American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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Published in
Philadelphia Album and Ladies Literary Gazette, February 20, 1830

A paraphrased version of this story was published as "The Story of a French Detective" in the The Daily [Honolulu] Bulletin ,August 7, 1885.

Vidocq and the Sexton
  the Curate one morning, pale and trembling, and announced that the fatal spot had been discovered, the deposit gone, and that evidently the Cossacks had been at work.

We are lost, exclaimed the Curate.

We are lost, said Moirellet; and the servant joined in and repeated the chorus, we are lost!  All three accused the Cossacks; not one for an instant doubted the guilt of these insatiable strangers. But Mr. Senert, on hearing the news, was more suspicious.  Notwithstanding his despair, he preserved some hope. He applied to the police, and as the Cossacks could not easily fall under their authority, he publicly accused Moirellet.

“It is possible that the man is guilty,” replied M. Henry; “but if he is prudent we shall not be able to detect him.”

“Ah! sir, I would give a hundred thousand francs—.” . . .


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    When the inhabitants of Paris and of the environs were daily expecting the Cossacks, everyone was endeavoring to conceal from these northern robbers his most valuable things. The Curate of Livery, as well as others, wished to secure the church vases and whatever else of consequence he possessed. His relation and friend, Mr. Senert, jeweler, from Paris, was staying with him at the time; he saw these preparations, and determined to profit by them, so as to preserve from the hands of the Cossacks about a hundred thousand crowns worth of costly jewelry, which his stock consisted of. Moirellet, a pious man, well known from his reputation of wisdom and integrity, and who exercised the double office of clerk and sexton, was chosen by the two friends to hide this treasure from every eye. He buried it in an adjoining wood, and he covered it so skillfully that they thought it must escape their enemies’ strictest search.

Notwithstanding all of these precautions the treasure disappeared. Moirellet appeared before





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