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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
The New York Ledger, January 30, 1869
 
Little Nan

by Caroline Conrad

  Phil. might have banished her from her husband’s house with a word, she was a gentle, loving soul, and could better bear to be stung than to harm a fly.

That was the way matters stood when the baby was born—the baby which cut off Digby’s hopes of heirship by just so much as the thread of its little life was strong and vital.

Mrs. Phil. and Digby were good friends; and Digby liked the baby in spite of his mother, and the baby liked Digby.

The baby was a darling—a lovely child, with soft, golden, curly hair, and eyes like wild violets. Uncle Phil. was just as completely infatuated with that baby; and poor Digby, whom the little creature had ousted, would sit dandling it on his knee by the hour. Even Mrs. John condescended to notice it, and was by no means so insensible to its cunning, endearing ways as one might have expected she would be under the circumstances.
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    Digby Mainwaring was what people call a real good fellow—clever, handsome, good-hearted. He smoked and he betted a little; he drove a fast team—as any one might, whose jolly, rich, old uncle footed the bills; and he gave delicious quiet suppers that nobody else could match quite, even with such a backer as Digby’s Uncle Phil. An ambitious mother had deliberately taught him, and an easy-tempered uncle had never contradicted, the assumption that he was to be his Uncle Mainwaring’s heir.

It was natural, then, that he should feel it as something of a blow when, most unexpectedly, that uncle, in old age, took him a young and pretty wife. Careless, good-natured Digby might not have minded it much of himself, if his mother had not filled his ears with such eloquent picturing of his wrong and his loss.

Mrs. John Mainwaring, Digby’s mother, was a regular Tartar. She made Mrs. Phil.’s house pretty hot for her sometimes; but, though Mrs.

   

 

 

 
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