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A Smart Young Man

An After-Dinner Colloquy—And Its Result

by George McWatters


From one of the public journals we clipped the accompanying spicy article; we have lost our notes, and have forgotten from which, or we should duly credit it to the proper source. We discover that we have “pencilled” it “1862,” and presume that it first appeared in that year. Our readers will pardon its somewhat “swelling” style in sundry places, but it exemplifies Officer McWatters’ quick and acute perceptions, and his character as a detective, and we therefore give it place.

Young Man Of Large Appetite And Small Conscience. —The necessity of eating is a strong one; the demands of appetite are peculiarly and pertinaciously potent. There are many fleshy-looking young men in New York whose appetital demands are largely ahead of their pecuniary resources, the latter being of a limited nature, like their consciences. One leading hotel diners are appreciatively affected by these unconscionably-stomached and conscienceless individuals; and it requires all the devices of the proprietors, and ingenious watching of sharp-sighted detectives, to guard against their stealthful appropriation of dinners. In the multiplicity of guests daily arriving at first-class hotels, and multiplied disguises assumed by the unpaying diners, it is easy to conceive that the labor of watchfulness is no light one, and the guarantee of detectives by no means sure. There is no keener man in the Police Department to scent out a rogue than Officer McWatters. He can tell a rascal by a sort of instinct. A stranger to him is like a piece of coin in the hand of the skilful medallist, who tells the spurious from the genuine by the feeling—by a glance even.

Officer McWatters measures a man at… Read More