American Detective Fiction    April 1841-July 1891

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  Published in
Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, November 1850

This story was originally printed in Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal as “Recollections of a Police-Officer: Legal Metamorphoses” on September 28, 1850 and was reprinted under the title “Legal Metamorphoses” in the Janesville Gazette, April 24, 1851.

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).

    "Villainy Outwitted" continued from p. 9

change. There, now, we understand each other. What does he give and how does he dispose of them?”

“He gives about a third generally, and he gets rid of them abroad. They reach the bank through bona fide and innocent holders, and in that case the bank is of course bound to pay.”

“Is that the law also with respect to bills of exchange?”

“Yes, to be sure it is.”

“And is amount of any consequence to your friend?”

“None, I believe, whatever.”

“Well, then, you must introduce me to him.”

“No; that I can’t,” I hurriedly answered. “He won’t deal with strangers.”

“You must, I tell you, or I will call an officer.”

Terrified by this threat, I muttered that his name was Levi Samuel.

    “And where does Levi Samuel live?”

“That,” I replied, “I cannot tell; but I know how to communicate with him.”

Finally it was settled by Levasseur that I should dine at Oak Cottage the next day but one, and that I should arrange with Samuel to meet us there immediately afterwards. The notes and bills he had to dispose of, I was to inform Samuel, amounted to ₤12,000, and I was promised ₤500 for effecting the bargain.

“Five hundred pounds, remember, Williams,” said Levasseur as we parted; “of if you deceive me, transportation! You can prove nothing regarding me, whereas I could settle you offhand.”

The superintendent and I had a long and rather anxious conference the next day. We agreed that, situated as Oak Cottage was, in an open space away from any other building, it would not be advisable that any officer except myself and the pretended Samuel should approach the place. We also agreed as to the probability of such clever rogues having so placed the notes

Continued on p. 11


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