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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Experiences of a Real Detective by Inspector F.
Edited by “Waters,” author of Recollections of a Police Officer, Leonard Harlowe, etc.
London: Ward, Lock, & Tyler, 1862. 29-42.
 
The Gold-Dust Robbery in Barbican
by Inspector F.

  other, uttered in a breath.
 
It was many years before Inkerman that I, happening to be in the office, saw and heard a respectably attired woman, accompanied by a youth of perhaps eighteen years of age, a girl one year or more younger, inquire for James Brady, of Her Majesty’s ship Warspite, Captain Lord John Hay, in which Lord Ashburton had sailed to the United States, on a diplomatic mission, I think with reference to the Oregon boundary dispute.
 
The imperturbable clerk drew his index finger slowly down the column, and stopping at the name, droned out, “Fee one shilling Dead No crying here;” no fee being demandable if the name be not in the dead, run, or deserted lists.
 
Neither the woman, the boy, or girl cried, that is, wept outwardly, but no one could mistake the expression of mute agony which darkened the woman’s face—that of deep sorrow which paled the countenances of the youth and girl; wife, son, and daughter of James Brady I . . .

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    THERE is an office at Somerset House, where relatives or friends of soldiers and sailors whom they have not heard of for a time, the lapse of which causes anxiety for their fate, may call one day in each week, and upon payment of a fee of one shilling, ascertain if the friend or relative be living or dead. To speak strictly, may be officially assured if such be the melancholy fact, that he is dead. Those not recorded “dead” in the obituary ledgers, are presumed, of course, to be alive. Deserters from the navy also figure in the lists, the capital letter R (run) being added to the name. In the case of soldiers, D (deserter) is the initial letter. I need hardly say that after a great battle the office is overwhelmed with business. Ten or twelve days after the news of Inkerman reached England, the clerk, whose duty it is to pass his finger down the dreary “dead” column, in search of the name given in, was himself nearly knocked over with fatigue, and the constant monotonous iteration of the formula,— “Fee one shilling Dead No crying here,”—which words are all run into each    

 

 

 
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