The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 123

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
ménageais_:--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 _outré_ 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

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