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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Every Saturday, January 4, 1868
 
Ledfoot’s Plot
  their owners would entertain the question.”

Besides, I was quite amazed to think of any one wanting lodgings in Clumpington,—a little lonely Hampshire hamlet on a large expanse of heath, whither it had occurred to no one hitherto to come in search of change. We have not twenty houses in the village, not a single shop (for we get all our necessaries from the neighboring town of Clayington), no lawyer, no doctor (thank goodness, the place is too healthy to keep one), and a parson only once a fortnight. There is nothing to see but undulating miles of purple heather and golden-blossomed gorse, and the clump of firs which gives its name to the place.

“I hope I have not made a mistake,” the gentleman continued, “but an acquaintance of mine in London—Mr. Hickey, a house agent—told me he thought you could accommodate me.”

Then I remembered how,—some twelve . . .

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    “A gentleman by the name of Ledfoot, sir, would like to speak with you, if you please,” said my old housekeeper, one afternoon, standing with the dining-room door in her hand.

“ Ledfoot?” I repeated. “Don’t know the name. Ask him in.”

A middle-aged man of ruddy and cheerful countenance, with plentiful light hair,—except on a very marked bald patch, smooth and shiny, on the top of his head,—a good deal of sandy beard, shot with gray, and restless little gray eyes, set deep in under a fat forehead fringed with very prominent eyebrows, was shown into the room.

“I have ventured to call,” he began, oddly screwing up his left eye into a smile, whilst the rest of his face was inscrutably passive, “in search of apartments.”

“My good sir,” said I, “I don’t let lodgings, and there are but two houses, besides this, in Clumpington big enough to afford you accommodation, and I am certain neither of

   

 

 

 
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