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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. 13

there I gave information at Scotland Yard of what had happened, and afterwards booked myself by the night coach for Kendal. This is all I have to say.”

This strange story did not produce the slightest effect upon the bench, and very little upon the auditory, and yet I felt satisfied it was strictly true. It was not half ingenious enough for a made-up story. Mr. Bagshawe, I should have stated, had been led out of the justice hall immediately after he had finished his deposition.

“Then Mr. Bristowe,” said the magistrate’s clerk, “assuming this curious narrative to be correct, you will be easily able to prove an alibi?”

“I have thought over that, Mr. Clerk,” returned the prisoner mildly, “and must confess that remembering how I was dressed and wrapped up—that I saw but few persons and those casually and briefly, I have strong misgivings of my power to do so.”

“That is perhaps the less to be lamented,”

    replied the county clerk in a sneering tone, “inasmuch as the possession of these articles,” pointing to the cross and coin on the table, “would necessitate another equally probable though quite different story.”

“That is a circumstance,” replied the prisoner in the same calm tone as before, “which I cannot in the slightest manner account for.”

No more was said, and the order for his committal to the county jail at Appleby on the charge of ‘willful murder,’ was given to the clerk. At this moment a hastily scrawled note from Barnes was placed in my hands. I had no sooner glanced over it than I applied to the magistrate for an adjournment till the morrow, on the ground that I could then produce an important witness, whose evidence at the trial it was necessary to assure. The application was as a matter of course, complied with; the prisoner was remanded till the next day, and the court adjourned.

As I accompanied Mr. Bristowe to the vehicle in waiting to convey him to jail, I could not forbear whispering, “Be of good heart, sir, we

Continued on p. 15

   


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