The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 181

most probably have disposed
of both in the same way. But it may be said that this man lives, and is
deterred from making himself known, through dread of being charged with
the murder. This consideration might be supposed to operate upon him
now--at this late period--since it has been given in evidence that he
was seen with Marie--but it would have had no force at the period of the
deed. The first impulse of an innocent man would have been to announce
the outrage, and to aid in identifying the ruffians. This policy would
have suggested. He had been seen with the girl. He had crossed the river
with her in an open ferry-boat. The denouncing of the assassins would
have appeared, even to an idiot, the surest and sole means of relieving
himself from suspicion. We cannot suppose him, on the night of the fatal
Sunday, both innocent himself and incognizant of an outrage committed.
Yet only under such circumstances is it possible to imagine that he
would have failed, if alive, in the denouncement of the assassins.

"And what means are ours, of attaining the truth? We shall find these
means multiplying and gathering distinctness as we proceed. Let us sift
to the bottom this affair of the first elopement. Let us know the
full history of 'the officer,' with his present circumstances, and
his whereabouts at the precise period of the murder. Let us carefully
compare with each other the various communications sent to the evening
paper, in which the object was to inculpate a gang. This done, let us
compare these communications, both as regards style and MS., with
those sent to the morning paper, at a previous period, and insisting so
vehemently upon the guilt of Mennais. And, all this done, let us again
compare these various communications with the known MSS. of the officer.
Let us endeavor to ascertain, by repeated questionings of Madame Deluc
and her boys, as well as of the omnibus driver, Valence, something more
of the personal appearance and bearing of the 'man of dark complexion.'
Queries, skilfully directed, will not fail to elicit, from some of
these parties, information on this particular point (or upon
others)--information which the parties themselves may not even be aware
of possessing. And let us now trace the boat picked up by the bargeman
on the morning of Monday the twenty-third of June, and which was
removed from the barge-office, without the cognizance of the officer
in attendance, and without the rudder, at some period prior to the
discovery of the corpse. With a proper caution and perseverance we

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