American Detective Fiction    April 1841-July 1891

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  Published in
Weekly Wisconsin, December 6, 1848
Vermont Watchman and State Journal, March 15, 1849

Weekly Wisconsin credited Holden’s Dollar Magazine

This story was reprinted as
“A Strange Story from the French” in
The Democratic Press [Fond Du Lac, WI], June 6, 1860
The Mantiwoc [WI] Pilot, June 15, 1860
Waukesha [WI] County Democrat July 3, 1860
Trempealeau [WI] Representative, July 6, 1860
Bennington [VT] Banner, August 3, 1860

as “A Story from the French” in
The Bay City [Green Bay, WI] Press, August 8, 1860
Watertown Democrat [IA], August 16, 1860

as “A Strange Story” in Racine Weekly Advocate July 18, 1860

as “The Syren of Paris” in the Cecil Whig [Elkton, MD], March 9, 1861

as “A Story of Paris” in The Daily Milwaukee News, August 25,1864

as “The Bath of Blood” in Fort Wayne Sentinel, March 23, 1874

as “A Polish Princess’ Appetite” in Logansport [IA] Daily Star, March 18, 1874

as “A Polish Princess’ Penchant” in Fort Smith [AR] Weekly New Era, March 25, 1874

as “Twenty-Six Heads” in Reno Evening Gazette, June 5, 1888

Mademoiselle Jabirouska,
The Modern Messalina

  him his embarrassment, described the dissatisfaction of the king and made such promises of recompense, that Lecoq, elated at the prospect, and sympathizing with the general anxiety to discover a clue to the mystery, exclaimed, “Enough, sir. I see that, in order to get you out of this scrape, I must not shrink from the example of the patriarch who would have sacrificed his own son on the altar. But give me eight days, and at the end of that time I trust I shall be able to render you a satisfactory account of this matter.”

Lecoq did not explain himself further; and La Reynie, who regarded him as his better angel, dismissed him with a gesture, which signified that he gave him the most unlimited powers to carry his object into effect. At this time it was common among the police of Paris to communicate with one another by mute signs—a sort of telegraph, the key of which was confided only to a limited number of the initiated. Lecoq was not married; but he had a natural son, on whom he lavished all the tenderness of his nature, and whose education he had himself superintended. The youth was called by his companions l’Eveille (Wide-awake.) He was about 16 years old of a fine and handsome exterior, and bore himself more like a man of 25, than a mere lad. L’Eveille, whose real name was Exupere, received from the bounty of his father all that could flatter the vanity of a young man. His appointments were of the first order, and his graceful person was set off with clothes of the most costly and fashionable manufacture. But he was permitted to venture out but little, Lecoq knowing too well to what dangers fine young men were exposed in the streets of Paris; and, in all his promenades, he was dogged by the spies . . .

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The archives of the police of Paris furnish us with the details of a most extraordinary narrative, the authenticity of which is unquestioned, and which we think will somewhat startle our numerous readers. For many years M. de la Reynie had discharged to the satisfaction of the public, the duties of lieutenant-general of the police, when suddenly a most remarkable panic was produced throughout Paris, by the unaccountable disappearance of several individuals.—During a period of four months, 26 young men of from 17 to 20 years of age had disappeared, leaving their families inconsolable for their loss. Mysterious and contradictory rumors were circulated in regard to the matter in the Faubourg St. Antione, which had been deprived in this manner of four or five young men, the sons of respectable citizens.

The Duke of Gevres communicated the circumstance to the king, who, when the lieutenant of police had been ordered into his presence, expressed his indignation and regret in the strongest terms at the continued repetitions of a practice which was undoubtedly followed by the violent death of the victims, as none of them afterwards reappeared. LaReynie in despair at the rebuke and distress of his sovereign, returned with a desponding heart to Paris. On arriving there, he sent for one of the officers of his establishment, named Lecoq, a man of considerable adroitness and address, and one who had been of service to his superior, on many difficult and trying occasions.—Lecoq appeared, and M. de la Reynie explained to





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