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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
The New York Ledger, May 31, 1856.
 
Helen Montressor;
or,
Judge Remsen’s First Client

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by Marl Lee
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  even hinted that there had been foul play in the prosecution for theft. The subsequent arrest of a noted gang of counterfeiters and horse thieves had so absorbed public attention that the case of Helen Montressor was quite forgotten, and no one seemed to care for her fate. But when her case was called, and she was placed in the prisoner’s box, her surpassing beauty riveted every eye, and her youth, simplicity and apparent innocence inclined all hearts toward her; and when the Judge asked her who was her Counsel, and she modestly replied that she had none, and that she had no money to pay a lawyer, there was not a member of the bar present, who would not have willingly undertaken her case. The judge, after looking around the room for a moment, fixed his eye on me, and said “Mr. Remsen, you will please act as this young lady’s Counsel.” I started as though I had been shot. I felt the hot blood rushing to my face, and trembled as with an ague fit. Luckily a juror was just taken ill, and the Court adjourned till ten o’clock the next morning, or I am afraid that I should have made sad work of my client’s case.

As I left the courtroom I looked at my . . .

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    Old Judge Remsen was fond of telling his early experience at the bar. My first case, he would say, came upon me most unexpectedly, after I had waited two years for a client. But those two years had not been idly passed; every day had been devoted to intense study, and observation, with direct reference to my profession. The way I came to get the case was this:

A young girl, named Helen Montressor, was to be tried at our County Court in Belleview, for stealing a breast pin valued at four dollars, and twenty dollars in gold, from the trunk of her employer, one James Wesley, a merchant, who lived in the neighboring town of Bedford. The theft, which was detected some five weeks before, occasioned quite a talk at the time, as the girl was very beautiful, and James Wesley and his wife Eunice were anything but that, besides being generally detested. People said Helen had been treated shamefully by her mistress, who was jealous of her; and it was

   

 

 


 

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