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.11

It came. The answering tinkle sounded once—twice—thrice. “All right!” shouted Sanford, Proceed. The farce is nearly played out.”

I had instructed the officers that two of them in plainclothes should present themselves at the front door, obtain admission by means of the password I had given them, and immediately seize and gag the doorkeeper. I had also acquainted them with the signal-ring—three distinct pulls at the bell handle communicating with the first floor. Their comrades were then to be admitted, and they were all silently to ascend the stairs, and wait on the landing till summoned by me to enter and seize the gamesters. The back entrance to the house was also securely but unobtrusively watched.

One only fear disturbed me; it was lest the scoundrels should take alarm in sufficient time to extinguish the lights, destroy the forged papers, and possibly escape by some private passage which might, unknown to me, exist.

    Rousing myself, as soon as the play was resumed, from the trance of memory by which I had been in some sort absorbed, and first ascertaining that the handles of my pistols were within easy reach—for I knew that I was playing a desperate game with desperate men—I rose, stepped carelessly forward, as if listening for a repetition of the sound which had so alarmed the company. To my great delight I found the landing and stairs were filled with police officers—silent and stern as death. I drew back, and walked towards the table at which Mr. Merton was seated. The last stake—an enormous one—was playing for. Merton lost. He sprang to his feet, death pale, despairing, overwhelmed—and a hoarse execration surged through his clenched teeth. Sanford and his associates coolly raked the plunder together, their feature lighted up with fiendish glee.

“Villain!—traitor!—scoundrel!” shrieked Mr. Merton, as if smitten with sudden frenzy, and darting at Sanford’s throat; “you, devil that you are, have undone, destroyed me!”

Continued on p.13


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