American Detective Fiction    April 1841-July 1891

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  Published in
Harper’s Monthly, January 1851

This story was originally printed as “Recollections of a Police-Officer: The Revenge” in Chambers's Edinburgh Journal on November 9, 1850.

It was reprinted as “The Revenge” in
The Daily Sanduskian, March 18, 19, & 20, 1851
The Janesville Gazette May 8, 1851

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 Robber's Revenge?" continued from p. 1

value, this was done, and one hundred guineas was promised for the required information. I had been to the printers to order the placards announcing the increased recompense;—and after indulging in a long gossip with the foreman of the establishment, whom I knew well, was passing at about a quarter past ten o’clock through Ryder’s Court, Newport Market, where a tall man met and passed me swiftly, holding a handkerchief to this face. There was nothing remarkable in that, as the weather was bitter cold and sleety; and I walked unheedingly on. I was just in the act of passing out of the court towards Leicester Square, when swift steps sounded suddenly behind me. I instinctively turned; and as I did so, received a violent blow on the left shoulder—intended, I doubted not, for the nape of my neck—from the tall individual who had passed me a minute previously. As he still held the handkerchief to his face, I did not catch even a momentary glance at his features, and he ran off with surprising speed. The blow, sudden, jarring, and inflicted with a sharp instrument—by a strong knife or a dagger—caused a sensation of faintness; and before I

    recovered from it all chance of successful pursuit was at an end. The wound, which was not at all serious, I had dressed at a chemist’s shop in the Haymarket; and as proclaiming the attack would do nothing towards detecting the perpetrator of it, I said little about it to anyone, and managed to conceal it entirely from my wife, to whom it would have suggested a thousand painful apprehensions whenever I happened to be unexpectedly detained from home. The brief glimpse I had of the balked assassin afforded no reasonable indication of his identity. To be sure he ran at an amazing and unusual pace, but this was a qualification possessed by so many of the light-legged as well as the light-fingered gentry of my professional acquaintance, that it could not justify even a random suspicion; and I determined to forget the unpleasant incident as soon as possible.

The third evening after this occurrence I was again passing along Leicester Square at a somewhat late hour, but this time with all my eyes about me. Snow, which the wind blew sharply in one’s face, was falling fast, and the cold was intense. Except myself, and a tallish,

Continued on p. 3


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