lodgers’ dirty little boys.

I was agreeably disappointed in my calculation of the number by an immediate response . . .

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    IT was an old house in Broad Street. Yes, a mighty old house—wooden, and gable end to the street. And so dilapidated! Dear me! The crows, which were once supposed to have a mortgage on it, had foreclosed time out of mind, and the rats bought it at a sheriff’s auction.
 
It was a blustering, bullying night in November that found me sitting in the front room, second floor, of that old house. Through the keen northeaster, and the every-now-and-then storms of sleet, I had come hither on a lark—one of my larks. The variety I indulge in consists in going into all sorts of out-of the-way places, in all kinds of out-of-sorts weather, without any sort of an umbrella—nothing but an immense top-coat, and no end of Hessian boots. I do this to see life.

The only other occupant of the room was a grizzled, bony man, about fifty years of age, but so worn and stooping that he seemed a

   

 

 

 
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