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by [?]

[These two farcical stories about Tictocq appeared in
The Rolling Stone. They are reprinted here with all of
their local references because, written hurriedly and for
neighborly reading, they nevertheless have an interest for
the admirer of O. Henry. They were written in 1894.]


A Successful Political Intrigue


It is not generally known that Tictocq, the famous French detective, was in Austin last week. He registered at the Avenue Hotel under an assumed name, and his quiet and reserved manners singled him out at once for one not to be singled out.

No one knows why he came to Austin, but to one or two he vouchsafed the information that his mission was an important one from the French Government.

One report is that the French Minister of State has discovered an old statute among the laws of the empire, resulting from a treaty between the Emperor Charlemagne and Governor Roberts which expressly provides for the north gate of the Capital grounds being kept open, but this is merely a conjecture.

Last Wednesday afternoon a well-dressed gentleman knocked at the door of Tictocq’s room in the hotel. The detective opened the door.

“Monsieur Tictocq, I believe,” said the gentleman.

“You will see on the register that I sign my name Q. X. Jones,” said Tictocq, “and gentlemen would understand that I wish to be known as such. If you do not like being referred to as no gentleman, I will give you satisfaction any time after July 1st, and fight Steve O’Donnell, John McDonald, and Ignatius Donnelly in the meantime if you desire.”

“I do not mind it in the least,” said the gentleman. “In fact, I am accustomed to it. I am Chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee, Platform No. 2, and I have a friend in trouble. I knew you were Tictocq from your resemblance to yourself.”

“Entrez vous,” said the detective.

The gentleman entered and was handed a chair.

“I am a man of few words,” said Tictoq. “I will help your friend if possible. Our countries are great friends. We have given you Lafayette and French fried potatoes. You have given us California champagne and–taken back Ward McAllister. State your case.”

“I will be very brief,” said the visitor. “In room No. 76 in this hotel is stopping a prominent Populist Candidate. He is alone. Last night some one stole his socks. They cannot be found. If they are not recovered, his party will attribute their loss to the Democracy. They will make great capital of the burglary, although I am sure it was not a political move at all. The socks must be recovered. You are the only man that can do it.”

Tictocq bowed.

“Am I to have carte blanche to question every person connected with the hotel?”

“The proprietor has already been spoken to. Everything and everybody is at your service.”

Tictocq consulted his watch. “Come to this room to-morrow afternoon at 6 o’clock with the landlord, the Populist Candidate, and any other witnesses elected from both parties, and I will return the socks.”

“Bien, Monsieur; schlafen sie wohl.”

“Au revoir.”

The Chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee, Platform No.2, bowed courteously and withdrew.

* * * *

Tictocq sent for the bell boy. “Did you go to room 76 last night?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Who was there?”

“An old hayseed what come on the 7:25.”

“What did he want?”

“The bouncer.”

“What for?”

“To put the light out.”

“Did you take anything while in the room?”

“No, he didn’t ask me.”

“What is your name?”


“You can go.”


The drawing-rooms of one of the most magnificent private residences in Austin are a blaze of lights. Carriages line the streets in front, and from gate to doorway is spread a velvet carpet, on which the delicate feet of the guests may tread.

The occasion is the entree into society of one of the fairest buds in the City of the Violet Crown. The rooms are filled with the culture, the beauty, the youth and fashion of society. Austin society is acknowledged to be the wittiest, the most select, and the highest bred to be found southwest of Kansas City.