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. 6

up the fire, took two or three strides up and down the room, listened for a few minutes to the howling wind and driving rain which shook and beat against the casement, sat down again, and took up a newspaper which was lying on the table.

I had read for some time when the parlor door opened, and who should walk in but the young wife and an elderly gentleman whom I had seen on the street. I at once concluded that they had sought me with reference to the fugitive on board the Columbia; and the venerable old man’s rather elaborate apologies for intrusion, over, and both of them seated on the side of the fireplace opposite me, I awaited with grave curiosity to hear what they might say.

An awkward silence ensued. The young woman’s eyes were filled with tears, were bent on the floor, and her entire aspect and demeanor exhibited extreme sorrow and dejection. I pitied her, so sad and gentle did she look, from my very soul. The old man appeared anxious and careworn, and for some time remained abstractedly gazing at the fire without speaking. I had a mind to avoid a

    painful, and I was satisfied, profitless interview, by abruptly retiring; and was just rising for that purpose when a fiercer tempest blast than before accompanied by the pattering of heavy raindrops against the window panes, cause me to hesitate at exposing myself unnecessarily to the rigor of such a night; and at the same moment the gray-haired man suddenly raised his eyes and regarded me with a fixed and grave scrutiny.

“This war of the elements,” he at last said, “this war of the elements, and wild uproar of physical nature, is but a type, Mr. Waters, a faint one, of the convulsions, the antagonisms, the hurtful conflicts ever raging in the moral world.”

I bowed dubious assent to a proposition not apparently very pertinent to the subject, which I suppose chiefly occupied his mind, and he proceeded.

“It is difficult for dim-eyed beings such as we are always to trace the guiding hand of the ever-watchful Power which conducts the events of this changing, many-colored life to

Continued on p. 8


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