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. 13

“Well, that’s right enough; and now how much discount do you charge?”

“I will tell you when I see the securities.”

Levasseur rose without another word, and left the apartment. He was gone about ten minutes, and on his return deliberately counted out the stolen Bank-of-England notes and bills of exchange. Jackson got up from his chair, peered close to them, and began noting down the amounts in his pocketbook. I also rose, and pretended to be looking at a picture by the fireplace. The moment was a nervous one, as the signal had been agreed upon, and could not now be changed or deferred. The clerk Dubarle also hastily rose, and eyed Jackson with flaming but indecisive looks. The examination of securities was at length terminated, and Jackson began counting the Bank-of-England notes aloud—”One—two—three—four—five!” As the signal word passed his lips, he threw himself upon Le Breton, who sat next to him; and at the same moment I passed one of my feet between Dubarle’s, and with a dexterous twist hurled him violently on the floor; another instant and my grasp was on the

    throat of Levasseur, and my pistol at his ear. ‘Hurrah! we both shouted with eager excitedness; and before either of the villains could recover from his surprise or indeed perfectly comprehend what had happened, Levasseur and Le Breton were handcuffed, and resistance was out of the question. Young Dubarle was next easily secured.

Levasseur the instant he recovered the use of his faculties, which the completeness and suddenness of the surprise and attack had paralyzed, yelled like a madman with rage and anger, and but for us, would, I verily believe, have dashed his brains out against the walls of the room. The other two were calmer, and having at last thus roughly pinioned and secured them, and carefully gathered up the recovered plunder, we left Oak Cottage in triumph, letting ourselves out, for the woman servant had gone off, doubtless to acquaint her mistress with the disastrous turn affairs had taken. No inquiry was made after either of them.

An hour afterwards the prisoners were securely locked up, and I hurried to acquaint

Continued on p. 15


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