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. 12

“Very likely,” I replied, with as much indifference as I could assume. “Many persons have seen me before—some of them once or twice too often.”

“True!” exclaimed Levasseur, with a shout. “Trelawney, for instance!”

“I should like to see Monsieur with his wig off!” said the clerk, with increasing insolence.

“Nonsense, Dubarle; you are a fool,” exclaimed Levasseur; “and I will not have my good friend Williams insulted.”

Dubarle did not persist, but it was plain enough that some dim remembrance of my features continued to haunt and perplex him.

At length, and the relief was unspeakable, a knock at the outer door announced Jackson—Levi Samuel I mean. We all jumped up, and ran to the window. It was the Jew, sure enough, and admirably he had dressed and now looked the part. Levasseur went, and in a minute or two returned, introducing him. Jackson could not suppress a start as he caught sight of the tall moustached addition to the

    expected company; he turned it off very well, it drove the Jewish dialect in which he had been practicing, completely out of his thoughts and speech, as he said, “You have more company than my friend Williams led me to expect.”

“A friend—one friend extra, Mr. Samuel,” said Levasseur; “that is all. Come, sit down, and let me help you to a glass of wine. You are an English Jew, I perceive?’


A silence of a minute or two succeeded, and then Levasseur said, “You are of course prepared for business?”

“Yes—that is, if you are reasonable.”

“Reasonable! The most reasonable men in the world,” rejoined Levasseur with a loud laugh. “But pray where is the gold you mean to pay us with?”

“If we agree, I will fetch it in half an hour. I do not carry bags of sovereigns about with me into all companies,” replied Jackson with much readiness.

Continued on p. 14


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