Page:The thirty-six dramatic situations (1921).djvu/24

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C—Professional Pursuit of Criminals (the counterpart of which will be found in the Fifth Situation, Class A):—"Sherlock Holmes" (Conan Doyle); "Vidocq" (Bergerat, 1910); "Nick Carter" (Busson and Livet, 1910).

Frequently used though this situation has been in our day, many an ancient case awaits its rejuvenescence, many a gap is yet to be filled. Indeed, among the bonds which may unite avenger and victim, more than one degree of relationship has been omitted, as well as the majority of social and business ties. The list of wrongs which might provoke reprisal is far from being exhausted, as we may assure ourselves by enumerating the kinds of offenses possible against persons or property, the varying shades of opinion of opposing parties, the different ways in which an insult may take effect, and how many and what sort of relationships may exist between Avenger and Criminal. And these questions concern merely the premises of the action.

To this we may add all the turns and bearings, slow or instantaneous, direct or tortuous, frantic or sure, which punishment can take, the thousand resources which it offers, the points at which it may aim in its deadly course, the obstacles which chance or the defendant may present. Next introduce various secondary figures, each pursuing his own aims, as in life, intercrossing each other and crossing the drama—and I have sufficient esteem for the reader's capabilities to develop the subject no further.