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. 2

passenger to Yankee Land—a goin’ there, I’m purty suspicious, for the benefit of his health.”

I looked at the Plymouth officers, and they at me. The impudent ingenuity of the trick that had been played upon us, seemed scarcely credible. “He—he—ho—ho!” rumbled out of the tobacco stifled throat of the old rogue. “If he wor somebody you wanted, it wor uncommon well done. Didn’t you observe him jump into the main chains of the barkey, just as you were leavin’ on her, and cast us off a minute afterwards? He preferred stoppin’ with us whilst you wor rummagin’ the hooker—he—he—ho—ho!”

It was useless bandying words with the fellow; and though I felt desperately savage, I had sense enough to hold my tongue. “Pull smartly,” said one of the Plymouth officers, “a shot will bring her to yet.”

“Why, ay,” rejoined the imperturbable seaman, “it mout you could get speech of the admiral in time; but I’m thinkin’ we shall be a good while yet pullin’ in agin this chopp n’ wind and head sea.”

    And sure enough they were! More than another hour, by some boatmancraft unexplainable by me, for the sailors apparently rowed with all their might, were we in reaching the landing place, and by that time all chance of compelling the return of the Columbia was long past.

It would be, I knew, impossible, to prove complicity on the part of the owner of the boat with the escaped felon, and I preferred to digest the venom of my spleen in silence, rather than by a useless display of it to add to the chuckling delight of the old rascal of a boatman.

We had passed some distance along the quay when one of the local officers, addressing a youngish sailor, who, with folded arms and a short pipe in his mouth, was standing in philosophical contemplation of the sea and weather, said, “I suppose there is no chance of the emigrant ship that sailed a while ago putting in at any other port along the coast?”

The man took the pipe from his mouth, regarded the question for a few moments with an expression of contemptuous curiosity

Continued on p. 4


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