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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, February 1839.
 
Unpublished Passages
IN THE LIFE OF
Vidocq, The French Minister of Police

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No. VI
The Gambler's Death

by J.M.B.
  forced her to the present employment, for she had scarce uttered her request, when she shrank back as if in dread of the sound of her own words; poor creature, thought I, you have known much misery, would to heaven it were in my power to alleviate it beyond the passing moment. I dropped something into her hand, and passed on; I had gone but a few steps when I heard her voice again— “Stay, sir, but for an instant.”

“Well, my good girl, what would you now?”

“You have made a mistake, sir, these are five franc pieces.”

“Indeed! I am not rich enough to be in the habit of giving such sums, but you are deserving of them, and may keep them as a reward for your honesty.”

She looked at me for a moment, whilst her tongue essayed to utter the language of . . .

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    “I am almost frozen to death, and my limbs will soon refuse their office. Oh, sir! for the love of heaven, bestow your charity, if it be the smallest pittance, in pity’s sake, sir, I beseech you.”

There was something in the voice of the speaker so different from the husky half-cracked tone of the midnight mendicant that I turned to look at the object so imploring for charity. It was a poor half-clad female shivering in the blast of a cold February night, and who clearly showed that much as poverty and wretchedness had striven to do their worst, they had not completely wrecked the symmetry of a once beautiful form, or driven away every trace of beauty from the care-worn countenance of the supplicant. It was evident that the direst necessity could have alone
   

 

 


 

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