American Detective Fiction    April 1841-July 1891

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  P ublished 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. 7

then a password which I did not catch, was whispered by him through the keyhole, and we passed in.

We proceeded upstairs to the first floor, the shutters of which were carefully closed, so that no intimation of what was going on could possibly reach the street.—The apartment was brilliantly lighted; a roulette table and dice and cards were in full activity; wine and liquors of all varieties were profusely paraded. There was about half-a-dozen persons present, I soon discovered, besides the gang, and that comprised eleven or twelve well-dressed desperadoes, whose sinister aspects induced a momentary qualm lest one or more of the pleasant party might suspect or recognize my vocation. This, however, I reflected, was scarcely possible. My beat during the short period that I had been in the force was distant from the usual haunts of such gentry, and I was otherwise unknown in London. Still, questioning glances were directed eagerly toward my introducer; and one big, burly fellow, a foreigner—the rascals were the scum of various countries—was very unpleasantly

    inquisitorial. “Y’en responds!” I heard Sanford say in answer to his iterated queries; and he added something in a whisper which brought a sardonic smile to the fellow’s lips, and induced a total change in his demeanor towards myself. This was reassuring; for though provided with pistols, I should, I felt, have little chance with such utterly reckless ruffians as those by whom I was surrounded. Play was proposed; and though at first stoutly refusing, a feigned to be gradually overcome by irresistible temptation, and sat down to blind hazard with my foreign friend for moderate stakes. I was graciously allowed to win; and in the end found myself richer in devil’s money by about ten pounds. Mr. Merton was soon absorbed in the chances of dice, and lost large sums, for which, when the money he had brought with him was exhausted, he gave written acknowledgements. The cheating practiced upon him was really audacious; and anyone but a tyro must have repeatedly detected it. He, however, appeared not to entertain the slightest suspicion of the “fair play” of his opponents, guiding himself entirely by the advice of his friend and counselor, Sanford, who did not play.  The

Continued on p.9


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