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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Strange Stories of a Detective; or, Curiosities of Crime. New York: Dick and Fitzgerald, 1863. 21-3.
 
Strange Stories
of a Detective Officer; or,
Curiostities of Crime

Introduction

by A Retired Member of the Detective Police
[William Russell]

  other men, and often in the right place, too. A man can do his duty, and still be a man. Why, there was that case — . But, no, I’ll tell you that some other time. You want to know how I became a policeman. Well, sir, I’ll tell you. ’Twas partly luck, partly choice. I think I was born for the thing; cut out for it; one of Nature’s policemen — it came quite natural. Why, sir, I was a policeman long before the new police was thought of. When a boy, I was mighty ’cute at finding out things. If I saw anything going on wrong, didn’t I follow it up and ferret it out! Many’s the nice little game I have spoiled by poking my nose in where I had no business; but I couldn’t abear to see anything wrong about. Why, there was Barney: didn’t I find out where he stowed away the eggs he took from under the hens early o’ mornings, and sold to the shopkeeper in the village? And didn’t I find out where Bob stole the clover his rabbits got fat upon? And where Sammy hid the pippins he stole out of master’s orchard? And master’s daughter, too, didn’t she agree to run away with that chap from New York, and didn’t I prevent it just in the nick . . .

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    “Ah, sir! Things are not now as they were when I was a young man; very different, I assure you. Thirty-five years have not passed away without some changes; and I have seen a thing or two in that time. Why, sir, if I were to tell you all I have been through, it would fill a volume as big as the family Bible. Many’s the villain I have brought to the gallows. Yes, sir, I took a pride in it; and if there had been no Jack Ketch, why I would have hung them myself, rather than justice should have been balked.”

“No feelings?” You think a policeman has no feelings, do you? Well, perhaps we do get a little hardened with out-and-out rogues; but let me tell you, sir, there are times when a policeman finds out that he has got a heart, like

   

 

 

 
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