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. 16

save my life—my life!”

“First get up and listen. If you are not the actual murderer”— —

“I am not—upon my soul I am not!”

“If you are not you will probably be admitted to King’s evidence; though, mind, I make no promise. Now, what is the plan of operations for carrying off the booty?”

“They are going in the chaise cart almost immediately to take it up; it is hidden in the copse yonder. I am to remain here, in order to give the alarm should any suspicion be excited, by showing two candles at our bedroom window; and if all keeps right, I am to join them at the crossroads, about a quarter of a mile from hence.”

“All right. Now return to the parlor; I will follow you; and remember that on the slightest hint of treachery I will shoot you as I would a dog.”

About a quarter of an hour afterwards his two confederates set off in a chaise cart; I, Barnes,

    and Staples followed, the latter handcuffed, and superintended by an ostler whom I for the nonce pressed into the King’s service. The night was pitch dark fortunately, and the noise of the cart wheels effectually drowned the sound of our footsteps. At length the cart stopped; the men got out, and were soon busily engaged in transferring the buried plate to the cart. We cautiously approached and were soon within a yard or two of them, still unperceived.

“Get into the cart,” said one of them to the other, “and I will hand the things up to you.” His companion obeyed.

“Hollow!” cried the fellow, “I thought I told you” —

“That you are nabbed at last!” I exclaimed, tripping him suddenly up. “Barnes, hold the horse’s head. Now, sir, attempt to budge an inch out of that cart, and I’ll send a bullet through your brains.” The surprise was complete, and so terror stricken were they that neither resistance nor escape was attempted. They were soon handcuffed and secured; the

Continued on p. 18


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