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The Works of Edgar Allan Poe

Part 3 out of 5

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kept. I looked in the drawer, and found none there. I searched my
pockets, hoping to find an old letter, when my hand fell upon the
parchment. I thus detail the precise mode in which it came into my
possession; for the circumstances impressed me with peculiar force.

"No doubt you will think me fanciful - but I had already
established a kind of connexion. I had put together two links of a
great chain. There was a boat lying upon a sea-coast, and not far
from the boat was a parchment - not a paper - with a skull depicted
upon it. You will, of course, ask 'where is the connexion?' I reply
that the skull, or death's-head, is the well-known emblem of the
pirate. The flag of the death's head is hoisted in all engagements.

"I have said that the scrap was parchment, and not paper.
Parchment is durable - almost imperishable. Matters of little moment
are rarely consigned to parchment; since, for the mere ordinary
purposes of drawing or writing, it is not nearly so well adapted as
paper. This reflection suggested some meaning - some relevancy - in
the death's-head. I did not fail to observe, also, the form of the
parchment. Although one of its corners had been, by some accident,
destroyed, it could be seen that the original form was oblong. It was
just such a slip, indeed, as might have been chosen for a memorandum
- for a record of something to be long remembered and carefully

"But," I interposed, "you say that the skull was not upon the
parchment when you made the drawing of the beetle. How then do you
trace any connexion between the boat and the skull - since this
latter, according to your own admission, must have been designed (God
only knows how or by whom) at some period subsequent to your
sketching the scarabus?"

"Ah, hereupon turns the whole mystery; although the secret, at
this point, I had comparatively little difficulty in solving. My
steps were sure, and could afford but a single result. I reasoned,
for example, thus: When I drew the scarabus, there was no skull
apparent upon the parchment. When I had completed the drawing I gave
it to you, and observed you narrowly until you returned it. You,
therefore, did not design the skull, and no one else was present to
do it. Then it was not done by human agency. And nevertheless it was
done. "At this stage of my reflections I endeavored to remember, and
did remember, with entire distinctness, every incident which occurred
about the period in question. The weather was chilly (oh rare and
happy accident!), and a fire was blazing upon the hearth. I was
heated with exercise and sat near the table. You, however, had drawn
a chair close to the chimney. Just as I placed the parchment in your
hand, and as you were in the act of in. inspecting it, Wolf, the
Newfoundland, entered, and leaped upon your shoulders. With your left
hand you caressed him and kept him off, while your right, holding the
parchment, was permitted to fall listlessly between your knees, and
in close proximity to the fire. At one moment I thought the blaze had
caught it, and was about to caution you, but, before I could speak,
you had withdrawn it, and were engaged in its examination. When I
considered all these particulars, I doubted not for a moment that
heat had been the agent in bringing to light, upon the parchment, the
skull which I saw designed upon it. You are well aware that chemical
preparations exist, and have existed time out of mind, by means of
which it is possible to write upon either paper or vellum, so that
the characters shall become visible only when subjected to the action
of fire. Zaffre, digested in aqua regia, and diluted with four times
its weight of water, is sometimes employed; a green tint results. The
regulus of cobalt, dissolved in spirit of nitre, gives a red. These
colors disappear at longer or shorter intervals after the material
written upon cools, but again become apparent upon the
re-application of heat.

"I now scrutinized the death's-head with care. Its outer edges -
the edges of the drawing nearest the edge of the vellum - were far
more distinct than the others. It was clear that the action of the
caloric had been imperfect or unequal. I immediately kindled a fire,
and subjected every portion of the parchment to a glowing heat. At
first, the only effect was the strengthening of the faint lines in
the skull; but, upon persevering in the experiment, there became
visible, at the corner of the slip, diagonally opposite to the spot
in which the death's-head was delineated, the figure of what I at
first supposed to be a goat. A closer scrutiny, however, satisfied me
that it was intended for a kid."

"Ha! ha!" said I, "to be sure I have no right to laugh at you - a
million and a half of money is too serious a matter for mirth - but
you are not about to establish a third link in your chain - you will
not find any especial connexion between your pirates and a goat -
pirates, you know, have nothing to do with goats; they appertain to
the farming interest."

"But I have just said that the figure was not that of a goat."

"Well, a kid then - pretty much the same thing."

"Pretty much, but not altogether," said Legrand. "You may have
heard of one Captain Kidd. I at once looked upon the figure of the
animal as a kind of punning or hieroglyphical signature. I say
signature; because its position upon the vellum suggested this idea.
The death's-head at the corner diagonally opposite, had, in the same
manner, the air of a stamp, or seal. But I was sorely put out by the
absence of all else - of the body to my imagined instrument - of the
text for my context."

"I presume you expected to find a letter between the stamp and
the signature."

"Something of that kind. The fact is, I felt irresistibly
impressed with a presentiment of some vast good fortune impending. I
can scarcely say why. Perhaps, after all, it was rather a desire than
an actual belief; - but do you know that Jupiter's silly words, about
the bug being of solid gold, had a remarkable effect upon my fancy?
And then the series of accidents and coincidences - these were so
very extraordinary. Do you observe how mere an accident it was that
these events should have occurred upon the sole day of all the year
in which it has been, or may be, sufficiently cool for fire, and that
without the fire, or without the intervention of the dog at the
precise moment in which he appeared, I should never have become aware
of the death's-head, and so never the possessor of the treasure?"

"But proceed - I am all impatience."

"Well; you have heard, of course, the many stories current - the
thousand vague rumors afloat about money buried, somewhere upon the
Atlantic coast, by Kidd and his associates. These rumors must have
had some foundation in fact. And that the rumors have existed so long
and so continuous, could have resulted, it appeared to me, only from
the circumstance of the buried treasure still remaining entombed. Had
Kidd concealed his plunder for a time, and afterwards reclaimed it,
the rumors would scarcely have reached us in their present unvarying
form. You will observe that the stories told are all about
money-seekers, not about money-finders. Had the pirate recovered his
money, there the affair would have dropped. It seemed to me that some
accident - say the loss of a memorandum indicating its locality - had
deprived him of the means of recovering it, and that this accident
had become known to his followers, who otherwise might never have
heard that treasure had been concealed at all, and who, busying
themselves in vain, because unguided attempts, to regain it, had
given first birth, and then universal currency, to the reports which
are now so common. Have you ever heard of any important treasure
being unearthed along the coast?"


"But that Kidd's accumulations were immense, is well known. I
took it for granted, therefore, that the earth still held them; and
you will scarcely be surprised when I tell you that I felt a hope,
nearly amounting to certainty, that the parchment so strangely found,
involved a lost record of the place of deposit."

"But how did you proceed?"

"I held the vellum again to the fire, after increasing the heat;
but nothing appeared. I now thought it possible that the coating of
dirt might have something to do with the failure; so I carefully
rinsed the parchment by pouring warm water over it, and,
having done this, I placed it in a tin pan, with the skull downwards,
and put the pan upon a furnace of lighted charcoal. In a few minutes,
the pan having become thoroughly heated, I removed the slip, and, to
my inexpressible joy, found it spotted, in several places, with what
appeared to be figures arranged in lines. Again I placed it in the
pan, and suffered it to remain another minute. Upon taking it off,
the whole was just as you see it now." Here Legrand, having re-heated
the parchment, submitted it to my inspection. The following
characters were rudely traced, in a red tint, between the
death's-head and the goat:


;46(;88*96*?;8)*(;485);5*2:*(;4956*2(5*- 4)88*;40692



"But," said I, returning him the slip, "I am as much in the dark
as ever. Were all the jewels of Golconda awaiting me upon my solution
of this enigma, I am quite sure that I should be unable to earn

"And yet," said Legrand, "the solution is by no means so
difficult as you might be lead to imagine from the first hasty
inspection of the characters. These characters, as any one might
readily guess, form a cipher - that is to say, they convey a meaning;
but then, from what is known of Kidd, I could not suppose him capable
of constructing any of the more abstruse cryptographs. I made up my
mind, at once, that this was of a simple species - such, however, as
would appear, to the crude intellect of the sailor, absolutely
insoluble without the key."

"And you really solved it?"

"Readily; I have solved others of an abstruseness ten thousand
times greater. Circumstances, and a certain bias of mind, have led me
to take interest in such riddles, and it may well be doubted whether
human ingenuity can construct an enigma of the kind which human
ingenuity may not, by proper application, resolve. In fact, having
once established connected and legible characters, I scarcely gave a
thought to the mere difficulty of developing their import.

"In the present case - indeed in all cases of secret writing -
the first question regards the language of the cipher; for the
principles of solution, so far, especially, as the more simple
ciphers are concerned, depend upon, and are varied by, the genius of
the particular idiom. In general, there is no alternative but
experiment (directed by probabilities) of every tongue known to him
who attempts the solution, until the true one be attained. But, with
the cipher now before us, all difficulty was removed by the
signature. The pun upon the word 'Kidd' is appreciable in no other
language than the English. But for this consideration I should have
begun my attempts with the Spanish and French, as the tongues in
which a secret of this kind would most naturally have been written by
a pirate of the Spanish main. As it was, I assumed the cryptograph to
be English.

"You observe there are no divisions between the words. Had there
been divisions, the task would have been comparatively easy. In such
case I should have commenced with a collation and analysis of the
shorter words, and, had a word of a single letter occurred, as is
most likely, (a or I, for example,) I should have considered the
solution as assured. But, there being no division, my first step was
to ascertain the predominant letters, as well as the least frequent.
Counting all, I constructed a table, thus:

Of the character 8 there are 33.

; " 26.

4 " 19.

) " 16.

* " 13.

5 " 12.

6 " 11.

1 " 8.

0 " 6.

9 2 " 5.

: 3 " 4.

? " 3.

" 2.

-. " 1.

"Now, in English, the letter which most frequently occurs is e.
Afterwards, succession runs thus: _a o i d h n r s t u y c f g l m w
b k p q x z_. _E_ predominates so remarkably that an individual
sentence of any length is rarely seen, in which it is not the
prevailing character.

"Here, then, we leave, in the very beginning, the groundwork for
something more than a mere guess. The general use which may be made
of the table is obvious - but, in this particular cipher, we shall
only very partially require its aid. As our predominant character is
8, we will commence by assuming it as the _e_ of the natural
alphabet. To verify the supposition, let us observe if the 8 be seen
often in couples - for _e_ is doubled with great frequency in English
- in such words, for example, as 'meet,' '.fleet,' 'speed,' 'seen,'
been,' 'agree,' &c. In the present instance we see it doubled no less
than five times, although the cryptograph is brief.

"Let us assume 8, then, as _e_. Now, of all _words_ in the
language, 'the' is most usual; let us see, therefore, whether there
are not repetitions of any three characters, in the same order of
collocation, the last of them being 8. If we discover repetitions of
such letters, so arranged, they will most probably represent the word
'the.' Upon inspection, we find no less than seven such arrangements,
the characters being ;48. We may, therefore, assume that ; represents
_t_, 4 represents _h_, and 8 represents _e_ - the last being now well
confirmed. Thus a great step has been taken.

"But, having established a single word, we are enabled to
establish a vastly important point; that is to say, several
commencements and terminations of other words. Let us refer, for
example, to the last instance but one, in which the combination ;48
occurs - not far from the end of the cipher. We know that the ;
immediately ensuing is the commencement of a word, and, of the six
characters succeeding this 'the,' we are cognizant of no less than
five. Let us set these characters down, thus, by the letters we know
them to represent, leaving a space for the unknown -

t eeth.

"Here we are enabled, at once, to discard the 'th,' as forming no
portion of the word commencing with the first t; since, by experiment
of the entire alphabet for a letter adapted to the vacancy, we
perceive that no word can be formed of which this _th_ can be a part.
We are thus narrowed into

t ee,

and, going through the alphabet, if necessary, as before, we arrive
at the word 'tree,' as the sole possible reading. We thus gain
another letter, _r_, represented by (, with the words 'the tree' in

"Looking beyond these words, for a short distance, we again see
the combination ;48, and employ it by way of _termination_ to what
immediately precedes. We have thus this arrangement:

the tree ;4(?34 the,

or, substituting the natural letters, where known, it reads thus:

the tree thr?3h the.

"Now, if, in place of the unknown characters, we leave blank
spaces, or substitute dots, we read thus:

the tree thr...h the,

when the word '_through_' makes itself evident at once. But this
discovery gives us three new letters, _o_, _u_ and _g_, represented
by ? and 3.

"Looking now, narrowly, through the cipher for combinations of
known characters, we find, not very far from the beginning, this

83(88, or egree,

which, plainly, is the conclusion of the word 'degree,' and gives us
another letter, _d_, represented by .

"Four letters beyond the word 'degree,' we perceive the


"Translating the known characters, and representing the unknown
by dots, as before, we read thus: th rtee. an arrangement immediately
suggestive of the word 'thirteen,' and again furnishing us with two
new characters, _i_ and _n_, represented by 6 and *.

"Referring, now, to the beginning of the cryptograph, we find the


"Translating, as before, we obtain


which assures us that the first letter is _A_, and that the first two
words are 'A good.'

"It is now time that we arrange our key, as far as discovered, in
a tabular form, to avoid confusion. It will stand thus:

5 represents a

" d

8 " e

3 " g

4 " h

6 " i

* " n

" o

( " r

; " t

"We have, therefore, no less than ten of the most important
letters represented, and it will be unnecessary to proceed with the
details of the solution. I have said enough to convince you that
ciphers of this nature are readily soluble, and to give you some
insight into the rationale of their development. But be assured that
the specimen before us appertains to the very simplest species of
cryptograph. It now only remains to give you the full translation of
the characters upon the parchment, as unriddled. Here it is:

" '_A good glass in the bishop's hostel in the devil's seat
forty-one degrees and thirteen minutes northeast and by north main
branch seventh limb east side shoot from the left eye of the
death's-head a bee line from the tree through the shot fifty feet
out_.' "

"But," said I, "the enigma seems still in as bad a condition as
ever. How is it possible to extort a meaning from all this jargon
about 'devil's seats,' 'death's heads,' and 'bishop's hotels?' "

"I confess," replied Legrand, "that the matter still wears a
serious aspect, when regarded with a casual glance. My first endeavor
was to divide the sentence into the natural division intended by the

"You mean, to punctuate it?"

"Something of that kind."

"But how was it possible to effect this?"

"I reflected that it had been a point with the writer to run his
words together without division, so as to increase the difficulty of
solution. Now, a not over-acute man, in pursuing such an object would
be nearly certain to overdo the matter. When, in the course of his
composition, he arrived at a break in his subject which would
naturally require a pause, or a point, he would be exceedingly apt to
run his characters, at this place, more than usually close together.
If you will observe the MS., in the present instance, you will easily
detect five such cases of unusual crowding. Acting upon this hint, I
made the division thus: 'A good glass in the Bishop's hostel in the
Devil's seat - forty-one degrees and thirteen minutes - northeast and
by north - main branch seventh limb east side - shoot from the left
eye of the death's-head - a bee-line from the tree through the shot
fifty feet out.' "

"Even this division," said I, "leaves me still in the dark."

"It left me also in the dark," replied Legrand, "for a few days;
during which I made diligent inquiry, in the neighborhood of
Sullivan's Island, for any building which went by the name of the
'Bishop's Hotel;' for, of course, I dropped the obsolete word
'hostel.' Gaining no information on the subject, I was on the point
of extending my sphere of search, and proceeding in a more systematic
manner, when, one morning, it entered into my head, quite suddenly,
that this 'Bishop's Hostel' might have some reference to an old
family, of the name of Bessop, which, time out of mind, had held
possession of an ancient manor-house, about four miles to the
northward of the Island. I accordingly went over to the plantation,
and re-instituted my inquiries among the older negroes of the place.
At length one of the most aged of the women said that she had heard
of such a place as Bessop's Castle, and thought that she could guide
me to it, but that it was not a castle nor a tavern, but a high rock.

"I offered to pay her well for her trouble, and, after some
demur, she consented to accompany me to the spot. We found it without
much difficulty, when, dismissing her, I proceeded to examine the
place. The 'castle' consisted of an irregular assemblage of cliffs
and rocks - one of the latter being quite remarkable for its height
as well as for its insulated and artificial appearance I clambered to
its apex, and then felt much at a loss as to what should be next

"While I was busied in reflection, my eyes fell upon a narrow
ledge in the eastern face of the rock, perhaps a yard below the
summit upon which I stood. This ledge projected about eighteen
inches, and was not more than a foot wide, while a niche in the cliff
just above it, gave it a rude resemblance to one of the hollow-backed
chairs used by our ancestors. I made no doubt that here was the
'devil's seat' alluded to in the MS., and now I seemed to grasp the
full secret of the riddle.

"The 'good glass,' I knew, could have reference to nothing but a
telescope; for the word 'glass' is rarely employed in any other sense
by seamen. Now here, I at once saw, was a telescope to be used, and a
definite point of view, admitting no variation, from which to use it.
Nor did I hesitate to believe that the phrases, "forty-one degrees
and thirteen minutes,' and 'northeast and by north,' were intended as
directions for the levelling of the glass. Greatly excited by these
discoveries, I hurried home, procured a telescope, and returned to
the rock.

"I let myself down to the ledge, and found that it was impossible
to retain a seat upon it except in one particular position. This fact
confirmed my preconceived idea. I proceeded to use the glass. Of
course, the 'forty-one degrees and thirteen minutes' could allude to
nothing but elevation above the visible horizon, since the horizontal
direction was clearly indicated by the words, 'northeast and by
north.' This latter direction I at once established by means of a
pocket-compass; then, pointing the glass as nearly at an angle of
forty-one degrees of elevation as I could do it by guess, I moved it
cautiously up or down, until my attention was arrested by a circular
rift or opening in the foliage of a large tree that overtopped its
fellows in the distance. In the centre of this rift I perceived a
white spot, but could not, at first, distinguish what it was.
Adjusting the focus of the telescope, I again looked, and now made it
out to be a human skull.

"Upon this discovery I was so sanguine as to consider the enigma
solved; for the phrase 'main branch, seventh limb, east side,' could
refer only to the position of the skull upon the tree, while 'shoot
from the left eye of the death's head' admitted, also, of but one
interpretation, in regard to a search for buried treasure. I
perceived that the design was to drop a bullet from the left eye of
the skull, and that a bee-line, or, in other words, a straight line,
drawn from the nearest point of the trunk through 'the shot,' (or the
spot where the bullet fell,) and thence extended to a distance of
fifty feet, would indicate a definite point - and beneath this point
I thought it at least possible that a deposit of value lay

"All this," I said, "is exceedingly clear, and, although
ingenious, still simple and explicit. When you left the Bishop's
Hotel, what then?"

"Why, having carefully taken the bearings of the tree, I turned
homewards. The instant that I left 'the devil's seat,' however, the
circular rift vanished; nor could I get a glimpse of it afterwards,
turn as I would. What seems to me the chief ingenuity in this whole
business, is the fact (for repeated experiment has convinced me it is
a fact) that the circular opening in question is visible from no
other attainable point of view than that afforded by the narrow ledge
upon the face of the rock.

"In this expedition to the 'Bishop's Hotel' I had been attended
by Jupiter, who had, no doubt, observed, for some weeks past, the
abstraction of my demeanor, and took especial care not to leave me
alone. But, on the next day, getting up very early, I contrived to
give him the slip, and went into the hills in search of the tree.
After much toil I found it. When I came home at night my valet
proposed to give me a flogging. With the rest of the adventure I
believe you are as well acquainted as myself."

"I suppose," said I, "you missed the spot, in the first attempt
at digging, through Jupiter's stupidity in letting the bug fall
through the right instead of through the left eye of the skull."

"Precisely. This mistake made a difference of about two inches
and a half in the 'shot' - that is to say, in the position of the peg
nearest the tree; and had the treasure been beneath the 'shot,' the
error would have been of little moment; but 'the shot,' together with
the nearest point of the tree, were merely two points for the
establishment of a line of direction; of course the error, however
trivial in the beginning, increased as we proceeded with the line,
and by the time we had gone fifty feet, threw us quite off the scent.
But for my deep-seated impressions that treasure was here somewhere
actually buried, we might have had all our labor in vain."

"But your grandiloquence, and your conduct in swinging the beetle
- how excessively odd! I was sure you were mad. And why did you
insist upon letting fall the bug, instead of a bullet, from the

"Why, to be frank, I felt somewhat annoyed by your evident
suspicions touching my sanity, and so resolved to punish you quietly,
in my own way, by a little bit of sober mystification. For this
reason I swung the beetle, and for this reason I let it fall it from
the tree. An observation of yours about its great weight suggested
the latter idea."

"Yes, I perceive; and now there is only one point which puzzles
me. What are we to make of the skeletons found in the hole?"

"That is a question I am no more able to answer than yourself.
There seems, however, only one plausible way of accounting for them -
and yet it is dreadful to believe in such atrocity as my suggestion
would imply. It is clear that Kidd - if Kidd indeed secreted this
treasure, which I doubt not - it is clear that he must have had
assistance in the labor. But this labor concluded, he may have
thought it expedient to remove all participants in his secret.
Perhaps a couple of blows with a mattock were sufficient, while his
coadjutors were busy in the pit; perhaps it required a dozen - who
shall tell?"



~~~ End of Text ~~~




Chacun a ses vertus.
--_Crebillon's Xerxes._

ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES is very generally looked upon as the Gog of the
prophet Ezekiel. This honor is, however, more properly attributable
to Cambyses, the son of Cyrus. And, indeed, the character of the
Syrian monarch does by no means stand in need of any adventitious
embellishment. His accession to the throne, or rather his usurpation
of the sovereignty, a hundred and seventy-one years before the coming
of Christ; his attempt to plunder the temple of Diana at Ephesus; his
implacable hostility to the Jews; his pollution of the Holy of
Holies; and his miserable death at Taba, after a tumultuous reign of
eleven years, are circumstances of a prominent kind, and therefore
more generally noticed by the historians of his time than the
impious, dastardly, cruel, silly, and whimsical achievements which
make up the sum total of his private life and reputation.

Let us suppose, gentle reader, that it is now the year of the world
three thousand eight hundred and thirty, and let us, for a few
minutes, imagine ourselves at that most grotesque habitation of man,
the remarkable city of Antioch. To be sure there were, in Syria and
other countries, sixteen cities of that appellation, besides the one
to which I more particularly allude. But ours is that which went by
the name of Antiochia Epidaphne, from its vicinity to the little
village of Daphne, where stood a temple to that divinity. It was
built (although about this matter there is some dispute) by Seleucus
Nicanor, the first king of the country after Alexander the Great, in
memory of his father Antiochus, and became immediately the residence
of the Syrian monarchy. In the flourishing times of the Roman Empire,
it was the ordinary station of the prefect of the eastern provinces;
and many of the emperors of the queen city (among whom may be
mentioned, especially, Verus and Valens) spent here the greater part
of their time. But I perceive we have arrived at the city itself. Let
us ascend this battlement, and throw our eyes upon the town and
neighboring country.

"What broad and rapid river is that which forces its way, with
innumerable falls, through the mountainous wilderness, and finally
through the wilderness of buildings?"

That is the Orontes, and it is the only water in sight, with the
exception of the Mediterranean, which stretches, like a broad mirror,
about twelve miles off to the southward. Every one has seen the
Mediterranean; but let me tell you, there are few who have had a peep
at Antioch. By few, I mean, few who, like you and me, have had, at
the same time, the advantages of a modern education. Therefore cease
to regard that sea, and give your whole attention to the mass of
houses that lie beneath us. You will remember that it is now the year
of the world three thousand eight hundred and thirty. Were it later
-- for example, were it the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and
forty-five, we should be deprived of this extraordinary spectacle. In
the nineteenth century Antioch is -- that is to say, Antioch will be
-- in a lamentable state of decay. It will have been, by that time,
totally destroyed, at three different periods, by three successive
earthquakes. Indeed, to say the truth, what little of its former self
may then remain, will be found in so desolate and ruinous a state
that the patriarch shall have removed his residence to Damascus. This
is well. I see you profit by my advice, and are making the most of
your time in inspecting the premises -- in

-satisfying your eyes

With the memorials and the things of fame

That most renown this city.-

I beg pardon; I had forgotten that Shakespeare will not flourish for
seventeen hundred and fifty years to come. But does not the
appearance of Epidaphne justify me in calling it grotesque?

"It is well fortified; and in this respect is as much indebted to
nature as to art."

Very true.

"There are a prodigious number of stately palaces."

There are.

"And the numerous temples, sumptuous and magnificent, may bear
comparison with the most lauded of antiquity."

All this I must acknowledge. Still there is an infinity of mud huts,
and abominable hovels. We cannot help perceiving abundance of filth
in every kennel, and, were it not for the over-powering fumes of
idolatrous incense, I have no doubt we should find a most intolerable
stench. Did you ever behold streets so insufferably narrow, or houses
so miraculously tall? What gloom their shadows cast upon the ground!
It is well the swinging lamps in those endless colonnades are kept
burning throughout the day; we should otherwise have the darkness of
Egypt in the time of her desolation.

"It is certainly a strange place! What is the meaning of yonder
singular building? See! it towers above all others, and lies to the
eastward of what I take to be the royal palace."

That is the new Temple of the Sun, who is adored in Syria under the
title of Elah Gabalah. Hereafter a very notorious Roman Emperor will
institute this worship in Rome, and thence derive a cognomen,
Heliogabalus. I dare say you would like to take a peep at the
divinity of the temple. You need not look up at the heavens; his
Sunship is not there -- at least not the Sunship adored by the
Syrians. That deity will be found in the interior of yonder building.
He is worshipped under the figure of a large stone pillar terminating
at the summit in a cone or pyramid, whereby is denoted Fire.

"Hark -- behold! -- who can those ridiculous beings be, half naked,
with their faces painted, shouting and gesticulating to the rabble?"

Some few are mountebanks. Others more particularly belong to the race
of philosophers. The greatest portion, however -- those especially
who belabor the populace with clubs -- are the principal courtiers of
the palace, executing as in duty bound, some laudable comicality of
the king's.

"But what have we here? Heavens! the town is swarming with wild
beasts! How terrible a spectacle! -- how dangerous a peculiarity!"

Terrible, if you please; but not in the least degree dangerous. Each
animal if you will take the pains to observe, is following, very
quietly, in the wake of its master. Some few, to be sure, are led
with a rope about the neck, but these are chiefly the lesser or timid
species. The lion, the tiger, and the leopard are entirely without
restraint. They have been trained without difficulty to their present
profession, and attend upon their respective owners in the capacity
of valets-de-chambre. It is true, there are occasions when Nature
asserts her violated dominions; -- but then the devouring of a
man-at-arms, or the throttling of a consecrated bull, is a
circumstance of too little moment to be more than hinted at in

"But what extraordinary tumult do I hear? Surely this is a loud noise
even for Antioch! It argues some commotion of unusual interest."

Yes -- undoubtedly. The king has ordered some novel spectacle -- some
gladiatorial exhibition at the hippodrome -- or perhaps the massacre
of the Scythian prisoners -- or the conflagration of his new palace
-- or the tearing down of a handsome temple -- or, indeed, a bonfire
of a few Jews. The uproar increases. Shouts of laughter ascend the
skies. The air becomes dissonant with wind instruments, and horrible
with clamor of a million throats. Let us descend, for the love of
fun, and see what is going on! This way -- be careful! Here we are in
the principal street, which is called the street of Timarchus. The
sea of people is coming this way, and we shall find a difficulty in
stemming the tide. They are pouring through the alley of Heraclides,
which leads directly from the palace; -- therefore the king is most
probably among the rioters. Yes; -- I hear the shouts of the herald
proclaiming his approach in the pompous phraseology of the East. We
shall have a glimpse of his person as he passes by the temple of
Ashimah. Let us ensconce ourselves in the vestibule of the sanctuary;
he will be here anon. In the meantime let us survey this image. What
is it? Oh! it is the god Ashimah in proper person. You perceive,
however, that he is neither a lamb, nor a goat, nor a satyr, neither
has he much resemblance to the Pan of the Arcadians. Yet all these
appearances have been given -- I beg pardon -- will be given -- by
the learned of future ages, to the Ashimah of the Syrians. Put on
your spectacles, and tell me what it is. What is it?

"Bless me! it is an ape!"

True -- a baboon; but by no means the less a deity. His name is a
derivation of the Greek Simia -- what great fools are antiquarians!
But see! -- see! -- yonder scampers a ragged little urchin. Where is
he going? What is he bawling about? What does he say? Oh! he says the
king is coming in triumph; that he is dressed in state; that he has
just finished putting to death, with his own hand, a thousand chained
Israelitish prisoners! For this exploit the ragamuffin is lauding him
to the skies. Hark! here comes a troop of a similar description. They
have made a Latin hymn upon the valor of the king, and are singing it
as they go:

Mille, mille, mille,

Mille, mille, mille,

Decollavimus, unus homo!

Mille, mille, mille, mille, decollavimus!

Mille, mille, mille,

Vivat qui mille mille occidit!

Tantum vini habet nemo

Quantum sanguinis effudit!{*1}

Which may be thus paraphrased:

A thousand, a thousand, a thousand,

A thousand, a thousand, a thousand,

We, with one warrior, have slain!

A thousand, a thousand, a thousand, a thousand.

Sing a thousand over again!

Soho! -- let us sing

Long life to our king,

Who knocked over a thousand so fine!

Soho! -- let us roar,

He has given us more

Red gallons of gore

Than all Syria can furnish of wine!

"Do you hear that flourish of trumpets?"

Yes: the king is coming! See! the people are aghast with admiration,
and lift up their eyes to the heavens in reverence. He comes; -- he
is coming; -- there he is!

"Who? -- where? -- the king? -- do not behold him -- cannot say that
I perceive him."

Then you must be blind.

"Very possible. Still I see nothing but a tumultuous mob of idiots
and madmen, who are busy in prostrating themselves before a gigantic
cameleopard, and endeavoring to obtain a kiss of the animal's hoofs.
See! the beast has very justly kicked one of the rabble over -- and
another -- and another -- and another. Indeed, I cannot help admiring
the animal for the excellent use he is making of his feet."

Rabble, indeed! -- why these are the noble and free citizens of
Epidaphne! Beasts, did you say? -- take care that you are not
overheard. Do you not perceive that the animal has the visage of a
man? Why, my dear sir, that cameleopard is no other than Antiochus
Epiphanes, Antiochus the Illustrious, King of Syria, and the most
potent of all the autocrats of the East! It is true, that he is
entitled, at times, Antiochus Epimanes -- Antiochus the madman -- but
that is because all people have not the capacity to appreciate his
merits. It is also certain that he is at present ensconced in the
hide of a beast, and is doing his best to play the part of a
cameleopard; but this is done for the better sustaining his dignity
as king. Besides, the monarch is of gigantic stature, and the dress
is therefore neither unbecoming nor over large. We may, however,
presume he would not have adopted it but for some occasion of
especial state. Such, you will allow, is the massacre of a thousand
Jews. With how superior a dignity the monarch perambulates on all
fours! His tail, you perceive, is held aloft by his two principal
concubines, Elline and Argelais; and his whole appearance would be
infinitely prepossessing, were it not for the protuberance of his
eyes, which will certainly start out of his head, and the queer color
of his face, which has become nondescript from the quantity of wine
he has swallowed. Let us follow him to the hippodrome, whither he is
proceeding, and listen to the song of triumph which he is commencing:

Who is king but Epiphanes?

Say -- do you know?

Who is king but Epiphanes?

Bravo! -- bravo!

There is none but Epiphanes,

No -- there is none:

So tear down the temples,

And put out the sun!

Well and strenuously sung! The populace are hailing him 'Prince of
Poets,' as well as 'Glory of the East,' 'Delight of the Universe,'
and 'Most Remarkable of Cameleopards.' They have encored his
effusion, and do you hear? -- he is singing it over again. When he
arrives at the hippodrome, he will be crowned with the poetic wreath,
in anticipation of his victory at the approaching Olympics.

"But, good Jupiter! what is the matter in the crowd behind us?"

Behind us, did you say? -- oh! ah! -- I perceive. My friend, it is
well that you spoke in time. Let us get into a place of safety as
soon as possible. Here! -- let us conceal ourselves in the arch of
this aqueduct, and I will inform you presently of the origin of the
commotion. It has turned out as I have been anticipating. The
singular appearance of the cameleopard and the head of a man, has, it
seems, given offence to the notions of propriety entertained, in
general, by the wild animals domesticated in the city. A mutiny has
been the result; and, as is usual upon such occasions, all human
efforts will be of no avail in quelling the mob. Several of the
Syrians have already been devoured; but the general voice of the
four-footed patriots seems to be for eating up the cameleopard. 'The
Prince of Poets,' therefore, is upon his hinder legs, running for his
life. His courtiers have left him in the lurch, and his concubines
have followed so excellent an example. 'Delight of the Universe,'
thou art in a sad predicament! 'Glory of the East,' thou art in
danger of mastication! Therefore never regard so piteously thy tail;
it will undoubtedly be draggled in the mud, and for this there is no
help. Look not behind thee, then, at its unavoidable degradation; but
take courage, ply thy legs with vigor, and scud for the hippodrome!
Remember that thou art Antiochus Epiphanes. Antiochus the
Illustrious! -- also 'Prince of Poets,' 'Glory of the East,' 'Delight
of the Universe,' and 'Most Remarkable of Cameleopards!' Heavens!
what a power of speed thou art displaying! What a capacity for
leg-bail thou art developing! Run, Prince! -- Bravo, Epiphanes! Well
done, Cameleopard! -- Glorious Antiochus! -- He runs! -- he leaps! --
he flies! Like an arrow from a catapult he approaches the hippodrome!
He leaps! -- he shrieks! -- he is there! This is well; for hadst
thou, 'Glory of the East,' been half a second longer in reaching the
gates of the Amphitheatre, there is not a bear's cub in Epidaphne
that would not have had a nibble at thy carcase. Let us be off -- let
us take our departure! -- for we shall find our delicate modern ears
unable to endure the vast uproar which is about to commence in
celebration of the king's escape! Listen! it has already commenced.
See! -- the whole town is topsy-turvy.

"Surely this is the most populous city of the East! What a wilderness
of people! what a jumble of all ranks and ages! what a multiplicity
of sects and nations! what a variety of costumes! what a Babel of
languages! what a screaming of beasts! what a tinkling of
instruments! what a parcel of philosophers!"

Come let us be off.

"Stay a moment! I see a vast hubbub in the hippodrome; what is the
meaning of it, I beseech you?"

That? -- oh, nothing! The noble and free citizens of Epidaphne being,
as they declare, well satisfied of the faith, valor, wisdom, and
divinity of their king, and having, moreover, been eye-witnesses of
his late superhuman agility, do think it no more than their duty to
invest his brows (in addition to the poetic crown) with the wreath of
victory in the footrace -- a wreath which it is evident he must
obtain at the celebration of the next Olympiad, and which, therefore,
they now give him in advance.

~~~ End of Text ~~~

Footnotes -- Four Beasts

{*1} Flavius Vospicus says, that the hymn here introduced was sung by
the rabble upon the occasion of Aurelian, in the Sarmatic war, having
slain, with his own hand, nine hundred and fifty of the enemy.



What song the Syrens sang, or what name Achilles assumed when he hid
himself among women, although puzzling questions, are not beyond
_all_ conjecture.

--_Sir Thomas Browne._

The mental features discoursed of as the analytical, are, in
themselves, but little susceptible of analysis. We appreciate them
only in their effects. We know of them, among other things, that they
are always to their possessor, when inordinately possessed, a source
of the liveliest enjoyment. As the strong man exults in his physical
ability, delighting in such exercises as call his muscles into
action, so glories the analyst in that moral activity which
_disentangles._ He derives pleasure from even the most trivial
occupations bringing his talent into play. He is fond of enigmas, of
conundrums, of hieroglyphics; exhibiting in his solutions of each a
degree of _acumen_ which appears to the ordinary apprehension
prternatural. His results, brought about by the very soul and
essence of method, have, in truth, the whole air of intuition.

The faculty of re-solution is possibly much invigorated by
mathematical study, and especially by that highest branch of it
which, unjustly, and merely on account of its retrograde operations,
has been called, as if _par excellence_, analysis. Yet to calculate
is not in itself to analyse. A chess-player, for example, does the
one without effort at the other. It follows that the game of chess,
in its effects upon mental character, is greatly misunderstood. I am
not now writing a treatise, but simply prefacing a somewhat peculiar
narrative by observations very much at random; I will, therefore,
take occasion to assert that the higher powers of the reflective
intellect are more decidedly and more usefully tasked by the
unostentatious game of draughts than by a the elaborate frivolity of
chess. In this latter, where the pieces have different and _bizarre_
motions, with various and variable values, what is only complex is
mistaken (a not unusual error) for what is profound. The _attention_
is here called powerfully into play. If it flag for an instant, an
oversight is committed resulting in injury or defeat. The possible
moves being not only manifold but involute, the chances of such
oversights are multiplied; and in nine cases out of ten it is the
more concentrative rather than the more acute player who conquers. In
draughts, on the contrary, where the moves are _unique_ and have but
little variation, the probabilities of inadvertence are diminished,
and the mere attention being left comparatively unemployed, what
advantages are obtained by either party are obtained by superior
_acumen_. To be less abstract - Let us suppose a game of draughts
where the pieces are reduced to four kings, and where, of course, no
oversight is to be expected. It is obvious that here the victory can
be decided (the players being at all equal) only by some _recherch_
movement, the result of some strong exertion of the intellect.
Deprived of ordinary resources, the analyst throws himself into the
spirit of his opponent, identifies himself therewith, and not
unfrequently sees thus, at a glance, the sole methods (sometime
indeed absurdly simple ones) by which he may seduce into error or
hurry into miscalculation.

Whist has long been noted for its influence upon what is termed the
calculating power; and men of the highest order of intellect have
been known to take an apparently unaccountable delight in it, while
eschewing chess as frivolous. Beyond doubt there is nothing of a
similar nature so greatly tasking the faculty of analysis. The best
chess-player in Christendom _may_ be little more than the best player
of chess; but proficiency in whist implies capacity for success in
all those more important undertakings where mind struggles with mind.
When I say proficiency, I mean that perfection in the game which
includes a comprehension of _all_ the sources whence legitimate
advantage may be derived. These are not only manifold but multiform,
and lie frequently among recesses of thought altogether inaccessible
to the ordinary understanding. To observe attentively is to remember
distinctly; and, so far, the concentrative chess-player will do very
well at whist; while the rules of Hoyle (themselves based upon the
mere mechanism of the game) are sufficiently and generally
comprehensible. Thus to have a retentive memory, and to proceed by
"the book," are points commonly regarded as the sum total of good
playing. But it is in matters beyond the limits of mere rule that the
skill of the analyst is evinced. He makes, in silence, a host of
observations and inferences. So, perhaps, do his companions; and the
difference in the extent of the information obtained, lies not so
much in the validity of the inference as in the quality of the
observation. The necessary knowledge is that of _what_ to observe.
Our player confines himself not at all; nor, because the game is the
object, does he reject deductions from things external to the game.
He examines the countenance of his partner, comparing it carefully
with that of each of his opponents. He considers the mode of
assorting the cards in each hand; often counting trump by trump, and
honor by honor, through the glances bestowed by their holders upon
each. He notes every variation of face as the play progresses,
gathering a fund of thought from the differences in the expression of
certainty, of surprise, of triumph, or of chagrin. From the manner of
gathering up a trick he judges whether the person taking it can make
another in the suit. He recognises what is played through feint, by
the air with which it is thrown upon the table. A casual or
inadvertent word; the accidental dropping or turning of a card, with
the accompanying anxiety or carelessness in regard to its
concealment; the counting of the tricks, with the order of their
arrangement; embarrassment, hesitation, eagerness or trepidation -
all afford, to his apparently intuitive perception, indications of
the true state of affairs. The first two or three rounds having been
played, he is in full possession of the contents of each hand, and
thenceforward puts down his cards with as absolute a precision of
purpose as if the rest of the party had turned outward the faces of
their own.

The analytical power should not be confounded with ample ingenuity;
for while the analyst is necessarily ingenious, the ingenious man is
often remarkably incapable of analysis. The constructive or combining
power, by which ingenuity is usually manifested, and to which the
phrenologists (I believe erroneously) have assigned a separate organ,
supposing it a primitive faculty, has been so frequently seen in
those whose intellect bordered otherwise upon idiocy, as to have
attracted general observation among writers on morals. Between
ingenuity and the analytic ability there exists a difference far
greater, indeed, than that between the fancy and the imagination, but
of a character very strictly analogous. It will be found, in fact,
that the ingenious are always fanciful, and the _truly_ imaginative
never otherwise than analytic.

The narrative which follows will appear to the reader somewhat in the
light of a commentary upon the propositions just advanced.

Residing in Paris during the spring and part of the summer of 18--, I
there became acquainted with a Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin. This young
gentleman was of an excellent - indeed of an illustrious family, but,
by a variety of untoward events, had been reduced to such poverty
that the energy of his character succumbed beneath it, and he ceased
to bestir himself in the world, or to care for the retrieval of his
fortunes. By courtesy of his creditors, there still remained in his
possession a small remnant of his patrimony; and, upon the income
arising from this, he managed, by means of a rigorous economy, to
procure the necessaries of life, without troubling himself about its
superfluities. Books, indeed, were his sole luxuries, and in Paris
these are easily obtained.

Our first meeting was at an obscure library in the Rue Montmartre,
where the accident of our both being in search of the same very rare
and very remarkable volume, brought us into closer communion. We saw
each other again and again. I was deeply interested in the little
family history which he detailed to me with all that candor which a
Frenchman indulges whenever mere self is his theme. I was astonished,
too, at the vast extent of his reading; and, above all, I felt my
soul enkindled within me by the wild fervor, and the vivid freshness
of his imagination. Seeking in Paris the objects I then sought, I
felt that the societyof such a man would be to me a treasure beyond
price; and this feeling I frankly confided to him. It was at length
arranged that we should live together during my stay in the city; and
as my worldly circumstances were somewhat less embarrassed than his
own, I was permitted to be at the expense of renting, and furnishing
in a style which suited the rather fantastic gloom of our common
temper, a time-eaten and grotesque mansion, long deserted through
superstitions into which we did not inquire, and tottering to its
fall in a retired and desolate portion of the Faubourg St. Germain.

Had the routine of our life at this place been known to the world, we
should have been regarded as madmen - although, perhaps, as madmen of
a harmless nature. Our seclusion was perfect. We admitted no
visitors. Indeed the locality of our retirement had been carefully
kept a secret from my own former associates; and it had been many
years since Dupin had ceased to know or be known in Paris. We existed
within ourselves alone.

It was a freak of fancy in my friend (for what else shall I call it?)
to be enamored of the Night for her own sake; and into this
_bizarrerie_, as into all his others, I quietly fell; giving myself
up to his wild whims with a perfect _abandon_. The sable divinity
would not herself dwell with us always; but we could counterfeit her
presence. At the first dawn of the morning we closed all the messy
shutters of our old building; lighting a couple of tapers which,
strongly perfumed, threw out only the ghastliest and feeblest of
rays. By the aid of these we then busied our souls in dreams -
reading, writing, or conversing, until warned by the clock of the
advent of the true Darkness. Then we sallied forth into the streets
arm in arm, continuing the topics of the day, or roaming far and wide
until a late hour, seeking, amid the wild lights and shadows of the
populous city, that infinity of mental excitement which quiet
observation can afford.

At such times I could not help remarking and admiring (although from
his rich ideality I had been prepared to expect it) a peculiar
analytic ability in Dupin. He seemed, too, to take an eager delight
in its exercise - if not exactly in its display - and did not
hesitate to confess the pleasure thus derived. He boastedto me, with
a low chuckling laugh, that most men, in respect to himself, wore
windows in their bosoms, and was wont to follow up such assertions by
direct and very startling proofs of his intimate knowledge of my own.
His manner at these moments was frigid and abstract; his eyes were
vacant in expression; while his voice, usually a rich tenor, rose
into a treble which would have sounded petulantly but for the
deliberateness and entire distinctness of the enunciation. Observing
him in these moods, I often dwelt meditatively upon the old
philosophy of the Bi-Part Soul, and amused myself with the fancy of a
double Dupin - the creative and the resolvent.

Let it not be supposed, from what I have just said, that I am
detailing any mystery, or penning any romance. What I have described
in the Frenchman, was merely the result of an excited, or perhaps of
a diseased intelligence. But of the character of his remarks at the
periods in question an example will best convey the idea.

We were strolling one night down a long dirty street in the vicinity
of the Palais Royal. Being both, apparently, occupied with thought,
neither of us had spoken a syllable for fifteen minutes at least. All
at once Dupin broke forth with these words:

"He is a very little fellow, that's true, and would do better for the
_Thtre des Varits_."

"There can be no doubt of that," I replied unwittingly, and not at
first observing (so much had I been absorbed in reflection) the
extraordinary manner in which the speaker had chimed in with my
meditations. In an instant afterward I recollected myself, and my
astonishment was profound.

"Dupin," said I, gravely, "this is beyond my comprehension. I do not
hesitate to say that I am amazed, and can scarcely credit my senses.
How was it possible you should know I was thinking of ----- ?" Here I
paused, to ascertain beyond a doubt whether he really knew of whom I

-- "of Chantilly," said he, "why do you pause? You were remarking to
yourself that his diminutive figure unfitted him for tragedy."

This was precisely what had formed the subject of my reflections.
Chantilly was a _quondam_ cobbler of the Rue St. Denis, who, becoming
stage-mad, had attempted the _rle_ of Xerxes, in Crbillon's tragedy
so called, and been notoriously Pasquinaded for his pains.

"Tell me, for Heaven's sake," I exclaimed, "the method - if method
there is - by which you have been enabled to fathom my soul in this
matter." In fact I was even more startled than I would have been
willing to express.

"It was the fruiterer," replied my friend, "who brought you to the
conclusion that the mender of soles was not of sufficient height for
Xerxes _et id genus omne_."

"The fruiterer! - you astonish me - I know no fruiterer whomsoever."

"The man who ran up against you as we entered the street - it may
have been fifteen minutes ago."

I now remembered that, in fact, a fruiterer, carrying upon his head a
large basket of apples, had nearly thrown me down, by accident, as we
passed from the Rue C ---- into the thoroughfare where we stood; but
what this had to do with Chantilly I could not possibly understand.

There was not a particle of _charltanerie_ about Dupin. "I will
explain," he said, "and that you may comprehend all clearly, we will
first retrace the course of your meditations, from the moment in
which I spoke to you until that of the _rencontre_ with the fruiterer
in question. The larger links of the chain run thus - Chantilly,
Orion, Dr. Nichols, Epicurus, Stereotomy, the street stones, the

There are few persons who have not, at some period of their lives,
amused themselves in retracing the steps by which particular
conclusions of their own minds have been attained. The occupation is
often full of interest and he who attempts it for the first time is
astonished by the apparently illimitable distance and incoherence
between the starting-point and the goal. What, then, must have been
my amazement when I heard the Frenchman speak what he had just
spoken, and when I could not help acknowledging that he had spoken
the truth. He continued:

"We had been talking of horses, if I remember aright, just before
leaving the Rue C ---- . This was the last subject we discussed. As
we crossed into this street, a fruiterer, with a large basket upon
his head, brushing quickly past us, thrust you upon a pile of paving
stones collected at a spot where the causeway is undergoing repair.
You stepped upon one of the loose fragments, slipped, slightly
strained your ankle, appeared vexed or sulky, muttered a few words,
turned to look at the pile, and then proceeded in silence. I was not
particularly attentive to what you did; but observation has become
with me, of late, a species of necessity.

"You kept your eyes upon the ground - glancing, with a petulant
expression, at the holes and ruts in the pavement, (so that I saw you
were still thinking of the stones,) until we reached the little alley
called Lamartine, which has been paved, by way of experiment, with
the overlapping and riveted blocks. Here your countenance brightened
up, and, perceiving your lips move, I could not doubt that you
murmured the word 'stereotomy,' a term very affectedly applied to
this species of pavement. I knew that you could not say to yourself
'stereotomy' without being brought to think of atomies, and thus of
the theories of Epicurus; and since, when we discussed this subject
not very long ago, I mentioned to you how singularly, yet with how
little notice, the vague guesses of that noble Greek had met with
confirmation in the late nebular cosmogony, I felt that you could not
avoid casting your eyes upward to the great _nebula_ in Orion, and I
certainly expected that you would do so. You did look up; and I was
now assured that I had correctly followed your steps. But in that
bitter _tirade_ upon Chantilly, which appeared in yesterday's
'_Muse_,' the satirist, making some disgraceful allusions to the
cobbler s change of name upon assuming the buskin, quoted a Latin
line about which we have often conversed. I mean the line

Perdidit antiquum litera sonum.

I had told you that this was in reference to Orion, formerly written
Urion; and, from certain pungencies connected with this explanation,
I was aware that you could not have forgotten it. It was clear,
therefore, that you would not fail to combine the two ideas of Orion
and Chantilly. That you did combine them I saw by the character of
the smile which passed over your lips. You thought of the poor
cobbler's immolation. So far, you had been stooping in your gait; but
now I saw you draw yourself up to your full height. I was then sure
that you reflected upon the diminutive figure of Chantilly. At this
point I interrupted your meditations to remark that as, in fact, be
was a very little fellow - that Chantilly - he would do better at the
_Thtre des Varits_."

Not long after this, we were looking over an evening edition of the
"Gazette des Tribunaux," when the following paragraphs arrested our

"EXTRAORDINARY MURDERS. - This morning, about three o'clock, the
inhabitants of the Quartier St. Roch were aroused from sleep by a
succession of terrific shrieks, issuing, apparently, from the fourth
story of a house in the Rue Morgue, known to be in the sole occupancy
of one Madame L'Espanaye, and her daughter Mademoiselle Camille
L'Espanaye. After some delay, occasioned by a fruitless attempt to
procure admission in the usual manner, the gateway was broken in with
a crowbar, and eight or ten of the neighbors entered accompanied by
two _gendarmes_. By this time the cries had ceased; but, as the party
rushed up the first flight of stairs, two or more rough voices in
angry contention were distinguished and seemed to proceed from the
upper part of the house. As the second landing was reached, these
sounds, also, had ceased and everything remained perfectly quiet. The
party spread themselves and hurried from room to room. Upon arriving
at a large back chamber in the fourth story, (the door of which,
being found locked, with the key inside, was forced open,) a
spectacle presented itself which struck every one present not less
with horror than with astonishment.

"The apartment was in the wildest disorder - the furniture broken and
thrown about in all directions. There was only one bedstead; and from
this the bed had been removed, and thrown into the middle of the
floor. On a chair lay a razor, besmeared with blood. On the hearth
were two or three long and thick tresses of grey human hair, also
dabbled in blood, and seeming to have been pulled out by the roots.
Upon the floor were found four Napoleons, an ear-ring of topaz, three
large silver spoons, three smaller of_ mtal d'Alger_, and two bags,
containing nearly four thousand francs in gold. The drawers of a
_bureau_, which stood in one corner were open, and had been,
apparently, rifled, although many articles still remained in them. A
small iron safe was discovered under the _bed_ (not under the
bedstead). It was open, with the key still in the door. It had no
contents beyond a few old letters, and other papers of little

"Of Madame L'Espanaye no traces were here seen; but an unusual
quantity of soot being observed in the fire-place, a search was made
in the chimney, and (horrible to relate!) the; corpse of the
daughter, head downward, was dragged therefrom; it having been thus
forced up the narrow aperture for a considerable distance. The body
was quite warm. Upon examining it, many excoriations were perceived,
no doubt occasioned by the violence with which it had been thrust up
and disengaged. Upon the face were many severe scratches, and, upon
the throat, dark bruises, and deep indentations of finger nails, as
if the deceased had been throttled to death.

"After a thorough investigation of every portion of the house,
without farther discovery, the party made its way into a small paved
yard in the rear of the building, where lay the corpse of the old
lady, with her throat so entirely cut that, upon an attempt to raise
her, the head fell off. The body, as well as the head, was fearfully
mutilated - the former so much so as scarcely to retain any semblance
of humanity.

"To this horrible mystery there is not as yet, we believe, the
slightest clew."

The next day's paper had these additional particulars.

"_The Tragedy in the Rue Morgue._ Many individuals have been examined
in relation to this most extraordinary and frightful affair. [The
word 'affaire' has not yet, in France, that levity of import which it
conveys with us,] "but nothing whatever has transpired to throw light
upon it. We give below all the material testimony elicited.

"_Pauline Dubourg_, laundress, deposes that she has known both the
deceased for three years, having washed for them during that period.
The old lady and her daughter seemed on good terms - very
affectionate towards each other. They were excellent pay. Could not
speak in regard to their mode or means of living. Believed that
Madame L. told fortunes for a living. Was reputed to have money put
by. Never met any persons in the house when she called for the
clothes or took them home. Was sure that they had no servant in
employ. There appeared to be no furniture in any part of the building
except in the fourth story.

"_Pierre Moreau_, tobacconist, deposes that he has been in the habit
of selling small quantities of tobacco and snuff to Madame L'Espanaye
for nearly four years. Was born in the neighborhood, and has always
resided there. The deceased and her daughter had occupied the house
in which the corpses were found, for more than six years. It was
formerly occupied by a jeweller, who under-let the upper rooms to
various persons. The house was the property of Madame L. She became
dissatisfied with the abuse of the premises by her tenant, and moved
into them herself, refusing to let any portion. The old lady was
childish. Witness had seen the daughter some five or six times during
the six years. The two lived an exceedingly retired life - were
reputed to have money. Had heard it said among the neighbors that
Madame L. told fortunes - did not believe it. Had never seen any
person enter the door except the old lady and her daughter, a porter
once or twice, and a physician some eight or ten times.

"Many other persons, neighbors, gave evidence to the same effect. No
one was spoken of as frequenting the house. It was not known whether
there were any living connexions of Madame L. and her daughter. The
shutters of the front windows were seldom opened. Those in the rear
were always closed, with the exception of the large back room, fourth
story. The house was a good house - not very old.

"_Isidore Muset_, _gendarme_, deposes that he was called to the house
about three o'clock in the morning, and found some twenty or thirty
persons at the gateway, endeavoring to gain admittance. Forced it
open, at length, with a bayonet - not with a crowbar. Had but little
difficulty in getting it open, on account of its being a double or
folding gate, and bolted neither at bottom not top. The shrieks were
continued until the gate was forced - and then suddenly ceased. They
seemed to be screams of some person (or persons) in great agony -
were loud and drawn out, not short and quick. Witness led the way up
stairs. Upon reaching the first landing, heard two voices in loud and
angry contention - the one a gruff voice, the other much shriller - a
very strange voice. Could distinguish some words of the former, which
was that of a Frenchman. Was positive that it was not a woman's
voice. Could distinguish the words '_sacr_' and '_diable._' The
shrill voice was that of a foreigner. Could not be sure whether it
was the voice of a man or of a woman. Could not make out what was
said, but believed the language to be Spanish. The state of the room
and of the bodies was described by this witness as we described them

"_Henri Duval_, a neighbor, and by trade a silver-smith, deposes that
he was one of the party who first entered the house. Corroborates the
testimony of Must in general. As soon as they forced an entrance,
they reclosed the door, to keep out the crowd, which collected very
fast, notwithstanding the lateness of the hour. The shrill voice,
this witness thinks, was that of an Italian. Was certain it was not
French. Could not be sure that it was a man's voice. It might have
been a woman's. Was not acquainted with the Italian language. Could
not distinguish the words, but was convinced by the intonation that
the speaker was an Italian. Knew Madame L. and her daughter. Had
conversed with both frequently. Was sure that the shrill voice was
not that of either of the deceased.

"-- _Odenheimer, restaurateur._ This witness volunteered his
testimony. Not speaking French, was examined through an interpreter.
Is a native of Amsterdam. Was passing the house at the time of the
shrieks. They lasted for several minutes - probably ten. They were
long and loud - very awful and distressing. Was one of those who
entered the building. Corroborated the previous evidence in every
respect but one. Was sure that the shrill voice was that of a man -
of a Frenchman. Could not distinguish the words uttered. They were
loud and quick - unequal - spoken apparently in fear as well as in
anger. The voice was harsh - not so much shrill as harsh. Could not
call it a shrill voice. The gruff voice said repeatedly '_sacr_,'
'_diable_,' and once '_mon Dieu._'

"_Jules Mignaud_, banker, of the firm of Mignaud et Fils, Rue
Deloraine. Is the elder Mignaud. Madame L'Espanaye had some property.
Had opened an account with his banking house in the spring of the
year - (eight years previously). Made frequent deposits in small
sums. Had checked for nothing until the third day before her death,
when she took out in person the sum of 4000 francs. This sum was paid
in gold, and a clerk went home with the money.

"_Adolphe Le Bon_, clerk to Mignaud et Fils, deposes that on the day
in question, about noon, he accompanied Madame L'Espanaye to her
residence with the 4000 francs, put up in two bags. Upon the door
being opened, Mademoiselle L. appeared and took from his hands one of
the bags, while the old lady relieved him of the other. He then bowed
and departed. Did not see any person in the street at the time. It is
a bye-street - very lonely.

"_William Bird_, tailor deposes that he was one of the party who
entered the house. Is an Englishman. Has lived in Paris two years.
Was one of the first to ascend the stairs. Heard the voices in
contention. The gruff voice was that of a Frenchman. Could make out
several words, but cannot now remember all. Heard distinctly
'_sacr_' and '_mon Dieu._' There was a sound at the moment as if of
several persons struggling - a scraping and scuffling sound. The
shrill voice was very loud - louder than the gruff one. Is sure that
it was not the voice of an Englishman. Appeared to be that of a
German. Might have been a woman's voice. Does not understand German.

"Four of the above-named witnesses, being recalled, deposed that the
door of the chamber in which was found the body of Mademoiselle L.
was locked on the inside when the party reached it. Every thing was
perfectly silent - no groans or noises of any kind. Upon forcing the
door no person was seen. The windows, both of the back and front
room, were down and firmly fastened from within. A door between the
two rooms was closed, but not locked. The door leading from the front
room into the passage was locked, with the key on the inside. A small
room in the front of the house, on the fourth story, at the head of
the passage was open, the door being ajar. This room was crowded with
old beds, boxes, and so forth. These were carefully removed and
searched. There was not an inch of any portion of the house which was
not carefully searched. Sweeps were sent up and down the chimneys.
The house was a four story one, with garrets (_mansardes._) A
trap-door on the roof was nailed down very securely - did not appear
to have been opened for years. The time elapsing between the hearing
of the voices in contention and the breaking open of the room door,
was variously stated by the witnesses. Some made it as short as three
minutes - some as long as five. The door was opened with difficulty.

"_Alfonzo Garcio_, undertaker, deposes that he resides in the Rue
Morgue. Is a native of Spain. Was one of the party who entered the
house. Did not proceed up stairs. Is nervous, and was apprehensive of
the consequences of agitation. Heard the voices in contention. The
gruff voice was that of a Frenchman. Could not distinguish what was
said. The shrill voice was that of an Englishman - is sure of this.
Does not understand the English language, but judges by the

"_Alberto Montani_, confectioner, deposes that he was among the first
to ascend the stairs. Heard the voices in question. The gruff voice
was that of a Frenchman. Distinguished several words. The speaker
appeared to be expostulating. Could not make out the words of the
shrill voice. Spoke quick and unevenly. Thinks it the voice of a
Russian. Corroborates the general testimony. Is an Italian. Never
conversed with a native of Russia.

"Several witnesses, recalled, here testified that the chimneys of all
the rooms on the fourth story were too narrow to admit the passage of
a human being. By 'sweeps' were meant cylindrical sweeping brushes,
such as are employed by those who clean chimneys. These brushes were
passed up and down every flue in the house. There is no back passage
by which any one could have descended while the party proceeded up
stairs. The body of Mademoiselle L'Espanaye was so firmly wedged in
the chimney that it could not be got down until four or five of the
party united their strength.

"_Paul Dumas_, physician, deposes that he was called to view the
bodies about day-break. They were both then lying on the sacking of
the bedstead in the chamber where Mademoiselle L. was found. The
corpse of the young lady was much bruised and excoriated. The fact
that it had been thrust up the chimney would sufficiently account for
these appearances. The throat was greatly chafed. There were several
deep scratches just below the chin, together with a series of livid
spots which were evidently the impression of fingers. The face was
fearfully discolored, and the eye-balls protruded. The tongue had
been partially bitten through. A large bruise was discovered upon the
pit of the stomach, produced, apparently, by the pressure of a knee.
In the opinion of M. Dumas, Mademoiselle L'Espanaye had been
throttled to death by some person or persons unknown. The corpse of
the mother was horribly mutilated. All the bones of the right leg and
arm were more or less shattered. The left _tibia_ much splintered, as
well as all the ribs of the left side. Whole body dreadfully bruised
and discolored. It was not possible to say how the injuries had been
inflicted. A heavy club of wood, or a broad bar of iron - a chair -
any large, heavy, and obtuse weapon would have produced such results,
if wielded by the hands of a very powerful man. No woman could have
inflicted the blows with any weapon. The head of the deceased, when
seen by witness, was entirely separated from the body, and was also
greatly shattered. The throat had evidently been cut with some very
sharp instrument - probably with a razor.

"_Alexandre Etienne_, surgeon, was called with M. Dumas to view the
bodies. Corroborated the testimony, and the opinions of M. Dumas.

"Nothing farther of importance was elicited, although several other
persons were examined. A murder so mysterious, and so perplexing in
all its particulars, was never before committed in Paris - if indeed
a murder has been committed at all. The police are entirely at fault
- an unusual occurrence in affairs of this nature. There is not,
however, the shadow of a clew apparent."

The evening edition of the paper stated that the greatest excitement
still continued in the Quartier St. Roch - that the premises in
question had been carefully re-searched, and fresh examinations of
witnesses instituted, but all to no purpose. A postscript, however,
mentioned that Adolphe Le Bon had been arrested and imprisoned -
although nothing appeared to criminate him, beyond the facts already

Dupin seemed singularly interested in the progress of this affair --
at least so I judged from his manner, for he made no comments. It was
only after the announcement that Le Bon had been imprisoned, that he
asked me my opinion respecting the murders.

I could merely agree with all Paris in considering them an insoluble
mystery. I saw no means by which it would be possible to trace the

"We must not judge of the means," said Dupin, "by this shell of an
examination. The Parisian police, so much extolled for _acumen_, are
cunning, but no more. There is no method in their proceedings, beyond
the method of the moment. They make a vast parade of measures; but,
not unfrequently, these are so ill adapted to the objects proposed,
as to put us in mind of Monsieur Jourdain's calling for his
_robe-de-chambre - pour mieux entendre la musique._ The results
attained by them are not unfrequently surprising, but, for the most
part, are brought about by simple diligence and activity. When these
qualities are unavailing, their schemes fail. Vidocq, for example,
was a good guesser and a persevering man. But, without educated
thought, he erred continually by the very intensity of his
investigations. He impaired his vision by holding the object too
close. He might see, perhaps, one or two points with unusual
clearness, but in so doing he, necessarily, lost sight of the matter
as a whole. Thus there is such a thing as being too profound. Truth
is not always in a well. In fact, as regards the more important
knowledge, I do believe that she is invariably superficial. The depth
lies in the valleys where we seek her, and not upon the mountain-tops
where she is found. The modes and sources of this kind of error are
well typified in the contemplation of the heavenly bodies. To look at
a star by glances - to view it in a side-long way, by turning toward
it the exterior portions of the _retina_ (more susceptible of feeble
impressions of light than the interior), is to behold the star
distinctly - is to have the best appreciation of its lustre - a
lustre which grows dim just in proportion as we turn our vision
_fully_ upon it. A greater number of rays actually fall upon the eye
in the latter case, but, in the former, there is the more refined
capacity for comprehension. By undue profundity we perplex and
enfeeble thought; and it is possible to make even Venus herself
vanish from the firmanent by a scrutiny too sustained, too
concentrated, or too direct.

"As for these murders, let us enter into some examinations for
ourselves, before we make up an opinion respecting them. An inquiry
will afford us amusement," [I thought this an odd term, so applied,
but said nothing] "and, besides, Le Bon once rendered me a service
for which I am not ungrateful. We will go and see the premises with
our own eyes. I know G----, the Prefect of Police, and shall have no
difficulty in obtaining the necessary permission."

The permission was obtained, and we proceeded at once to the Rue
Morgue. This is one of those miserable thoroughfares which intervene
between the Rue Richelieu and the Rue St. Roch. It was late in the
afternoon when we reached it; as this quarter is at a great distance
from that in which we resided. The house was readily found; for there
were still many persons gazing up at the closed shutters, with an
objectless curiosity, from the opposite side of the way. It was an
ordinary Parisian house, with a gateway, on one side of which was a
glazed watch-box, with a sliding panel in the window, indicating a
_loge de concierge._ Before going in we walked up the street, turned
down an alley, and then, again turning, passed in the rear of the
building - Dupin, meanwhile examining the whole neighborhood, as well
as the house, with a minuteness of attention for which I could see no
possible object.

Retracing our steps, we came again to the front of the dwelling,
rang, and, having shown our credentials, were admitted by the agents
in charge. We went up stairs - into the chamber where the body of
Mademoiselle L'Espanaye had been found, and where both the deceased
still lay. The disorders of the room had, as usual, been suffered to
exist. I saw nothing beyond what had been stated in the "Gazette des
Tribunaux." Dupin scrutinized every thing - not excepting the bodies
of the victims. We then went into the other rooms, and into the yard;
a _gendarme_ accompanying us throughout. The examination occupied us
until dark, when we took our departure. On our way home my companion
stepped in for a moment at the office of one of the daily papers.

I have said that the whims of my friend were manifold, and that _Je
les mnagais_: - for this phrase there is no English equivalent. It
was his humor, now, to decline all conversation on the subject of the
murder, until about noon the next day. He then asked me, suddenly, if
I had observed any thing _peculiar_ at the scene of the atrocity.

There was something in his manner of emphasizing the word "peculiar,"
which caused me to shudder, without knowing why.

"No, nothing _peculiar_," I said; "nothing more, at least, than we
both saw stated in the paper."

"The 'Gazette,' " he replied, "has not entered, I fear, into the
unusual horror of the thing. But dismiss the idle opinions of this
print. It appears to me that this mystery is considered insoluble,
for the very reason which should cause it to be regarded as easy of
solution - I mean for the _outr_ character of its features. The
police are confounded by the seeming absence of motive - not for the
murder itself - but for the atrocity of the murder. They are puzzled,
too, by the seeming impossibility of reconciling the voices heard in
contention, with the facts that no one was discovered up stairs but
the assassinated Mademoiselle L'Espanaye, and that there were no
means of egress without the notice of the party ascending. The wild
disorder of the room; the corpse thrust, with the head downward, up
the chimney; the frightful mutilation of the body of the old lady;
these considerations, with those just mentioned, and others which I
need not mention, have sufficed to paralyze the powers, by putting
completely at fault the boasted _acumen_, of the government agents.
They have fallen into the gross but common error of confounding the
unusual with the abstruse. But it is by these deviations from the
plane of the ordinary, that reason feels its way, if at all, in its
search for the true. In investigations such as we are now pursuing,
it should not be so much asked 'what has occurred,' as 'what has
occurred that has never occurred before.' In fact, the facility with
which I shall arrive, or have arrived, at the solution of this
mystery, is in the direct ratio of its apparent insolubility in the
eyes of the police."

I stared at the speaker in mute astonishment.

"I am now awaiting," continued he, looking toward the door of our
apartment - "I am now awaiting a person who, although perhaps not the
perpetrator of these butcheries, must have been in some measure
implicated in their perpetration. Of the worst portion of the crimes
committed, it is probable that he is innocent. I hope that I am right
in this supposition; for upon it I build my expectation of reading
the entire riddle. I look for the man here - in this room - every
moment. It is true that he may not arrive; but the probability is
that he will. Should he come, it will be necessary to detain him.
Here are pistols; and we both know how to use them when occasion
demands their use."

I took the pistols, scarcely knowing what I did, or believing what I
heard, while Dupin went on, very much as if in a soliloquy. I have
already spoken of his abstract manner at such times. His discourse
was addressed to myself; but his voice, although by no means loud,
had that intonation which is commonly employed in speaking to some
one at a great distance. His eyes, vacant in expression, regarded
only the wall.

"That the voices heard in contention," he said, "by the party upon
the stairs, were not the voices of the women themselves, was fully
proved by the evidence. This relieves us of all doubt upon the
question whether the old lady could have first destroyed the daughter
and afterward have committed suicide. I speak of this point chiefly
for the sake of method; for the strength of Madame L'Espanaye would
have been utterly unequal to the task of thrusting her daughter's
corpse up the chimney as it was found; and the nature of the wounds
upon her own person entirely preclude the idea of self-destruction.
Murder, then, has been committed by some third party; and the voices
of this third party were those heard in contention. Let me now advert
- not to the whole testimony respecting these voices - but to what
was _peculiar_ in that testimony. Did you observe any thing peculiar
about it?"

I remarked that, while all the witnesses agreed in supposing the
gruff voice to be that of a Frenchman, there was much disagreement in
regard to the shrill, or, as one individual termed it, the harsh

"That was the evidence itself," said Dupin, "but it was not the
peculiarity of the evidence. You have observed nothing distinctive.
Yet there _was_ something to be observed. The witnesses, as you
remark, agreed about the gruff voice; they were here unanimous. But
in regard to the shrill voice, the peculiarity is - not that they
disagreed - but that, while an Italian, an Englishman, a Spaniard, a
Hollander, and a Frenchman attempted to describe it, each one spoke
of it as that _of a foreigner_. Each is sure that it was not the
voice of one of his own countrymen. Each likens it - not to the voice
of an individual of any nation with whose language he is conversant -
but the converse. The Frenchman supposes it the voice of a Spaniard,
and 'might have distinguished some words _had he been acquainted with
the Spanish._' The Dutchman maintains it to have been that of a
Frenchman; but we find it stated that '_not understanding French this
witness was examined through an interpreter._' The Englishman thinks
it the voice of a German, and '_does not understand German._' The
Spaniard 'is sure' that it was that of an Englishman, but 'judges by
the intonation' altogether, '_as he has no knowledge of the
English._' The Italian believes it the voice of a Russian, but '_has
never conversed with a native of Russia._' A second Frenchman
differs, moreover, with the first, and is positive that the voice was
that of an Italian; but, _not being cognizant of that tongue_, is,
like the Spaniard, 'convinced by the intonation.' Now, how strangely
unusual must that voice have really been, about which such testimony
as this _could_ have been elicited! - in whose _tones_, even,
denizens of the five great divisions of Europe could recognise
nothing familiar! You will say that it might have been the voice of
an Asiatic - of an African. Neither Asiatics nor Africans abound in
Paris; but, without denying the inference, I will now merely call
your attention to three points. The voice is termed by one witness
'harsh rather than shrill.' It is represented by two others to have
been 'quick and _unequal._' No words - no sounds resembling words -
were by any witness mentioned as distinguishable.

"I know not," continued Dupin, "what impression I may have made, so
far, upon your own understanding; but I do not hesitate to say that
legitimate deductions even from this portion of the testimony - the
portion respecting the gruff and shrill voices - are in themselves
sufficient to engender a suspicion which should give direction to all
farther progress in the investigation of the mystery. I said
'legitimate deductions;' but my meaning is not thus fully expressed.
I designed to imply that the deductions are the _sole_ proper ones,
and that the suspicion arises _inevitably_ from them as the single
result. What the suspicion is, however, I will not say just yet. I
merely wish you to bear in mind that, with myself, it was
sufficiently forcible to give a definite form - a certain tendency -
to my inquiries in the chamber.

"Let us now transport ourselves, in fancy, to this chamber. What
shall we first seek here? The means of egress employed by the
murderers. It is not too much to say that neither of us believe in
prternatural events. Madame and Mademoiselle L'Espanaye were not
destroyed by spirits. The doers of the deed were material, and
escaped materially. Then how? Fortunately, there is but one mode of
reasoning upon the point, and that mode _must_ lead us to a definite
decision. - Let us examine, each by each, the possible means of
egress. It is clear that the assassins were in the room where
Mademoiselle L'Espanaye was found, or at least in the room adjoining,
when the party ascended the stairs. It is then only from these two
apartments that we have to seek issues. The police have laid bare the
floors, the ceilings, and the masonry of the walls, in every
direction. No _secret_ issues could have escaped their vigilance.
But, not trusting to _their_ eyes, I examined with my own. There
were, then, no secret issues. Both doors leading from the rooms into
the passage were securely locked, with the keys inside. Let us turn
to the chimneys. These, although of ordinary width for some eight or
ten feet above the hearths, will not admit, throughout their extent,
the body of a large cat. The impossibility of egress, by means
already stated, being thus absolute, we are reduced to the windows.
Through those of the front room no one could have escaped without
notice from the crowd in the street. The murderers _must_ have
passed, then, through those of the back room. Now, brought to this
conclusion in so unequivocal a manner as we are, it is not our part,
as reasoners, to reject it on account of apparent impossibilities. It
is only left for us to prove that these apparent 'impossibilities'
are, in reality, not such.

"There are two windows in the chamber. One of them is unobstructed by
furniture, and is wholly visible. The lower portion of the other is
hidden from view by the head of the unwieldy bedstead which is thrust
close up against it. The former was found securely fastened from
within. It resisted the utmost force of those who endeavored to raise
it. A large gimlet-hole had been pierced in its frame to the left,
and a very stout nail was found fitted therein, nearly to the head.
Upon examining the other window, a similar nail was seen similarly
fitted in it; and a vigorous attempt to raise this sash, failed also.
The police were now entirely satisfied that egress had not been in
these directions. And, _therefore_, it was thought a matter of
supererogation to withdraw the nails and open the windows.

"My own examination was somewhat more particular, and was so for the
reason I have just given - because here it was, I knew, that all
apparent impossibilities _must_ be proved to be not such in reality.

"I proceeded to think thus - _ posteriori_. The murderers did escape
from one of these windows. This being so, they could not have
refastened the sashes from the inside, as they were found fastened; -
the consideration which put a stop, through its obviousness, to the
scrutiny of the police in this quarter. Yet the sashes _were_
fastened. They _must_, then, have the power of fastening themselves.
There was no escape from this conclusion. I stepped to the
unobstructed casement, withdrew the nail with some difficulty and
attempted to raise the sash. It resisted all my efforts, as I had
anticipated. A concealed spring must, I now know, exist; and this
corroboration of my idea convinced me that my premises at least, were
correct, however mysterious still appeared the circumstances
attending the nails. A careful search soon brought to light the
hidden spring. I pressed it, and, satisfied with the discovery,
forbore to upraise the sash.

"I now replaced the nail and regarded it attentively. A person
passing out through this window might have reclosed it, and the
spring would have caught - but the nail could not have been replaced.
The conclusion was plain, and again narrowed in the field of my
investigations. The assassins _must_ have escaped through the other
window. Supposing, then, the springs upon each sash to be the same,
as was probable, there _must_ be found a difference between the
nails, or at least between the modes of their fixture. Getting upon
the sacking of the bedstead, I looked over the head-board minutely at
the second casement. Passing my hand down behind the board, I readily
discovered and pressed the spring, which was, as I had supposed,
identical in character with its neighbor. I now looked at the nail.
It was as stout as the other, and apparently fitted in the same
manner - driven in nearly up to the head.

"You will say that I was puzzled; but, if you think so, you must have
misunderstood the nature of the inductions. To use a sporting phrase,
I had not been once 'at fault.' The scent had never for an instant
been lost. There was no flaw in any link of the chain. I had traced
the secret to its ultimate result, - and that result was _the nail._
It had, I say, in every respect, the appearance of its fellow in the
other window; but this fact was an absolute nullity (conclusive us it
might seem to be) when compared with the consideration that here, at
this point, terminated the clew. 'There _must_ be something wrong,' I
said, 'about the nail.' I touched it; and the head, with about a
quarter of an inch of the shank, came off in my fingers. The rest of
the shank was in the gimlet-hole where it had been broken off. The
fracture was an old one (for its edges were incrusted with rust), and
had apparently been accomplished by the blow of a hammer, which had
partially imbedded, in the top of the bottom sash, the head portion
of the nail. I now carefully replaced this head portion in the
indentation whence I had taken it, and the resemblance to a perfect
nail was complete - the fissure was invisible. Pressing the spring, I
gently raised the sash for a few inches; the head went up with it,
remaining firm in its bed. I closed the window, and the semblance of
the whole nail was again perfect.

"The riddle, so far, was now unriddled. The assassin had escaped
through the window which looked upon the bed. Dropping of its own
accord upon his exit (or perhaps purposely closed), it had become
fastened by the spring; and it was the retention of this spring which
had been mistaken by the police for that of the nail, - farther
inquiry being thus considered unnecessary.

"The next question is that of the mode of descent. Upon this point I
had been satisfied in my walk with you around the building. About
five feet and a half from the casement in question there runs a
lightning-rod. From this rod it would have been impossible for any
one to reach the window itself, to say nothing of entering it. I
observed, however, that the shutters of the fourth story were of the
peculiar kind called by Parisian carpenters _ferrades_ - a kind
rarely employed at the present day, but frequently seen upon very old
mansions at Lyons and Bourdeaux. They are in the form of an ordinary
door, (a single, not a folding door) except that the lower half is
latticed or worked in open trellis - thus affording an excellent hold
for the hands. In the present instance these shutters are fully three
feet and a half broad. When we saw them from the rear of the house,
they were both about half open - that is to say, they stood off at
right angles from the wall. It is probable that the police, as well
as myself, examined the back of the tenement; but, if so, in looking
at these _ferrades_ in the line of their breadth (as they must have
done), they did not perceive this great breadth itself, or, at all
events, failed to take it into due consideration. In fact, having
once satisfied themselves that no egress could have been made in this
quarter, they would naturally bestow here a very cursory examination.
It was clear to me, however, that the shutter belonging to the window
at the head of the bed, would, if swung fully back to the wall, reach
to within two feet of the lightning-rod. It was also evident that, by
exertion of a very unusual degree of activity and courage, an
entrance into the window, from the rod, might have been thus
effected. - By reaching to the distance of two feet and a half (we
now suppose the shutter open to its whole extent) a robber might have
taken a firm grasp upon the trellis-work. Letting go, then, his hold
upon the rod, placing his feet securely against the wall, and
springing boldly from it, he might have swung the shutter so as to
close it, and, if we imagine the window open at the time, might even
have swung himself into the room.

"I wish you to bear especially in mind that I have spoken of a _very_
unusual degree of activity as requisite to success in so hazardous
and so difficult a feat. It is my design to show you, first, that the
thing might possibly have been accomplished: - but, secondly and
_chiefly_, I wish to impress upon your understanding the _very
extraordinary_ - the almost prternatural character of that agility
which could have accomplished it.

"You will say, no doubt, using the language of the law, that 'to make
out my case,' I should rather undervalue, than insist upon a full
estimation of the activity required in this matter. This may be the
practice in law, but it is not the usage of reason. My ultimate
object is only the truth. My immediate purpose is to lead you to
place in juxta-position, that _very unusual_ activity of which I have
just spoken with that _very peculiar_ shrill (or harsh) and _unequal_
voice, about whose nationality no two persons could be found to
agree, and in whose utterance no syllabification could be detected."

At these words a vague and half-formed conception of the meaning of
Dupin flitted over my mind. I seemed to be upon the verge of
comprehension without power to comprehend - men, at times, find
themselves upon the brink of remembrance without being able, in the
end, to remember. My friend went on with his discourse.

"You will see," he said, "that I have shifted the question from the
mode of egress to that of ingress. It was my design to convey the
idea that both were effected in the same manner, at the same point.
Let us now revert to the interior of the room. Let us survey the
appearances here. The drawers of the bureau, it is said, had been
rifled, although many articles of apparel still remained within them.
The conclusion here is absurd. It is a mere guess - a very silly one
- and no more. How are we to know that the articles found in the
drawers were not all these drawers had originally contained? Madame
L'Espanaye and her daughter lived an exceedingly retired life - saw
no company - seldom went out - had little use for numerous changes of
habiliment. Those found were at least of as good quality as any
likely to be possessed by these ladies. If a thief had taken any, why
did he not take the best - why did he not take all? In a word, why
did he abandon four thousand francs in gold to encumber himself with
a bundle of linen? The gold _was _abandoned. Nearly the whole sum
mentioned by Monsieur Mignaud, the banker, was discovered, in bags,
upon the floor. I wish you, therefore, to discard from your thoughts
the blundering idea of _motive_, engendered in the brains of the
police by that portion of the evidence which speaks of money
delivered at the door of the house. Coincidences ten times as
remarkable as this (the delivery of the money, and murder committed
within three days upon the party receiving it), happen to all of us
every hour of our lives, without attracting even momentary notice.
Coincidences, in general, are great stumbling-blocks in the way of
that class of thinkers who have been educated to know nothing of the
theory of probabilities - that theory to which the most glorious
objects of human research are indebted for the most glorious of
illustration. In the present instance, had the gold been gone, the
fact of its delivery three days before would have formed something
more than a coincidence. It would have been corroborative of this
idea of motive. But, under the real circumstances of the case, if we
are to suppose gold the motive of this outrage, we must also imagine
the perpetrator so vacillating an idiot as to have abandoned his gold
and his motive together.

"Keeping now steadily in mind the points to which I have drawn your
attention - that peculiar voice, that unusual agility, and that
startling absence of motive in a murder so singularly atrocious as
this - let us glance at the butchery itself. Here is a woman
strangled to death by manual strength, and thrust up a chimney, head
downward. Ordinary assassins employ no such modes of murder as this.
Least of all, do they thus dispose of the murdered. In the manner of
thrusting the corpse up the chimney, you will admit that there was
something _excessively outr_ - something altogether irreconcilable
with our common notions of human action, even when we suppose the
actors the most depraved of men. Think, too, how great must have been
that strength which could have thrust the body _up_ such an aperture
so forcibly that the united vigor of several persons was found barely
sufficient to drag it _down!_

"Turn, now, to other indications of the employment of a vigor most
marvellous. On the hearth were thick tresses - very thick tresses -
of grey human hair. These had been torn out by the roots. You are
aware of the great force necessary in tearing thus from the head even
twenty or thirty hairs together. You saw the locks in question as
well as myself. Their roots (a hideous sight!) were clotted with
fragments of the flesh of the scalp - sure token of the prodigious
power which had been exerted in uprooting perhaps half a million of
hairs at a time. The throat of the old lady was not merely cut, but
the head absolutely severed from the body: the instrument was a mere
razor. I wish you also to look at the _brutal_ ferocity of these
deeds. Of the bruises upon the body of Madame L'Espanaye I do not
speak. Monsieur Dumas, and his worthy coadjutor Monsieur Etienne,
have pronounced that they were inflicted by some obtuse instrument;
and so far these gentlemen are very correct. The obtuse instrument
was clearly the stone pavement in the yard, upon which the victim had
fallen from the window which looked in upon the bed. This idea,
however simple it may now seem, escaped the police for the same
reason that the breadth of the shutters escaped them - because, by
the affair of the nails, their perceptions had been hermetically
sealed against the possibility of the windows having ever been opened
at all.

"If now, in addition to all these things, you have properly reflected
upon the odd disorder of the chamber, we have gone so far as to
combine the ideas of an agility astounding, a strength superhuman, a
ferocity brutal, a butchery without motive, a _grotesquerie_ in
horror absolutely alien from humanity, and a voice foreign in tone to
the ears of men of many nations, and devoid of all distinct or
intelligible syllabification. What result, then, has ensued? What
impression have I made upon your fancy?"

I felt a creeping of the flesh as Dupin asked me the question. "A
madman," I said, "has done this deed - some raving maniac, escaped
from a neighboring _Maison de Sant._"

"In some respects," he replied, "your idea is not irrelevant. But the
voices of madmen, even in their wildest paroxysms, are never found to
tally with that peculiar voice heard upon the stairs. Madmen are of
some nation, and their language, however incoherent in its words, has
always the coherence of syllabification. Besides, the hair of a
madman is not such as I now hold in my hand. I disentangled this
little tuft from the rigidly clutched fingers of Madame L'Espanaye.
Tell me what you can make of it."

"Dupin!" I said, completely unnerved; "this hair is most unusual -
this is no _human_ hair."

"I have not asserted that it is," said he; "but, before we decide
this point, I wish you to glance at the little sketch I have here
traced upon this paper. It is a _fac-simile_ drawing of what has been
described in one portion of the testimony as 'dark bruises, and deep
indentations of finger nails,' upon the throat of Mademoiselle
L'Espanaye, and in another, (by Messrs. Dumas and Etienne,) as a
'series of livid spots, evidently the impression of fingers.'

"You will perceive," continued my friend, spreading out the paper
upon the table before us, "that this drawing gives the idea of a firm
and fixed hold. There is no _slipping_ apparent. Each finger has
retained - possibly until the death of the victim - the fearful grasp
by which it originally imbedded itself. Attempt, now, to place all
your fingers, at the same time, in the respective impressions as you
see them."

I made the attempt in vain.

"We are possibly not giving this matter a fair trial," he said. "The
paper is spread out upon a plane surface; but the human throat is
cylindrical. Here is a billet of wood, the circumference of which is
about that of the throat. Wrap the drawing around it, and try the
experiment again."

I did so; but the difficulty was even more obvious than before.
"This," I said, "is the mark of no human hand."

"Read now," replied Dupin, "this passage from Cuvier."

It was a minute anatomical and generally descriptive account of the
large fulvous Ourang-Outang of the East Indian Islands. The gigantic
stature, the prodigious strength and activity, the wild ferocity, and
the imitative propensities of these mammalia are sufficiently well
known to all. I understood the full horrors of the murder at once.

"The description of the digits," said I, as I made an end of reading,
"is in exact accordance with this drawing. I see that no animal but
an Ourang-Outang, of the species here mentioned, could have impressed
the indentations as you have traced them. This tuft of tawny hair,

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