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American Detective Fiction    April 1841-July 1891

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  Published in
Cedar Falls Gazette, June 20, 1860.
 
From Household Words
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Thief Taking in London
  suggestion, although they have not an idea “whoever did it.” The housemaid bursts into tears; the cook declares she thinks she is going into hysterics; and at last you suggest sending for the police; which is taken as a suspicion of, an insult on, the whole assembled household, and they descended into the lower regions of the house in the sulks.

X 40 arrives. His face betrays sheepishness, combined with mystery. He turns his bull’s-eye into every corner of the passage and upon every countenance on the premises. He examines all the locks, bolts, and bars, bestowing extra diligence on those which enclosed the stolen treasures. These he declares have been “Wiolated”; thus concisely intimating, without quoting Pope, that there has been more than one “Rape of the Lock.” He then notes the non-disturbance of the other valuables; takes you solemnly aside, darkens his lantern, and asks in a mysterious whisper, if you suspect any of your servants, . . .

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    Your wife discovers on retiring for the night that her drawers are void; her toilette-table is bare; except the ornaments she now wears, her beauty is unadorned as that of a Quakeress; not a thing is left; all the fond tokens you gave her when her prenuptial lover, are gone; your own miniature, with its setting of gold and brilliants; her late mother’s diamonds; the bracelets “dear papa” presented on her last birthday; the top of every bottle in the dressing case brought from Paris by Uncle John, at the risk of his life, in February, 1848 (being gold) are off—but the bottles (being glass) remain. Every valuable is swept away with the most discriminating villainy; for no other thing in the chamber has been touched; not a chair has been moved; the costly pendule on the chimneypiece still ticks; the entire apartment is as neat and trim as when it had received the last finishing touch of the housemaid’s duster. The entire establishment runs fanatically upstairs and downstairs; and finally congregates in my Lady’s Chamber. Nobody knows anything
whatever about it; yet everybody offers a
   

 

 


 

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