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. 6

A more silent, less social party I never assisted at. Whatever amount of “feast of reason” each of us might have silently enjoyed, not a drop of “flow of soul” welled up from one of the six insides. Every passenger seemed to have his own particular reason for declining to display himself in either mental or physical prominence. Only one or two incidents—apparently unimportant, but which I carefully noted down on the table of my memory—occurred during the long, wearisome journey, till we stopped to dine about thirty miles from Kendal; where I ascertained from an overheard conversation of one of the three with the coachman, that they intended to get down at the roadside tavern more than six miles on this side of that place.

“Do you know this house they intend to stop at?” I inquired of my assistant as soon as I got him out of sight and hearing at the back of the premises.

“Quite well: it is within about two miles of Five Oakes House.”

    “Indeed! Then you must stop there too. It is necessary that I should go on to Kendal with Mr. Bristowe; but you can remain and watch their proceedings.”

“With all my heart.”

“But what excuse can you make for remaining there, when they know you booked for Kendal? Fellows of that stamp are keenly suspicious; and in order to be useful, you must be entirely unsuspected.”

“Oh, leave that to me. I’ll throw dust enough in their eyes to blind a hundred such as they, I’ll warrant you.”

“Well, we shall see. And now to dinner.”

Soon after the coach had once more started, Mr. Josiah Barnes began drinking from a stone bottle which he drew from his pocket; and so potent was the spirit it contained, that he became rapidly intoxicated. Not only speech, but eyes, body, arms, legs, the entire animal, by the time we reached the inn where we had agreed he should stop, was thoroughly,

Continued on p. 8


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