American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Fort Atkinson [WI] Standard, August 1, 1861
Life on the Turn of a Card
  the next few moments.

Cautiously protruding my head outside my hiding place, I attentively watched the fugitive. He indeed was coming down the street towards me, panting and breathing hard, yet with a pace increasing, instead of decreasing in swiftness, as if he received new hope from his nearness to some mode of escape well known to him.

My hand was already itching to seize the man, who was about twenty feet from my concealment and six or seven from a gas lamp which had been turned carefully down to the regulation height, and was therefore only capable of shedding a light for a yard or so around. To my surprise, the fugitive coolly stopped and turned his head to look behind him, where a confused mass of shouting beings, easily mistaken for Indians by those who do not know the savages of cities, the Mohicans of London, who take as much delight in hunting human beings as do their red-skinned prototypes. Then, with a cursory glance down the street, which was deserted on that side, he took off his cap, which was evidently loaded with a metal interior, and flung it with great dexterity and unqualified . . .


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    One of the small streets that turn from Aldersgate Street, though occupied by highly respectable people, was more than a month under the strict surveillance of the police force of London on account of some peculiarities its neighborhood bore. Suspicious persons had been noticed many times in that quarter, although not a single offense had been complained of, no householder having lost even the smallest articles.

The more impenetrable the mystery, the darker must be the object it veils, has always been a maxim of our profession; and, as I have said, close watching was kept up until every hope of discovery was found futile.

I was returning from Whitecross Street prison, where I had lodged a prisoner, and took the above mentioned street as a means of shortening my road. When within a block of Aldergate Street, a noise and the shouts of “stop thief!” broke in upon the daydream I was indulging, and I fell back into the shadow of a high stoop, to spring out upon the thief if he came my way. I had not taken notice of the street, and would not have remembered it as the one I had a share in watching so long and faithfully, if it had not been for the events of





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