American Detective Fiction    April 1841-July 1891

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  Published in
Fond du Lac [WI], September 12, 1850
Wisconsin Argus, October 22, 1850

This story was originally published as “Recollections of a Police-Officer: The Pursuit” in Chambers' Edinbugh Journal on July 13, 1850.

This story was later published in the collection Recollections of a Police-Officer by William Russell, under the pseudonym Thomas Waters (London: J.& C. Brown & Co., 1856).

Prior to the British publication of this volume, a pirated collection of the stories--also titled Recollections of a Police-Officer--was published in America (New York: Cornish and Lamport, 1852).


"The Pursuit," continued from p. 10

I immediately left the house, hastened to the quay, and, on arriving there, strained my eyes seaward in search of the expected ship. A large bark, which very much resembled her, was, to my dismay, riding at anchor within the breakwater, her sails furled, and everything made snug for the night. I ran to the landing steps, near which two or three sailors were standing.

“What vessel is that?” I asked, pointing to the one which had excited my alarm.

“The Columbia,” replied the man.

“The Columbia! Why, when did she arrive?”

“Some time ago. The clock chimed a quarter-past eight as the captain and a few of the passengers came on ashore.”

“A quarter-past eight! Why, it wants nearly half an hour to that now!”

“Does it though? Before you are ten minutes older, you’ll hear the clock strike nine.”

The man’s words were followed by a merry,

    mocking laugh close to my elbow. I turned sharply round, and for the first and last time in my life felt an almost irresistible temptation to strike a woman. There stood the meek, dove-eyed, grief-stricken wife I had parted from but a few minutes before, gazing with brazen impudence in my face.

“Perhaps, Mr. Waters,” said she with another taunting laugh, “perhaps yours is London time; or which is probably more likely, watches sometimes sleep for an hour or so as well as their owners.” She then skipped gaily off.

“Are you a Mr. Waters?” said a customhouse official who was parading the quay.

“Yes—and what then?”

“Only that a Mr. Joel Masters desired me to say that he was very much grieved he could not return to finish the evening with you, as he and his son were unfortunately obliged to leave Plymouth immediately.”

It would have been a great pleasure to have flung the speaker over the quay.—By a great effort I denied myself the tempting luxury, and

Continued on p. 12


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