American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Frank Leslie’s Pleasant Hours, 1867.
The Old Lady and the Detectives
  Now, if I live with my married daughter, it is not, it must clearly be understood, because I cannot afford a home of my own. My name stands, I am thankful to say, in the books of the Three per Gent. Consols, with a comfortable sum opposite to it; and I derive from this source what I may safely call a snug income.

It is not, and it never has been, my habit personally to receive the dividends of this money. When Mr. Whirtleby was alive he naturally took all business details into his own hands, and since his decease, Mortimer, my son-in-law, has always obliged me. Indeed, I hate form and fuss, and routine, and anything else that flusters, and worries, and tries the temper. So, when the day comes round, I always go to my desk and unlock it, and say, “Mortimer, my dear, here are the securities, if you can make it convenient to oblige me.”

And Mortimer does always make it convenient to oblige me, and brings me down my money in gold and silver—for I don’t much fancy . . .


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No one need envy my feelings in thus coming before the public. I always did say, and will ever say, that woman’s mission begins and ends at home. And what I preach I practice. Rushing into print is not congenial to the spirit of the British matron, and I should much prefer confining my sorrows to the bosom of my family; but mу son-in-law protests that I have a moral duty to perform—and from duty I will never shrink. This is the history of my wrongs.

I reside at a genteel village in the neighborhood of London. I do not think I should be justified, out of consideration for the society of the place, in divulging its exact name or situation. But it is on the Grand Junction Railway, and just far enough from the metropolis to avoid the odious epithet of a suburb.

Juniper Villa, semi-detached, is one of the most elegant dwellings on the green, and I live there, for the present, with my daughter Jane. Jane is married, of course, and her name is Tanfield— mine, if you please, being Mrs. Whirtleby.





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