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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. 8

amiable assemblage broke up about six in the morning, each person retiring singly by the back way, receiving, as he departed, a new password for the next evening.

A few hours afterwards, I waited on the commissioner to report the state of affairs. He was delighted with the fortunate debut that I had made, but still strictly enjoined patience and caution. It would have been easy, as I was in possession of the password, to have surprised the confederacy in the act of gaming that very evening; but this would only have accomplished part of the object aimed at. Several of the fraternity—Sanford among the rest—were suspected of uttering forged foreign banknotes, and it was essential to watch narrowly for legal evidence to insure their conviction. It was also desirable to restore, if possible, the property and securities of which Mr. Merton had been pillaged.

Nothing of especial importance occurred for seven or eight days. Gaming went on as usual every evening, and Mr. Merton became, of course, more and more involved; even his

    sister’s jewels—which he had surreptitiously obtained, to such a depth of degradation will this frightful vice plunge men otherwise honorable—had been staked and lost; and he was, by the advice of Sanford, about to conclude a mortgage on his estate, in order, not only to clear off his “debts of honor,” but to acquire the means of “winning back”—that ignus fatuus of all gamblers—his tremendous losses! A new preliminary “dodge” was, I observed, now brought into action. Mr. Merton esteemed himself a knowing hand at ecarte: it was introduced; and he was permitted to win every game he played, much to the apparent annoyance and discomfiture of the losers. As this was precisely the snare into which I had fallen myself, I of course the more readily detected it, and felt quite satisfied that a grand coup was meditated. In the meantime I had not been idle. Sanford was confidentially informed that I was only waiting in London to receive four or five thousand pounds—part of Uncle Passgrove’s legacy—and then intended to hasten back to canny Yorkshire. To have seen the villain’s eyes as I, incidentally, as it were, announced my intention and errand!

Continued on p.10

   


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