From Chambers’ Edinburgh Journal
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Recollections of a Police-Officer
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Villainy Outwitted

The respectable agent of a rather eminent French house arrived one morning in great apparent distress at Scotland Yard, and informed the superintendent that he had just sustained a great, almost ruinous, loss of notes of the Bank of England and commercial bills of exchange, besides a considerable sum of gold. He had, it appears, been absent in Paris about ten days, and on his return but a few hours previously, discovered that his iron chest had been rifled during his absence. False keys must have been used, as the empty chest was found locked, and no sign of violence could be observed. He handed in full written details of the property carried off, the numbers of the notes, and every other essential particular. The first step taken was to ascertain if any of the notes had been tendered at the bank. Not one had been presented; payment was of course stopped, and advertisements descriptive of the bills of exchange, as well as of the notes, were inserted in the evening and following morning papers. A day or two afterwards, a considerable reward was offered for such information as might lead to the apprehension of the offenders. No result followed; and spite of the active exertions of the officers employed, not the slightest clue could be obtained to the perpetrators of the robbery. The junior partner in the firm, M. Bellebon, in the meantime arrived in England, to assist in the investigation, and was naturally extremely urgent in his inquiries; but the mystery which enveloped the affair remained impenetrable. At length a letter, bearing the St. Martin le Grand postmark, was received by the agent, M. Alexandre le Breton, which contained an offer to surrender the whole of the plunder, with the exception of the gold, for the sum of one thousand pounds. The property which had been abstracted was more than ten times that sum, and had been destined by the French house to meet some heavy liability falling due in London very shortly. Le Breton had been ordered to pay the whole amount into Hoare’s to the account of the firm, and had indeed been severely blamed for not having done so as he received the different notes and bills; it was on going to the chest immediately on his return from Paris, for the purpose of fulfilling the peremptory instructions he had received, that M. le Breton had discovered the robbery.

The letter went on to state that should the offer be acceded to, a mystically worded advertisement—of which a copy was enclosed—was to be inserted in the Times, and then a mode would be suggested for safety—in the interest of the thieves, of course—carrying the agreement into effect. M. Bellebon was half-inclined to close with this proposal in order to save the credit of the house which would be destroyed unless its acceptance, now due in about fourteen days, could be met; and without the stolen moneys and bills of exchange, this was, he feared, impossible. The superintendent, to whom M. Bellebon showed the letter, would not hear of compliance with such a demand, and threatened prosecution for composition of felony, if M. Bellebon persisted in doing so. The advertisement was, however, inserted, and an immediate reply directed that Le Breton, the agent, should present himself at the Old Manor House, Green Lanes, Newington, unattended, at four o’clock on the following afternoon, bringing with him of course the stipulated sum in gold. It was added, that to prevent any possible treason, (trahison, the letter was written in French) Le Breton would find a note for him at the tavern, informing him of the spot—a solitary one, and far away from anyplace where an ambush could be concealed—where the business would be concluded, and to which he must proceed unaccompanied, and on foot! This proposal was certainly quite as ingenious as it was cool, and the chance of outwitting such cunning rascals seemed exceedingly doubtful. A very tolerable scheme was, however, hit upon, and M. le Breton proceeded at the appointed hour to the Old Manor House. No letter or message had been left for him, and nobody obnoxious to the slightest suspicion, could be seen near or about the tavern. On the following day another missive arrived, which stated that the writer was quite aware of the trick which the police had intended playing on him, and he assured M. Bellebon that such a line of conduct was as unwise as it would be fruitless, inasmuch as if ‘good faith’ was not observed, the securities and notes would be inexorably destroyed or otherwise disposed of, and the house of Bellebon and company be consequently exposed to the shame and ruin of bankruptcy.

Just at this crisis of the affair I arrived in town from my unsuccessful hunt after the fugitives who had slipped through my fingers at Plymouth. The superintendent laughed heartily, not so much at the trick by which I had been duped, as at the angry mortification I did not affect to conceal. He presently added, “I have been wishing for your return, in order to intrust you with a tangled affair, in which success will amply compensate for such a disappointment. You know French, too, which is fortunate; for the gentleman who has been plundered understands little or no English.” He then related the foregoing particulars, with other apparently slight circumstances; and after a long conversation with him, I retired to think the matter over, and decided upon the likeliest mode of action. After much cogitation, I determined to see M. Bellebon alone; and for this purpose I dispatched the waiter of a tavern adjacent to his lodgings, with a note expressive of my wish to see him instantly on pressing business. He was at home, and immediately acceded to my request. I easily introduced myself, and after about a quarter of an hour’s conference said carelessly—for I saw he was too heedless of speech, too quick and frank to be intrusted with the dim suspicions which certain trifling indices had suggested to me—”Is Monsieur le Breton at the office where the robbery was committed?”

“No; he is gone to Greenwich on business, and will not return until late in the evening. But if you wish to re-examine the place, I can of course enable you to do so.’

“It will, I think, be advisable; and you will, if you please,” I added, as we emerged into the street, “permit me to take you by the arm, in order that the official character of my visit may not be suspected by anyone there.”

He laughingly complied and we arrived at the house, arm in arm. We were admitted by an elderly woman; and there was a young man—a moustached clerk—seated at a desk in an inner room, writing. He eyed me for a moment, somewhat askance, I thought, but I gave him no opportunity for a distinct view of my features; and I presently handed M. Bellebon a card, on which I had contrived to write unobserved, “send away that clerk.” This was more naturally done than I anticipated; and in answer to M. Bellebon’s glance of inquiry, I merely said, “that as I did not wish to be known there as a police officer, it was essential that the minute search I was about to make be without witnesses.” He agreed, and the woman was sent away on a distant errand. Every conceivable place did I ransack; every scrap of paper that had writing on it I eagerly perused. At length the search was over without result.

“You are quite sure, Monsieur Bellebon, as you informed the superintendent, that Monsieur le Breton has no female relations or acquaintances in their country?”

“Positive,” he replied. “I have made the most explicit inquiries on the subject, both of the clerk Dubarle and the woman servant.”

Just then the clerk returned out of breath with haste, I noticed, and I took my leave without even now affording the young gentleman so clear a view of my face as he was evidently anxious to obtain.

“No female acquaintance!” thought I as I reentered the room of the tavern I had left an hour before. “From whom, then, came those scraps of perfumed notepaper I have found in his desk, I wonder?” I sat down and endeavored to piece them out, but after considerable trouble, satisfied myself that they were parts of different notes, and so small, unfortunately, as to contain nothing which separately afforded any information except that they were all written by one hand, and that a female one.

About two hours after this, I was sauntering along in the direction of Stoke-Newington, where I was desirous of making some inquiries as to another matter, and had passed the Kingslaw Gate a few hundred yards, when a small discolored printed handbill, lying in a haberdasher’s shop window, arrested my attention. It ran thus: “Two guineas reward.—Lost, an Italian greyhound. The tip of its tail has been chopped off, and it answers to the name Fidele.” Underneath the reader was told in writing to “inquire within.”

“Fidele!” I mentally exclaimed.—”Any relation to M. le Breton’s fair correspondent’s Fidele, I wonder?” In a twinkling my pocketbook was out and I reperused by gaslight on one of the perfumed scraps of paper the following portion of a sentence, “ma pauvre Fidele est per”—.The bill, I observed, was dated nearly three weeks previously. I forthwith entered the shop, and pointing to the bill said I knew a person who had found such a dog as there was advertised for. The woman at the counter said she was glad to hear it, as the lady, formerly a customer of theirs, was much grieved by the animal’s loss.

“What is the lady’s name?” I asked.

“I can’t rightly pronounce the name,” was the reply. “It is French, I believe; but here it is, with the address, in the daybook, written by herself.”

I eagerly read—”Madame Levasseur, Oak Cottage; about one mile on the road from Edmonton to Southgate.”—The handwriting greatly resembled that on the scraps I had taken from M. le Breton’s desk; and the writer was French, too! Here were indications of a trail which might lead to unhoped for success; and I determined to follow it up vigorously. After one or two other questions, I left the shop, promising to send the dog to the lady the next day. My business at Stoke-Newington was soon accomplished. I then hastened westward to the establishment of a well-known dog-fancier, and proured the loan at a reasonable price, of an ugly Italian hound; the requisite loss of the tip of its tail was very speedily accomplished, and so quickly healed, that the newness of the excision could not be expected. I arrived at the lady’s residence about twelve o’clock on the following day, so thoroughly disguised as a vagabond Cockney dog-stealer, that my own wife when I entered the breakfast parlor just previous to starting, screamed with alarm and surprise. The mistress of Oak Cottage was at home, but indisposed, and the servant said she would take the dog to her, though, if I would take it out of the basket, she herself could tell me if it was Fidele or not. I replied that I would only show the dog to the lady, and would not trust it out of my hands. This message was carried upstairs, and after waiting some time outside—for the woman, with natural precaution, considering my appearance, for the safety of the portable articles lying about, had closed the street door in my face—I was readmitted, desired to wipe my shoes carefully, and walk up. Madame Levasseur, a showing-looking woman, though not over-refined in speech or manners, was seated on a sofa, in vehement expectation of embracing her dear Fidele; but my vagabond appearance so startled her, that she screamed loudly for her husband, M. Levasseur. This gentleman, a fine, tall, whiskered, mustached person, hastened into the apartment half-shaved, and with his razor in his hand.

“Qu’est ce qu’il y a done?” he demanded.

“Mais voyez cette horreur la,” replied the lady, meaning me, not the dog, which I was slowly emancipating from the basket kennel. The gentleman laughed; and reassured by the presence of her husband, Madame Levasseur’s anxieties concentrated themselves upon the expected Fidele.

“Mais, mon Dieu!” she exclaimed again, as I displayed the aged beauty I had brought for her inspection, “Why, that is not Fidele!”

“Not, marm?” I answered with quite innocent surprise. “Vy, ere is her wery tail;” and I held up her mutilated extremity for closer inspection. The lady was not, however, to be convinced even by that evidence; and as the gentleman soon became impatient of my persistence, and hinted very intelligibly that he had a mind to hasten my passage downstairs with the toe of his boot, I, having made the best possible use of my eyes during the short interview, scrambled up the dog and basket, and departed.

“No female relative or acquaintance, hasn’t he?” was my exulting thought as I gained the road. “And yet, if that is not M. le Breton’s picture between those of the husband and wife, I am a booby and a blind one.” I was no longer in the least doubted that I had struck a brilliant trail; and I could have shouted with exultation, so eager was I not only to retrieve my, as I fancied, somewhat tarnished reputation for activity and skill, but to extricate the plundered firm from their terrible difficulties; the more especially as young M. Bellebon, with the frankness of his age and nation, had hinted to me—and the suddenly tremulous light of his fine expressive eyes testified to the acuteness of his apprehensions—that his marriage with a long-loved and amiable girl depended upon his success in saving the credit of his house.

That same evening, about nine o’clock M. le Levasseur, expensively, but withal snobbishly attired, left Oak Cottage, walked to Edmonton, hailed a cab, and drove off rapidly towards town, followed by an English swell as stylishly and snobbishly dressed, whigged, whiskered and moustached as himself; this English swell being no other than myself, as prettily metamorphosed and made up for the part I intended playing, as heart could wish.

M. Levasseur descended at the end of the Quadrant, Regent Street, and took his way to Vine Street, leading out of that celebrated thoroughfare. I followed; and observing him enter a public house, unhesitatingly did the same. It was a house of call and general rendezvous for servants out of place. Valets, couriers, cooks, of many varieties of shade, nation, and respectability, were assembled there smoking, drinking, and playing at an insufferably noisy game, unknown, I believe, to Englishmen, and which must, I think, have been invented in sheer despair of cards or dice or other implements of gambling. The sole instrument of play were the gamesters’ fingers, of which the two persons playing suddenly and simultaneously uplifted as many, or as few, as they pleased, each player alternately calling a number; and if he named precisely how many fingers were held up by himself and opponent, he marked a point. The hubbub of cried—”cinq,” “neu,” “dix,” &c.—was deafening. The players—almost everybody in the large room—were too much occupied to notice our entrance; and M. Levasseur and myself seated ourselves, and called for something to drink, without, I was glad to see, exciting the slightest observation. M. Levasseur, I soon perceived, was an intimate acquaintance of many there; and somewhat to my surprise, for he spoke French very well, I found that he was a Swiss. His name was, I therefore concluded, assumed. Nothing positive rewarded my watchfulness that evening; but I felt quite sure Levasseur had come there with the expectation of meeting someone, as he did not play, and went away about half-past eleven o’clock, with an obviously discontented air. The following night it was the same; but the next who should peer in the room about half-past ten, and look cautiously around, but M. Alexandre le Breton! The instant the eyes of the friends met, Levasseur rose and went out. I hesitated to follow, lest such a movement might excite suspicion; and it was well I did not, as they both presently returned and seated themselves close by my side. The anxious, haggard countenance of Le Breton—who had, I should have before stated, been privately pointed out to me by one of the force early on the morning I visited Oak Cottage—struck me forcibly, especially in contrast with that of Levasseur which wore only an expression of malignant and ferocious triumph, slightly dashed by temporary disappointment. Le Breton stayed but a short time; and the only whispered words I caught were—”He has, I fear, some suspicion.”

The anxiety and impatience of M. Bellebon whilst this was going on became extreme, and he sent me note after note—the only mode of communication I would permit—expressive of his consternation at the near approach of the time when the engagements of his house would arrive at maturity, without anything having in the meantime been accomplished. I pitied him greatly, and, after some thought and hesitation, resolved upon a new and bolder game. By affecting to drink a great deal, occasionally playing, and in other ways exhibiting a reckless, devil-may-care demeanor, I had striven to insinuate myself into the confidence and companionship of Levasseur, but hitherto without much effect; and although once I could see, started by a casual hint I dropped to another person—one of ours—just sufficiently loud for him to hear—that I knew a sure and safe market for stopped Bank of England notes, the cautious scoundrel quickly subsided into his usual guarded reserve. He evidently doubted me, and it was imperatively necessary to remove those doubts. This was at last effectually, and, I am vain enough to think, cleverly done.—One evening a rakish-looking man, who ostentatiously and repeatedly declared himself to be Mr. Trelawney of Conduit Street, and who was evidently three parts intoxicated, seated himself directly in front of us, and with much braggart impudence boasted of his money, at the same time displaying a pocketbook, which seemed pretty full of Bank of England notes. There were only a few persons present in the room besides us, and they were at the other end of the room. Levasseur, I saw, noticed with considerable interest the look of greed and covetousness which I fixed on the same pocketbook. At length the stranger rose to depart. I also hurried up and slipped after him, and was quietly and slyly followed by Levasseur. After proceeding about a dozen paces I looked furtively about, but not behind; robbed Mr. Trelawney of his pocketbook, which he had placed in one of the tails of his coat; crossed over the street, and walked hurriedly away, still, I could hear, followed by Levasseur. I entered another public house, strode into an empty back room, and was just in the act of examining my prize, when in stepped Levasseur. He looked triumphant as Lucifer, as he clapped me on the shoulder, and said in a low exulting voice, “I say that pretty trick, Williams, and can, if I like, transport you!”

My consternation was naturally extreme, and Levasseur laughed immensely at the terror he excited. “Soyez tranquille,” he said at last, at the same time ringing the bell; “I shall not hurt you.” He ordered some wine, and after the waiter had filled the order and left the room, said, “Those notes of Mr. Trelawney’s will of course be stopped in the morning, but I think I once heard you say you knew of a market for such articles?”

I hesitated coyly, unwilling to further commit myself. “Come, come,” resumed Levasseur, in a still, low, but menacing tone, “no nonsense. I have you now; you are, in fact, entirely in my power; but be candid, and you are safe. Who is your friend?”

“He is not in town, now,” I stammered.

“Stuff—humbug! I have myself some notes to 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 and bills that they could be consumed or otherwise destroyed on the slightest alarm, and that the open arrest of Levasseur, and a search of Oak Cottage, would in all likelihood, prove fruitless. “There will be only two of them,” I said in reply to a remark of the superintendent as to the somewhat dangerous game I was risking with powerful and desperate men, “even should Le Breton be there; and surely Jackson and I, aided by the surprise and our pistols, will be too many for them.” Little more was said, the superintendent wished us luck, and I sought out and instructed Jackson.

I will confess that, on setting out the next day to keep my appointment, I felt considerable anxiety. Levasseur might have discovered my vocation, and set his trap for my destruction. Yet that was hardly possible. At all events, whatever the danger, it was necessary to face it; and having cleaned and loaded my pistols with unusual care, and bade my wife a more than usually earnest farewell, which, by the way, rather startled her, I set off, determined, as we used to say in Yorkshire, “to win the horse or lose the saddle.”

I arrived at Oak Cottage, and found my host in the highest possible spirits. Dinner was ready, he said, but it would be necessary to wait a few minutes for the two friends he expected.

Two friends!” I exclaimed, really startled. “You told me last evening there was to be only one, a Monsieur le Breton.”

“True,” rejoined Levasseur, carelessly; “but I had forgotten that another party as much interested as ourselves would like to be present, and invite himself, if I did not. But there will be enough for us all, never fear,” he added, with a coarse laugh, “especially as Madame Levasseur does not dine with us.”

At this moment a loud knock was heard. “Here they are,” exclaimed Levasseur, and hastened out to meet them. I peeped through the blind, and to my great alarm saw that Le Breton was accompanied by the clerk Dubarle! My first impulse was to seize my pistols and rush out of the house; but calmer thoughts soon succeeded, and the improbability that a plan had been laid to entrap me recurred forcibly. Still, should the clerk recognize me? The situation was undoubtedly a critical one; but I was in for it, and must brave the matter out in the best way I could.

Presently a conversation, carried on in a loud, menacing tone in the next room, between Levasseur and the newcomers, arrested my attention, and I softly approached the door to listen. Le Breton, I soon found, was but half a villain, and was extremely anxious that the property should not be disposed of till at least another effort had been made at negotiation. The others, now that a market for the notes and securities had been obtained, were determined to avail themselves of it, and immediately leave the country. The almost agonized entreaties of Le Breton that they would not utterly ruin the house he had betrayed, were treated with scornful contempt, and he was at length silenced by their brutal menaces. Le Breton, I further learned, was a cousin of Madam Levasseur, whose husband had first pillaged him at play, and then suggested the crime which had been committed, as the sole means of concealing the defalcations of which he, Levasseur, had been the occasion and promoter.

After a brief delay, all three entered the dining room, and a slight but significant start which the clerk Dubarle gave, as Levasseur, with mock ceremony, introduced me, made my heart, as folks say, leap into my mouth. His half-formed suspicions seemed, however, to be dissipated for the moment by the humorous account Levasseur gave him of the robbery of Mr. Trelawney, and we sat down to a handsome dinner.

A more uncomfortable one, albeit, I never assisted at. The furtive looks of Dubarle, who had been only partially reassured, grew more and more inquisitive and earnest. Fortunately Levasseur was in rollicking spirits and humor, and did not heed the unquiet glances of the young man; and as for Breton, he took little notice of anybody. At last this terrible dinner was over, and the wine was pushed briskly round. I drank much more freely than usual, partly with a view to calm my nerves, and partly to avoid remark. It was nearly the time for the Jew’s appearance when Dubarle after a scrutinizing and somewhat imperious look at my face, said abruptly, “I think, Monsieur Williams, I have seen you somewhere before!”

“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?’

“Yes.”

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.

“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 M. Bellebon with the fortunate issue of our enterprise. His exultation, it will be readily believed, was unbounded; and I left him busy with letters to the firm, and doubtless one to “cette chere et amiable Louise,” announcing the joyful news.

 The prisoners, after a brief trial, which many readers of this narrative may perhaps remember, were convicted of felonious conspiracy, and were all sentenced to ten years’ transportation. Le Breton’s sentence, the judge told him would have been for life, but for the contrition he had exhibited shortly before his apprehension.

As Levasseur passed me on leaving the dock, he exclaimed in French, and in a desperately savage tone, “I will pay you for this when I return, and that infernal Trelawney too.” I am too much accustomed to threats of this kind to be in anyway moved by them, and I therefore contended myself by smiling, and a civil “Au revoir—allons!”

 

Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, November 1850

This story was originally printed in Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal “Recollections of a Police-Officer: Legal Metamorphoses” on September 28, 1850 and was reprinted under this title 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).