American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
The Revelations of a Private Detective by Andrew Forrester, Jr. London: Ward and Lock, 1863. 65-86.
A Railway “Plant” Blighted
by Andrew Forrester, Jr.

  No blame, then, can attach to Mr. W. J. —, nor should it excite astonishment in the reader to learn that a more than usually hazardous venture, the summer season, had not up to the moment of our narrative prospered. In truth the spec. had turned out very badly, as every member of Mr. W. J—’s company could tell, at least as well as he could.
One morning, the manager had risen from—or, to speak with more precision—in his bed, to read half a dozen letters just brought him by the post. He grasped them with avidity, for, as he afterwards declared, amid a variety of solemn expletives and adjurations, he had a presentiment that “something good would turn up,” and that “luck was in store for him.”

Mr. W. J— never relates this story without a very ample preface about a dream he had the night before, and an exposition of the reasons why he felt assured the empty exchequer of that and former nights were and must be followed by “glorious triumphs,” “crowded . . .


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    DURING the summer of 1854, Mr. W. J. —, a man of extensive experience in such business, or professional enterprise, was lessee of the Theatre Royal, at B—. Somehow or other, it is not in the power of the most indefatigable and skilful manager of theatres to command success, although we never knew one of that versatile and conscientious order of geniuses, from the great Lumley of operatic renown to Mr. Wilde of peripatetic notoriety, who would not, if the assertion had been made on the threshold of eternity, affirm that he constantly, uniformly, and without exception, endeavoured to deserve it.

Numerous circumstances, over which no management can exercise the slightest control, such as the weather, the state of trade, competitions in the “entertainment line,” and last, but certainly not least, that shifting eccentric, kaleidoscopic, intangible thing called public taste will overthrow preliminary calculations, and turn golden hopes into blank disappointment.




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