American Detective Fiction    April 1841-July 1891

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  Published in
Milwaukee Sentinel and Gazette, November 1 & 2, 1849
The Daily Sanduskian, November 7, 8, 9, 1849
The Sheboygan Mercury, November 10, 1849
The Oskosh True Democrat, November 23, 1849

This story was originally published as “Recollections of a Police-Officer: Guilty or Not Guilty?” in Chambers' Edinburgh Journal on August 25, 1849.

It was later published 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).

    "Guilty or Not Guilty?" continued from p. 10

“We can receive no evidence against you, in your absence,” replied the chairman, in a compassionate tone of voice; “but your uncle’s deposition will occupy but a few minutes. It is, however, indispensable.”

“At least, then, Mr. Cowan,” said the agitated young man, “prevent my sister from accompanying her uncle; I could not bear that.”

He was assured that she would not be present; in fact, she was seriously ill through anxiety and terror; and the crowded assemblage awaited in painful silence the approach of the reluctant prosecutor. He presently appeared—a venerable white-haired man, seventy years old at least he seemed, his form bowed down by age and grief, his eyes fixed upon the ground, and his whole manner indicative of sorrow and dejection. “Uncle!” cried the prisoner, springing towards him. The aged man looked up, and seemed to read in the clear countenance of his nephew a full refutation of the suspicions entertained against him, tottered forward with outspread arms, and in the words of the Sacred text, “fell upon his neck, and

    wept,” exclaiming in choking accents, “Forgive me—forgive me, Robert, that I ever for a moment doubted you, Mary never did—never, Robert; not for an instant.”

A profound silence prevailed during this outburst of feeling, and a considerable pause ensued before the usher of the court, at a gesture from the chairman, touched Mr. Bagshawe’s arm, and begged his attention to the bench— “Certainly, certainly,” said he, hastily wiping his eyes and turning toward the court. “My sister’s child, gentlemen,” he added appealingly, “who has lived with me from childhood; you will excuse me, I am sure.”

“There needs no excuse, Mr. Bagshawe,” said the chairman kindly; “but it is necessary this unhappy business should be proceeded with. Hand the witness the portion of the letter found at Five Oaks. Now, is that your handwriting; and is it a portion of the letter you sent to your nephew, informing him of the large sum of money kept for a particular purpose at Five Oaks?”

Continued on p. 12


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