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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
The New York Ledger, January 25, 1862.
 
The Scratch of a Pin;
or
How the Deed was Done
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  red mark. It commenced at the junction of the hand and wrist on the right side, and ran diagonally over to the base of the little finger. It looked as though it had been made by a pin. How it came there I could not tell.

I went out. It was a clear and cold night, and everyone seemed to be in the streets. I met people carrying turkeys, and toys, and all sorts of bundles, and I overtook others loaded in the same way. Then there were strollers like myself, carrying nothing and buying nothing, but looking at the windows and the people. Decidedly it was a gay evening, and I forgot my anxiety and depression.

Suddenly, however, the feeling that I was followed by some one came over me again. I threw my glance over my shoulder uneasily, but I could see no one whose attention seemed directed toward me. My quick glance took in one man, however, whose general appearance was unfavorable; and he struck another in the same way, for I noticed that the policeman who had just passed me, half turned to look at him, too. The man was respectfully dressed, and there was noting remarkable about him, . . .

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    All that day I wandered through the house unquietly. Strange fancies had come and gone through my brain. With these anxiety was mingled, and depression, and weariness. It was not for lack of money. Oh, no! I had been poor—wretchedly poor—and I had a large sum of money now. But I was fevered, excited and miserable. There was an eye watching me. I could feel, not see it. Some one was dogging me as I moved. Who it was, I could not tell, of course; but I knew there was some one on my track. At length, at nightfall, I made up my mind to stroll through the town, to look at the shops on Broadway by gas light, to drop in at the theatre, to give up the whole evening to enjoyment.

I took the roll of bank bills from my pocket—from the deep inside pocket on the left side of my coat, and counted them over. There were just twenty-four of them, each for one hundred dollars. I need not disturb them. I had sufficient money loose in my vest-pocket. So I returned them to their hiding place, and then drew on my gloves. As I was putting the glove on my right hand, I observed in the palm of the hand a thin,

   

 

 


 

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