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. 3

anything but flattering to its object, and bawled out, to a weather beaten seaman a few yards off, “I say, Tom Davis, here’s a Blue Bottle as wants to know the name and bearin’ of the port of the Land’s End which the barkey that sailed a while agone for Ameriker with a northeaster kicking her endways is likely to bring up in. I’m not acquainted with it myself, or else I’d tell the gentleman.”

The laugh from two or three bystanders irritated the officer, and he would have indulged in an angry reply had not his more prudent comrade taken him by the arm and urged him away.

“Ay, ay,” said the veteran addressed as Tom Davis, as we were passing him, “Jim, there, had always got plenty of jawing tackle aboard; but, Lord love ye, he’s a poor dumb cretur about the signs of the weather. He’s talkin’ about northeasters, and don’t see the wind’s beginning to chop about like a bum-boat woman with a dozen customers around her. It’s my opinion, and Tom Davis ought by this time to be summat of a judge, that, instead of a

    north-easter, it’s a precious sight more likely to be blowing a sou’-wester before two hours are past, and a sneezer, too; and then the Columby, if she ha’nt made a good offin’, which she is not likely to have done, will be back again in a brace of shakes.”

“Do you think it possible,” I eagerly asked, “that the Columbia will be obliged to put back into Plymouth?”

“I don’t know about probable. It’s not so sure as death or quarter day, but it’s upon the cards for all that.”

“Will it be early ’n the night, think you, that she will be run in, if at all?”

“Ah! There now, you wants to know too much;” said the old seaman, turning on his heel. “All I can say is, that if you find in an hour or so’s time, the wind has chopped round to the sou’-west, or, within pint or two, and that it’s blowin’ the buttons off your coat one after another, the Columby, if she’s lucky, won’t be far off.”

This half bantering prediction of the old

Continued on p. 5


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