Monday, February 20, 2017

"In a General Sense, Literature and the Drama Are Saturated with Bandits, Brigands and Outlaws, Sometimes Comical, Sometimes Heroic, but You Will Excuse Me If I Maintain That You Stand on a Different Footing"

"Burglars Three."
By James Harvey Smith (1852?-1925?).
First appearance: McClure's Magazine, August 1893.
Short short story (9 pages, with 10 illos).
Online at Project Gutenberg (HERE) and UNZ (HERE).
The hat was optional.
"What is your annual income as a burglar?"
As a target for robbery, the isolated Braithwait residence miles out of town in the suburbs looks like a piece of cake to our felonious trio—callous and brutal Jim Baxter, who doesn't mind violence; affable Wilson Graham, who prefers the peaceful way whenever possible; 
and callow Harry Montgomery, a youthful amateur at the burglary game—until, that is, 
they encounter the homeowner and make the crucial mistake of underestimating him . . .
- There's practically nothing on the Interweb about James Harvey Smith, and we're guessing about his life-death dates; FictionMags gives him credit for three stories:
   "Old Shipmates," Romance, July 1893
   "Burglars Three," McClure’s, August 1893 (above)
   "In the Desert," Munsey’s Magazine, February 1899.
The penny dreadfuls just couldn't help themselves when it came to glamorizing burglars.

The bottom line: "Actors and burglars work better at night."
Cedric Hardwicke

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