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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Experiences of a Real Detective by Inspector F.
Edited by “Waters,” author of Recollections of a Police Officer, Leonard Harlowe, etc.
London: Ward, Lock, & Tyler, 1862. 75-93.
 
Isaac Gortz,
The Charcoal-Burner
by Inspector F.

  a smart scud of rain in a large drinking booth, crowded with people, and dense clouds of tobacco smoke. One of ours, well acquainted with the locality, called my attention to a group of five persons, four men and one youngish woman. They were as far as might be seated apart from the general company, and drinking with great gusto.

“The stoutish pock-marked man who shells out the shot for all,” said my friend Tom Willett, “is Isaac Gortz, the charcoal-burner. You must have heard of him?”
 
I said I never heard of Isaac Gortz, the charcoal-burner; and asked to know why it was supposed that I must have heard of him?”
 
“Only that he is a curious character. They say he is a Lancashire man, and gave valuable information about the Henry Hunt radicals to the authorities in 1819, at the time of the Peterloo business. The story goes that his having done so got wind, the north became . . .

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    IN the palmy days of Fairlop Fair, I often attended that, then, really forest festival. I mean by palmy days, before Hainault Forest was disforested by Act of Parliament. The tradition, the semblance of the ancient fair, still survives, but only as a meagre, pitiable ghost of its former jolly self, skulking away from the commiserative observation of old acquaintances that knew it in prosperity, into gated, enclosed three or four-acre fields, and will, I am told, find a last shelter next year in the inn-yard of the Maypole, Barking Side. A sad tumble-down this from the Fairlop preeminence in rural festivity recognised and honoured by the personal patronage of Queen Elizabeth.
 
Fairlop Fair has, however, only so far to do with the story of Isaac Gortz, the charcoal-burner, forasmuch that, having gone to the fair on the 1st of July, Friday, 1832, I there saw Isaac Gortz for the first, and, in life, the last time. I, with my friends, had taken refuge from
   

 

 

 
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