The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 154

into the river before midnight.' We demand at once, and very naturally,
why? Why is it folly to suppose that the murder was committed _within
five minutes_ after the girl's quitting her mother's house? Why is it
folly to suppose that the murder was committed at any given period
of the day? There have been assassinations at all hours. But, had the
murder taken place at any moment between nine o'clock in the morning of
Sunday, and a quarter before midnight, there would still have been
time enough 'to throw the body into the river before midnight.' This
assumption, then, amounts precisely to this--that the murder was not
committed on Sunday at all--and, if we allow L'Etoile to assume this,
we may permit it any liberties whatever. The paragraph beginning 'It is
folly to suppose that the murder, etc.,' however it appears as printed
in L'Etoile, may be imagined to have existed actually thus in the brain
of its inditer--'It is folly to suppose that the murder, if murder was
committed on the body, could have been committed soon enough to have
enabled her murderers to throw the body into the river before midnight;
it is folly, we say, to suppose all this, and to suppose at the same
time, (as we are resolved to suppose,) that the body was not thrown
in until after midnight'--a sentence sufficiently inconsequential in
itself, but not so utterly preposterous as the one printed.

"Were it my purpose," continued Dupin, "merely to _make out a case_
against this passage of L'Etoile's argument, I might safely leave it
where it is. It is not, however, with L'Etoile that we have to do, but
with the truth. The sentence in question has but one meaning, as it
stands; and this meaning I have fairly stated: but it is material
that we go behind the mere words, for an idea which these words have
obviously intended, and failed to convey. It was the design of the
journalist to say that, at whatever period of the day or night of Sunday
this murder was committed, it was improbable that the assassins would
have ventured to bear the corpse to the river before midnight. And
herein lies, really, the assumption of which I complain. It is assumed
that the murder was committed at such a position, and under such
circumstances, that the bearing it to the river became necessary. Now,
the assassination might have taken place upon the river's brink, or on
the river itself; and, thus, the throwing the corpse in the water might
have been resorted to, at any period of the

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Text Comparison with The Fall of the House of Usher

Page 0
I was forced to fall back upon the unsatisfactory conclusion, that while, beyond doubt, there are combinations of very simple natural objects which have the power of thus affecting us, still the analysis of this power lies among considerations beyond our depth.
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Page 17
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Page 18
From that chamber, and from that mansion, I fled aghast.