American Detective Fiction    April 1841-July 1891

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  Published in
Janesville [WI] Gazette, November 7, 1850

This story was originally published as “Recollections of a Police-Officer: The Twins” in Chambers' Edinburgh Journal on June 21, 1850.

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 Twins," continued from p. 6

“True; and a few days ago I received information that Williams had been seen in Birmingham. He was well dressed, and not apparently in any business.”

“There certainly appears some ground for suspicion. What plan of operation do you propose?”

“That,” replied Mr. Repton, “I must leave to your more practiced sagacity. I can only undertake that no means shall be lacking that may be required.”

“It will be better, perhaps,” I suggested, after an interval of reflection, “that I should proceed to Birmingham at once. You have of course an accurate description of the persons of Williams and his wife ready?”

“I have; and very accurate pen and ink sketches I am told they are. Besides these, I have also here,” continued Mr. Repton, taking from his pocketbook a sheet of carefully folded satin paper, “a full description of the female child, drawn up by its mother, under the impression that twins always—I believe they generally

    do—closely resemble each other. ‘Light hair, blue eyes, dimpled chin,’ and so on. The lady—a very charming person, I assure you, and meek and gentle as a fawn—is chiefly anxious to recover her child. You and I, should our suspicions be confirmed, have other duties to perform.”

This was pretty near all that passed, and the next day I was in Birmingham.

The search, as I was compelled to be cautions in my inquiries, was tedious, but finally successful. Mr. and Mrs. Williams I discovered living in a pretty house, with neat grounds attached, about two miles out of Birmingham, on the coach road to Wolverhampton. Their assumed name was Burridge, and I ascertained from the servant girl who fetched their dinner and supper, and occasionally wine and spirits, from a neighboring tavern, that they had one child, a boy a few months old, of which neither mother nor father seemed very fond. By dint of much perseverance, I at length got upon pretty familiar terms with Mr. Burridge, alias Williams.  He spent his evenings regularly in a tavern; but with all the painstaking,

Continued on p. 8


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