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. 1

still more rarely mingled in its society. My wife, however, to whom I of course related the substance of the conversation, reminded me that he had once been at Doncaster during the races; and suggested that he might possibly have seen or noticed me there. This was a sufficiently probable explanation of the hint; but whether the correct one or not, I cannot decide, as he never afterwards alluded to the subject and I had not the slightest wish to renew it.

Three days elapsed before I received the expected summons. On waiting on him, I was agreeably startled to find that I was to be at once employed on a mission which the most sagacious and experienced of detective officers would have felt honored to undertake.

“Here is a written description of the persons of this gang of blacklegs, swindlers, and forgers,” concluded the commissioner, summing up his instructions—“It will be your object to discover their private haunts, and secure legal evidence of their nefarious practices. We have

    been hitherto baffled, principally, I think, through the too hasty zeal of the officers employed; you must especially avoid that error. They are practiced scoundrels; and it will require considerable patience, as well as acumen, to unkennel and bring them to justice. One of their most recent victims is young Mr. Merton, son by a former marriage of the Dowager Lady Everton.* Her ladyship has applied to us for assistance in extricating him from the toils in which he is meshed. You will call on her at five o’clock this afternoon—in plain clothes of course—and obtain whatever information on the subject she may be able to afford. Remember to communicate directly with me; and any assistance you may require shall be promptly rendered.” With these, and a few other minor directions, needless to recapitulate, I was dismissed to a task which, difficult and possibly perilous as it might prove, I hailed as a delightful relief from the wearing monotony and dull routine of ordinary duty.

I hastened home; and after dressing with great care—the best part of my wardrobe had been

Continued on p. 3


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