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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
The New York Ledger, January 26, 1861.
 
The Silent Witness
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From a Lawyer’s Diary
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by Sylvanus Cobb, Jr.
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  once recognized as the former home of old Timothy Elliott, the “uncle” of whom I have spoken. My summons was answered by a light, quick step upon the hall floor; and when the door was opened I recognized the fair, fond features of my dearly remembered cousin. She was five years older than when I saw her last, and had grown to be a little more womanly, and a little more sedate. In fact, she had put on the holiest of all female characters—that of Mother. The beauty, the life, the animation, the smiles, of other years were not gone; but they were elevated with, softened by, and blended into, that nobler character. At first she did not know me; but when I called her by name—when I called her Hattie, as I used to in the old times—she caught me by the hand, and, in a moment more, had both her white, soft arms about my neck. She was a sister to me in heart and soul, and with a sister’s love she greeted me.

We went into the parlor, where an astral lamp was already burning upon the centre table, and where a fire was reflecting a genial warmth from the polished grate; for it was autumn, and the evenings were quite cool. Upon a chair, . . .

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    I had spent some years in the West, in the practice of my profession, and was on a visit to my friends in New England. Among those who came first in my list of friendship was Fred Elliott, and I arranged to visit him as soon as I could. Fred and I had grown up together as boys; we had entered college together; had graduated together; and when I entered upon the practice of law, he entered his uncle’s store in the capacity of bookkeeper, with a good prospect ahead. And there was another tie between us—a near and dear one—near and dear to us who were both orphans, and who had few relatives living: Fred had married my own cousin—sweet Hattie Keene. He had married her since I was away, though the event had been upon the docket a long while before. And thus I was to meet two of my dearest friends beneath the same roof.

It was just dark when the carriage left me at the door of the house which had been pointed out as that occupied by my friend; and which I at

   

 

 


 

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