Whether George Albany was a pseudonym or the name of a real person is unknown. In the Correspondents' Column of the New York Weekly, August 16, 1860, is the statement that "The writer known as 'George Albany' died some months ago. He never wrote for the New York Weekly." The quotation marks enclosing the name suggest that it is a pseudonym. Apparently contradicting the notice of his death is an announcement in the New York Mercury, XXIII, March 30, 1861, of the reappearance of George Albany, "an old contributor who writes exclusively for us." Following that announcement, only two stories appeared: "Strong Steve" in 1861, and "Thisbe" in 1865, as listed below. It is possible, of course, that these two manuscripts were in the publishers' hands and were printed after his death.
Among the serials in the New York Mercury were the following, which began in the numbers and at the dates indicated: "Rube, the Ranger; or, The Rebel Spy of the Winooski. A Tale of the Green Mountain Boys of '76" (Vol. XX, 1858). "Mark, the Trapper; or, The Scout upon the Trail" (XII, No. 1042, January 8, 1859). "The Swamp Fox; or, The Rebel Riflemen" (XXI, No. 1058, April 30, 1859). "Strong Steve" (XXIII, No. 1159, April 6, 1861). "Thisbe" (XXVII, No. 1388, August 26, 1865). Of these, only the latter was reprinted by Beadle.
It has been suggested that "George Albany" was one of Badger's pseudonyms because each wrote a story under a similar title. "Red Dan, the Ranger; or, The League of Three" by Badger appeared as Dime Novel No. 408, while "Red Dan; or, The Forest Mystery" by George Albany, appeared as Champion Novels No. 20. I have compared the stories and find them entirely different. The first is a story of the pirate Stede Bonnet, and the locales are the Carolinas and Florida and adjacent waters. The story by Albany is of a supposed murder in Chestnut Hollow, Kentucky. An arrest for the murder of a jeweler, who turns out to be still alive, shows the fallacy of circumstantial evidence.
It has also been suggested that "George Albany" was a pseudonym of Judge Daniel P. Thompson and of J. A. Nunes, because each of them wrote a story entitled, in part, "The Green Mountain Boys." A comparison of these tales shows that each differs entirely from the other and from Albany's "Rube the Ranger," consequently "George Albany" cannot be said to be a pseudonym of either of these men on this evidence alone.
†"Wm. H. Manning, in a letter dated June 2, 1918, and now in my possession, said: 'Repeated inquiries, when I lived in New York, failed to bring the slightest clew to George Albany. The name sounds nom-de-plumey.'"
American Tales. No. 89
Dime Library. No. 76
SPECIMEN OF GEORGE ALBANY'S STYLE
"The Queen's Musketeer; or, Thisbe, the Princess Palmist." Dime Library No. 76, Chapter I.
On a very pleasant morning in June, in the year 1520, a young man in a rusty suit of brown entered the city of Paris on foot, in the hope of fortune.
He had, only a few minutes before, disposed of his horse to a butcher in the suburbs, from whom, before taking the seventeen crowns received for the animal, he had exacted a promise that he would treat it kindly always, and to a peck of oats immediately; "for," said he, "the poor beast, which has been in my family for seventeen years, has brought me a long way, and has besides had nothing to eat since daybreak, and then only traveler's fare."
In physical appearance, the young man was prepossessing. He was slightly above the medium hight, of a slender but firm and symmetrical build, with fine Grecian features, large, clear, dark-brown eyes, a superb throat and neck, and a sumptuous proportion of dark-brown hair, which, in accordance with the custom of the day, hung in wavy luxuriance about his neck and shoulders.
He wore a slouched hat, with, for its only ornament, a heron's feather, fastened with a loop of tassel-cord; a close-fitting jerkin, reaching to his hips, and showing to the full the graceful proportions of his figure; a broad belt, with deep tabs; trunked pantaloons; russet shoes, with brown rosettes and high heels; and over his left shoulder a graceful short cloak, with a deep square collar.
At his side hung a long cross-handled sword, in a brass sheath, which had evidently seen service; while, suspended by a strap from his belt was a dirk of the same pattern, for closer quarters.
His mien was at once modest, masculine and dignified; but with a something in it, as well as in the rich bronze of his cheeks, that betrayed a more intimate acquaintance with the country than with the town.
Nature had been kinder to him than fortune; for his garments, as we have already insinuated, indicated that he was of a proud but worthy family, that sustained its position with difficulty, and therefore found it necessary to make the most of little.
The young man bent his steps toward the central part of the city, looking to the right and to the left for some intimation of lodgings to be let; but being unsuccessful in this respect, he at length turned toward the marketplace in the lower part of the town, and was leisurely proceeding, when he was startled by loud shouts, as of a pursuing mob.
The next instant he heard, from a short distance, a woman's scream, upon which he quickened his steps, and was the next moment around the corner and in the market-place, when a young female, in the picturesque costume of a gipsy palmist or fortune-teller, pursued by a yelling crowd, bounded up to him, like a frightened fawn, and throwing herself at his feet, cried with uplifted hands:
"Save me from these men—save me!"
"Rise," said the stranger, lifting her up. "No one shall harm you."
"Put her away, she is a sorceress!" roared the crowd, variously armed with clubs and staves, running up. "Put her away or take her fate!"
"Back, dastards!" shouted the young man, whipping out his sword. "Back, it is a woman, and touch her at your peril!"
"She is a sorceress. She has bewitched the King; put her away. Down with him; down with her—slay them both!" variously exclaimed the mob, furiously pressing forward.
"Take care," cried the stranger, with admirable coolness, to the nearest ruffians. "Mine is a Toledo blade—and you are pressing upon its point!" Then suddenly bringing the weapon around him with a sweep, he added, in a loud voice: "Stand back. I want air and room. Stand back, I say! Come, maiden," encircling her with his left arm "there is no danger."
"Upon my life, I do believe the fellow thinks there is not!" observed, in a low tone, one of two young ladies, looking down from the window of a linen-draper's, at the scene, which they were watching with interest.
Her companion, evidently a visitor, for she still wore her hat, and who carefully vailed her face from public view, made no reply, but kept her eyes steadily upon the stranger, not a movement or word of whom escaped her.
"Put her away; she is a sorceress; an enemy of her kind. She has bewitched the King. Down with her, with him—down with them!" yelled the crowd, flourishing their clubs and staves.
"Back, I say—back!" shouted the young man, in a voice of thunder. "I am of Normandy, where it is an axiom, that he who strikes or will not defend a woman in danger is a coward, which no Norman ever yet was. Back, I say—back!"
"Right doctrine! I'm with you in that!" cried one of the mob, springing forward—a tall, double-jointed fellow, armed with a long heavy club, which he flourished as if it were but a whip. "I was a little hasty in joining the crowd, but I'm always open to right doctrine!"
"At them!" roared the throng. "Down with them—down!"
"Cowards, stand back!" threateningly exclaimed the Norman to the mob, who were pressing upon him on all sides. "Stand back, or, as I live, my Toledo shall drink your recreant blood."
A stave from some base hand at this moment grazed the top of his head, and carried off his hat. In an instant, such were the nearness and force of the projectile, that a line of blood darted down his forehead.
A shudder ran through the lady-visitor at the window, whose features became shrouded with a mortal paleness at the sight.
"Oh, brave sir, you are wounded, and for me," cried the poor palmist, with an expression of anguish.
"'Tis nothing—Mademoiselle—heed it not," returned the Norman. "A coward's hand hurled that staff!" he said, in a loud voice, at the same time lifting the gipsy with one arm, and with the other striving to cut a passage through the throng.
He used his long sword with vigor, and, in an incredibly short time, a dozen of the nearest ruffians staggered, bleeding, against those behind them, when the latter giving way, to avoid the like fate, many of them fell to the earth bleeding, like bulls under the knife of the butcher.
The conflict now became furious. The miscreants, finding that the staves oftener hit their own number than the Norman or his equally valiant double-jointed aid, ceased throwing them, as dangerous, and flourished only their clubs, with which, however, they made but poor work compared with the long sword of the Norman, which made its mark at every step, or with the long thick weapon of the friendly aid, who, guarding the rear of the gallant Norman and encouraging him with inspiring cries, laid about himself with a hearty goodwill that, while it cracked many crowns, made others ache for many a long day.
It was a stern fight; but the Norman, who seemed to have the vigor, the endurance, and the heart of a lion, succeeded, at length, in cutting his way to the head of the market place, where, as was customary, stood a number of soldiers as a body-guard to the market-clerk, who here collected the daily tax of the butchers and hucksters and fish-women, as they passed to the market.
As the Norman and his aid came up, these quietly raised their guns to cover them from the mob, who, at this turn of affairs . . . finally concluded they had had enough.
† Correction made as per Volume 3.