American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, March 1839.
Unpublished Passages
Vidocq, The French Minister of Police

Pierre Louvois

by J.M.B.
  the line, under the command of General Duval. He was a man of a morose and stern disposition, a strict martinet, and one but little prone to pardon any offences committed by the soldiery under his command; but, on the other hand, he was just, and not slow in rewarding merit, when such fell under his observation. His notice had for a short time been attracted to a lad about eighteen years of age, for whom he began to feel some interest. Pierre Louvois, which was the youth’s name, was a general favorite in the regiment to which he belonged, though his manners and dispositions were little in accord with those of his rank; there was a sort of dignity and lofty bearing not exactly in unison with the situation of a private, but yet it had never been the cause of his creating a single enemy amongst his associates. His mother, who said she was the widow of a soldier, had lived in the neighborhood of Montpelier, of which part of the country, however, she was not a native. She had maintained herself and son as a lace . . .


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    At the time the French army held possession of Italy, the most strict and vigorous measures were put in force by them, to suppress the lawless habits of the inhabitants; which, under a weak form of government, had risen to such a height of crime as to require more than ordinary severity to check. These laws were not alone against the natives, for they fell with undiminished rigor on such of the French troops as were caught in the commission of any act contravening the strict code laid down for their observance, and punishment came so swiftly after the offence as to be attended with at least one salutary effect, that of taking place whilst its cause was yet fresh in the remembrance of the shuddering spectators.

In the northern part of Italy was quartered a small division, consisting of a few regiments of





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