American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
The Ladies’ Companion, November 1857.
Retired from the Force
by Theo. Op.
  But “to return to our muttons” (as the French client said to the discursive barrister)—I mean the Russian police—I wonder what boguey does when he is past his dirty work? I wonder whether he retires on a fortune? or whether, having defrauded all his life, he is himself defrauded, and, being made poor, takes up his lodging on the bed of the Neva? I wonder whether he is degraded, and works for small pay—yes, I should like to know what the superannuated Russian police —a beggar, or a semi-millionaire—the inhabitant of a big house, or a cellar?

But if I don’t know what becomes of the Russian police officer, when he retires from the force, at least I know something of the English peeler when he has resigned his staff for ever; when he will no longer tell rowdies to “get out of that there” and “go along, do”; when stipendiary justices shall upbraid him no more; (I have seen stipendiary justices particularly brisk in reproachfully correcting a round-about-speaking peeler) when he has turned bull’s-eyes for the last time on the shivering houseless; and when he has run his last chance of being kicked to death, his last chance of . . .


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I read a little while back—and in all probability you, reader, read—of the celebrated Russian police, which the author called “boguey tribe”; read how officers of the force are not “passing rich on forty pounds a year,” but very rich indeed; how they rob, and rob, and rob again, so that their name is a blood-chiller and their existence a national curse: and when I had so read—let me say when we had so read (meaning you and I), we turned round to Scotland Yard, and our own blue and, comparatively, innocent police, and smiled. Oh! (to set aside the Russian boguey), after the continental police impertinence, I love the mild-looking, queerly-dressed, swordless, cocked-hatless police of this tight little, nice little island. I declare, I do think the blue policemen of England the civilest body on earth—far more civil than a Quaker, the core of peace and placidity. I don’t think there is a blue uniformed man in the force who would return even a dry answer to a civil inquiry; and if he is not in the way when he may happen to be particularly wanted, please to recollect his trans-channel brother is very often present when he is not wanted at all.





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