Cuentos Clásicos del Norte, Primera Serie

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 110

de un apretón firme y fijo.
No hay el menor _deslizamiento_ aparente. Cada dedo ha conservado,
probablemente hasta la muerte de la víctima, la espantosa posición en
que se había incrustado. Procurad ahora colocar vuestros dedos al mismo
tiempo en las respectivas impresiones que aparecen.--

Procuré en vano hacer lo que me indicaba.

--Quizá no ensayamos convenientemente este punto,--insistió mi
amigo.--El papel está extendido en una superficie plana y la garganta
humana es cilíndrica. He aquí un trozo de madera cuya circunferencia es
más o menos igual a la del cuello. Envolved allí el dibujo y ensayad de
nuevo.--

Hice como me decía; pero la dificultad era todavía mayor que antes.

--¡Esto,--exclamé,--no es la huella de una mano humana!

--Leed ahora este pasaje de Cuvier,--replicó Dupín.

Contenía una relación minuciosa y la descripción anatómica general del
gran orangután leonado de las islas de las Indias Orientales. La
gigantesca estatura, la fuerza y agilidad prodigiosas, la ferocidad
salvaje y las propensiones imitativas de este mamífero son bastante
conocidas por todos. Comprendí inmediatamente todos los horrores del
asesinato.

--La descripción de los dedos,--dije al terminar la
lectura,--corresponde exactamente a este dibujo. Es evidente que sólo un
orangután, y de la especie indicada, podría haber impreso las huellas
que habéis delineado. El mechón de pelo rojizo es idéntico también al
color del animal descrito por Cuvier. Mas no llego a penetrar los
detalles de este horrible misterio. Además, se oyeron _dos_ voces en la
disputa, y una de ellas era incontestablemente la de un francés.

--Es verdad; y recordaréis una expresión que los testigos atribuyen casi
unánimemente a esta voz; la exclamación "_mon Dieu!_" Esta expresión, de
acuerdo con las circunstancias, ha sido justamente definida por uno de
los testigos, Montani el confitero, como reproche o amonestación
amistosa. Sobre estas dos palabras he fundado, de consiguiente, mis
mayores esperanzas para la solución completa del enigma. Un francés
conocía el crimen. Es posible, y a la verdad más que probable, que fuera
inocente de toda participación en la sangrienta hazaña que se realizaba.
El orangután puede habérsele escapado. Puede haberle perseguido hasta el
aposento; pero bajo las terribles circunstancias que sobrevinieron, le
fué probablemente imposible capturarlo. Está todavía perdido. No
proseguiré haciendo conjeturas; no tengo derecho de darles otro nombre,
puesto que los ligeros matices de reflexión en que están basadas arrojan
apenas luz suficiente para mi propia comprensión, y no puedo pretender,
de consiguiente, hacerlos perceptibles a ninguna otra persona.
Llamémoslas conjeturas y hablemos de ellas como tales. Si el francés
aludido es, como creo, inocente de esta atrocidad, el anuncio que dejé
anoche, al regresar a casa, en las oficinas de _Le Monde_, periódico
dedicado a los

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