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. 7

wise and foreseen issues. The conflicts of faith with actual experience are hard for poor humanity to bear, and still keep unimpaired the jewel beyond price of unwavering trust in Him to whom the secrets of all hearts are known. Ah, sir, guilt, flaunting its vanities in high places—innocence in danger of fetters—are perplexing subjects to dwell upon!”

I was somewhat puzzled by this strange talk, but hopeful that a meaning would presently appear, I again silently intimated partial concurrence with his general views.

“There is no longer much doubt, Mr. Waters, I believe,” he added after a few moments, in a much more business-like and sensible tone, that the Columbia will be forced back again, and that the husband of this unhappy girl will consequently fall into the hands of the blind, unreasoning law . . . .You appear surprised . . . My name, I should have mentioned before, is Thompson; and be assured, Mr. Waters, that when the real facts of this most unfortunate affair are brought to your knowledge, no one will more bitterly regret than yourself that this tempest and sudden change of wind should

    have flung back the prey both you and I believed had escaped upon these fatal shores.”

“From your name, I presume you to be the father of the young woman, and”—

“Yes,” he interrupted me, “and the father-in-law of this innocent young man you have hunted down with such untiring activity and zeal. But I blame you not,” he added, checking himself—“I blame you not. You have done what you conceived to be your duty. But the ways of Providence are inscrutable.”

A passionate burst of grief from the pale, weeping wife, testified that, whatever might be the fugitive’s offences or crimes against society, he at least retained her affection and esteem.

“It is very unpleasant,” I observed, “to discuss such a subject in the presence of relatives of the inculpated person, especially as I yet perceive no useful result likely to arise from it; still, since you as it were force me to speak, you must permit me to say that you are either grossly deceived yourself, or attempting for

Continued on p. 9


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