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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
The New York Ledger, June 4, 1864 .
 
The Lock of Hair;
or,
The Murder at Haughton

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by Mary C. Vaughan
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  Hetty, audibly; “an’ if she is, I’d better hold my tongue and not wake her. It does old folks a deal of good to sleep!”

Just at that moment the fire blazed up brightly, and Aunt Hetty turned round from her task of blowing it with her apron, to look at her beloved mistress. There was something awful in the rigid stillness of her position. Her head had fallen forward upon her breast, one hand hung by her side, the other grasped the arm of the chair. Her features were shaded by the position in which she sat.

The fire was burning now, and as Aunt Hetty rose she put her hand upon the rug to lift herself by its aid. It plashed into a pool of something warm, wet, sticky that was oozing out upon the hearth.

“I guess the minister set his umbrella down here,” she said, and then she glanced at her hand. All the palm was covered by a dark, awful smear, and from her extended fingers . . .

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    “I thought you would have rung your bell before this time, ma’am. I guess your fire is e’enamost out,” said Hetty Sims, otherwise known as Aunt Hetty, bustling into the parlor, at twilight, or what she chose to call “early candle-lighting.” “Aint ye cold, Mis’ Sorlley? There’s nothing but a few coals left.”

The still figure, sitting there in the angle of the fireplace, answered not, but that fact did not daunt Aunt Hetty.

“I should have been in before,” she continued, “but I s’posed ye had company. ‘Twas the minister, warn’t it? I had my hands in the bread when he knocked, or I should have gone to the door.

Still no answer.

“I guess she’s asleep,” commented Aunt

   

 

 


 

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