American Detective Fiction    April 1841-July 1891

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  Published in
ew Hampshire Statesman, October 25, 1856

This story was excerpted from “The Detective Police” in Household Words, 27 July 1850; the introductory, orienting narrative is missing and there is a second narrative, “The Butcher’s Story” that is not included.

Tally-ho Thompson

A Story of the London Detective Police
from Dickens’ Household Words

  postmen, though the people at the post offices are always very obliging. A postman may help us, or he may not, just as it happens. However, I go across the road, and say to the postman, after he has left the letter, ‘Good morning! How are you?’ ‘How are you?’ says he. ‘You’ve just delivered a letter for Mrs. Thompson.’ ‘Yes, I have.’ ‘You didn’t happen to remark what the post-mark was, perhaps.’ ‘No,’ says he, ‘I didn’t.’ ‘Come,’ says I, ‘I’ll be plain with you. I’m in a small way of business, and I have given Thompson credit, and I can’t afford to lose what he owes me. I know he’s got the money, and I know he’s in the country, and if you could tell me what the postmark was, I should be very much obliged to you, and you’d do a service to a tradesman in a small way of business that can’t afford a loss.’ ‘Well,’ he said, ‘I do assure you that I did not observe what the postmark was; all I know is, that there was money in the letter; I should say a sovereign.’ This was enough for me, because of course I knew that Thompson, having sent his wife money, it was possible she’d write to Thompson by return of post,. . .


Find the full text here.







“Tally-ho Thompson,” says Sergeant Witchem, after merely wetting his lips with his brandy and water, “Tally-ho Thompson was a famous horse-stealer, couper, and magsman. Thompson, in conjunction with a pal that occasionally worked with him, gammoned a countryman out of a good round sum of money, under pretense of getting him a situation—the regular old dodge—and was afterward in the ‘Hue and Cry’ for a horse—a horse that he stole, down in Hertfordshire. I had to look after Thompson, and I applied myself of course in the first instance to discovering where he was. Now Thompson’s wife lived along with a little daughter, at Chelsea. Knowing that Thompson was somewhere in the country, I watched the house—especially at post time in the morning—thinking that Thompson was likely to write to her. Sure enough one morning the postman comes, and delivers a letter at Mrs. Thompson’s door. Little girl opens the door and takes it in. We are not always sure of




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