The Works of Edgar Allan Poe

Part 4 out of 5

too, is identical in character with that of the beast of Cuvier. But
I cannot possibly comprehend the particulars of this frightful
mystery. Besides, there were _two_ voices heard in contention, and
one of them was unquestionably the voice of a Frenchman."

"True; and you will remember an expression attributed almost
unanimously, by the evidence, to this voice, - the expression, '_mon
Dieu!_' This, under the circumstances, has been justly characterized
by one of the witnesses (Montani, the confectioner,) as an expression
of remonstrance or expostulation. Upon these two words, therefore, I
have mainly built my hopes of a full solution of the riddle. A
Frenchman was cognizant of the murder. It is possible - indeed it is
far more than probable - that he was innocent of all participation in
the bloody transactions which took place. The Ourang-Outang may have
escaped from him. He may have traced it to the chamber; but, under
the agitating circumstances which ensued, he could never have
re-captured it. It is still at large. I will not pursue these guesses
- for I have no right to call them more - since the shades of
reflection upon which they are based are scarcely of sufficient depth
to be appreciable by my own intellect, and since I could not pretend
to make them intelligible to the understanding of another. We will
call them guesses then, and speak of them as such. If the Frenchman
in question is indeed, as I suppose, innocent of this atrocity, this
advertisement which I left last night, upon our return home, at the
office of 'Le Monde,' (a paper devoted to the shipping interest, and
much sought by sailors,) will bring him to our residence."

He handed me a paper, and I read thus:

CAUGHT - _In the Bois de Boulogne, early in the morning of the -
inst.,_ (the morning of the murder,) _a very large, tawny
Ourang-Outang of the Bornese species. The owner, (who is ascertained
to be a sailor, belonging to a Maltese vessel,) may have the animal
again, upon identifying it satisfactorily, and paying a few charges
arising from its capture and keeping. Call at No. ---- , Rue ----,
Faubourg St. Germain - au troisiême._

"How was it possible," I asked, "that you should know the man to be a
sailor, and belonging to a Maltese vessel?"

"I do _not_ know it," said Dupin. "I am not _sure_ of it. Here,
however, is a small piece of ribbon, which from its form, and from
its greasy appearance, has evidently been used in tying the hair in
one of those long _queues_ of which sailors are so fond. Moreover,
this knot is one which few besides sailors can tie, and is peculiar
to the Maltese. I picked the ribbon up at the foot of the
lightning-rod. It could not have belonged to either of the deceased.
Now if, after all, I am wrong in my induction from this ribbon, that
the Frenchman was a sailor belonging to a Maltese vessel, still I can
have done no harm in saying what I did in the advertisement. If I am
in error, he will merely suppose that I have been misled by some
circumstance into which he will not take the trouble to inquire. But
if I am right, a great point is gained. Cognizant although innocent
of the murder, the Frenchman will naturally hesitate about replying
to the advertisement - about demanding the Ourang-Outang. He will
reason thus: - 'I am innocent; I am poor; my Ourang-Outang is of
great value - to one in my circumstances a fortune of itself - why
should I lose it through idle apprehensions of danger? Here it is,
within my grasp. It was found in the Bois de Boulogne - at a vast
distance from the scene of that butchery. How can it ever be
suspected that a brute beast should have done the deed? The police
are at fault - they have failed to procure the slightest clew. Should
they even trace the animal, it would be impossible to prove me
cognizant of the murder, or to implicate me in guilt on account of
that cognizance. Above all, _I am known._ The advertiser designates
me as the possessor of the beast. I am not sure to what limit his
knowledge may extend. Should I avoid claiming a property of so great
value, which it is known that I possess, I will render the animal at
least, liable to suspicion. It is not my policy to attract attention
either to myself or to the beast. I will answer the advertisement,
get the Ourang-Outang, and keep it close until this matter has blown
over.' "

At this moment we heard a step upon the stairs.

"Be ready," said Dupin, "with your pistols, but neither use them nor
show them until at a signal from myself."

The front door of the house had been left open, and the visiter had
entered, without ringing, and advanced several steps upon the
staircase. Now, however, he seemed to hesitate. Presently we heard
him descending. Dupin was moving quickly to the door, when we again
heard him coming up. He did not turn back a second time, but stepped
up with decision, and rapped at the door of our chamber.

"Come in," said Dupin, in a cheerful and hearty tone.

A man entered. He was a sailor, evidently, - a tall, stout, and
muscular-looking person, with a certain dare-devil expression of
countenance, not altogether unprepossessing. His face, greatly
sunburnt, was more than half hidden by whisker and _mustachio._ He
had with him a huge oaken cudgel, but appeared to be otherwise
unarmed. He bowed awkwardly, and bade us "good evening," in French
accents, which, although somewhat Neufchatelish, were still
sufficiently indicative of a Parisian origin.

"Sit down, my freind," said Dupin. "I suppose you have called about
the Ourang-Outang. Upon my word, I almost envy you the possession of
him; a remarkably fine, and no doubt a very valuable animal. How old
do you suppose him to be?"

The sailor drew a long breath, with the air of a man relieved of some
intolerable burden, and then replied, in an assured tone:

"I have no way of telling - but he can't be more than four or five
years old. Have you got him here?"

"Oh no, we had no conveniences for keeping him here. He is at a
livery stable in the Rue Dubourg, just by. You can get him in the
morning. Of course you are prepared to identify the property?"

"To be sure I am, sir."

"I shall be sorry to part with him," said Dupin.

"I don't mean that you should be at all this trouble for nothing,
sir," said the man. "Couldn't expect it. Am very willing to pay a
reward for the finding of the animal - that is to say, any thing in

"Well," replied my friend, "that is all very fair, to be sure. Let me
think! - what should I have? Oh! I will tell you. My reward shall be
this. You shall give me all the information in your power about these
murders in the Rue Morgue."

Dupin said the last words in a very low tone, and very quietly. Just
as quietly, too, he walked toward the door, locked it and put the key
in his pocket. He then drew a pistol from his bosom and placed it,
without the least flurry, upon the table.

The sailor's face flushed up as if he were struggling with
suffocation. He started to his feet and grasped his cudgel, but the
next moment he fell back into his seat, trembling violently, and with
the countenance of death itself. He spoke not a word. I pitied him
from the bottom of my heart.

"My friend," said Dupin, in a kind tone, "you are alarming yourself
unnecessarily - you are indeed. We mean you no harm whatever. I
pledge you the honor of a gentleman, and of a Frenchman, that we
intend you no injury. I perfectly well know that you are innocent of
the atrocities in the Rue Morgue. It will not do, however, to deny
that you are in some measure implicated in them. From what I have
already said, you must know that I have had means of information
about this matter - means of which you could never have dreamed. Now
the thing stands thus. You have done nothing which you could have
avoided - nothing, certainly, which renders you culpable. You were
not even guilty of robbery, when you might have robbed with impunity.
You have nothing to conceal. You have no reason for concealment. On
the other hand, you are bound by every principle of honor to confess
all you know. An innocent man is now imprisoned, charged with that
crime of which you can point out the perpetrator."

The sailor had recovered his presence of mind, in a great measure,
while Dupin uttered these words; but his original boldness of bearing
was all gone.

"So help me God," said he, after a brief pause, "I will tell you all
I know about this affair; - but I do not expect you to believe one
half I say - I would be a fool indeed if I did. Still, I am innocent,
and I will make a clean breast if I die for it."

What he stated was, in substance, this. He had lately made a voyage
to the Indian Archipelago. A party, of which he formed one, landed at
Borneo, and passed into the interior on an excursion of pleasure.
Himself and a companion had captured the Ourang- Outang. This
companion dying, the animal fell into his own exclusive possession.
After great trouble, occasioned by the intractable ferocity of his
captive during the home voyage, he at length succeeded in lodging it
safely at his own residence in Paris, where, not to attract toward
himself the unpleasant curiosity of his neighbors, he kept it
carefully secluded, until such time as it should recover from a wound
in the foot, received from a splinter on board ship. His ultimate
design was to sell it.

Returning home from some sailors' frolic the night, or rather in the
morning of the murder, he found the beast occupying his own bed-room,
into which it had broken from a closet adjoining, where it had been,
as was thought, securely confined. Razor in hand, and fully lathered,
it was sitting before a looking-glass, attempting the operation of
shaving, in which it had no doubt previously watched its master
through the key-hole of the closet. Terrified at the sight of so
dangerous a weapon in the possession of an animal so ferocious, and
so well able to use it, the man, for some moments, was at a loss what
to do. He had been accustomed, however, to quiet the creature, even
in its fiercest moods, by the use of a whip, and to this he now
resorted. Upon sight of it, the Ourang-Outang sprang at once through
the door of the chamber, down the stairs, and thence, through a
window, unfortunately open, into the street.

The Frenchman followed in despair; the ape, razor still in hand,
occasionally stopping to look back and gesticulate at its pursuer,
until the latter had nearly come up with it. It then again made off.
In this manner the chase continued for a long time. The streets were
profoundly quiet, as it was nearly three o'clock in the morning. In
passing down an alley in the rear of the Rue Morgue, the fugitive's
attention was arrested by a light gleaming from the open window of
Madame L'Espanaye's chamber, in the fourth story of her house.
Rushing to the building, it perceived the lightning rod, clambered up
with inconceivable agility, grasped the shutter, which was thrown
fully back against the wall, and, by its means, swung itself directly
upon the headboard of the bed. The whole feat did not occupy a
minute. The shutter was kicked open again by the Ourang-Outang as it
entered the room.

The sailor, in the meantime, was both rejoiced and perplexed. He had
strong hopes of now recapturing the brute, as it could scarcely
escape from the trap into which it had ventured, except by the rod,
where it might be intercepted as it came down. On the other hand,
there was much cause for anxiety as to what it might do in the house.
This latter reflection urged the man still to follow the fugitive. A
lightning rod is ascended without difficulty, especially by a sailor;
but, when he had arrived as high as the window, which lay far to his
left, his career was stopped; the most that he could accomplish was
to reach over so as to obtain a glimpse of the interior of the room.
At this glimpse he nearly fell from his hold through excess of
horror. Now it was that those hideous shrieks arose upon the night,
which had startled from slumber the inmates of the Rue Morgue. Madame
L'Espanaye and her daughter, habited in their night clothes, had
apparently been occupied in arranging some papers in the iron chest
already mentioned, which had been wheeled into the middle of the
room. It was open, and its contents lay beside it on the floor. The
victims must have been sitting with their backs toward the window;
and, from the time elapsing between the ingress of the beast and the
screams, it seems probable that it was not immediately perceived. The
flapping-to of the shutter would naturally have been attributed to
the wind.

As the sailor looked in, the gigantic animal had seized Madame
L'Espanaye by the hair, (which was loose, as she had been combing
it,) and was flourishing the razor about her face, in imitation of
the motions of a barber. The daughter lay prostrate and motionless;
she had swooned. The screams and struggles of the old lady (during
which the hair was torn from her head) had the effect of changing the
probably pacific purposes of the Ourang-Outang into those of wrath.
With one determined sweep of its muscular arm it nearly severed her
head from her body. The sight of blood inflamed its anger into
phrenzy. Gnashing its teeth, and flashing fire from its eyes, it flew
upon the body of the girl, and imbedded its fearful talons in her
throat, retaining its grasp until she expired. Its wandering and wild
glances fell at this moment upon the head of the bed, over which the
face of its master, rigid with horror, was just discernible. The fury
of the beast, who no doubt bore still in mind the dreaded whip, was
instantly converted into fear. Conscious of having deserved
punishment, it seemed desirous of concealing its bloody deeds, and
skipped about the chamber in an agony of nervous agitation; throwing
down and breaking the furniture as it moved, and dragging the bed
from the bedstead. In conclusion, it seized first the corpse of the
daughter, and thrust it up the chimney, as it was found; then that of
the old lady, which it immediately hurled through the window

As the ape approached the casement with its mutilated burden, the
sailor shrank aghast to the rod, and, rather gliding than clambering
down it, hurried at once home - dreading the consequences of the
butchery, and gladly abandoning, in his terror, all solicitude about
the fate of the Ourang-Outang. The words heard by the party upon the
staircase were the Frenchman's exclamations of horror and affright,
commingled with the fiendish jabberings of the brute.

I have scarcely anything to add. The Ourang-Outang must have escaped
from the chamber, by the rod, just before the break of the door. It
must have closed the window as it passed through it. It was
subsequently caught by the owner himself, who obtained for it a very
large sum at the _Jardin des Plantes._ Le Don was instantly released,
upon our narration of the circumstances (with some comments from
Dupin) at the bureau of the Prefect of Police. This functionary,
however well disposed to my friend, could not altogether conceal his
chagrin at the turn which affairs had taken, and was fain to indulge
in a sarcasm or two, about the propriety of every person minding his
own business.

"Let him talk," said Dupin,, who had not thought it necessary to
reply. "Let him discourse; it will ease his conscience, I am
satisfied with having defeated him in his own castle. Nevertheless,
that he failed in the solution of this mystery, is by no means that
matter for wonder which he supposes it; for, in truth, our friend the
Prefect is somewhat too cunning to be profound. In his wisdom is no
_stamen._ It is all head and no body, like the pictures of the
Goddess Laverna, -- or, at best, all head and shoulders, like a
codfish. But he is a good creature after all. I like him especially
for one master stroke of cant, by which he has attained his
reputation for ingenuity. I mean the way he has '_de nier ce qui est,
et d'expliquer ce qui n'est pas._' " *

* Rousseau - Nouvelle Heloise.

~~~ End of Text ~~~




Es giebt eine Reihe idealischer Begebenheiten, die der Wirklichkeit
parallel lauft. Selten fallen sie zusammen. Menschen und zufalle
modifieiren gewohulich die idealische Begebenheit, so dass sie
unvollkommen erscheint, und ihre Folgen gleichfalls unvollkommen
sind. So bei der Reformation; statt des Protestantismus kam das
Lutherthum hervor.

There are ideal series of events which run parallel with the real
ones. They rarely coincide. Men and circumstances generally modify
the ideal train of events, so that it seems imperfect, and its
consequences are equally imperfect. Thus with the Reformation;
instead of Protestantism came Lutheranism.

- Novalis. {*2} Moral Ansichten.

THERE are few persons, even among the calmest thinkers, who have not
occasionally been startled into a vague yet thrilling half-credence
in the supernatural, by coincidences of so seemingly marvellous a
character that, as mere coincidences, the intellect has been unable
to receive them. Such sentiments - for the half-credences of which I
speak have never the full force of thought - such sentiments are
seldom thoroughly stifled unless by reference to the doctrine of
chance, or, as it is technically termed, the Calculus of
Probabilities. Now this Calculus is, in its essence, purely
mathematical; and thus we have the anomaly of the most rigidly exact
in science applied to the shadow and spirituality of the most
intangible in speculation.

The extraordinary details which I am now called upon to make public,
will be found to form, as regards sequence of time, the primary
branch of a series of scarcely intelligible coincidences, whose
secondary or concluding branch will be recognized by all readers in
the late murder of Mary Cecila Rogers, at New York.

When, in an article entitled "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," I
endeavored, about a year ago, to depict some very remarkable features
in the mental character of my friend, the Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin,
it did not occur to me that I should ever resume the subject. This
depicting of character constituted my design; and this design was
thoroughly fulfilled in the wild train of circumstances brought to
instance Dupin's idiosyncrasy. I might have adduced other examples,
but I should have proven no more. Late events, however, in their
surprising development, have startled me into some farther details,
which will carry with them the air of extorted confession. Hearing
what I have lately heard, it would be indeed strange should I remain
silent in regard to what I both heard and saw so long ago.

Upon the winding up of the tragedy involved in the deaths of Madame
L'Espanaye and her daughter, the Chevalier dismissed the affair at
once from his attention, and relapsed into his old habits of moody
reverie. Prone, at all times, to abstraction, I readily fell in with
his humor; and, continuing to occupy our chambers in the Faubourg
Saint Germain, we gave the Future to the winds, and slumbered
tranquilly in the Present, weaving the dull world around us into

But these dreams were not altogether uninterrupted. It may readily be
supposed that the part played by my friend, in the drama at the Rue
Morgue, had not failed of its impression upon the fancies of the
Parisian police. With its emissaries, the name of Dupin had grown
into a household word. The simple character of those inductions by
which he had disentangled the mystery never having been explained
even to the Prefect, or to any other individual than myself, of
course it is not surprising that the affair was regarded as little
less than miraculous, or that the Chevalier's analytical abilities
acquired for him the credit of intuition. His frankness would have
led him to disabuse every inquirer of such prejudice; but his
indolent humor forbade all farther agitation of a topic whose
interest to himself had long ceased. It thus happened that he found
himself the cynosure of the policial eyes; and the cases were not few
in which attempt was made to engage his services at the Prefecture.
One of the most remarkable instances was that of the murder of a
young girl named Marie Rogêt.

This event occurred about two years after the atrocity in the Rue
Morgue. Marie, whose Christian and family name will at once arrest
attention from their resemblance to those of the unfortunate "cigar-
girl," was the only daughter of the widow Estelle Rogêt. The father
had died during the child's infancy, and from the period of his
death, until within eighteen months before the assassination which
forms the subject of our narrative, the mother and daughter had dwelt
together in the Rue Pavée Saint Andrée; {*3} Madame there keeping a
pension, assisted by Marie. Affairs went on thus until the latter had
attained her twenty-second year, when her great beauty attracted the
notice of a perfumer, who occupied one of the shops in the basement
of the Palais Royal, and whose custom lay chiefly among the desperate
adventurers infesting that neighborhood. Monsieur Le Blanc {*4} was
not unaware of the advantages to be derived from the attendance of
the fair Marie in his perfumery; and his liberal proposals were
accepted eagerly by the girl, although with somewhat more of
hesitation by Madame.

The anticipations of the shopkeeper were realized, and his rooms soon
became notorious through the charms of the sprightly grisette. She
had been in his employ about a year, when her admirers were thrown
info confusion by her sudden disappearance from the shop. Monsieur Le
Blanc was unable to account for her absence, and Madame Rogêt was
distracted with anxiety and terror. The public papers immediately
took up the theme, and the police were upon the point of making
serious investigations, when, one fine morning, after the lapse of a
week, Marie, in good health, but with a somewhat saddened air, made
her re-appearance at her usual counter in the perfumery. All inquiry,
except that of a private character, was of course immediately hushed.
Monsieur Le Blanc professed total ignorance, as before. Marie, with
Madame, replied to all questions, that the last week had been spent
at the house of a relation in the country. Thus the affair died away,
and was generally forgotten; for the girl, ostensibly to relieve
herself from the impertinence of curiosity, soon bade a final adieu
to the perfumer, and sought the shelter of her mother's residence in
the Rue Pavée Saint Andrée.

It was about five months after this return home, that her friends
were alarmed by her sudden disappearance for the second time. Three
days elapsed, and nothing was heard of her. On the fourth her corpse
was found floating in the Seine, * near the shore which is opposite
the Quartier of the Rue Saint Andree, and at a point not very far
distant from the secluded neighborhood of the Barrière du Roule. {*6}

The atrocity of this murder, (for it was at once evident that murder
had been committed,) the youth and beauty of the victim, and, above
all, her previous notoriety, conspired to produce intense excitement
in the minds of the sensitive Parisians. I can call to mind no
similar occurrence producing so general and so intense an effect. For
several weeks, in the discussion of this one absorbing theme, even
the momentous political topics of the day were forgotten. The Prefect
made unusual exertions; and the powers of the whole Parisian police
were, of course, tasked to the utmost extent.

Upon the first discovery of the corpse, it was not supposed that the
murderer would be able to elude, for more than a very brief period,
the inquisition which was immediately set on foot. It was not until
the expiration of a week that it was deemed necessary to offer a
reward; and even then this reward was limited to a thousand francs.
In the mean time the investigation proceeded with vigor, if not
always with judgment, and numerous individuals were examined to no
purpose; while, owing to the continual absence of all clue to the
mystery, the popular excitement greatly increased. At the end of the
tenth day it was thought advisable to double the sum originally
proposed; and, at length, the second week having elapsed without
leading to any discoveries, and the prejudice which always exists in
Paris against the Police having given vent to itself in several
serious émeutes, the Prefect took it upon himself to offer the sum of
twenty thousand francs "for the conviction of the assassin," or, if
more than one should prove to have been implicated, "for the
conviction of any one of the assassins." In the proclamation setting
forth this reward, a full pardon was promised to any accomplice who
should come forward in evidence against his fellow; and to the whole
was appended, wherever it appeared, the private placard of a
committee of citizens, offering ten thousand francs, in addition to
the amount proposed by the Prefecture. The entire reward thus stood
at no less than thirty thousand francs, which will be regarded as an
extraordinary sum when we consider the humble condition of the girl,
and the great frequency, in large cities, of such atrocities as the
one described.

No one doubted now that the mystery of this murder would be
immediately brought to light. But although, in one or two instances,
arrests were made which promised elucidation, yet nothing was
elicited which could implicate the parties suspected; and they were
discharged forthwith. Strange as it may appear, the third week from
the discovery of the body had passed, and passed without any light
being thrown upon the subject, before even a rumor of the events
which had so agitated the public mind, reached the ears of Dupin and
myself. Engaged in researches which absorbed our whole attention, it
had been nearly a month since either of us had gone abroad, or
received a visiter, or more than glanced at the leading political
articles in one of the daily papers. The first intelligence of the
murder was brought us by G ----, in person. He called upon us early
in the afternoon of the thirteenth of July, 18--, and remained with
us until late in the night. He had been piqued by the failure of all
his endeavors to ferret out the assassins. His reputation - so he
said with a peculiarly Parisian air - was at stake. Even his honor
was concerned. The eyes of the public were upon him; and there was
really no sacrifice which he would not be willing to make for the
development of the mystery. He concluded a somewhat droll speech with
a compliment upon what he was pleased to term the tact of Dupin, and
made him a direct, and certainly a liberal proposition, the precise
nature of which I do not feel myself at liberty to disclose, but
which has no bearing upon the proper subject of my narrative.

The compliment my friend rebutted as best he could, but the
proposition he accepted at once, although its advantages were
altogether provisional. This point being settled, the Prefect broke
forth at once into explanations of his own views, interspersing them
with long comments upon the evidence; of which latter we were not yet
in possession. He discoursed much, and beyond doubt, learnedly; while
I hazarded an occasional suggestion as the night wore drowsily away.
Dupin, sitting steadily in his accustomed arm-chair, was the
embodiment of respectful attention. He wore spectacles, during the
whole interview; and an occasional signal glance beneath their green
glasses, sufficed to convince me that he slept not the less soundly,
because silently, throughout the seven or eight leaden-footed hours
which immediately preceded the departure of the Prefect.

In the morning, I procured, at the Prefecture, a full report of all
the evidence elicited, and, at the various newspaper offices, a copy
of every paper in which, from first to last, had been published any
decisive information in regard to this sad affair. Freed from all
that was positively disproved, this mass of information stood thus:

Marie Rogêt left the residence of her mother, in the Rue Pavée St.
Andrée, about nine o'clock in the morning of Sunday June the
twenty-second, 18--. In going out, she gave notice to a Monsieur
Jacques St. Eustache, {*7} and to him only, of her intent intention
to spend the day with an aunt who resided in the Rue des Drômes. The
Rue des Drômes is a short and narrow but populous thoroughfare, not
far from the banks of the river, and at a distance of some two miles,
in the most direct course possible, from the pension of Madame Rogêt.
St. Eustache was the accepted suitor of Marie, and lodged, as well as
took his meals, at the pension. He was to have gone for his betrothed
at dusk, and to have escorted her home. In the afternoon, however, it
came on to rain heavily; and, supposing that she would remain all
night at her aunt's, (as she had done under similar circumstances
before,) he did not think it necessary to keep his promise. As night
drew on, Madame Rogêt (who was an infirm old lady, seventy years of
age,) was heard to express a fear "that she should never see Marie
again;" but this observation attracted little attention at the time.

On Monday, it was ascertained that the girl had not been to the Rue
des Drômes; and when the day elapsed without tidings of her, a tardy
search was instituted at several points in the city, and its
environs. It was not, however until the fourth day from the period of
disappearance that any thing satisfactory was ascertained respecting
her. On this day, (Wednesday, the twenty-fifth of June,) a Monsieur
Beauvais, {*8} who, with a friend, had been making inquiries for
Marie near the Barrière du Roule, on the shore of the Seine which is
opposite the Rue Pavée St. Andrée, was informed that a corpse had
just been towed ashore by some fishermen, who had found it floating
in the river. Upon seeing the body, Beauvais, after some hesitation,
identified it as that of the perfumery-girl. His friend recognized it
more promptly.

The face was suffused with dark blood, some of which issued from the
mouth. No foam was seen, as in the case of the merely drowned. There
was no discoloration in the cellular tissue. About the throat were
bruises and impressions of fingers. The arms were bent over on the
chest and were rigid. The right hand was clenched; the left partially
open. On the left wrist were two circular excoriations, apparently
the effect of ropes, or of a rope in more than one volution. A part
of the right wrist, also, was much chafed, as well as the back
throughout its extent, but more especially at the shoulder-blades. In
bringing the body to the shore the fishermen had attached to it a
rope; but none of the excoriations had been effected by this. The
flesh of the neck was much swollen. There were no cuts apparent, or
bruises which appeared the effect of blows. A piece of lace was found
tied so tightly around the neck as to be hidden from sight; it was
completely buried in the flesh, and was fasted by a knot which lay
just under the left ear. This alone would have sufficed to produce
death. The medical testimony spoke confidently of the virtuous
character of the deceased. She had been subjected, it said, to brutal
violence. The corpse was in such condition when found, that there
could have been no difficulty in its recognition by friends.

The dress was much torn and otherwise disordered. In the outer
garment, a slip, about a foot wide, had been torn upward from the
bottom hem to the waist, but not torn off. It was wound three times
around the waist, and secured by a sort of hitch in the back. The
dress immediately beneath the frock was of fine muslin; and from this
a slip eighteen inches wide had been torn entirely out - torn very
evenly and with great care. It was found around her neck, fitting
loosely, and secured with a hard knot. Over this muslin slip and the
slip of lace, the strings of a bonnet were attached; the bonnet being
appended. The knot by which the strings of the bonnet were fastened,
was not a lady's, but a slip or sailor's knot.

After the recognition of the corpse, it was not, as usual, taken to
the Morgue, (this formality being superfluous,) but hastily interred
not far front the spot at which it was brought ashore. Through the
exertions of Beauvais, the matter was industriously hushed up, as far
as possible; and several days had elapsed before any public emotion
resulted. A weekly paper, {*9} however, at length took up the theme;
the corpse was disinterred, and a re-examination instituted; but
nothing was elicited beyond what has been already noted. The clothes,
however, were now submitted to the mother and friends of the
deceased, and fully identified as those worn by the girl upon leaving

Meantime, the excitement increased hourly. Several individuals were
arrested and discharged. St. Eustache fell especially under
suspicion; and he failed, at first, to give an intelligible account
of his whereabouts during the Sunday on which Marie left home.
Subsequently, however, he submitted to Monsieur G----, affidavits,
accounting satisfactorily for every hour of the day in question. As
time passed and no discovery ensued, a thousand contradictory rumors
were circulated, and journalists busied themselves in suggestions.
Among these, the one which attracted the most notice, was the idea
that Marie Rogêt still lived - that the corpse found in the Seine was
that of some other unfortunate. It will be proper that I submit to
the reader some passages which embody the suggestion alluded to.
These passages are literal translations from L'Etoile, {*10} a paper
conducted, in general, with much ability.

"Mademoiselle Rogêt left her mother's house on Sunday morning, June
the twenty-second, 18--, with the ostensible purpose of going to see
her aunt, or some other connexion, in the Rue des Drômes. From that
hour, nobody is proved to have seen her. There is no trace or tidings
of her at all. . . . There has no person, whatever, come forward, so
far, who saw her at all, on that day, after she left her mother's
door. . . . Now, though we have no evidence that Marie Rogêt was in
the land of the living after nine o'clock on Sunday, June the
twenty-second, we have proof that, up to that hour, she was alive. On
Wednesday noon, at twelve, a female body was discovered afloat on the
shore of the Barrière de Roule. This was, even if we presume that
Marie Rogêt was thrown into the river within three hours after she
left her mother's house, only three days from the time she left her
home - three days to an hour. But it is folly to suppose that the
murder, if murder was committed on her body, could have been
consummated soon enough to have enabled her murderers to throw the
body into the river before midnight. Those who are guilty of such
horrid crimes, choose darkness rather the; light . . . . Thus we see
that if the body found in the river was that of Marie Rogêt, it could
only have been in the water two and a half days, or three at the
outside. All experience has shown that drowned bodies, or bodies
thrown into the water immediately after death by violence, require
from six to ten days for decomposition to take place to bring them to
the top of the water. Even where a cannon is fired over a corpse, and
it rises before at least five or six days' immersion, it sinks again,
if let alone. Now, we ask, what was there in this cave to cause a
departure from the ordinary course of nature? . . . If the body had
been kept in its mangled state on shore until Tuesday night, some
trace would be found on shore of the murderers. It is a doubtful
point, also, whether the body would be so soon afloat, even were it
thrown in after having been dead two days. And, furthermore, it is
exceedingly improbable that any villains who had committed such a
murder as is here supposed, would have throw the body in without
weight to sink it, when such a precaution could have so easily been

The editor here proceeds to argue that the body must have been in the
water "not three days merely, but, at least, five times three days,"
because it was so far decomposed that Beauvais had great difficulty
in recognizing it. This latter point, however, was fully disproved. I
continue the translation:

"What, then, are the facts on which M. Beauvais says that he has no
doubt the body was that of Marie Rogêt? He ripped up the gown sleeve,
and says he found marks which satisfied him of the identity. The
public generally supposed those marks to have consisted of some
description of scars. He rubbed the arm and found hair upon it -
something as indefinite, we think, as can readily be imagined - as
little conclusive as finding an arm in the sleeve. M. Beauvais did
not return that night, but sent word to Madame Rogêt, at seven
o'clock, on Wednesday evening, that an investigation was still in
progress respecting her daughter. If we allow that Madame Rogêt, from
her age and grief, could not go over, (which is allowing a great
deal,) there certainly must have been some one who would have thought
it worth while to go over and attend the investigation, if they
thought the body was that of Marie. Nobody went over. There was
nothing said or heard about the matter in the Rue Pavée St. Andrée,
that reached even the occupants of the same building. M. St.
Eustache, the lover and intended husband of Marie, who boarded in her
mother's house, deposes that he did not hear of the discovery of the
body of his intended until the next morning, when M. Beauvais came
into his chamber and told him of it. For an item of news like this,
it strikes us it was very coolly received."

In this way the journal endeavored to create the impression of an
apathy on the part of the relatives of Marie, inconsistent with the
supposition that these relatives believed the corpse to be hers. Its
insinuations amount to this: - that Marie, with the connivance of her
friends, had absented herself from the city for reasons involving a
charge against her chastity; and that these friends, upon the
discovery of a corpse in the Seine, somewhat resembling that of the
girl, had availed themselves of the opportunity to impress press the
public with the belief of her death. But L'Etoile was again
over-hasty. It was distinctly proved that no apathy, such as was
imagined, existed; that the old lady was exceedingly feeble, and so
agitated as to be unable to attend to any duty, that St. Eustache, so
far from receiving the news coolly, was distracted with grief, and
bore himself so frantically, that M. Beauvais prevailed upon a friend
and relative to take charge of him, and prevent his attending the
examination at the disinterment. Moreover, although it was stated by
L'Etoile, that the corpse was re-interred at the public expense -
that an advantageous offer of private sculpture was absolutely
declined by the family - and that no member of the family attended
the ceremonial: - although, I say, all this was asserted by L'Etoile
in furtherance of the impression it designed to convey - yet all this
was satisfactorily disproved. In a subsequent number of the paper, an
attempt was made to throw suspicion upon Beauvais himself. The editor

"Now, then, a change comes over the matter. We are told that on one
occasion, while a Madame B---- was at Madame Rogêt's house, M.
Beauvais, who was going out, told her that a gendarme was expected
there, and she, Madame B., must not say anything to the gendarme
until he returned, but let the matter be for him. . . . In the
present posture of affairs, M. Beauvais appears to have the whole
matter looked up in his head. A single step cannot be taken without
M. Beauvais; for, go which way you will, you run against him. . . .
For some reason, he determined that nobody shall have any thing to do
with the proceedings but himself, and he has elbowed the male
relatives out of the way, according to their representations, in a
very singular manner. He seems to have been very much averse to
permitting the relatives to see the body."

By the following fact, some color was given to the suspicion thus
thrown upon Beauvais. A visiter at his office, a few days prior to
the girl's disappearance, and during the absence of its occupant, had
observed a rose in the key-hole of the door, and the name "Marie"
inscribed upon a slate which hung near at hand.

The general impression, so far as we were enabled to glean it from
the newspapers, seemed to be, that Marie had been the victim of a
gang of desperadoes - that by these she had been borne across the
river, maltreated and murdered. Le Commerciel, {*11} however, a print
of extensive influence, was earnest in combating this popular idea. I
quote a passage or two from its columns:

"We are persuaded that pursuit has hitherto been on a false scent, so
far as it has been directed to the Barrière du Roule. It is
impossible that a person so well known to thousands as this young
woman was, should have passed three blocks without some one having
seen her; and any one who saw her would have remembered it, for she
interested all who knew her. It was when the streets were full of
people, when she went out. . . . It is impossible that she could have
gone to the Barrière du Roule, or to the Rue des Drômes, without
being recognized by a dozen persons; yet no one has come forward who
saw her outside of her mother's door, and there is no evidence,
except the testimony concerning her expressed intentions, that she
did go out at all. Her gown was torn, bound round her, and tied; and
by that the body was carried as a bundle. If the murder had been
committed at the Barrière du Roule, there would have been no
necessity for any such arrangement. The fact that the body was found
floating near the Barrière, is no proof as to where it was thrown
into the water. . . . . A piece of one of the unfortunate girl's
petticoats, two feet long and one foot wide, was torn out and tied
under her chin around the back of her head, probably to prevent
screams. This was done by fellows who had no pocket-handkerchief."

A day or two before the Prefect called upon us, however, some
important information reached the police, which seemed to overthrow,
at least, the chief portion of Le Commerciel's argument. Two small
boys, sons of a Madame Deluc, while roaming among the woods near the
Barrière du Roule, chanced to penetrate a close thicket, within which
were three or four large stones, forming a kind of seat, with a back
and footstool. On the upper stone lay a white petticoat; on the
second a silk scarf. A parasol, gloves, and a pocket-handkerchief
were also here found. The handkerchief bore the name "Marie Rogêt."
Fragments of dress were discovered on the brambles around. The earth
was trampled, the bushes were broken, and there was every evidence of
a struggle. Between the thicket and the river, the fences were found
taken down, and the ground bore evidence of some heavy burthen having
been dragged along it.

A weekly paper, Le Soleil,{*12} had the following comments upon this
discovery -- comments which merely echoed the sentiment of the whole
Parisian press:

"The things had all evidently been there at least three or four
weeks; they were all mildewed down hard with the action of the rain
and stuck together from mildew. The grass had grown around and over
some of them. The silk on the parasol was strong, but the threads of
it were run together within. The upper part, where it had been
doubled and folded, was all mildewed and rotten, and tore on its
being opened. . . . . The pieces of her frock torn out by the bushes
were about three inches wide and six inches long. One part was the
hem of the frock, and it had been mended; the other piece was part of
the skirt, not the hem. They looked like strips torn off, and were on
the thorn bush, about a foot from the ground. . . . . There can be no
doubt, therefore, that the spot of this appalling outrage has been

Consequent upon this discovery, new evidence appeared. Madame Deluc
testified that she keeps a roadside inn not far from the bank of the
river, opposite the Barrière du Roule. The neighborhood is secluded
-- particularly so. It is the usual Sunday resort of blackguards from
the city, who cross the river in boats. About three o'clock, in the
afternoon of the Sunday in question, a young girl arrived at the inn,
accompanied by a young man of dark complexion. The two remained here
for some time. On their departure, they took the road to some thick
woods in the vicinity. Madame Deluc's attention was called to the
dress worn by the girl, on account of its resemblance to one worn by
a deceased relative. A scarf was particularly noticed. Soon after the
departure of the couple, a gang of miscreants made their appearance,
behaved boisterously, ate and drank without making payment, followed
in the route of the young man and girl, returned to the inn about
dusk, and re-crossed the river as if in great haste.

It was soon after dark, upon this same evening, that Madame Deluc, as
well as her eldest son, heard the screams of a female in the vicinity
of the inn. The screams were violent but brief. Madame D. recognized
not only the scarf which was found in the thicket, but the dress
which was discovered upon the corpse. An omnibus driver, Valence,
{*13} now also testified that he saw Marie Rogêt cross a ferry on the
Seine, on the Sunday in question, in company with a young man of dark
complexion. He, Valence, knew Marie, and could not be mistaken in her
identity. The articles found in the thicket were fully identified by
the relatives of Marie.

The items of evidence and information thus collected by myself, from
the newspapers, at the suggestion of Dupin, embraced only one more
point -- but this was a point of seemingly vast consequence. It
appears that, immediately after the discovery of the clothes as above
described, the lifeless, or nearly lifeless body of St. Eustache,
Marie's betrothed, was found in the vicinity of what all now supposed
the scene of the outrage. A phial labelled "laudanum," and emptied,
was found near him. His breath gave evidence of the poison. He died
without speaking. Upon his person was found a letter, briefly stating
his love for Marie, with his design of self- destruction.

"I need scarcely tell you," said Dupin, as he finished the perusal of
my notes, "that this is a far more intricate case than that of the
Rue Morgue; from which it differs in one important respect. This is
an ordinary, although an atrocious instance of crime. There is
nothing peculiarly outré about it. You will observe that, for this
reason, the mystery has been considered easy, when, for this reason,
it should have been considered difficult, of solution. Thus; at
first, it was thought unnecessary to offer a reward. The myrmidons of
G--- were able at once to comprehend how and why such an atrocity
might have been committed. They could picture to their imaginations a
mode - many modes - and a motive - many motives; and because it was
not impossible that either of these numerous modes and motives could
have been the actual one, they have taken it for granted that one of
them must. But the case with which these variable fancies were
entertained, and the very plausibility which each assumed, should
have been understood as indicative rather of the difficulties than of
the facilities which must attend elucidation. I have before observed
that it is by prominences above the plane of the ordinary, that
reason feels her way, if at all, in her search for the true, and that
the proper question in cases such as this, is not so much 'what has
occurred?' as 'what has occurred that has never occurred before?' In
the investigations at the house of Madame L'Espanaye, {*14} the
agents of G---- were discouraged and confounded by that very
unusualness which, to a properly regulated intellect, would have
afforded the surest omen of success; while this same intellect might
have been plunged in despair at the ordinary character of all that
met the eye in the case of the perfumery-girl, and yet told of
nothing but easy triumph to the functionaries of the Prefecture.

"In the case of Madame L'Espanaye and her daughter there was, even at
the beginning of our investigation, no doubt that murder had been
committed. The idea of suicide was excluded at once. Here, too, we
are freed, at the commencement, from all supposition of self- murder.
The body found at the Barrière du Roule, was found under such
circumstances as to leave us no room for embarrassment upon this
important point. But it has been suggested that the corpse
discovered, is not that of the Marie Rogêt for the conviction of
whose assassin, or assassins, the reward is offered, and respecting
whom, solely, our agreement has been arranged with the Prefect. We
both know this gentleman well. It will not do to trust him too far.
If, dating our inquiries from the body found, and thence tracing a
murderer, we yet discover this body to be that of some other
individual than Marie; or, if starting from the living Marie, we find
her, yet find her unassassinated -- in either case we lose our labor;
since it is Monsieur G---- with whom we have to deal. For our own
purpose, therefore, if not for the purpose of justice, it is
indispensable that our first step should be the determination of the
identity of the corpse with the Marie Rogêt who is missing.

"With the public the arguments of L'Etoile have had weight; and that
the journal itself is convinced of their importance would appear from
the manner in which it commences one of its essays upon the subject -
'Several of the morning papers of the day,' it says, 'speak of the
_conclusive_ article in Monday's Etoile.' To me, this article appears
conclusive of little beyond the zeal of its inditer. We should bear
in mind that, in general, it is the object of our newspapers rather
to create a sensation -- to make a point - than to further the cause
of truth. The latter end is only pursued when it seems coincident
with the former. The print which merely falls in with ordinary
opinion (however well founded this opinion may be) earns for itself
no credit with the mob. The mass of the people regard as profound
only him who suggests _pungent contradictions_ of the general idea.
In ratiocination, not less than in literature, it is the epigram
which is the most immediately and the most universally appreciated.
In both, it is of the lowest order of merit.

"What I mean to say is, that it is the mingled epigram and melodrame
of the idea, that Marie Rogêt still lives, rather than any true
plausibility in this idea, which have suggested it to L'Etoile, and
secured it a favorable reception with the public. Let us examine the
heads of this journal's argument; endeavoring to avoid the
incoherence with which it is originally set forth.

"The first aim of the writer is to show, from the brevity of the
interval between Marie's disappearance and the finding of the
floating corpse, that this corpse cannot be that of Marie. The
reduction of this interval to its smallest possible dimension,
becomes thus, at once, an object with the reasoner. In the rash
pursuit of this object, he rushes into mere assumption at the outset.
'It is folly to suppose,' he says, 'that the murder, if murder was
committed on her body, could have been consummated soon enough to
have enabled her murderers to throw the body into the river before
midnight.' We demand at once, and very naturally, why? Why is it
folly to suppose that the murder was committed _within five minutes_
after the girl's quitting her mother's house? Why is it folly to
suppose that the murder was committed at any given period of the day?
There have been assassinations at all hours. But, had the murder
taken place at any moment between nine o'clock in the morning of
Sunday, and a quarter before midnight, there would still have been
time enough ''to throw the body into the river before midnight.' This
assumption, then, amounts precisely to this - that the murder was not
committed on Sunday at all - and, if we allow L'Etoile to assume
this, we may permit it any liberties whatever. The paragraph
beginning 'It is folly to suppose that the murder, etc.,' however it
appears as printed in L'Etoile, may be imagined to have existed
actually thus in the brain of its inditer - 'It is folly to suppose
that the murder, if murder was committed on the body, could have been
committed soon enough to have enabled her murderers to throw the body
into the river before midnight; it is folly, we say, to suppose all
this, and to suppose at the same time, (as we are resolved to
suppose,) that the body was not thrown in until after midnight' -- a
sentence sufficiently inconsequential in itself, but not so utterly
preposterous as the one printed.

"Were it my purpose," continued Dupin, "merely to _make out a case_
against this passage of L'Etoile's argument, I might safely leave it
where it is. It is not, however, with L'Etoile that we have to do,
but with the truth. The sentence in question has but one meaning, as
it stands; and this meaning I have fairly stated: but it is material
that we go behind the mere words, for an idea which these words have
obviously intended, and failed to convey. It was the design of the
journalist to say that, at whatever period of the day or night of
Sunday this murder was committed, it was improbable that the
assassins would have ventured to bear the corpse to the river before
midnight. And herein lies, really, the assumption of which I
complain. It is assumed that the murder was committed at such a
position, and under such circumstances, that the bearing it to the
river became necessary. Now, the assassination might have taken place
upon the river's brink, or on the river itself; and, thus, the
throwing the corpse in the water might have been resorted to, at any
period of the day or night, as the most obvious and most immediate
mode of disposal. You will understand that I suggest nothing here as
probable, or as cöincident with my own opinion. My design, so far,
has no reference to the facts of the case. I wish merely to caution
you against the whole tone of L'Etoile's suggestion, by calling your
attention to its ex parte character at the outset.

"Having prescribed thus a limit to suit its own preconceived notions;
having assumed that, if this were the body of Marie, it could have
been in the water but a very brief time; the journal goes on to say:

'All experience has shown that drowned bodies, or bodies thrown into
the water immediately after death by violence, require from six to
ten days for sufficient decomposition to take place to bring them to
the top of the water. Even when a cannon is fired over a corpse, and
it rises before at least five or six days' immersion, it sinks again
if let alone.'

"These assertions have been tacitly received by every paper in Paris,
with the exception of Le Moniteur. {*15} This latter print endeavors
to combat that portion of the paragraph which has reference to
'drowned bodies' only, by citing some five or six instances in which
the bodies of individuals known to be drowned were found floating
after the lapse of less time than is insisted upon by L'Etoile. But
there is something excessively unphilosophical in the attempt on the
part of Le Moniteur, to rebut the general assertion of L'Etoile, by a
citation of particular instances militating against that assertion.
Had it been possible to adduce fifty instead of five examples of
bodies found floating at the end of two or three days, these fifty
examples could still have been properly regarded only as exceptions
to L'Etoile's rule, until such time as the rule itself should be
confuted. Admitting the rule, (and this Le Moniteur does not deny,
insisting merely upon its exceptions,) the argument of L'Etoile is
suffered to remain in full force; for this argument does not pretend
to involve more than a question of the probability of the body having
risen to the surface in less than three days; and this probability
will be in favor of L'Etoile's position until the instances so
childishly adduced shall be sufficient in number to establish an
antagonistical rule.

"You will see at once that all argument upon this head should be
urged, if at all, against the rule itself; and for this end we must
examine the rationale of the rule. Now the human body, in general, is
neither much lighter nor much heavier than the water of the Seine;
that is to say, the specific gravity of the human body, in its
natural condition, is about equal to the bulk of fresh water which it
displaces. The bodies of fat and fleshy persons, with small bones,
and of women generally, are lighter than those of the lean and
large-boned, and of men; and the specific gravity of the water of a
river is somewhat influenced by the presence of the tide from sea.
But, leaving this tide out of question, it may be said that very few
human bodies will sink at all, even in fresh water, of their own
accord. Almost any one, falling into a river, will be enabled to
float, if he suffer the specific gravity of the water fairly to be
adduced in comparison with his own - that is to say, if he suffer his
whole person to be immersed, with as little exception as possible.
The proper position for one who cannot swim, is the upright position
of the walker on land, with the head thrown fully back, and immersed;
the mouth and nostrils alone remaining above the surface. Thus
circumstanced, we shall find that we float without difficulty and
without exertion. It is evident, however, that the gravities of the
body, and of the bulk of water displaced, are very nicely balanced,
and that a trifle will cause either to preponderate. An arm, for
instance, uplifted from the water, and thus deprived of its support,
is an additional weight sufficient to immerse the whole head, while
the accidental aid of the smallest piece of timber will enable us to
elevate the head so as to look about. Now, in the struggles of one
unused to swimming, the arms are invariably thrown upwards, while an
attempt is made to keep the head in its usual perpendicular position.
The result is the immersion of the mouth and nostrils, and the
inception, during efforts to breathe while beneath the surface, of
water into the lungs. Much is also received into the stomach, and the
whole body becomes heavier by the difference between the weight of
the air originally distending these cavities, and that of the fluid
which now fills them. This difference is sufficient to cause the body
to sink, as a general rule; but is insufficient in the cases of
individuals with small bones and an abnormal quantity of flaccid or
fatty matter. Such individuals float even after drowning.

"The corpse, being. supposed at the bottom of the river, will there
remain until, by some means, its specific gravity again becomes less
than that of the bulk of water which it displaces. This effect is
brought about by decomposition, or otherwise. The result of
decomposition is the generation of gas, distending the cellular
tissues and all the cavities, and giving the puffedappearance which
is to horrible. When this distension has so far progressed that the
bulk of the corpse is materially increased with. out a corresponding
increase of mass or weight, its specific gravity becomes less than
that of the water displaced, and it forthwith makes its appearance at
the surface. But decomposition is modified by innumerable
circumstances - is hastened or retarded by innumerable agencies; for
example, by the heat or cold of the season, by the mineral
impregnation or purity of the water, by its depth or shallowness, by
its currency or stagnation, by the temperament of the body, by its
infection or freedom from disease before death. Thus it is evident
that we can assign no period, with any thing like accuracy, at which
the corpse shall rise through decomposition. Under certain conditions
this result would be brought about within an hour; under others, it
might not take place at all. There are chemical infusions by which
the animal frame can be preserved foreverfrom corruption; the
Bi-chloride of Mercury is one. But, apart from decomposition, there
may be, and very usually is, a generation of gas within the stomach,
from the acetous fermentation of vegetable matter (or within other
cavities from other causes) sufficient to induce a distension which
will bring the body to the surface. The effect produced by the firing
of a cannon is that of simple vibration. This may either loosen the
corpse from the soft mud or ooze in which it is imbedded, thus
permitting it to rise when other agencies have already prepared it
for so doing; or it may overcome the tenacity of some putrescent
portions of the cellular tissue; allowing the cavities to distend
under the influence of the gas.

"Having thus before us the whole philosophy of this subject, we can
easily test by it the assertions of L'Etoile. 'All experience shows,'
says this paper, 'that drowned bodies, or bodies thrown into the
water immediately after death by violence, require from six to ten
days for sufficient decomposition to take place to bring them to the
top of the water. Even when a cannon is fired over a corpse, and it
rises before at least five or six days' immersion, it sinks again if
let alone.'

"The whole of this paragraph must now appear a tissue of
inconsequence and incoherence. All experience does not show that
'drowned bodies' require from six to ten days for sufficient
decomposition to take place to bring them to the surface. Both
science and experience show that the period of their rising is, and
necessarily must be, indeterminate. If, moreover, a body has risen to
the surface through firing of cannon, it will not 'sink again if let
alone,' until decomposition has so far progressed as to permit the
escape of the generated gas. But I wish to call your attention to the
distinction which is made between 'drowned bodies,' and 'bodies
thrown into the water immediately after death by violence.' Although
the writer admits the distinction, he yet includes them all in the
same category. I have shown how it is that the body of a drowning man
becomes specifically heavier than its bulk of water, and that he
would not sink at all, except for the struggles by which he elevates
his arms above the surface, and his gasps for breath while beneath
the surface - gasps which supply by water the place of the original
air in the lungs. But these struggles and these gasps would not occur
in the body 'thrown into the water immediately after death by
violence.' Thus, in the latter instance, the body, as a general rule,
would not sink at all - a fact of which L'Etoile is evidently
ignorant. When decomposition had proceeded to a very great extent -
when the flesh had in a great measure left the bones - then, indeed,
but not till then, should we lose sight of the corpse.

"And now what are we to make of the argument, that the body found
could not be that of Marie Rogêt, because, three days only having
elapsed, this body was found floating? If drowned, being a woman, she
might never have sunk; or having sunk, might have reappeared in
twenty-four hours, or less. But no one supposes her to have been
drowned; and, dying before being thrown into the river, she might
have been found floating at any period afterwards whatever.

" 'But,' says L'Etoile, 'if the body had been kept in its mangled
state on shore until Tuesday night, some trace would be found on
shore of the murderers.' Here it is at first difficult to perceive
the intention of the reasoner. He means to anticipate what he
imagines would be an objection to his theory - viz: that the body was
kept on shore two days, suffering rapid decomposition - morerapid
than if immersed in water. He supposes that, had this been the case,
it might have appeared at the surface on the Wednesday, and thinks
that only under such circumstances it could so have appeared. He is
accordingly in haste to show that it was not kept on shore; for, if
so, 'some trace would be found on shore of the murderers.' I presume
you smile at the sequitur. You cannot be made to see how the mere
duration of the corpse on the shore could operate to multiply traces
of the assassins. Nor can I.

" 'And furthermore it is exceedingly improbable,' continues our
journal, 'that any villains who had committed such a murder as is
here supposed, would have thrown the body in without weight to sink
it, when such a precaution could have so easily been taken.' Observe,
here, the laughable confusion of thought! No one - not even L'Etoile
- disputes the murder committed _on the body found_. The marks of
violence are too obvious. It is our reasoner's object merely to show
that this body is not Marie's. He wishes to prove that Marie is not
assassinated - not that the corpse was not. Yet his observation
proves only the latter point. Here is a corpse without weight
attached. Murderers, casting it in, would not have failed to attach a
weight. Therefore it was not thrown in by murderers. This is all
which is proved, if any thing is. The question of identity is not
even approached, and L'Etoile has been at great pains merely to
gainsay now what it has admitted only a moment before. 'We are
perfectly convinced,' it says, 'that the body found was that of a
murdered female.'

"Nor is this the sole instance, even in this division of his subject,
where our reasoner unwittingly reasons against himself. His evident
object, I have already said, is to reduce, us much as possible, the
interval between Marie's disappearance and the finding of the corpse.
Yet we find him urging the point that no person saw the girl from the
moment of her leaving her mother's house. 'We have no evidence,' he
says, 'that Marie Rogêt was in the land of the living after nine
o'clock on Sunday, June the twenty-second.' As his argument is
obviously an ex parte one, he should, at least, have left this matter
out of sight; for had any one been known to see Marie, say on Monday,
or on Tuesday, the interval in question would have been much reduced,
and, by his own ratiocination, the probability much diminished of the
corpse being that of the grisette. It is, nevertheless, amusing to
observe that L'Etoile insists upon its point in the full belief of
its furthering its general argument.

"Reperuse now that portion of this argument which has reference to
the identification of the corpse by Beauvais. In regard to the hair
upon the arm, L'Etoile has been obviously disingenuous. M. Beauvais,
not being an idiot, could never have urged, in identification of the
corpse, simply hair upon its arm. No arm is without hair. The
generality of the expression of L'Etoile is a mere perversion of the
witness' phraseology. He must have spoken of some peculiarity in this
hair. It must have been a peculiarity of color, of quantity, of
length, or of situation.

" 'Her foot,' says the journal, 'was small - so are thousands of
feet. Her garter is no proof whatever - nor is her shoe - for shoes
and garters are sold in packages. The same may be said of the flowers
in her hat. One thing upon which M. Beauvais strongly insists is,
that the clasp on the garter found, had been set back to take it in.
This amounts to nothing; for most women find it proper to take a pair
of garters home and fit them to the size of the limbs they are to
encircle, rather than to try them in the store where they purchase.'
Here it is difficult to suppose the reasoner in earnest. Had M.
Beauvais, in his search for the body of Marie, discovered a corpse
corresponding in general size and appearance to the missing girl, he
would have been warranted (without reference to the question of
habiliment at all) in forming an opinion that his search had been
successful. If, in addition to the point of general size and contour,
he had found upon the arm a peculiar hairy appearance which he had
observed upon the living Marie, his opinion might have been justly
strengthened; and the increase of positiveness might well have been
in the ratio of the peculiarity, or unusualness, of the hairy mark.
If, the feet of Marie being small, those of the corpse were also
small, the increase of probability that the body was that of Marie
would not be an increase in a ratio merely arithmetical, but in one
highly geometrical, or accumulative. Add to all this shoes such as
she had been known to wear upon the day of her disappearance, and,
although these shoes may be 'sold in packages,' you so far augment
the probability as to verge upon the certain. What, of itself, would
be no evidence of identity, becomes through its corroborative
position, proof most sure. Give us, then, flowers in the hat
corresponding to those worn by the missing girl, and we seek for
nothing farther. If only one flower, we seek for nothing farther -
what then if two or three, or more? Each successive one is multiple
evidence - proof not _added_ to proof, but multiplied by hundreds or
thousands. Let us now discover, upon the deceased, garters such as
the living used, and it is almost folly to proceed. But these garters
are found to be tightened, by the setting back of a clasp, in just
such a manner as her own had been tightened by Marie, shortly
previous to her leaving home. It is now madness or hypocrisy to
doubt. What L'Etoile says in respect to this abbreviation of the
garter's being an usual occurrence, shows nothing beyond its own
pertinacity in error. The elastic nature of the clasp-garter is
self-demonstration of the unusualness of the abbreviation. What is
made to adjust itself, must of necessity require foreign adjustment
but rarely. It must have been by an accident, in its strictest sense,
that these garters of Marie needed the tightening described. They
alone would have amply established her identity. But it is not that
the corpse was found to have the garters of the missing girl, or
found to have her shoes, or her bonnet, or the flowers of her bonnet,
or her feet, or a peculiar mark upon the arm, or her general size and
appearance - it is that the corpse had each, and _all collectively_.
Could it be proved that the editor of L'Etoile _really_ entertained a
doubt, under the circumstances, there would be no need, in his case,
of a commission de lunatico inquirendo. He has thought it sagacious
to echo the small talk of the lawyers, who, for the most part,
content themselves with echoing the rectangular precepts of the
courts. I would here observe that very much of what is rejected as
evidence by a court, is the best of evidence to the intellect. For
the court, guiding itself by the general principles of evidence - the
recognized and _booked_ principles - is averse from swerving at
particular instances. And this steadfast adherence to principle, with
rigorous disregard of the conflicting exception, is a sure mode of
attaining the maximum of attainable truth, in any long sequence of
time. The practice, in mass, is therefore philosophical; but it is
not the less certain that it engenders vast individual error. {*16}

"In respect to the insinuations levelled at Beauvais, you will be
willing to dismiss them in a breath. You have already fathomed the
true character of this good gentleman. He is a busy-body, with much
of romance and little of wit. Any one so constituted will readily so
conduct himself, upon occasion of real excitement, as to render
himself liable to suspicion on the part of the over acute, or the
ill- disposed. M. Beauvais (as it appears from your notes) had some
personal interviews with the editor of L'Etoile, and offended him by
venturing an opinion that the corpse, notwithstanding the theory of
the editor, was, in sober fact, that of Marie. 'He persists,' says
the paper, 'in asserting the corpse to be that of Marie, but cannot
give a circumstance, in addition to those which we have commented
upon, to make others believe.' Now, without re-adverting to the fact
that stronger evidence 'to make others believe,' could never have
been adduced, it may be remarked that a man may very well be
understood to believe, in a case of this kind, without the ability to
advance a single reason for the belief of a second party. Nothing is
more vague than impressions of individual identity. Each man
recognizes his neighbor, yet there are few instances in which any one
is prepared to give a reason for his recognition. The editor of
L'Etoile had no right to be offended at M. Beauvais' unreasoning

"The suspicious circumstances which invest him, will be found to
tally much better with my hypothesis of romantic busy-bodyism, than
with the reasoner's suggestion of guilt. Once adopting the more
charitable interpretation, we shall find no difficulty in
comprehending the rose in the key-hole; the 'Marie' upon the slate;
the 'elbowing the male relatives out of the way;' the 'aversion to
permitting them to see the body;' the caution given to Madame B----,
that she must hold no conversation with the gendarmeuntil his return
(Beauvais'); and, lastly, his apparent determination 'that nobody
should have anything to do with the proceedings except himself.' It
seems to me unquestionable that Beauvais was a suitor of Marie's;
that she coquetted with him; and that he was ambitious of being
thought to enjoy her fullest intimacy and confidence. I shall say
nothing more upon this point; and, as the evidence fully rebuts the
assertion of L'Etoile, touching the matter of apathy on the part of
the mother and other relatives - an apathy inconsistent with the
supposition of their believing the corpse to be that of the
perfumery- girl - we shall now proceed as if the question of identity
were settled to our perfect satisfaction."

"And what," I here demanded, "do you think of the opinions of Le

"That, in spirit, they are far more worthy of attention than any
which have been promulgated upon the subject. The deductions from the
premises are philosophical and acute; but the premises, in two
instances, at least, are founded in imperfect observation. Le
Commerciel wishes to intimate that Marie was seized by some gang of
low ruffians not far from her mother's door. 'It is impossible,' it
urges, 'that a person so well known to thousands as this young woman
was, should have passed three blocks without some one having seen
her.' This is the idea of a man long resident in Paris - a public man
- and one whose walks to and fro in the city, have been mostly
limited to the vicinity of the public offices. He is aware that he
seldom passes so far as a dozen blocks from his own bureau, without
being recognized and accosted. And, knowing the extent of his
personal acquaintance with others, and of others with him, he
compares his notoriety with that of the perfumery-girl, finds no
great difference between them, and reaches at once the conclusion
that she, in her walks, would be equally liable to recognition with
himself in his. This could only be the case were her walks of the
same unvarying, methodical character, and within the same species of
limited region as are his own. He passes to and fro, at regular
intervals, within a confined periphery, abounding in individuals who
are led to observation of his person through interest in the kindred
nature of his occupation with their own. But the walks of Marie may,
in general, be supposed discursive. In this particular instance, it
will be understood as most probable, that she proceeded upon a route
of more than average diversity from her accustomed ones. The parallel
which we imagine to have existed in the mind of Le Commerciel would
only be sustained in the event of the two individuals' traversing the
whole city. In this case, granting the personal acquaintances to be
equal, the chances would be also equal that an equal number of
personal rencounters would be made. For my own part, I should hold it
not only as possible, but as very far more than probable, that Marie
might have proceeded, at any given period, by any one of the many
routes between her own residence and that of her aunt, without
meeting a single individual whom she knew, or by whom she was known.
In viewing this question in its full and proper light, we must hold
steadily in mind the great disproportion between the personal
acquaintances of even the most noted individual in Paris, and the
entire population of Paris itself.

"But whatever force there may still appear to be in the suggestion of
Le Commerciel, will be much diminished when we take into
consideration the hour at which the girl went abroad. 'It was when
the streets were full of people,' says Le Commerciel, 'that she went
out.' But not so. It was at nine o'clock in the morning. Now at nine
o'clock of every morning in the week, _with the exception of Sunday_,
the streets of the city are, it is true, thronged with people. At
nine on Sunday, the populace are chiefly within doors _preparing for
church_. No observing person can have failed to notice the peculiarly
deserted air of the town, from about eight until ten on the morning
of every Sabbath. Between ten and eleven the streets are thronged,
but not at so early a period as that designated.

"There is another point at which there seems a deficiency of
observation on the part of Le Commerciel. 'A piece,' it says, 'of one
of the unfortunate girl's petticoats, two feet long, and one foot
wide, was torn out and tied under her chin, and around the back of
her head, probably to prevent screams. This was done, by fellows who
had no pocket-handkerchiefs.' Whether this idea is, or is not well
founded, we will endeavor to see hereafter; but by 'fellows who have
no pocket-handkerchiefs' the editor intends the lowest class of
ruffians. These, however, are the very description of people who will
always be found to have handkerchiefs even when destitute of shirts.
You must have had occasion to observe how absolutely indispensable,
of late years, to the thorough blackguard, has become the

"And what are we to think," I asked, "of the article in Le Soleil?"

"That it is a vast pity its inditer was not born a parrot - in which
case he would have been the most illustrious parrot of his race. He
has merely repeated the individual items of the already published
opinion; collecting them, with a laudable industry, from this paper
and from that. 'The things had all evidently been there,' he says,'at
least, three or four weeks, and there can be _no doubt_ that the spot
of this appalling outrage has been discovered.' The facts here
re-stated by Le Soleil, are very far indeed from removing my own
doubts upon this subject, and we will examine them more particularly
hereafter in connexion with another division of the theme.

"At present we must occupy ourselves with other investigations You
cannot fail to have remarked the extreme laxity of the examination of
the corpse. To be sure, the question of identity was readily
determined, or should have been; but there were other points to be
ascertained. Had the body been in any respect despoiled? Had the
deceased any articles of jewelry about her person upon leaving home?
if so, had she any when found? These are important questions utterly
untouched by the evidence; and there are others of equal moment,
which have met with no attention. We must endeavor to satisfy
ourselves by personal inquiry. The case of St. Eustache must be
re-examined. I have no suspicion of this person; but let us proceed
methodically. We will ascertain beyond a doubt the validity of the
affidavits in regard to his whereabouts on the Sunday. Affidavits of
this character are readily made matter of mystification. Should there
be nothing wrong here, however, we will dismiss St. Eustache from our
investigations. His suicide, however corroborative of suspicion, were
there found to be deceit in the affidavits, is, without such deceit,
in no respect an unaccountable circumstance, or one which need cause
us to deflect from the line of ordinary analysis.

"In that which I now propose, we will discard the interior points of
this tragedy, and concentrate our attention upon its outskirts. Not
the least usual error, in investigations such as this, is the
limiting of inquiry to the immediate, with total disregard of the
collateral or circumstantial events. It is the mal-practice of the
courts to confine evidence and discussion to the bounds of apparent
relevancy. Yet experience has shown, and a true philosophy will
always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger portion of truth, arises
from the seemingly irrelevant. It is through the spirit of this
principle, if not precisely through its letter, that modern science
has resolved to calculate upon the unforeseen. But perhaps you do not
comprehend me. The history of human knowledge has so uninterruptedly
shown that to collateral, or incidental, or accidental events we are
indebted for the most numerous and most valuable discoveries, that it
has at length become necessary, in any prospective view of
improvement, to make not only large, but the largest allowances for
inventions that shall arise by chance, and quite out of the range of
ordinary expectation. It is no longer philosophical to base, upon
what has been, a vision of what is to be. Accident is admitted as a
portion of the substructure. We make chance a matter of absolute
calculation. We subject the unlooked for and unimagined, to the
mathematical _formulae_ of the schools.

"I repeat that it is no more than fact, that the larger portion of
all truth has sprung from the collateral; and it is but in accordance
with the spirit of the principle involved in this fact, that I would
divert inquiry, in the present case, from the trodden and hitherto
unfruitful ground of the event itself, to the contemporary
circumstances which surround it. While you ascertain the validity of
the affidavits, I will examine the newspapers more generally than you
have as yet done. So far, we have only reconnoitred the field of
investigation; but it will be strange indeed if a comprehensive
survey, such as I propose, of the public prints, will not afford us
some minute points which shall establish a direction for inquiry."

In pursuance of Dupin's suggestion, I made scrupulous examination of
the affair of the affidavits. The result was a firm conviction of
their validity, and of the consequent innocence of St. Eustache. In
the mean time my friend occupied himself, with what seemed to me a
minuteness altogether objectless, in a scrutiny of the various
newspaper files. At the end of a week he placed before me the
following extracts:

"About three years and a half ago, a disturbance very similar to the
present, was caused by the disappearance of this same Marie Rogêt,
from the parfumerie of Monsieur Le Blanc, in the Palais Royal. At the
end of a week, however, she re-appeared at her customary comptoir, as
well as ever, with the exception of a slight paleness not altogether
usual. It was given out by Monsieur Le Blanc and her mother, that she
had merely been on a visit to some friend in the country; and the
affair was speedily hushed up. We presume that the present absence is
a freak of the same nature, and that, at the expiration of a week, or
perhaps of a month, we shall have her among us again." - Evening
Paper - Monday June 23. {*17}

"An evening journal of yesterday, refers to a former mysterious
disappearance of Mademoiselle Rogêt. It is well known that, during
the week of her absence from Le Blanc's parfumerie, she was in the
company of a young naval officer, much noted for his debaucheries. A
quarrel, it is supposed, providentially led to her return home. We
have the name of the Lothario in question, who is, at present,
stationed in Paris, but, for obvious reasons, forbear to make it
public." - Le Mercurie - Tuesday Morning, June 24. {*18}

"An outrage of the most atrocious character was perpetrated near this
city the day before yesterday. A gentleman, with his wife and
daughter, engaged, about dusk, the services of six young men, who
were idly rowing a boat to and fro near the banks of the Seine, to
convey him across the river. Upon reaching the opposite shore, the
three passengers stepped out, and had proceeded so far as to be
beyond the view of the boat, when the daughter discovered that she
had left in it her parasol. She returned for it, was seized by the
gang, carried out into the stream, gagged, brutally treated, and
finally taken to the shore at a point not far from that at which she
had originally entered the boat with her parents. The villains have
escaped for the time, but the police are upon their trail, and some
of them will soon be taken." - Morning Paper - June 25. {*19}

"We have received one or two communications, the object of which is
to fasten the crime of the late atrocity upon Mennais; {*20} but as
this gentleman has been fully exonerated by a loyal inquiry, and as
the arguments of our several correspondents appear to be more zealous
than profound, we do not think it advisable to make them public." -
Morning Paper - June 28. {*21}

"We have received several forcibly written communications, apparently
from various sources, and which go far to render it a matter of
certainty that the unfortunate Marie Rogêt has become a victim of one
of the numerous bands of blackguards which infest the vicinity of the
city upon Sunday. Our own opinion is decidedly in favor of this
supposition. We shall endeavor to make room for some of these
arguments hereafter." - Evening Paper - Tuesday, June 31. {*22}

"On Monday, one of the bargemen connected with the revenue service,
saw a empty boat floating down the Seine. Sails were lying in the
bottom of the boat. The bargeman towed it under the barge office. The
next morning it was taken from thence, without the knowledge of any
of the officers. The rudder is now at the barge office." - Le
Diligence - Thursday, June 26. §

Upon reading these various extracts, they not only seemed to me
irrelevant, but I could perceive no mode in which any one of them
could be brought to bear upon the matter in hand. I waited for some
explanation from Dupin.

"It is not my present design," he said, "to dwell upon the first and
second of those extracts. I have copied them chiefly to show you the
extreme remissness of the police, who, as far as I can understand
from the Prefect, have not troubled themselves, in any respect, with
an examination of the naval officer alluded to. Yet it is mere folly
to say that between the first and second disappearance of Marie,
there is no _supposable_ connection. Let us admit the first elopement
to have resulted in a quarrel between the lovers, and the return home
of the betrayed. We are now prepared to view a second elopement (if
we know that an elopement has again taken place) as indicating a
renewal of the betrayer's advances, rather than as the result of new
proposals by a second individual - we are prepared to regard it as a
'making up' of the old amour, rather than as the commencement of a
new one. The chances are ten to one, that he who had once eloped with
Marie, would again propose an elopement, rather than that she to whom
proposals of elopement had been made by one individual, should have
them made to her by another. And here let me call your attention to
the fact, that the time elapsing between the first ascertained, and
the second supposed elopement, is a few months more than the general
period of the cruises of our men-of-war. Had the lover been
interrupted in his first villany by the necessity of departure to
sea, and had he seized the first moment of his return to renew the
base designs not yet altogether accomplished - or not yet altogether
accomplished by _him?_ Of all these things we know nothing.

"You will say, however, that, in the second instance, there was no
elopement as imagined. Certainly not - but are we prepared to say
that there was not the frustrated design? Beyond St. Eustache, and
perhaps Beauvais, we find no recognized, no open, no honorable
suitors of Marie. Of none other is there any thing said. Who, then,
is the secret lover, of whom the relatives (at least most of them)
know nothing, but whom Marie meets upon the morning of Sunday, and
who is so deeply in her confidence, that she hesitates not to remain
with him until the shades of the evening descend, amid the solitary
groves of the Barrière du Roule? Who is that secret lover, I ask, of
whom, at least, most of the relatives know nothing? And what means
the singular prophecy of Madame Rogêt on the morning of Marie's
departure? -- 'I fear that I shall never see Marie again.'

"But if we cannot imagine Madame Rogêt privy to the design of
elopement, may we not at least suppose this design entertained by the
girl? Upon quitting home, she gave it to be understood that she was
about to visit her aunt in the Rue des Drômes and St. Eustache was
requested to call for her at dark. Now, at first glance, this fact
strongly militates against my suggestion; - but let us reflect. That
she did meet some companion, and proceed with him across the river,
reaching the Barrière du Roule at so late an hour as three o'clock in
the afternoon, is known. But in consenting so to accompany this
individual, (_for whatever purpose -- to her mother known or
unknown,_) she must have thought of her expressed intention when
leaving home, and of the surprise and suspicion aroused in the bosom
of her affianced suitor, St. Eustache, when, calling for her, at the
hour appointed, in the Rue des Drômes, he should find that she had
not been there, and when, moreover, upon returning to the pension
with this alarming intelligence, he should become aware of her
continued absence from home. She must have thought of these things, I
say. She must have foreseen the chagrin of St. Eustache, the
suspicion of all. She could not have thought of returning to brave
this suspicion; but the suspicion becomes a point of trivial
importance to her, if we suppose her not intending to return.

"We may imagine her thinking thus - 'I am to meet a certain person
for the purpose of elopement, or for certain other purposes known
only to myself. It is necessary that there be no chance of
interruption - there must be sufficient time given us to elude
pursuit - I will give it to be understood that I shall visit and
spend the day with my aunt at the Rue des Drômes - I well tell St.
Eustache not to call for me until dark - in this way, my absence from
home for the longest possible period, without causing suspicion or
anxiety, will be accounted for, and I shall gain more time than in
any other manner. If I bid St. Eustache call for me at dark, he will
be sure not to call before; but, if I wholly neglect to bid him call,
my time for escape will be diminished, since it will be expected that
I return the earlier, and my absence will the sooner excite anxiety.
Now, if it were my design to return at all - if I had in
contemplation merely a stroll with the individual in question - it
would not be my policy to bid St. Eustache call; for, calling, he
will be sure to ascertain that I have played him false - a fact of
which I might keep him for ever in ignorance, by leaving home without
notifying him of my intention, by returning before dark, and by then
stating that I had been to visit my aunt in the Rue des Drômes. But,
as it is my design never to return - or not for some weeks - or not
until certain concealments are effected - the gaining of time is the
only point about which I need give myself any concern.'

"You have observed, in your notes, that the most general opinion in
relation to this sad affair is, and was from the first, that the girl
had been the victim of a gang of blackguards. Now, the popular
opinion, under certain conditions, is not to be disregarded. When
arising of itself -- when manifesting itself in a strictly
spontaneous manner -- we should look upon it as analogous with that
_intuition_ which is the idiosyncrasy of the individual man of
genius. In ninety-nine cases from the hundred I would abide by its
decision. But it is important that we find no palpable traces of
_suggestion_. The opinion must be rigorously _the public's own_; and
the distinction is often exceedingly difficult to perceive and to
maintain. In the present instance, it appears to me that this 'public
opinion' in respect to a gang, has been superinduced by the
collateral event which is detailed in the third of my extracts. All
Paris is excited by the discovered corpse of Marie, a girl young,
beautiful and notorious. This corpse is found, bearing marks of
violence, and floating in the river. But it is now made known that,
at the very period, or about the very period, in which it is supposed
that the girl was assassinated, an outrage similar in nature to that
endured by the deceased, although less in extent, was perpetuated, by
a gang of young ruffians, upon the person of a second young female.
Is it wonderful that the one known atrocity should influence the
popular judgment in regard to the other unknown? This judgment
awaited direction, and the known outrage seemed so opportunely to
afford it! Marie, too, was found in the river; and upon this very
river was this known outrage committed. The connexion of the two
events had about it so much of the palpable, that the true wonder
would have been a failure of the populace to appreciate and to seize
it. But, in fact, the one atrocity, known to be so committed, is, if
any thing, evidence that the other, committed at a time nearly
coincident, was not so committed. It would have been a miracle
indeed, if, while a gang of ruffians were perpetrating, at a given
locality, a most unheard-of wrong, there should have been another
similar gang, in a similar locality, in the same city, under the same
circumstances, with the same means and appliances, engaged in a wrong
of precisely the same aspect, at precisely the same period of time!
Yet in what, if not in this marvellous train of coincidence, does the
accidentally suggested opinion of the populace call upon us to

"Before proceeding farther, let us consider the supposed scene of the
assassination, in the thicket at the Barrière du Roule. This thicket,
although dense, was in the close vicinity of a public road. Within
were three or four large stones, forming a kind of seat with a back
and footstool. On the upper stone was discovered a white petticoat;
on the second, a silk scarf. A parasol, gloves, and a
pocket-handkerchief, were also here found. The handkerchief bore the
name, 'Marie Rogêt.' Fragments of dress were seen on the branches
around. The earth was trampled, the bushes were broken, and there was
every evidence of a violent struggle.

"Notwithstanding the acclamation with which the discovery of this
thicket was received by the press, and the unanimity with which it
was supposed to indicate the precise scene of the outrage, it must be
admitted that there was some very good reason for doubt. That it was
the scene, I may or I may not believe - but there was excellent
reason for doubt. Had the true scene been, as Le Commerciel
suggested, in the neighborhood of the Rue Pavée St. Andrée, the
perpetrators of the crime, supposing them still resident in Paris,
would naturally have been stricken with terror at the public
attention thus acutely directed into the proper channel; and, in
certain classes of minds, there would have arisen, at once, a sense
of the necessity of some exertion to redivert this attention. And
thus, the thicket of the Barrière du Roule having been already
suspected, the idea of placing the articles where they were found,
might have been naturally entertained. There is no real evidence,
although Le Soleil so supposes, that the articles discovered had been
more than a very few days in the thicket; while there is much
circumstantial proof that they could not have remained there, without
attracting attention, during the twenty days elapsing between the
fatal Sunday and the afternoon upon which they were found by the
boys. 'They were all _mildewed_down hard,' says Le Soleil, adopting
the opinions of its predecessors, 'with the action of the rain, and
stuck together from _mildew_. The grass had grown around and over
some of them. The silk of the parasol was strong, but the threads of
it were run together within. The upper part, where it bad been
doubled and folded, was all _mildewed_ and rotten, and tore on being
opened.' In respect to the grass having '.grown around and over some
of them,' it is obvious that the fact could only have been
ascertained from the words, and thus from the recollections, of two
small boys; for these boys removed the articles and took them home
before they had been seen by a third party. But grass will grow,
especially in warm and damp weather, (such as was that of the period
of the murder,) as much as two or three inches in a single day. A
parasol lying upon a newly turfed ground, might, in a single week, be
entirely concealed from sight by the upspringing grass. And touching
that mildew upon which the editor of Le Soleil so pertinaciously
insists, that he employs the word no less than three times in the
brief paragraph just quoted, is be really unaware of the nature of
this mildew? Is he to be told that it is one of the many classes of
fungus, of which the most ordinary feature is its upspringing and
decadence within twenty-four hours?

"Thus we see, at a glance, that what has been most triumphantly
adduced in support of the idea that the articles bad been 'for at
least three or four weeks' in the thicket, is most absurdly null as
regards any evidence of that fact. On the other hand, it is
exceedingly difficult to believe that these articles could have
remained in the thicket specified, for a longer period than a single
week - for a longer period than from one Sunday to the next. Those
who know any thing of the vicinity of Paris, know the extreme
difficulty of finding seclusion unless at a great distance from its
suburbs. Such a thing as an unexplored, or even an unfrequently
visited recess, amid its woods or groves, is not for a moment to be
imagined. Let any one who, being at heart a lover of nature, is yet
chained by duty to the dust and heat of this great metropolis - let
any such one attempt, even during the weekdays, to slake his thirst
for solitude amid the scenes of natural loveliness which immediately
surround us. At every second step, he will find the growing charm
dispelled by the voice and personal intrusion of some ruffian or
party of carousing blackguards. He will seek privacy amid the densest
foliage, all in vain. Here are the very nooks where the unwashed most
abound - here are the temples most desecrate. With sickness of the
heart the wanderer will flee back to the polluted Paris as to a less
odious because less incongruous sink of pollution. But if the
vicinity of the city is so beset during the working days of the week,
how much more so on the Sabbath! It is now especially that, released
from the claims of labor, or deprived of the customary opportunities
of crime, the town blackguard seeks the precincts of the town, not
through love of the rural, which in his heart he despises, but by way
of escape from the restraints and conventionalities of society. He
desires less the fresh air and the green trees, than the utter
license of the country. Here, at the road-side inn, or beneath the
foliage of the woods, he indulges, unchecked by any eye except those
of his boon companions, in all the mad excess of a counterfeit
hilarity - the joint offspring of liberty and of rum. I say nothing
more than what must be obvious to every dispassionate observer, when
I repeat that the circumstance of the articles in question having
remained undiscovered, for a longer period - than from one Sunday to
another, in any thicket in the immediate neighborhood of Paris, is to
be looked upon as little less than miraculous.

"But there are not wanting other grounds for the suspicion that the
articles were placed in the thicket with the view of diverting
attention from the real scene of the outrage. And, first, let me
direct your notice to the date of the discovery of the articles.
Collate this with the date of the fifth extract made by myself from
the newspapers. You will find that the discovery followed, almost
immediately, the urgent communications sent to the evening paper.
These communications, although various and apparently from various
sources, tended all to the same point - viz., the directing of
attention to a gang as the perpetrators of the outrage, and to the
neighborhood of the Barrière du Roule as its scene. Now here, of
course, the suspicion is not that, in consequence of these
communications, or of the public attention by them directed, the
articles were found by the boys; but the suspicion might and may well
have been, that the articles were not before found by the boys, for
the reason that the articles had not before been in the thicket;
having been deposited there only at so late a period as at the date,
or shortly prior to the date of the communications by the guilty
authors of these communications themselves.

"This thicket was a singular - an exceedingly singular one. It was
unusually dense. Within its naturally walled enclosure were three
extraordinary stones, forming a seat with a back and footstool. And
this thicket, so full of a natural art, was in the immediate
vicinity, within a few rods, of the dwelling of Madame Deluc, whose
boys were in the habit of closely examining the shrubberies about
them in search of the bark of the sassafras. Would it be a rash wager
- a wager of one thousand to one -- that a day never passed over the
heads of these boys without finding at least one of them ensconced in
the umbrageous hall, and enthroned upon its natural throne? Those who
would hesitate at such a wager, have either never been boys
themselves, or have forgotten the boyish nature. I repeat -- it is
exceedingly hard to comprehend how the articles could have remained
in this thicket undiscovered, for a longer period than one or two
days; and that thus there is good ground for suspicion, in spite of
the dogmatic ignorance of Le Soleil, that they were, at a
comparatively late date, deposited where found.

"But there are still other and stronger reasons for believing them so
deposited, than any which I have as yet urged. And, now, let me beg
your notice to the highly artificial arrangement of the articles. On
the upper stone lay a white petticoat; on the second a silk scarf;
scattered around, were a parasol, gloves, and a pocket-handkerchief
bearing the name, 'Marie Rogêt.' Here is just such an arrangement as
would naturally be made by a not over-acute person wishing to dispose
the articles naturally. But it is by no means a really natural
arrangement. I should rather have looked to see the things all lying
on the ground and trampled under foot. In the narrow limits of that
bower, it would have been scarcely possible that the petticoat and
scarf should have retained a position upon the stones, when subjected
to the brushing to and fro of many struggling persons. 'There was
evidence,' it is said, 'of a struggle; and the earth was trampled,
the bushes were broken,' - but the petticoat and the scarf are found
deposited as if upon shelves. 'The pieces of the frock torn out by
the bushes were about three inches wide and six inches long. One part
was the hem of the frock and it had been mended. They looked like
strips torn off.' Here, inadvertently, Le Soleil has employed an
exceedingly suspicious phrase. The pieces, as described, do indeed
'look like strips torn off;' but purposely and by hand. It is one of
the rarest of accidents that a piece is 'torn off,' from any garment
such as is now in question, by the agency of a thorn. From the very
nature of such fabrics, a thorn or nail becoming entangled in them,
tears them rectangularly - divides them into two longitudinal rents,
at right angles with each other, and meeting at an apex where the
thorn enters - but it is scarcely possible to conceive the piece
'torn off.' I never so knew it, nor did you. To tear a piece off from
such fabric, two distinct forces, in different directions, will be,
in almost every case, required. If there be two edges to the fabric -
if, for example, it be a pocket- handkerchief, and it is desired to
tear from it a slip, then, and then only, will the one force serve
the purpose. But in the present case the question is of a dress,
presenting but one edge. To tear a piece from the interior, where no
edge is presented, could only be effected by a miracle through the
agency of thorns, and no one thorn could accomplish it. But, even
where an edge is presented, two thorns will be necessary, operating,
the one in two distinct directions, and the other in one. And this in
the supposition that the edge is unhemmed. If hemmed, the matter is
nearly out of the question. We thus see the numerous and great
obstacles in the way of pieces being 'torn off' through the simple
agency of 'thorns;' yet we are required to believe not only that one
piece but that many have been so torn. 'And one part,' too, 'was the
hem of the frock!' Another piece was 'part of the skirt, not the
hem,' - that is to say, was torn completely out through the agency of
thorns, from the uncaged interior of the dress! These, I say, are
things which one may well be pardoned for disbelieving; yet, taken
collectedly, they form, perhaps, less of reasonable ground for
suspicion, than the one startling circumstance of the articles'
having been left in this thicket at all, by any murderers who had
enough precaution to think of removing the corpse. You will not have
apprehended me rightly, however, if you suppose it my design to deny
this thicket as the scene of the outrage. There might have been a
wrong here, or, more possibly, an accident at Madame Deluc's. But, in
fact, this is a point of minor importance. We are not engaged in an
attempt to discover the scene, but to produce the perpetrators of the
murder. What I have adduced, notwithstanding the minuteness with
which I have adduced it, has been with the view, first, to show the
folly of the positive and headlong assertions of Le Soleil, but
secondly and chiefly, to bring you, by the most natural route, to a
further contemplation of the doubt whether this assassination has, or
has not been, the work of a gang.

"We will resume this question by mere allusion to the revolting
details of the surgeon examined at the inquest. It is only necessary
to say that is published inferences, in regard to the number of
ruffians, have been properly ridiculed as unjust and totally
baseless, by all the reputable anatomists of Paris. Not that the
matter might not have been as inferred, but that there was no ground
for the inference: - was there not much for another?

"Let us reflect now upon 'the traces of a struggle;' and let me ask
what these traces have been supposed to demonstrate. A gang. But do
they not rather demonstrate the absence of a gang? What struggle
could have taken place - what struggle so violent and so enduring as
to have left its 'traces' in all directions - between a weak and
defenceless girl and the gang of ruffians imagined? The silent grasp
of a few rough arms and all would have been over. The victim must
have been absolutely passive at their will. You will here bear in
mind that the arguments urged against the thicket as the scene, are
applicable in chief part, only against it as the scene of an outrage
committed by more than a single individual. If we imagine but one
violator, we can conceive, and thus only conceive, the struggle of so
violent and so obstinate a nature as to have left the 'traces'

"And again. I have already mentioned the suspicion to be excited by
the fact that the articles in question were suffered to remain at all
in the thicket where discovered. It seems almost impossible that
these evidences of guilt should have been accidentally left where
found. There was sufficient presence of mind (it is supposed) to
remove the corpse; and yet a more positive evidence than the corpse
itself (whose features might have been quickly obliterated by decay,)
is allowed to lie conspicuously in the scene of the outrage - I
allude to the handkerchief with the name of the deceased. If this was
accident, it was not the accident of a gang. We can imagine it only
the accident of an individual. Let us see. An individual has
committed the murder. He is alone with the ghost of the departed. He
is appalled by what lies motionless before him. The fury of his
passion is over, and there is abundant room in his heart for the
natural awe of the deed. His is none of that confidence which the
presence of numbers inevitably inspires. He is alone with the dead.
He trembles and is bewildered. Yet there is a necessity for disposing
of the corpse. He bears it to the river, but leaves behind him the
other evidences of guilt; for it is difficult, if not impossible to
carry all the burthen at once, and it will be easy to return for what
is left. But in his toilsome journey to the water his fears redouble
within him. The sounds of life encompass his path. A dozen times he
hears or fancies the step of an observer. Even the very lights from
the city bewilder him. Yet, in time and by long and frequent pauses
of deep agony, he reaches the river's brink, and disposes of his
ghastly charge - perhaps through the medium of a boat. But now what
treasure does the world hold - what threat of vengeance could it hold
out - which would have power to urge the return of that lonely
murderer over that toilsome and perilous path, to the thicket and its
blood chilling recollections? He returns not, let the consequences be
what they may. He could not return if he would. His sole thought is
immediate escape. He turns his back forever upon those dreadful
shrubberies and flees as from the wrath to come.

"But how with a gang? Their number would have inspired them with
confidence; if, indeed confidence is ever wanting in the breast of
the arrant blackguard; and of arrant blackguards alone are the
supposed gangs ever constituted. Their number, I say, would have
prevented the bewildering and unreasoning terror which I have
imagined to paralyze the single man. Could we suppose an oversight in
one, or two, or three, this oversight would have been remedied by a
fourth. They would have left nothing behind them; for their number
would have enabled them to carry all at once. There would have been
no need of return.

"Consider now the circumstance that in the outer garment of the
corpse when found, 'a slip, about a foot wide had been torn upward
from the bottom hem to the waist wound three times round the waist,
and secured by a sort of hitch in the back.' This was done with the
obvious design of affording a handle by which to carry the body. But
would any number of men hare dreamed of resorting to such an
expedient? To three or four, the limbs of the corpse would have
afforded not only a sufficient, but the best possible hold. The
device is that of a single individual; and this brings us to the fact
that 'between the thicket and the river, the rails of the fences were
found taken down, and the ground bore evident traces of some heavy
burden having been dragged along it!' But would a number of men have
put themselves to the superfluous trouble of taking down a fence, for
the purpose of dragging through it a corpse which they might have
lifted over any fence in an instant? Would a number of men have so
dragged a corpse at all as to have left evident traces of the

"And here we must refer to an observation of Le Commerciel; an
observation upon which I have already, in some measure, commented. 'A
piece,' says this journal, 'of one of the unfortunate girl's
petticoats was torn out and tied under her chin, and around the back
of her head, probably to prevent screams. This was done by fellows
who had no pocket-handkerchiefs.'

"I have before suggested that a genuine blackguard is never without a
pocket-handkerchief. But it is not to this fact that I now especially
advert. That it was not through want of a handkerchief for the
purpose imagined by Le Commerciel, that this bandage was employed, is
rendered apparent by the handkerchief left in the thicket; and that
the object was not 'to prevent screams' appears, also, from the
bandage having been employed in preference to what would so much
better have answered the purpose. But the language of the evidence
speaks of the strip in question as 'found around the neck, fitting
loosely, and secured with a hard knot.' These words are sufficiently
vague, but differ materially from those of Le Commerciel. The slip
was eighteen inches wide, and therefore, although of muslin, would
form a strong band when folded or rumpled longitudinally. And thus
rumpled it was discovered. My inference is this. The solitary
murderer, having borne the corpse, for some distance, (whether from
the thicket or elsewhere) by means of the bandage hitched around its
middle, found the weight, in this mode of procedure, too much for his
strength. He resolved to drag the burthen - the evidence goes to show
that it wasdragged. With this object in view, it became necessary to
attach something like a rope to one of the extremities. It could be
best attached about the neck, where the head would prevent its
slipping off. And, now, the murderer bethought him, unquestionably,
of the bandage about the loins. He would have used this, but for its
volution about the corpse, the hitch which embarrassed it, and the
reflection that it had not been 'torn off' from the garment. It was
easier to tear a new slip from the petticoat. He tore it, made it
fast about the neck, and so dragged his victim to the brink of the
river. That this 'bandage,' only attainable with trouble and delay,
and but imperfectly answering its purpose - that this bandage was
employed at all, demonstrates that the necessity for its employment
sprang from circumstances arising at a period when the handkerchief
was no longer attainable -- that is to say, arising, as we have
imagined, after quitting the thicket, (if the thicket it was), and on
the road between the thicket and the river.

"But the evidence, you will say, of Madame Deluc, (!) points
especially to the presence of a gang, in the vicinity of the thicket,
at or about the epoch of the murder. This I grant. I doubt if there
were not a dozen gangs, such as described by Madame Deluc, in and
about the vicinity of the Barrière du Roule at or about the period of
this tragedy. But the gang which has drawn upon itself the pointed
animadversion, although the somewhat tardy and very suspicious
evidence of Madame Deluc, is the only gang which is represented by
that honest and scrupulous old lady as having eaten her cakes and
swallowed her brandy, without putting themselves to the trouble of
making her payment. Et hinc illæ iræ?

"But what is the precise evidence of Madame Deluc? 'A gang of
miscreants made their appearance, behaved boisterously, ate and drank
without making payment, followed in the route of the young man and
girl, returned to the inn about dusk, and recrossed the river as if
in great haste.'

"Now this 'great haste' very possibly seemed greater haste in the
eyes of Madame Deluc, since she dwelt lingeringly and lamentingly
upon her violated cakes and ale - cakes and ale for which she might
still have entertained a faint hope of compensation. Why, otherwise,
since it was about dusk, should she make a point of the haste? It is
no cause for wonder, surely, that even a gang of blackguards should
make haste to get home, when a wide river is to be crossed in small
boats, when storm impends, and when night approaches.

"I say approaches; for the night had not yet arrived. It was only
about dusk that the indecent haste of these 'miscreants' offended the
sober eyes of Madame Deluc. But we are told that it was upon this
very evening that Madame Deluc, as well as her eldest son, 'heard the
screams of a female in the vicinity of the inn.' And in what words
does Madame Deluc designate the period of the evening at which these
screams were heard? 'It was soon after dark,' she says. But 'soon
after dark,' is, at least, dark; and'about dusk' is as certainly
daylight. Thus it is abundantly clear that the gang quitted the
Barrière du Roule prior to the screams overheard (?) by Madame Deluc.
And although, in all the many reports of the evidence, the relative
expressions in question are distinctly and invariably employed just
as I have employed them in this conversation with yourself, no notice
whatever of the gross discrepancy has, as yet, been taken by any of
the public journals, or by any of the Myrmidons of police.

"I shall add but one to the arguments against a gang; but this one
has, to my own understanding at least, a weight altogether
irresistible. Under the circumstances of large reward offered, and
full pardon to any King's evidence, it is not to be imagined, for a
moment, that some member of a gang of low ruffians, or of any body of
men, would not long ago have betrayed his accomplices. Each one of a
gang so placed, is not so much greedy of reward, or anxious for
escape, as fearful of betrayal. He betrays eagerly and early that he
may not himself be betrayed. That the secret has not been divulged,
is the very best of proof that it is, in fact, a secret. The horrors
of this dark deed are known only to one, or two, living human beings,
and to God.

"Let us sum up now the meagre yet certain fruits of our long
analysis. We have attained the idea either of a fatal accident under
the roof of Madame Deluc, or of a murder perpetrated, in the thicket
at the Barrière du Roule, by a lover, or at least by an intimate and
secret associate of the deceased. This associate is of swarthy
complexion. This complexion, the 'hitch' in the bandage, and the
'sailor's knot,' with which the bonnet-ribbon is tied, point to a
seaman. His companionship with the deceased, a gay, but not an abject
young girl, designates him as above the grade of the common sailor.
Here the well written and urgent communications to the journals are
much in the way of corroboration. The circumstance of the first
elopement, as mentioned by Le Mercurie, tends to blend the idea of
this seaman with that of the 'naval officer' who is first known to
have led the unfortunate into crime.

"And here, most fitly, comes the consideration of the continued
absence of him of the dark complexion. Let me pause to observe that
the complexion of this man is dark and swarthy; it was no common
swarthiness which constituted the sole point of remembrance, both as
regards Valence and Madame Deluc. But why is this man absent? Was he
murdered by the gang? If so, why are there only traces of the
assassinated girl? The scene of the two outrages will naturally be
supposed identical. And where is his corpse? The assassins would most
probably have disposed of both in the same way. But it may be said
that this man lives, and is deterred from making himself known,
through dread of being charged with the murder. This consideration
might be supposed to operate upon him now - at this late period -
since it has been given in evidence that he was seen with Marie - but
it would have had no force at the period of the deed. The first
impulse of an innocent man would have been to announce the outrage,
and to aid in identifying the ruffians. This policy would have
suggested. He had been seen with the girl. He had crossed the river
with her in an open ferry-boat. The denouncing of the assassins would
have appeared, even to an idiot, the surest and sole means of
relieving himself from suspicion. We cannot suppose him, on the night
of the fatal Sunday, both innocent himself and incognizant of an
outrage committed. Yet only under such circumstances is it possible
to imagine that he would have failed, if alive, in the denouncement
of the assassins.

"And what means are ours, of attaining the truth? We shall find these
means multiplying and gathering distinctness as we proceed. Let us
sift to the bottom this affair of the first elopement. Let us know
the full history of 'the officer,' with his present circumstances,
and his whereabouts at the precise period of the murder. Let us
carefully compare with each other the various communications sent to
the evening paper, in which the object was to inculpate a gang. This
done, let us compare these communications, both as regards style and
MS., with those sent to the morning paper, at a previous period, and
insisting so vehemently upon the guilt of Mennais. And, all this
done, let us again compare these various communications with the
known MSS. of the officer. Let us endeavor to ascertain, by repeated


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