In chapter 10 of The Just Men of Cordova (1917) by Edgar Wallace, the author was describing a thief, Wellie, who returned to stealing after his master, Black, had stopped sending him money, that he was sending to keep him silent.

Willie, furious and hurt at the base ingratitude and duplicity of his patron, carried the letter and a story to a solicitor, and the solicitor said one word—“Blackmail!” Here, then, was a disgruntled Willie Jakobs forced to work: to depend upon chance bookings and precarious liftings. Fortunately his right hand had not lost its cunning, nor, for the matter of that, had his left. He “clicked” to good stuff, fenced it with the new man in Eveswell Road (he was lagged eventually because he was only an amateur and gave too much for the stuff), and did well—so well, indeed, that he was inclined to take a mild view of Black’s offences.

I didn't meet any other mention in the story about this "new man" nor this road, so does that have a certain meaning, or refer to a particular one?

1 Answer 1


In this context, "the new man" is a new "fence" that Jakobs had not dealt with before. Fence is a noun with several meanings, including the following:

Someone who hides or buys and sells stolen goods, a criminal middleman for transactions of stolen goods.

Since "fence" can also be a verb ("engage in the selling or buying of stolen good") and Wallace already used that verb in the same sentence, he probably did not want to repeat "fence" as a noun.

  • And I think that "he" in "he was lagged eventually..." refers to this new fence, doesn't it? Oct 28, 2020 at 19:14
  • 1
    Yes, that "he" also refers to the fence.
    – Tsundoku
    Oct 28, 2020 at 19:54

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