American Detective Fiction    April 1841-July 1891

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  Published in
The Boston Daily Atlas, September 4, 1949 under the title "Recollections of a Police Officer."
Tioga Eagle, October  10, 1849
the Oshkosh [WI] True Democrat, November 16, 1849.

This story was originally published as “Recollections of a Police-Officier” in Chambers' Edinburgh Journal on July 28, 1849.

This story was later published as “The Gambler” in the collection Recollections of a Police-Officer by William Russell, under the pseudonym Thomas Waters (London: J.& C. Brown & Co., 1856).

Prior to the British publication of this volume, a pirated collection of the stories—also titled Recollections of a Police-Officer—was published in America (New York: Cornish and Lamport, 1852).

    "The Gambler's Revenge?" continued from p. 10

completed; and a few minutes past twelve o’clock and the whispered password admitted me into the house.—An angry altercation was going on. Mr. Merton was insisting, as I had advised, of an exhibition of a sum equal to that which he had brought with him—for, confident of winning, he was determined to recover his losses to the last farthing; and although his bonds, bills, obligations, and his sister’s jewels, and a large amount of gold and genuine notes were produced, there was still a heavy sum deficient. “Ah, by-the-by,” exclaimed Sanford, as I entered, “Waters can lend you the sum for an hour or two—for a consideration,” he added in a whisper. “It will soon be returned.” “No, thank you,” I answered, coldly. “I never part with my money till I have lost it.”A malignant scowl passed over the scoundrel’s features, but he made no reply. Ultimately it was decided that one of the fraternity should be dispatched in search of the required amount. He was gone about half an hour, and returned with a bundle of notes. They were, as I hoped, and expected, forgeries on foreign banks. Mr. Merton looked at and counted them, and the play was


As it went on, so vividly did the scene recall the evening that had sealed my own ruin, that I grew dizzy with excitement, and drained tumbler after tumbler of water to allay the fevered throbbing of my veins. The gamblers were fortunately too much absorbed to heed my agitation. Merton lost continuously — without pause or intermission. The stakes were doubled—trebled—quadrupled! His brain was on fire, and he played, or rather lost, with the recklessness of a mad man. “Hark! What was that?” suddenly exclaimed Sanford, from whose satanic features the mask he had so long worn before Merton had been gradually slipping. “Did you not hear a noise below?”

My ear had caught the sound; and I could better interpret it than he. It ceased.

“Touch the signal bell, Adolphe,” added Sanford.

Not only the play, but the very breathing of the villains was suspended as they listened for the reply.

Continued on p.12


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