Text: Thomas Ollive Mabbott (E. A. Poe), “The Mystery of Marie Roget,” The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. III: Tales and Sketches (1978), pp. 715-788 (This material is protected by copyright)


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[page 715:]

THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET

This is a famous tale of historical importance, since it is the first detective story in which an attempt was made to solve a real crime. It has, I feel, enjoyed a higher reputation among general readers than it deserves.*

Reviewing Poe’s Tales in the Aristidean for October 1845 (obviously after discussion with the author), Thomas Dunn English wrote:

“The Mystery of Marie Roget” has a local, independent of any other, interest. Every one, at all familiar with the internal history of New York, for the last few years, will remember the murder of Mary Rogers, the segar-girl. The deed baffled all attempts of the police to discover the time and mode of its commission, and the identity of the offenders. To this day, with the exception of the light afforded by the tale of Mr. Poe, in which the faculty of analysis is applied to the facts, the whole matter is shrouded in complete mystery. We think, he has proven, very conclusively, that which he attempts. At all events, he has dissipated in our mind, all belief that the murder was perpetrated by more than one.

We may here give a synopsis of what is now known to have happened. Mary Cecilia Rogers was employed as a cigar girl in [page 716:] the tobacco store of John Anderson on lower Broadway. Cigar girls were usually chosen for their beauty, and Mary was thought the most beautiful in New York. Visitors came from afar to see her, and she was acquainted with the leading newspapermen, whose offices were nearby. Therefore, it is no wonder her mysterious death had sensational news value in a day when the elder James Gordon Bennett had begun to print all the news, without caring if it was fit to print.

Mary’s first notable adventure came when her disappearance on October 4, 1838 was sensationally reported by several newspapers the following morning. Within a few days, however, the papers announced her return to the city. There was some suspicion of a hoax, as well as of a proposed suicide, but — retrospectively — James Gordon Bennett in the New York Herald of August 3, 1841, said she had eloped with a naval officer.

For nearly three years after this episode, Mary’s actions received no public notice. Then on July 25, 1841, after telling her fiancé she was going to visit an aunt, Mary Rogers once again disappeared. Three days later, her body was found floating in the Hudson River and was pulled ashore south of Weehawken at a [page 717:] resort area known as the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey. There was a coroner’s inquest, briefly noted in a New York paper on July 29, but the news of the death was first taken seriously by the New York Sunday Mercury of August 1, 1841.

The binding of the body strongly suggested murder. Gangs of toughs were causing much trouble, and there had been numerous reports of the molestation of women. The newsmen seized on the idea that Mary also had been the victim of a gang. Rumors abounded and were disputed; rewards were offered and increased. Several men were questioned or arrested; one, Joseph Morse, was apprehended as far away as Worcester, Massachusetts. Mary’s former employer, John Anderson, was arrested but released for lack of evidence. Her fiancé, Daniel Payne, was also closely scrutinized by the police, as was her former suitor, Alfred Crommelin, whom Mary had attempted to see on the day before she disappeared. A seaman on the U.S.S. North Carolina was thrice questioned. He had boarded with Mrs. Rogers in 1840, and called on Mary on July 3, 1841. But he had an alibi to show he was not in Mary’s company on the fatal Sunday of July 25.

The murder of so beautiful and well-known a girl was a big story, and it received national attention for many weeks. In the Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post of August 14, 1841, the editor, Charles Jacobs Peterson, whom Poe knew as an associate on Graham’s Magazine, suggested the desirability of “analysis” in the investigation of the Rogers case. This is sometimes thought to have aroused Poe’s attention. He went to work, using especially the material in the New York weekly Brother Jonathan and the New York Evening Post.

The police continued their investigations, and the newspapers their reports, disputes, conjectures, and editorializing. More depositions were taken; the Mayor of New York himself questioned the physician who had performed the coroner’s autopsy. Early in September, fragments torn from Mary’s clothing were reported found in a thicket at Weehawken, and some six weeks later a coroner’s inquest was held on the body of Mary’s fiancé, Daniel Payne, discovered dead or dying near the thicket, with a remorseful note [page 718:] nearby. Brother Jonathan carried the report in its issue for October 16.

Poe must have completed his story by June 4, 1842, when he wrote George Roberts, editor of the Boston Notion:

It is just possible that you may have seen a tale of mine entitled “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” and published, originally, in “Graham’s Magazine” for April 1841. Its theme was the exercise of ingenuity in the detection of a murderer. I have just completed a similar article, which I shall entitle “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt — a Sequel to the Murders in the Rue Morgue.” The story is based upon the assassination of Mary Cecilia Rogers, which created so vast an excitement, some months ago, in New-York. I have, however, handled my design in a manner altogether novel in literature. I have imagined a series of nearly exact coincidences occurring in Paris. A young grisette, one Marie Rogêt, has been murdered under precisely similar circumstances with Mary Rogers. Thus, under pretence of showing how Dupin (the hero of “The Rue Morgue”) unravelled the mystery of Marie’s assassination, I, in reality, enter into a very long and rigorous analysis of the New-York tragedy. No point is omitted. I examine, each by each, the opinions and arguments of the press upon the subject, and show that this subject has been, hitherto, unapproached. In fact, I believe not only that I have demonstrated the fallacy of the general idea — that the girl was the victim of a gang of ruffians — but have indicated the assassin in a manner which will give renewed impetus to investigation. My main object, nevertheless, as you will readily understand, is an analysis of the true principles which should direct inquiry in similar cases. From the nature of the subject, I feel convinced that the article will excite attention, and it has occurred to me that you would be willing to purchase it for the forthcoming Mammoth Notion. It will make 25 pages of Graham’s Magazine; and, at the usual price, would be worth to me $100. For reasons, however, which I need not specify, I am desirous of having this tale printed in Boston, and, if you like it, I will say $50. Will you please write me upon this point? — by return of mail, if possible.

On the same day Poe wrote his friend Dr. J. E. Snodgrass of the Saturday Visiter, offering the story to him. The language is similar to that used to Roberts, but Poe was “desirous of publishing it in Baltimore,” at the price of forty dollars.§

Poe’s dubious action in offering the tale firmly to two publications on the same day he might have justified by arguing that many editors would avoid printing so controversial an article, but it was [page 719:] the kind of thing that lost him friends when found out. On this occasion, Snodgrass and Roberts would have none of the story.

Ultimately it was taken by Snowden in New York. The first version definitely pointed to a secret lover as the murderer, and the publisher must have decided that such a person, if existing, would hardly bring a suit for libel. It appeared in the Ladies’ Companion in three installments — November and December 1842 and February 1843.

Two installments were in print when, in November 1842, the case was almost solved by a “confession” — in reality the deathbed words of a delirious woman. On November 18, the daily New-York Tribune carried the following article, which was copied in the Weekly Tribune and formed the basis of Brother Jonathan’s account in the November 26 issue:

The Mary Rogers Mystery Explained.

The terrible mystery . . . is at last explained . . . Mrs. Loss, the woman who kept the refreshment house nearest the scene of her death . . . was accidentally wounded by the premature discharge of a gun in the hands of her son; the wound proved fatal; but before she died she sent for Justice Merritt of New Jersey, and told him the facts. On Sunday the 25th of July, 1841, Mary Rogers came to her house in company with a young physician, who undertook to procure for the unfortunate girl a premature delivery. While in the hands of the physician she died, and a consultation was then held as to the disposal of her body. It was finally taken at night by the son of Mrs. Loss and sunk in the river where it was found. Her clothes were first tied up in a bundle and sunk in a pool on the land of Mr. James G. King in that neighborhood; but it was afterwards thought they were not safe there, and they were accordingly taken and scattered through the woods as they were afterwards found. The name of the physician is unknown, but Mayor Morris has been made acquainted with these facts by Mr. Merritt, and we doubt not an immediate inquiry after the guilty wretch will be made . . . No doubt can be entertained of the truth of this confession. It explains many things . . . especially the apathy of the mother of Miss Rogers.*

The month’s delay in the publication of the last installment of Poe’s story, John Walsh argues persuasively, may have been required [page 720:] by the author in order to adjust the text to take account of the new material brought to light through the words of Mrs. Loss. But in the first version he treated Mary Rogers only as the victim of a secret lover. All references to a possible illegal operation were added for the second printing (Tales) in 1845.

There is a tradition that it was John Anderson who really instigated Poe’s composition of the story. This has been given little attention by my predecessors, but I have come to regard it with respect. The earliest printed reference found is in the New-York Tribune of May 27, 1887, in an article headed “They All Thought Anderson Sane.” This is a report of the trial of a property suit brought by Anderson’s granddaughter, Mrs. Mary Maud Watson. What is pertinent is the following: “Andrew C. Wheeler, known in journalism as ‘Nym Crinkle,’ testified that while living at Tarrytown he had frequent conversations with Mr. Anderson . . . The witness had heard him speak of the case of Mary Rogers, referring to the ‘Marie Roget’ of Edgar A. Poe. He did not know that Mr. Anderson paid Poe to write the story in order to divert suspicion from himself.” This negative statement has a positive corollary; there must have been a notion current that Anderson did employ Poe. Since he had done nothing criminal — although he may have given Mary money at her request — Anderson certainly had good reason to desire such an “analysis” as Peterson of the Saturday Evening Post had suggested.

It would hardly be possible to prove the story, but several circumstances tend to confirm it. The most significant is that Anderson was on good terms with Poe in 1845, even after “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” had been published in the revised version, with footnotes identifying the characters in the narrative with their actual counterparts. On November 8, 1845, two weeks after Poe’s name first appeared as “Editor and Proprietor” of the Broadway Journal, the paper ran an advertisement which was carried in all later issues: “JOHN ANDERSON & CO., / Importers and dealers in / CHOICE SEGARS, and Manufacturers of Premium / Tobacco and Snuffs — 2 Wall, and 13 and 15 Duane streets, / New York. nov 8 — 3m.” The final abbreviation indicates that the advertisement was [page 721:] to be inserted for three months, and presumably was paid for in advance. No other tobacconist advertised in Poe’s paper, and John Anderson was too keen a man of business to suppose the Broadway Journal would bring in much trade. It was precisely at the time Poe’s magazine was in difficulty that Anderson helped the “Editor and Proprietor” financially. The case is certainly not complete, but Anderson was far too discreet to have negotiated with Poe in writing.

Anderson’s connection with the case was more fully revealed in a suit in 1891-1892 brought by his daughter, Laura V. Appleton, to break the will of her late father, who had become a millionaire. His business partner, Felix McCloskey, testified that Anderson, speaking of Mary Rogers, told him that “an abortion had been committed on the girl — the year before her murder took place — or a year and a half — something of that kind — and that he got into some trouble about it — and outside of that there was no grounds on earth for anybody to suppose he had anything to do with the murder”; and that at another time Anderson said of her death that “he hadn’t anything directly, himself, to do with it.”

Whatever the case, and despite Poe’s exoneration of him in “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt,” John Anderson’s life was thereafter shadowed by the tragedy; so much so that because of it he refused to run for Mayor of New York, and in his declining years he became convinced that he communed with the ghost of the murdered girl.

It is natural to take an author at this word about his work and assume that Poe analyzed the case completely, as his own introductory [page 722:] footnote suggests, but that note is by no means unequivocal or candid. He was right in three things: he demolished the gang theory, he cleared John Anderson, and he regarded the delayed discovery of the dead girl’s clothes as contrived; but he did not solve the mystery.

TEXTS

(A) Snowden’s Ladies’ Companion for November, December 1842, and February 1843 (18:15-20, 93-99, 162-167); (B) Tales (1845), pp. 151-199; (C) J. Lorimer Graham copy of Tales (B) with manuscript revisions (1849); (D) Works (1850), I, 213-261; PHANTASY-PIECES, title only, canceled.

The J. Lorimer Graham copy of Tales (C) is followed. In the table of contents of PHANTASY-PIECES (1842) “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” is named, but crossed out, because the story was not yet completely printed. None of the printed texts use the accent in the title.

It is probable that Poe made changes for the delayed third installment, but if so we do not know what they were. We can, however, see in the variants the few ingenious deletions and additions he made for the second printing in Tales (B). We know that Poe revised carefully the twelve stories Duyckinck had chosen for this book, but the revisions in “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” had to take account of more than the usual author’s improvements. To make his story conform to the true mystery he had analyzed, Poe felt compelled to add and subtract details to suggest an abortion death, and to manufacture other details in his first footnote so that it would appear he had been right all along. Wimsatt (PMLA, pp. 242-243) first discovered the significance of these changes and Walsh (Poe the Detective, pp. 69-71) presents the deletions and additions in the text dramatically with, as he says, “some measure of admiration.” He reprints the Tales text with the some 150 words involved in boldface type, but he does not use the Lorimer Graham copy, and thus misses Poe’s last effort to make his story conform to the facts. See note 5, below. [page 723:]

THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET.*  [C]   [[n]]   [[v]]

A SEQUEL TO “THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE.”

Es giebt eine Reihe idealischer Begebenheiten, die tier Wirklichkeit parallel lauft. Selten fallen sic zusammen. Menschen and Züfalle sind. So bei der Reformation; startt dies Protestantismus kam das Lutherthum hervor.

There are ideal series of events which run parallel with the real ones. They rarely coincide. Men and circumstances generally modify the ideal train of events, so that it seems imperfect, and its consequences are equally imperfect. Thus with the Reformation; instead of Protestantism came Lutheranism. — Novalis.

Moralische{a} Ansichten[[n]]   [[v]]

There are few persons, even among the calmest thinkers, who have not occasionally been startled into a vague yet thrilling half-credence in the supernatural, by coincidences of so seemingly marvellous a character that, as mere coincidences, the intellect has been unable to receive them. Such sentiments — for the half-credences of which I speak have never the full force of thought[page 724:] are{d} seldom thoroughly stifled unless by reference to the doctrine of chance, or, as it is technically termed, the Calculus of Probabilities.(2) Now this Calculus is, in its essence, purely mathematical; and thus we have the anomaly of the most rigidly exact in science applied to the shadow and spirituality of the most intangible in speculation.

The extraordinary details which I am now called upon to make public, will be found to form, as regards sequence of time, the primary branch of a series of scarcely intelligible coincidences, whose secondary or concluding branch will be recognized by all readers in the late murder of MARY CECILIA ROGERS, at New York.

When, in an article entitled “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” I endeavored, about a year ago, to depict some very remarkable features in the mental character of my friend, the Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin, it did not occur to me that I should ever resume the subject. This depicting of character constituted my design; and this design was{e} fulfilled in the{f} train of circumstances brought to instance Dupin’s idiosyncrasy. I might have adduced other examples, but I{g} should have proven no more. Late events, however, in their surprising development, have startled me into some farther details, which will carry with them the air of extorted confession. Hearing what I have lately heard, it would be indeed strange should I remain{h} silent in regard to what I both heard and saw so long ago.

Upon the winding up of the tragedy involved in the deaths of Madame L’Espanaye and her daughter, the Chevalier dismissed the affair at once from his attention, and relapsed into his old habits of moody{i} reverie. Prone, at all times, to abstraction, I readily fell in with his humor; and, continuing to occupy our chambers in the Faubourg Saint Germain, we gave the Future to the winds, and slumbered tranquilly in the Present, weaving the dull world around us into dreams.

But these dreams were not altogether uninterrupted. It may readily be supposed that the part played by my friend, in the [page 725:] drama at the Rue Morgue, had not failed of its impression upon the fancies of the Parisian police. With its emissaries, the name of Dupin had grown into a household word. The simple character of those inductions by which he had disentangled the mystery never having been explained even to the Prefect, or to any other individual than myself, of course it is not surprising that the affair was regarded as{j} little less than miraculous, or that the Chevalier’s analytical abilities acquired for him the credit of intuition. His frankness would have led him to disabuse every inquirer of such prejudice; but his indolent humor forbade all farther agitation of{k} a topic whose interest to himself had long ceased. It thus happened that he found himself the cynosure of the policial eyes; and the cases were not few in which attempt was made to engage his services at the Prefecture.{ll} One of the most remarkable instances was that{ll} of the murder of a young girl named Marie Rogêt.

This event occurred about two years after the atrocity in the Rue Morgue. Marie, whose Christian and family name will at once arrest attention from their resemblance to those of the unfortunate “cigar-girl,”{m} was the only daughter of the widow Estelle Rogêt. The father had died during the child’s infancy, and from the period of his death, until within eighteen months before the assassination which forms the subject of our narrative, the mother and daughter had dwelt together in the Rue Pavée Saint Andrée;* Madame there keeping a pension, assisted by Marie. Affairs went on thus until the latter had attained her twenty-second year, when her great beauty attracted the notice of a perfumer, who occupied one of the shops in the basement of the Palais Royal, and whose custom lay chiefly among the desperate adventurers infesting that neighborhood. Monsieur Le Blanc was not unaware of the advantages to be derived from the attendance of the fair Marie in his perfumery;{n} and his liberal proposals were accepted eagerly by [page 726:] the girl, although{o} with somewhat more of{p} hesitation by Madame.(3)

The anticipations of the shopkeeper were realized, and his rooms soon became notorious through the charms of the sprightly grisette. She had been in his employ about a year, when her admirers were thrown into confusion by her sudden disappearance from the shop. Monsieur Le Blanc was unable to account for her absence, and Madame Rogêt was distracted with anxiety and terror. The public papers immediately took up the theme, and the police were upon the point of making serious investigations, when, one fine morning, after the lapse of a week, Marie, in good health, but with a somewhat saddened air, made her re-appearance at her usual counter in the perfumery.{q} All inquiry, except that of a private character, was of course immediately hushed. Monsieur Le Blanc professed total ignorance, as before. Marie, with Madame, replied to all questions, that the last week had been spent at the house of a relation in the country. Thus the affair died away, and was generally forgotten; for the girl, ostensibly to relieve herself from the impertinence of curiosity, soon bade a final adieu to the perfumer, and sought the shelter of her mother’s residence in the Rue Pavée Saint Andrée.(4)

It was about three years{r} after this return home, that her friends were alarmed by her sudden disappearance for the second time. Three days elapsed, and nothing was heard of her. On the fourth her corpse was found floating in the Seine,* near the shore which is opposite the Quartier of the Rue Saint Andrée, and at a point not very far distant from the secluded neighborhood of the Barrière du Roule. (5)

The atrocity of this murder, (for it was at once evident that murder had been committed,) the youth and beauty of the victim, and, above all, her previous notoriety, conspired to produce intense excitement in the minds of the sensitive Parisians. I can call to mind no similar occurrence producing so general and so intense an effect. For several weeks, in the discussion{s} of this one [page 727:] absorbing theme, even the momentous political topics of the day were forgotten. The Prefect made unusual exertions; and the powers of the whole Parisian police were, of course, tasked to the utmost extent.

Upon the first discovery of the corpse, it was not supposed that the murderer would be able to elude, for more than a very brief period, the inquisition which was immediately set on foot. It was not until the expiration of a week that it was deemed necessary to offer a reward; and even then this reward was limited to a thousand francs. In the mean time the investigation proceeded with vigor, if not always with judgment, and numerous individuals were examined to no purpose; while, owing to the continual absence of all clue to the mystery, the popular excitement{t} greatly increased. At the end of the tenth day it was thought advisable to double the sum originally proposed; and, at length, the second week having elapsed without leading to any discoveries, and the prejudice which always exists in Paris against the Police having given vent to itself in several serious émeutes,(6) the Prefect took it upon himself to offer the sum of twenty thousand francs “for the conviction of the assassin,” or, if more than one should prove to have been implicated, “for the conviction of any one of the assassins.” In the proclamation setting forth this reward, a full pardon was promised to any accomplice who should come forward in evidence against his fellow; and to the whole was appended, wherever it appeared, the private placard of a committee of citizens, offering ten thousand francs, in addition to the amount proposed by the Prefecture.(7) The entire reward thus stood at no less than thirty thousand francs, which will be regarded as an extraordinary sum when we consider the humble condition of the girl, and the great frequency, in large cities, of such atrocities as the one described.

No one doubted now that the mystery of this murder would be immediately brought to light. But although, in one or two instances, arrests were made which promised elucidation, yet nothing was elicited which could implicate the parties suspected; and they were discharged forthwith.(8) Strange as it may appear, the [page 728:] third week from the discovery of the body had passed, and passed without any light being thrown upon the subject, before even a rumor of the events which had so agitated the public mind, reached the ears of Dupin and myself.(9) Engaged in researches which had absorbed our whole attention, it had been nearly a month since either of us had gone abroad, or received a visiter, or more than glanced at the leading political articles in one of the daily papers. The first intelligence of the murder was brought us by G——, in person.(10) He called upon us early in the afternoon of the thirteenth of July, 18—, and remained with us until late in the night. He had been piqued by the failure of all his endeavors to ferret out the assassins. His reputation — so he said with a peculiarly Parisian air — was at stake. Even his honor was concerned. The eyes of the public were upon him; and there was really no sacrifice which he would not be willing to make for the development of the mystery. He concluded a somewhat droll speech with a compliment upon what{u} he was pleased to term the tact of Dupin, and made him a direct, and certainly a liberal proposition, the precise nature of which I do not feel myself at liberty to disclose, but which has no bearing upon the proper subject of my narrative.

The compliment my friend rebutted as best he could, but the proposition he accepted at once, although its advantages were altogether provisional. This point being settled, the Prefect broke forth at once into explanations of his own views, interspersing them with long comments upon the evidence; of which latter we were not yet in possession. He discoursed much, and beyond doubt learnedly; while I hazarded an occasional suggestion as the night wore drowsily away. Dupin, sitting steadily in his accustomed arm-chair, was the embodiment of respectful attention. He wore spectacles, during the whole interview; and an occasional glance beneath their green glasses,(11) sufficed to convince me that he slept not the less soundly, because silently, throughout the seven or eight leaden-footed hours which immediately preceded the departure of the Prefect.

In the morning, I procured, at the Prefecture, a full report of [page 729:] all the evidence elicited, and, at the various newspaper offices, a copy of every paper in which, from first to last, had been published any decisive information in regard to this sad affair. Freed from all that was positively disproved, this mass of information stood thus:

Marie Rogêt left the residence of her mother, in the Rue Pavée St. Andrée, about nine o’clock in the morning of Sunday, June the twenty-second, 18—.(12) In going out, she gave notice to a Monsieur Jacques St.{v} Eustache,* and to him only, of her intention to spend the day with an aunt who resided in the Rue des Drômes.(13) The Rue des Drômes is a short and narrow but populous thoroughfare, not far from the banks of the river, and at a distance of some two miles, in the most direct course possible, from the pension of Madame Rogêt. St. Eustache was the accepted suitor of Marie, and lodged, as well as took his meals, at the pension. He was to have gone for his betrothed at dusk, and to have escorted her home. In the afternoon, however, it came on to rain heavily; and, supposing that she would remain all night at her aunt’s, (as she had done under similar circumstances before,) he did not think it necessary to keep his promise.(14) As night drew on, Madame Rogêt (who was an infirm old lady, seventy years of age,) was heard to express a fear “that she should never see Marie again;” but this observation attracted little attention at the time.(15)

On Monday, it was ascertained that the girl had not been to the Rue des Drômes; and when the day elapsed without tidings of her, a tardy search was instituted at several points in the city, and its environs.(16) It was not, however, until the fourth day from the period of her disappearance that any thing satisfactory was ascertained respecting her. On this day, (Wednesday, the twenty-fifth of June,) a Monsieur Beauvais, who, with a friend, had been making inquiries for Marie near the Barrière du Roule, on the shore of the Seine which is opposite the Rue Pavée St. Andrée,(17) was informed that a corpse had just been towed ashore by some fishermen, who had found it floating in the river. Upon seeing the [page 730:] body, Beauvais, after some hesitation, identified it as that of the perfumery-girl. His friend recognized it more promptly.(18)

The face was suffused with dark blood, some of which issued from the mouth. No foam was seen, as in the case of the merely drowned. There was no discoloration in the cellular tissue. About the throat were bruises and impressions of fingers. The arms were bent over on the chest and were rigid. The right hand was clenched; the left partially open. On the left wrist were two circular excoriations, apparently the effect of ropes, or of a rope in more than one volution. A part of the right wrist, also, was much chafed, as well as the back throughout its extent, but more especially at the shoulder-blades. In bringing the body to the shore the fishermen had attached to it a rope; but none of the excoriations had been effected by this. The flesh of the neck was much swollen. There were no cuts apparent, or bruises which appeared the effect of blows. A piece of lace was found tied so tightly around the neck as to be hidden from sight; it was completely buried in the flesh, and was fastened by a knot which lay just under the left ear. This alone would have sufficed to produce death. The medical testimony spoke confidently of the virtuous character of the deceased. She had been {ww}subjected, it said, to{ww} brutal violence. The corpse was in such condition when found, that there could have been no difficulty in its recognition by friends.(19)

The dress was much torn and otherwise disordered. In the outer garment, a slip, about a foot wide, had been torn upward from the bottom hem to the waist, but not torn off. It was wound three times around the waist, and secured by a sort of hitch in the back. The dress immediately beneath the frock was of fine muslin; and from this a slip eighteen inches wide had been torn entirely out — torn very evenly and with great care. It was found around her neck, fitting loosely, and secured with a hard knot. Over this muslin slip and the slip of lace, the strings of a bonnet were attached; the bonnet being appended. The knot by which the strings of the bonnet were fastened, was not a lady’s, but a slip or sailor’s knot.(20) [page 731:]

After the recognition of the corpse, it was not, as usual, taken to the Morgue, (this formality being superfluous,) but hastily interred not far from the spot at which it was brought ashore.(21) Through the exertions of Beauvais, the matter was industriously hushed up, as far as possible; and several days had elapsed before any public emotion resulted. A weekly paper,* however, at length took up the theme;(22) the corpse was disinterred, and a re-examination instituted; but{x} nothing was elicited beyond what has been already noted. The clothes, however, were now submitted to the mother and friends of the deceased, and fully identified as those worn by the girl upon leaving home.(23)

Meantime, the excitement increased hourly. Several individuals were arrested and discharged. St. Eustache fell especially under suspicion; and he failed, at first, to give an intelligible account of his whereabouts during the Sunday on which Marie left home. Subsequently, however, he submitted to Monsieur G——, affidavits, accounting satisfactorily for every hour of the day in question.(24) As time passed and no discovery ensued, a thousand contradictory rumors were circulated, and journalists busied themselves in suggestions. Among these, the one which attracted the most notice, was the idea that Marie Rogêt still lived — that the corpse found in the Seine was that of some other unfortunate.(25) It will be proper that I submit to the reader some passages which embody the suggestion alluded to. These passages are literal translations from L’Etoile, a paper{y} conducted, in general, with much ability.(26)

“Mademoiselle Rogêt left her mother’s house on Sunday morning, June the twenty-second, 18—, with the ostensible purpose of going to see her aunt, or some other connexion, in the Rue des Drômes. From that hour, nobody is proved to have seen her. There is no trace or tidings of her at all. * * * * There has no person, whatever, come forward, so far, who saw her at all, on that day, after she left her mother’s door. * * * * Now, though we have no evidence that Marie Rogêt was in the land of the living after nine o’clock on Sunday, June the twenty-second, we have proof that, up to that hour, she was alive. On Wednesday noon, at twelve, a female body was discovered afloat on the shore of the Barrière du Roule. This was, even if we presume that Marie Rogêt was thrown into the river within three hours after she left her mother’s house, only three days from the time she left [page 732:] her home — three days to an hour. But it is folly to suppose that the murder, if murder was committed on her body, could have been consummated soon enough to have enabled her murderers to throw the body into the river before midnight. Those who are guilty of such horrid crimes, choose darkness rather than light. * * * * Thus we see that if the body found in the river was that of Marie Rogêt, it could only have been in the water two and a half days, or three at the outside. All experience has shown that drowned bodies, or bodies thrown into the water immediately after death by violence, require from six to ten days for sufficient decomposition to take place to bring them to the top of the water. Even where a cannon is fired over a corpse, and it rises before at least five or six days’ immersion, it sinks again, if left alone. Now, we ask, what was there in this case to cause a departure from the ordinary course of nature? * * * * If the body had been kept in its mangled state on shore until Tuesday night, some trace would be found on shore of the murderers. It is a doubtful point, also, whether the body would be so soon afloat, even were it thrown in after having been dead two days. And, furthermore, it is exceedingly improbable that any villains who had committed such a murder as is here supposed, would have thrown the body in without weight to sink it, when such a precaution could have so easily been taken.”(27)

The editor here proceeds to argue that the body must have been in the water “not three days merely, but, at least, five times three days,” because it was so far decomposed that Beauvais had great difficulty in recognizing it. This latter point, however, was fully disproved.(28) I{z} continue the{a} translation:

“What, then, are the facts on which M. Beauvais says that he has no doubt the body was that of Marie Rogêt? He ripped up the gown sleeve, and says he found marks which satisfied him of the identity. The public generally supposed those marks to have consisted of some description of scars. He rubbed the arm and found hair upon it — something as indefinite, we think, as can readily be imagined — as little conclusive as finding an arm in the sleeve. M. Beauvais did not return that night, but sent word to Madame Rogêt, at seven o’clock, on Wednesday evening, that an investigation was still in progress respecting her daughter. If we allow that Madame Rogêt, from her age and grief, could not go over, (which is allowing a great deal,) there certainly must have been some one who would have thought it worth while to go over and attend the investigation, if they thought the body was that of Marie. Nobody went over. There was nothing said or heard about the matter in the Rue Pavée St. Andrée, that reached even the occupants of the same building. M. St. Eustache, the lover and intended husband of Marie, who boarded in her mother’s house, deposes that he did not hear of the discovery of the body of his intended until the next morning, when M. Beauvais came into his chamber and told him of it. For an item of news like this, it strikes us it was very coolly received.”(29)

In this way the journal endeavored to create the impression of [page 733:] an apathy on the part of the relatives of Marie, inconsistent with the supposition that these relatives believed the corpse to be hers. Its insinuations amount to this: — that Marie, with the connivance of her friends, had absented herself from the city for reasons involving a charge against her chastity; and that these friends, upon the discovery of a corpse in the Seine, somewhat resembling that of the girl, had availed themselves of the opportunity to impress the public with the belief of her death. But{b} L’Etoile was again overhasty. It was distinctly proved that no apathy, such as was imagined, existed; that the old lady was exceedingly feeble, and so agitated as to be unable to attend to any duty; that St. Eustache, so far from receiving the news coolly, was distracted with grief, and bore himself so frantically, that M. Beauvais prevailed upon a friend and relative to take charge of him, and prevent his attending the examination at the disinterment. Moreover, although it was stated by L’Etoile, that the corpse was re-interred at the public expense — that an advantageous offer of private sepulture was absolutely declined by the family — and that no member of the family attended the ceremonial: — although, I say, all this was asserted by L’Etoile in furtherance of the impression it designed to convey — yet all this was satisfactorily disproved.(30) In a subsequent number of the paper, an attempt was made to throw suspicion upon Beauvais himself. The editor says:

“Now, then, a change comes over the matter. We are told that, on one occasion, while a Madame B—— was at Madame Rogêt’s house, M. Beauvais, who was going out, told her that a gendarme was expected there, and that she, Madame B., must not say anything to the gendarme until he returned, but let the matter be for him. * * * * In the present posture of affairs, M. Beauvais appears to have the whole matter locked up in his head. A single step cannot be taken without M. Beauvais; for, go which way you will, you run against him. * * * * * For some reason, he determined that nobody shall have any thing to do with the proceedings but himself, and he has elbowed the male relatives out of the way, according to their representations, in a very singular manner. He seems to have been very much averse to permitting the relatives to see the body.”(31)

{cc}By the following fact, some{cc} color was given to the suspicion thus thrown upon Beauvais.{d} A visiter at his office, a few days prior [page 734:] to the girl’s disappearance, and during the absence of its occupant, had observed a rose in the key-hole of the door, and the name “Marie” inscribed upon a slate which hung near at hand.(32)

The general impression, so far as we were enabled to glean it from the newspapers, seemed to be, that Marie had been the victim of a gang of desperadoes — that by these she had been borne across the river, maltreated and murdered.(32) Le Commerciel,* however, a print of extensive influence, was earnest in combating this popular idea. I quote a passage or two from its columns:

“We are persuaded that pursuit has hitherto been on a false scent, so far as it has been directed to the Barrière du Roule. It is impossible that a person so well known to thousands as this young woman was, should have passed three blocks without some one having seen her; and any one who saw her would have remembered it, for she interested all who knew her. It was when the streets were full of people, when she went out. * * * It is impossible that she could have gone to the Barrière du Roule, or to the Rue des Drômes, without being recognized by a dozen persons; yet no one has come forward who saw her outside of her mother’s door, and there is no evidence, except the testimony concerning her expressed intentions, that she did go out at all. Her gown was torn, bound round her, and tied; and by that the body was carried as a bundle. If the murder had been committed at the Barrière du Roule, there would have been no necessity for any such arrangement. The fact that the body was found floating near the Barrière, is no proof as to where it was thrown into the water. * * * * * A piece of one of the unfortunate girl’s petticoats, two feet long and one foot wide, was torn out and tied under her chin around the back of her head, probably to prevent screams. This was done by fellows who had no pocket-handkerchief.”(34)

A day or two before the Prefect called upon us, however, some important information reached the police, which seemed to overthrow, at least; the chief portion of Le Commerciel’s argument. Two small boys, sons of a Madame Deluc, while roaming among the woods near the Barrière du Roule, chanced to penetrate a close thicket, within which were three or four large stones, forming a kind of seat, with a back and footstool. On the upper stone lay a white petticoat; on the second a silk scarf. A parasol, gloves, and a pocket-handkerchief were also here found. The handkerchief bore the name “Marie Rogêt.” Fragments of dress were discovered on the brambles around. The earth was trampled, the bushes were broken, and there was every evidence of a struggle. Between the thicket and the river, the fences were found taken down, and the [page 735:] ground bore evidence of some heavy burthen having been dragged along it.(35)

A weekly paper, Le Soleil,* had the following comments upon this discovery — comments which merely echoed the sentiment of the whole Parisian press:

“The things had all evidently been there at least three or four weeks; they were all mildewed down hard with the action of the rain, and stuck together from mildew. The grass had grown around and over some of them. The silk on the parasol was strong, but the threads of it were run together within. The upper part, where it had been doubled and folded, was all mildewed and rotten, and tore on its being opened. * * * * The pieces of her frock torn out by the bushes were about three inches wide and six inches long. One part was the hem of the frock, and it had been mended; the other piece was part of the skirt, not the hem. They looked like strips torn off, and were on the thorn bush, about a foot from the ground. * * * * * There can be no doubt, therefore, that the spot of this appalling outrage has been discovered.”(36)

Consequent upon this discovery, new evidence appeared. Madame Deluc testified that she keeps a roadside inn not far from the bank of the river, opposite the Barrière du Roule. The neighborhood is secluded — particularly so. It is the usual Sunday resort of blackguards from the city, who cross the river in boats. About three o’clock, in the afternoon of the Sunday in question, a young girl arrived at the inn, accompanied by a young man of dark complexion. The two remained here for some time. On their departure, they took the road to some thick woods in the vicinity. Madame Deluc’s attention was called to the dress worn by the girl, on account of its resemblance to one worn by a deceased relative. A scarf was particularly noticed. Soon after the departure of the couple, a gang of miscreants made their appearance, behaved boisterously, ate and drank without making payment, followed in the route of the young man and girl, returned to the inn about dusk, and re-crossed the river as if in great haste.

It was soon after dark, upon this same evening, that Madame Deluc, as well as her eldest son, heard the screams of a female in the vicinity of the inn. The screams were violent but brief. Madame D. recognized not only the scarf which was found in the thicket, [page 736:] but the dress which was discovered upon the corpse.(37) An omnibus-driver, Valence,* now also testified that he saw Marie Rogêt cross a ferry on the Seine, on the Sunday in question, is company with a young man of dark complexion. He, Valence, knew Marie, and could not be mistaken in her identity. The articles found in the thicket were fully identified by the relatives of Marie.(38)

The items of evidence and information thus collected by myself, from the newspapers, at the suggestion of Dupin, embraced only one more point — but this was a point of seemingly vast consequence. It appears that, immediately after the discovery of the clothes as above described, the lifeless, or nearly lifeless body of St. Eustache, Marie’s betrothed, was found in the vicinity of what all now supposed the scene of the outrage. A phial labelled “laudanum,” and emptied, was found near him. His breath gave evidence of the poison. He died without speaking. Upon his person was found a letter, briefly stating his love for Marie, with his design of self-destruction.(39)

“I need scarcely tell you,” said Dupin, as he finished the perusal of my notes, “that this is a far more intricate case than that of the Rue Morgue; from which it differs in one important respect. This is an ordinary, although an atrocious instance of crime. There is nothing peculiarly outré about it. You will observe that, for this reason, the mystery has been considered easy, when, for this reason, it should have been considered difficult, of solution. Thus, at first, it was thought unnecessary to offer a reward. The myrmidons(40) of G—— were able at once to comprehend how and why such an atrocity might have been committed. They could{f} picture to their imaginations a mode — many modes — and a motive — many motives; and because it was not impossible that either of these numerous modes and motives could have been the actual one, they have taken it for granted that one of them must. But the ease with which these variable fancies were entertained, and the very plausibility which each assumed, should have been understood as indicative rather of the difficulties than of the facilities which must attend elucidation. I have before observed that it is by prominences above the plane of the ordinary, that reason feels her way, if at all, in her [page 737:] search for the true,(41) and that the proper question in cases such as this, is not so much ‘what has occurred?’ as ‘what has occurred that has never occurred before?’ In the investigations at the house of Madame L’Espanaye,{g} * the agents of G—— were discouraged and confounded by that very unusualness which, to a properly regulated intellect, would have afforded the surest{h} omen of success; while this same intellect might have been plunged in despair at the{i} ordinary character of all that met the eye in the case of the perfumery-girl, and yet{j} told of nothing but easy triumph to the functionaries of the Prefecture.

“In the case of Madame L’Espanaye{k} and her daughter, there was, even at the beginning of our investigation, no doubt that murder had been committed. The idea of suicide was excluded at once. Here, too, we are freed, at the commencement, from all supposition of self-murder. The body found at the Barrière du Roule, was found under such circumstances as to leave us no room for embarrassment upon this important point. But it has been suggested that the corpse discovered, is not that of the Marie Rogêt for the conviction of whose assassin, or assassins, the reward is offered, and respecting whom, solely, our agreement has been arranged with the Prefect. We both know this gentleman well. It will not do to trust him too far. If, dating our inquiries from the body found, and thence tracing a murderer, we yet discover this body to be that of some other individual than Marie; or, if starting from the living Marie, we find her, yet find her unassassinated — in either case we lose our labor — since it is Monsieur G—— with whom we have to deal. For our own purpose, therefore, if not for the purpose of justice, it is indispensable that our first step should be the determination of the identity of the corpse with the Marie Rogêt who is missing.

{ll}“With the public the arguments of L’Etoile{ll} have had weight; and that the journal itself is convinced of their importance would [page 738:] appear from the manner in which it commences one of its essays upon the subject — ‘Several of the morning papers of the day,’ it says, ‘speak of the conclusive article in Monday’s Etoile.’(42) To me, this article appears conclusive of little beyond the zeal of its inditer. We should bear in mind that, in general, it is the object of our newspapers rather to create a sensation — to make a point — than to further the cause of truth. The latter end is only pursued when it seems coincident with the former. The print which merely falls in with ordinary opinion (however well founded this opinion may be) earns for itself no credit with the mob. The mass of the people regard as profound only him who suggests pungent contradictions of the general idea. In ratiocination, not less than in{m} literature, it is the epigram which is the most immediately and the most universally appreciated. In both, it is of the lowest order of merit.

“What I mean to say is, that it is the mingled epigram and melodrame of the idea, that Marie Rogêt still lives, rather than any true plausibility in this idea, which have{n} suggested it to L’Etoile, and secured it a favorable reception with the public.(43) Let us examine the heads of this journal’s{o} argument; endeavoring to avoid the incoherence with which it is originally set forth.

“The first aim of the writer is to show, from the brevity of the interval between Marie’s disappearance and the finding of the floating corpse, that this corpse cannot be that of Marie. The reduction of this interval to its smallest possible dimension, becomes thus, at once, an object with the reasoner. In the rash pursuit of this object, he rushes into mere assumption at the outset. ‘It is folly to suppose,’ he says, ‘that the murder, if murder was committed on her body, could{p} have been consummated soon enough to have enabled her murderers to throw the body into the river before midnight.’(44) 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 [page 739:] the morning of Sunday,(45) 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{q} 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{r} 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 day or night, as the most obvious and most immediate mode of disposal. You will understand that I suggest nothing here as probable, or as coincident with my own opinion. [page 740:] My design, so far, has no reference to the facts of the case. I wish merely to caution you against the whole tone of L’Etoile’s suggestion, by calling your attention to its ex parte character at the outset.

“Having prescribed thus a limit to suit its own preconceived notions; having assumed that, if this were the body of Marie, it could have been in the water but a very brief time; the journal goes on to say:

‘All experience has shown that drowned bodies, or bodies thrown into the water immediately after death by violence, require from six to ten days for sufficient{s} decomposition to take place to bring them to the top of the water. Even when a cannon is fired over a corpse, and it rises before at least five or six days’ immersion, it sinks again if let alone.’(46)

“These assertions have been tacitly received by every paper in Paris, with the exception of Le Moniteur.*(47) This latter print endeavors to combat that portion of the paragraph which has reference to ‘drowned bodies’ only, by citing some five or six instances in which the bodies of individuals known to be drowned were found floating after the lapse of less time than is insisted upon by L’Etoile. But there is something excessively unphilosophical in the attempt on the part of Le Moniteur, to rebut the general assertion of L’Etoile, by a citation of particular instances militating against that assertion. Had it been possible to adduce fifty instead of five examples of bodies found floating at the end of two or three days, these fifty examples could still have been properly regarded {tt}only as exceptions{tt} to L’Etoile’s rule, until such time as the rule itself should be confuted. Admitting the rule, (and this Le Moniteur does not deny, insisting merely upon its exceptions,) the argument of L’Etoile is suffered to remain in full force; for this argument does not pretend to involve more than a question of the probability of the body having risen to the surface in less than three days; and this probability will be in favor of L’Etoile’s position until the instances so childishly adduced shall be sufficient in number to establish an antagonistical rule.(48)

“You will see at once that all argument upon this head should [page 741:] be urged, if at all, against the rule itself; and for this end we must examine the rationale of the rule.(49) Now the human body, in general, is neither much lighter nor much heavier than the water of the Seine; that is to say, the specific: gravity of the human body, in its natural condition, is about equal to the bulk of fresh water which it displaces. The bodies of fat and fleshy persons, with small bones, and of women generally, are lighter than those of the lean and large-boned, and of men; and the specific gravity of the water of a river is somewhat influenced by the presence of the tide from sea. But, leaving this tide out of question, it may be said that very few human bodies will sink at all, even in fresh water, of their own accord. Almost any one, falling into a river, will be enabled to float, if he suffer{u} the specific gravity of the water fairly to be adduced in comparison with his own — that is to say, if he suffer{v} his whole person to be immersed, with as little exception as possible. The proper position for one who cannot swim, is the upright position of the walker on land, with the head thrown fully back, and immersed; the mouth and nostrils alone remaining above the surface. Thus circumstanced, we shall find that we float without difficulty and without exertion. It is evident, however, that the gravities of the body, and of the bulk of water displaced, are very nicely balanced, and that a trifle will cause either to preponderate. An arm, for instance, uplifted from the water, and thus deprived of its support, is an additional weight sufficient to immerse the whole head, while the accidental aid of the smallest piece of timber will enable as to elevate the head so as to look about. Now, in the struggles of one unused to swimming, the arms are invariably thrown upwards, while an attempt is made to keep the head in its usual perpendicular position. The result is the immersion of the mouth and nostrils, and the inception, during efforts to breathe white beneath the surface, of water into the lungs. Much is also received into the stomach, and the whole body becomes heavier by the difference between the weight of the air originally distending these cavities, and that of the fluid which now fills them. This difference is sufficient to cause the body to sink, as a general rule; but is insufficient [page 742:] in the cases of individuals with small bones and an abnormal quantity of flaccid or fatty matter. Such individuals float even after drowning.

“The corpse, being supposed at the bottom of the river, will there remain until, by some means, its specific gravity again becomes less than that of the bulk of water which it displaces. This effect is brought about by decomposition, or otherwise. The result of decomposition is the generation of gas, distending the cellular tissues and all the cavities, and giving the puffed appearance which is so{w} horrible. When this distension has so far progressed that the bulk of the corpse is materially increased without a corresponding increase of mass or weight, its specific gravity becomes less than that of the water displaced, and it forthwith makes its appearance at the surface. But decomposition is modified by innumerable circumstances — is hastened or retarded by innumerable agencies; for example, by the heat or cold of the season, by the mineral impregnation or purity of the water, by its depth or shallowness, by its currency or stagnation, by the temperament of the body, by its infection or freedom from disease before death. Thus it is evident that we can assign no period, with any thing like accuracy, at which the corpse shall rise through decomposition. Under certain conditions this result would be brought about within an hour; under others, it might not take place at all. There are chemical infusions by which the animal frame can be preserved forever from corruption; the Bi-chloride of Mercury is one. But, apart from decomposition, there may be, and very usually is, a generation of gas within the stomach, from the acetous fermentation of vegetable matter (or within other cavities from other causes) sufficient to induce a distension which will bring the body to the surface. The effect produced by the firing of a cannon is that of simple vibration: This may either loosen the corpse from the soft mud or ooze in which it is imbedded, thus permitting it to rise when other agencies have already prepared it for so doing; or it may overcome the tenacity of some putrescent portions of the cellular tissue; allowing the cavities to distend under the influence of the gas. [page 743:]

“Having thus before us the whole philosophy of this subject, we can easily test by it the assertions of L’Etoile. ‘All experience shows,’ says this paper, ‘that drowned bodies, or bodies thrown into the water immediately after death by violence, require from six to ten days for sufficient decomposition to take place to bring them to the top of the water. Even when a cannon is fired over a corpse, and it rises before at least five or six days’ immersion, it sinks again if let alone.’(50)

“The whole of this paragraph must now appear a tissue of inconsequence and incoherence. All experience does not show that ‘drowned bodies’ require from six to ten days for sufficient decomposition to take place to bring them to the surface. Both science and experience show that the period of their rising is, and necessarily must be, indeterminate. If, moreover, a body has risen to the surface through firing of cannon, it will not ‘sink again if let alone,’ until decomposition has so far progressed as to permit the escape of the generated gas. But I wish to call your attention to the distinction which is made between ‘drowned bodies,’ and ‘bodies thrown into the water immediately after death by violence.’ Although the writer admits the distinction, he yet includes them all in the same category. I have shown how it is that the body of a drowning man becomes specifically heavier than its bulk of water, and that he would not sink at all, except for the struggles by which he elevates his arms above the surface, and his gasps for breath while beneath the surface — gasps which supply by water the place of the original air in the lungs. But these struggles and these gasps would not occur in the body ‘thrown into the water immediately after death by violence.’ Thus, in the latter instance, the {xx}body, as a general rule,{xx} would not sink at all — a fact of which L’Etoile is evidently ignorant. When decomposition had proceeded to a very great extent — when the flesh had in a great measure left the bones — then, indeed, but not till then, should we lose sight of the corpse.

“And now what are we to make of the argument,{y} that the body found could not be that of Marie Rogêt, because, three days only [page 744:] having elapsed, this body was found floating? {zz}If drowned, being a woman, she might never have sunk; or having sunk, might have re-appeared in twenty-four hours, or less. But no{zz} one supposes her to have been drowned; and, dying before being thrown into the river, she might have been found floating at any period afterwards whatever.

“ ‘But,’ says L’Etoile, ‘if the body had been kept in its mangled state on shore until Tuesday night, some trace would be found on shore of the murderers.”(51) Here it is at first difficult to perceive the intention of the reasoner. He means to anticipate what he imagines would be an objection to his theory — viz: that the body was kept on shore two days, suffering rapid {aa}decomposition — more rapid than if immersed in water.{aa} He supposes that, had this been the case, it might have appeared at the surface on the Wednesday, and thinks that only under such circumstances it could so have appeared. He is accordingly in haste to show that it was not kept on shore; for, if so, ‘some trace would be found on shore of the murderers.’ I presume you smile at the sequitur. You cannot be made to see how the mere duration of the corpse on the shore could operate to multiply traces of the assassins. Nor can I.

“ ‘And furthermore it is exceedingly improbable,’ continues our journal, ‘that any villains who had committed such a murder as is here supposed, would have thrown the body in without weight to sink it, when such a precaution could have so easily been taken.’(52) Observe, here, the laughable confusion of thought! No one — not even L’Etoile — disputes the murder committed on the body found. The marks of violence are too obvious. It is our reasoner’s object merely to show that this body is not Marie’s. He wishes to prove that Marie is not assassinated — not that the corpse was not. Yet his observation proves only the latter point. Here is a corpse without weight attached. Murderers, casting it in, would not have failed to attach a weight. Therefore it was not thrown in by murderers. This is all which is proved, if any thing is.{b} The question of identity is not even approached, and L’Etoile has been at great pains merely to gainsay now what it has admitted only a moment before. ‘We [page 745:] are perfectly convinced,’ it says, ‘that the body found was that of a murdered female.’(53)

“Nor is this the sole instance, even in this division of his subject, where our reasoner unwittingly reasons against himself. His evident {cc}object, I have already said,{cc} is to reduce, as much as possible, the interval between Marie’s disappearance and the finding of the corpse. Yet we find him urging the point that no person saw the girl from the moment of her leaving her mother’s house. ‘We have no evidence,’ he says, ‘that Marie Rogêt was in the land of the living after nine o’clock on Sunday, June the twenty-second.’(54) As his argument is obviously an ex parte one, he should, at least, have left this matter out of sight; for had any one been known to see Marie, say on Monday, or on Tuesday, the interval in question would have been much reduced, and, by his own ratiocination, the probability much diminished of the corpse being that of the grisette.{d} It is, nevertheless, amusing to observe that L’Etoile insists upon its point in the full belief of its furthering its general argument.

“Reperuse now that portion of this argument which has reference to the identification of the corpse by Beauvais.(55) In regard to the hair upon the arm, L’Etoile{e} has been obviously disingenuous. M. Beauvais, not being an idiot, could never have urged, in identification of the corpse, simply hair upon its arm. No arm is without hair. The {ff}generality of the{ff} expression of L’Etoile is a mere perversion of the witness’ phraseology. He must have spoken of some peculiarity in this hair. It must have been{g} a peculiarity of color, of quantity, of length, or of situation.

“ ‘Her foot,’ says the journal, ‘was small — so are thousands of feet. Her garter is no proof whatever — nor is her shoe — for shoes and garters are sold in packages. The same may be said of the flowers in her hat. One thing upon which M. Beauvais strongly insists is, that the clasp on the garter found, had been set back to take it in. This amounts to nothing; for most women find it proper to take a pair of garters home and fit them to the size of the limbs [page 746:] they are to encircle, rather than to try them in the store where they purchase.’(56) Here it is difficult to suppose the reasoner{h} in earnest. Had M. Beauvais, in his search for the body of Marie, discovered a corpse corresponding in general size and appearance to the missing girl, he would have been warranted (without reference to the question of habiliment at all) in forming an opinion that his search had been successful. If, in addition to the point of general size and contour, he had found upon the arm a peculiar hairy appearance which he had observed upon the living Marie, his opinion might have been justly strengthened; and the increase of positiveness might well have been in the ratio of the peculiarity, or unusualness, of the hairy mark. If, the feet of Marie being small, those of the corpse were also small, the increase of probability that the body was that of Marie would not be an increase in a ratio merely {ii}arithmetical, but in one highly geometrical, or{ii} accumulative. Add to all this shoes such as she had been known to wear upon the day of her disappearance, and, although these shoes may be ‘sold in packages,’ you so far augment the probability as to verge upon the certain. What, of itself, would be no evidence of identity, becomes through its corroborative position, proof most sure. Give us, then, flowers in the hat corresponding to those worn by the missing girl, and we seek for nothing farther. If only one flower, we seek for nothing farther — what then if two or three, or more? Each successive one is multiple evidence — proof not added to proof, but multiplied by hundreds or thousands.(57) Let us now discover, upon the deceased, garters such as the living used, and it is almost folly to proceed. But these garters are found to be tightened, by the setting back of a clasp, in just such a manner as her own had been tightened by Marie, shortly previous to her leaving home. It is now madness or hypocrisy to doubt. What L’Etoile says in respect to this abbreviation of the garter’s being an usual occurrence, shows nothing beyond its own pertinacity in error. The elastic nature of the clasp-garter is self-demonstration of the unusualness of the abbreviation. What is made to adjust{j} itself, must of necessity require {kk}foreign adjustment{kk} but rarely. It must have [page 747:] been by an accident, in its strictest sense, that these garters of Marie needed the tightening described. They alone would have amply established her identity. But it is not that the corpse was found to have the garters of the missing girl, or found to have her shoes, or her bonnet, or the flowers of her bonnet, or her feet, or a peculiar mark upon the arm, or her general size and appearance — it is that the corpse had each, and all collectively. Could it be proved that the editor of L’Etoile really entertained a doubt, under the circumstances, there would be no need, in his case, of a commission de lunatico inquirendo.(58) He has{l} thought it sagacious to echo the small talk of the lawyers, who, for the most part, content themselves with echoing the rectangular precepts of the courts. I would here observe that very much of what is rejected as evidence by a court, is the best of evidence to the intellect. For the court, guiding itself by the general principles of evidence — the recognized and booked principles — is averse from swerving at particular instances. And this steadfast adherence to principle, with rigorous disregard of the conflicting exception, is a sure mode of attaining the maximum of attainable truth, in any long sequence of time. The practice, in mass, is therefore philosophical; but it is not the less certain that it engenders{m} vast individual error.*(59)

“In respect to the insinuations levelled at Beauvais, you will be willing to dismiss them in a breath. You have already fathomed the true character of this good gentleman. He is a busy-body, with much of romance and little of wit. Any one so constituted will readily so conduct himself, upon occasion of real excitement, as to render himself liable to suspicion on the part of the over-acute, or the ill-disposed. M. Beauvais (as it appears from your notes) had some personal interviews with the editor of L’Etoile, and offended him by venturing an opinion that the corpse, notwithstanding the [page 748:] theory of the editor, was, in sober fact that of Marie.(60) ‘He persists,’ says the paper,{n} ‘in asserting the corpse to be that of Marie, but cannot give a circumstance, in addition to those which we have commented upon, to make others believe.’ Now, without readverting to the fact that stronger evidence ‘to make others believe,’ could never have been adduced, it may be remarked that a man may very well be understood to believe, in a case of this kind, without the ability to advance a single reason for the belief of a second party. Nothing is more vague than impressions of individual identity. Each man recognizes his neighbor, yet there are few instances in which any one is prepared to give a reason for his recognition. The editor of L’Etoile had no right to be offended at M. Beauvais’ unreasoning belief.(61)

“The suspicious circumstances which invest him, will be found to tally much better with my{o} hypothesis of romantic busy-bodyism, than with the reasoner’s suggestion of guilt. Once adopting the more charitable interpretation, we shall find no difficulty in comprehending the rose in the key-hole; the ‘Marie’ upon the slate; the ‘elbowing the male relatives out of the way;’ the ‘aversion to permitting them to see the body;’ the caution given to Madame B——, that she must hold no conversation with the gendarme until his return (Beauvais’); and, lastly, his apparent determination ‘that nobody should have anything to do with the proceedings except himself.’ It seems to me unquestionable that Beauvais was a suitor of Marie’s; that she coquetted with him; and that he was ambitious of being thought to enjoy her fullest intimacy and confidence. I shall say nothing more upon this point; and, as the evidence fully rebuts the assertion of L’Etoile, touching the matter of apathy on the part of the mother and other relatives — an apathy inconsistent with the supposition of their believing the corpse to be that of the perfumery-girl — we shall now proceed as if the question of identity were settled to our perfect satisfaction.”(62)

“And what,” I here demanded, “do you think of the opinions of Le Commerciel?”(63)

“That, in spirit, they are far more worthy of attention than any [page 749:] which have been promulgated upon the subject. The deductions from the premises are philosophical and acute; but the premises, in two instances, at least, are founded in imperfect observation. Le Commerciel wishes to intimate that Marie was seized by some gang of low ruffians not far from her mother’s door. ‘It is impossible,’ it urges, ‘that a person so well known to thousands as this young woman was, should have passed three blocks without some one having seen her.’ This is the idea of a man long resident in Paris — a public man — and one whose walks to and fro in the city, have been mostly limited to the vicinity of the public offices. He is aware that he{p} seldom passes so far as a dozen blocks from his own bureau, without being recognized and accosted. And, knowing the extent of his personal acquaintance with others, and of others with him, he compares his notoriety with that of the perfumery-girl, finds no great difference between them, and reaches at once the conclusion that she, in her walks, would be equally liable to recognition {qq}with himself in his.{qq} This could only be the case were her walks of the same unvarying, methodical character, and within the same species of limited region as are his own. He passes to and fro, at regular intervals, within a confined periphery, abounding in individuals who are led to observation of his person through interest in the kindred nature of his occupation with their own. But the walks of Marie may, in general, be supposed discursive. In this particular instance, it will be understood as most probable, that she proceeded upon a route of more than average diversity from her accustomed ones. The parallel which we imagine to have existed in the mind of Le Commerciel would only be sustained in the event of the two individuals{r} traversing the whole city. In this case, granting the personal acquaintances to be equal, the chances would be also equal that an equal number of personal rencounters would be made. For my own part, I should hold it not only as possible, but as very far more than probable, that Marie might have proceeded, at any given period, by any one of the many routes between her own residence and that of her aunt, without meeting a single individual whom she knew, or by whom she was [page 750:] known. In viewing this question in its full and proper light, we must hold steadily in mind the great disproportion between the personal acquaintances of even the most noted individual in Paris, and the entire population of Paris itself.

“But whatever force there may still appear to be in the suggestion of Le Commerciel, will be much diminished when we take into consideration the hour at which the girl went abroad. ‘It was when the streets were full of people,’ says Le Commerciel, ‘that she went out.’ But not so. It was at nine o’clock in the morning.(64) Now at nine o’clock of every morning in the week, with the exception of Sunday, the streets of the city are, it is true, thronged with people. At nine on Sunday, the populace are chiefly within doors preparing for church. No {ss}observing person{ss} can have failed to notice the peculiarly deserted air of the town, from about eight until ten on the morning of every Sabbath. Between ten and eleven the streets are thronged, but not at so early a period as that designated.

“There is another point at which there seems a deficiency of observation on the part of Le Commerciel, ‘A piece,’ it says, ‘of one of the unfortunate girl’s petticoats, two feet long, and one foot wide, was torn out and tied under her chin, and around the back of her head, probably to prevent screams. This was done by fellows who had no pocket-handkerchiefs.’ Whether this idea is, or is not well founded, we will endeavor to see hereafter; but by ‘fellows who have no pocket-handkerchiefs,’ the editor intends the lowest class of ruffians. These, however, are the very description of people who will always be found to have handkerchiefs even when destitute of shirts. You must have had occasion to observe how absolutely indispensable, of late years, to the thorough blackguard, has become the pocket-handkerchief. “(65)

“And what are we to think,” I asked, “of the article in Le Soleil?”(66)

“That it is a{t} pity{u} its inditer was not {vv}born a parrot — in which case he would have been the most illustrious parrot of his race.{vv} He [page 751:] has merely repeated{w} the individual items of the already published opinion; collecting them, with a laudable industry, from this paper and from that.(67) ‘The things had all evidently been there,’ he says, ‘at least, three or four weeks, and there can be no doubt that the spot of this appalling outrage has been discovered.{x} The facts here re-stated by Le Soleil, are very far indeed from removing my own doubts upon this subject, and we will examine them more particularly hereafter in connexion with another division of the theme.

“At present we must occupy ourselves with other investigations. You cannot fail to have remarked the extreme laxity of the examination of the corpse. To be sure, the question of identity was readily determined, or should have been; but there were other points to be ascertained. Had the body been in any respect despoiled? Had the deceased any articles of jewelry about her person upon leaving home? if so, had she any when found? These are important questions utterly untouched by the evidence;(68) and there are others of equal moment, which have met with no attention. We must endeavor to satisfy ourselves by personal inquiry. The case of St.{y} Eustache must be re-examined. I have no suspicion of this person; but let us proceed methodically. We will ascertain beyond a doubt the validity of the affidavits in regard to his whereabouts on the Sunday. Affidavits of this character are readily made matter of mystification. Should there be nothing wrong here, however, we will dismiss St.{z} Eustache from our investigations. His suicide, however corroborative of suspicion, were there found to be deceit in the affidavits, is, without such deceit, in no respect an unaccountable circumstance, or one which need cause us to deflect from the line of ordinary analysis.

“In that{a} which I now propose, we will discard the interior{b} points of this tragedy, and concentrate our attention upon its outskirts.{c} Not the least usual error, in investigations such as this, is [page 752:] the limiting of inquiry to the immediate, with total disregard of the collateral or circumstantial{d} events. It is the mal-practice of the courts to confine evidence and discussion to the bounds of apparent relevancy.{e} Yet experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger portion of truth, arises from the seemingly irrelevant.(69) It is through the spirit of this principle, if not precisely through its letter,(70) that modern science has resolved to calculate upon the unforeseen. But perhaps you do not comprehend me. The history of human knowledge has so uninterruptedly shown that to collateral, or incidental, or accidental events we are indebted for the most numerous and most valuable discoveries, that it has at length become necessary, in any prospective view of improvement, to make not only large, but the largest allowances for inventions that shall arise by chance, and quite out of the range of ordinary expectation. It is no longer philosophical to base, upon what has been, a vision of what is to be. Accident is admitted as a portion of the substructure.{f} We make chance a matter of absolute calculation.{g} We subject the unlooked for and unimagined, to the mathematical formulae of the schools.

“I repeat that it is no more than fact, that the larger portion{h} of all truth has sprung from the collateral; and it is but in accordance with the spirit of the principle involved in this fact, that I would divert inquiry, in the present case, from the trodden and hitherto unfruitful ground of the event itself, to the cotemporary circumstances which surround it. While you ascertain the validity of the affidavits, I will examine the newspapers more generally than you have as yet done. So far, we have only reconnoitred the field of investigation; but it will be strange indeed if a comprehensive survey, such as I propose, of the public prints, will not afford us some minute points which shall establish a direction for inquiry.”

In pursuance of Dupin’s suggestion, I made scrupulous examination of the affair of the affidavits. The result was a firm conviction of their validity, and of the consequent innocence of St.{i} [page 753:] Eustache.(71) In the mean time my friend occupied himself, with what seemed to me a minuteness altogether objectless, in a scrutiny of the various newspaper files. At the end of a week he placed before me the following extracts:(72)

{jj}About three years and a half ago,{jj} a disturbance very similar to the present, was caused by the disappearance of this same Marie Rogêt, from the parfumerie of Monsieur Le Blanc, in the Palais Royal. At the end of a week, however, she re-appeared at her customary comptoir, as well as ever, with the exception of a slight paleness not altogether usual. It was given out by Monsieur Le Blanc and her mother, that she had merely been on a visit to some friend in the country; and the affair was speedily hushed up. We presume that the present absence is a freak of the same nature, and that, at the expiration of a week, or perhaps of a month, we shall have her among us again.” — Evening PaperMonday, June 23.*

“An evening journal of yesterday, refers to a former mysterious disappearance of Mademoiselle Rogêt. It is well known that, during the week of her absence from Le Blanc’s parfumerie, she was in the company of a young naval officer, much noted for his debaucheries. A quarrel, it is supposed, providentially led to her return home. We have the name of the Lothario in question, who is, at present, stationed in Paris, but, for obvious reasons, forbear to make it public.” — Le MercurieTuesday Morning, June 24. (73)

“An outrage of the most atrocious character was perpetrated near this city the day before yesterday. A gentleman, with his wife and daughter, engaged, about dusk, the services of six young men, who were idly rowing a boat to and fro near the banks of the Seine, to convey him across the river. Upon reaching the opposite shore, the three passengers stepped out, and had proceeded so far as to be beyond the view of the boat, when the daughter discovered that she had left in it her parasol. She returned for it, was seized by the gang, carried out into the stream, gagged, brutally treated, and finally taken to the shore at a point not far from that at which she had originally entered the boat with her parents. The villains have escaped for the time, but the police are upon their trail, and some of them will soon be taken.” — Morning Paper — June 25. (74)

“We have received one or two communications, the object of which is to fasten the crime of the late atrocity upon Mennais;§ but as this gentleman has been fully exonerated by a legal inquiry, and as the arguments of our several correspondents appear to be more zealous than profound, we do not think it advisable to make them public.” — Morning Paper — June 28.**(75)

“We have received several forcibly written communications, apparently from various sources, and which go far to render it a matter of certainty that the [page 754:] unfortunate Marie Rogêt has become a victim of one of the numerous bands of blackguards which infest the vicinity of the city upon Sunday. Our own opinion is decidedly in favor of this supposition. We shall endeavor to make room for some of these arguments hereafter.” — Evening Paper — Tuesday, June 31. (76)

“On Monday, one of the bargemen connected with the revenue service, saw an empty boat floating down the Seine. Sails were lying in the bottom of the boat. The bargeman towed it under the barge office. The next morning it was taken from thence, without the knowledge of any of the officers. The rudder is now at the barge office.” — Le Diligence — Thursday, June 26.§ (77)

Upon reading these various extracts, they not only seemed to me irrelevant, but I could perceive no mode in which any one of them could be brought to bear upon the matter in hand. I waited for some explanation from Dupin.

“It is not my present{k} design,” he said, “to dwell upon the first and second of these extracts. I have copied them chiefly to show you the extreme remissness of the police, who, as far as I can understand from the Prefect, have not troubled themselves, in any respect, with an examination of the naval officer alluded to. Yet it is mere folly to say that between the first and second disappearance of Marie, there is no supposable connection. Let us admit the first elopement to have resulted in a quarrel between the lovers, and the return home of the betrayed. We are now prepared to view a second elopement (if we know that an elopement has again taken place) as indicating a renewal of the betrayer’s advances, rather than as the result of new proposals by a second individual — we are prepared to regard it as a ‘making up’ of the old amour, rather than as the commencement of a new one. The chances are ten{l} to one, that he who had once eloped with Marie, would again propose an elopement, rather than that she to whom proposals of elopement had been made by one individual, should have them made to her by another. And here let me call your attention to the fact, that the time elapsing between the first ascertained, and the second supposed elopement, is {mm}a few months more than{mm} the general period of the cruises of our men-of-war. Had the lover been interrupted in his [page 755:] first villainy{n} by the necessity of departure to sea, and had he seized the first moment of his return to renew the base designs not yet altogether {oo}accomplished — or not yet altogether accomplished by him?{oo} Of all these things we know nothing.

“You will say, however, that, in the second instance, there was no elopement as imagined. Certainly not — but are we prepared to say that there was not the frustrated design? Beyond St.{p} Eustache, and perhaps Beauvais, we find no recognized, no open, no honorable suitors of Marie. Of none other is there any thing said. Who, then, is the secret lover, of whom the relatives (at least most of them) know nothing, but whom Marie meets upon the morning of Sunday, and who is so deeply in her confidence, that she hesitates not to remain with him until the shades of the evening descend, amid the solitary groves of the Barrière du Roule? Who is that secret lover, I ask, of whom, at least, most of the relatives know nothing? And what means the singular prophecy of Madame Rogêt on the morning of Marie’s departure? — ‘I fear that I shall never see Marie again.’(78)

“But if we cannot imagine Madame Rogêt privy to the design of elopement, may we not at least suppose this design entertained by the girl? Upon quitting home, she gave it to be understood that she was about to visit her aunt in the Rue des Drômes, and St.{q} Eustache was requested to call for her at dark. Now, at first glance, this fact strongly militates against my suggestion; — but let us reflect. That she did meet{r} some companion, and proceed with him across the river, reaching the Barrière du Roule at so{s} late an hour as three o’clock in the afternoon, is known.(79) But in consenting so to accompany this individual, {tt}(for whatever purpose — to her mother known or unknown, ){tt} she must have thought of her expressed intention when leaving home, and of the surprise and suspicion aroused in the bosom of her affianced suitor, St.{u} Eustache, when, calling for her, at the hour appointed, in the Rue des Drômes, he should find that she had not been there, and when, [page 756:] moreover, upon returning to the pension with this alarming intelligence, he should become aware of her continued absence from home. She must have thought of these things, I say. She must have foreseen the chagrin of St.{v} Eustache, the suspicion of all. She could not have thought of returning to brave this suspicion; but the suspicion becomes a point of trivial importance to her, if we suppose her not intending to return.

“We may imagine her thinking thus — ‘I am to meet a certain person for the purpose of {ww}elopement, or for certain other purposes known only to myself.{ww} It is necessary that there be no chance of interruption — there must be sufficient time given us to elude pursuit — I will give it to be understood that I shall visit and spend the day with my aunt at the Rue des Drômes — I will{x} tell St.{y} Eustache not to call for me until dark — in this way, my absence from home for the longest possible period, without causing suspicion or anxiety, will be accounted for, and I shall gain more time than in any other manner. If I bid St.{z} Eustache call for me at dark, he will be sure not to call before; but, if I wholly neglect to bid him call, my time for escape will be diminished, since it will be expected that I return the earlier, and my absence will the sooner excite anxiety. Now, if it were my design to return at all — if I had in contemplation merely a stroll with the individual in question — it would not be my policy to bid St.{a} Eustache call; for, calling, he will be sure to ascertain that I have played him false — a fact of which I might keep him for ever in ignorance, by leaving home without notifying him of my intention, by returning before dark, and by then stating that I had been to visit my aunt in the Rue des Drômes. But, as it is my design never to {bb}return — or not for some weeks — or not until certain concealments are effected — the{bb} gaining of time is the only point about which I need give myself any concern.’{c} (80) [page 757:]

“You have observed, in your notes, that the most general opinion in relation to this sad affair is, and was from the first, that the girl had been the victim of a gang of blackguards.(81) Now, the popular opinion, under certain conditions, is not to be disregarded. When arising of itself — when manifesting itself in a strictly spontaneous manner — we should look upon it as analogous with that intuition which is the idiosyncrasy of the individual man of genius. In ninety-nine cases from the hundred I would abide by its decision. But it is important that we find no palpable traces of suggestion. The opinion must be rigorously the public’s own; and the distinction is often exceedingly difficult to perceive and to maintain. In the present instance, it appears to me that this ‘public opinion,’ in respect to a gang, has been superinduced by the collateral event which is detailed in the third of my extracts.(82) All Paris is excited by the discovered corpse of Marie, a girl young, beautiful and notorious. This{d} corpse is found, bearing marks of violence, and floating in the river. But it is now made known that, at the very period, or about the very period, in which it is supposed that the girl was assassinated, an outrage similar in nature to that endured by the deceased, although less in extent, was perpetrated, by a gang of young ruffians, upon the person of a second young female. Is it wonderful that the one known atrocity should influence the popular judgment in regard to the other unknown? This judgment awaited direction, and the known outrage seemed so opportunely to afford it! Marie, too, was found in the river; and upon this very river was this known outrage committed. The connexion of the two events had about it so much of the palpable, that the true wonder would have been a failure of the populace to appreciate and to seize it. But, in fact,{e} the one atrocity, known to be so committed, is, if any thing, evidence that the other, committed at a time nearly coincident, was not so committed. It would have been a miracle indeed, if, while a gang of ruffians were perpetrating, at a given locality, a most unheard-of wrong, there should have been another similar gang, in a similar locality, in the same city, under the same circumstances, with the same means and appliances, engaged in a wrong of precisely the same aspect, at precisely the same period of time!(83) Yet [page 758:] in what, if not in this marvellous train of coincidence, does the accidentally suggested opinion of the populace call upon us to believe?(84)

“Before proceeding farther, let us{f} consider the supposed scene of the assassination, in the thicket at the Barrière du Roule. This thicket, although dense, was in the close vicinity of a public road. Within were three or four large stones, forming a kind of seat with a back and footstool. On the upper stone was discovered a white petticoat; on the second, a silk scarf. A parasol, gloves, and a pocket-handkerchief, were also here found. The handkerchief bore the name, ‘Marie Rogèt.’ Fragments of dress were seen on the branches around. The earth was trampled, the bushes were broken, and there was every evidence of a violent struggle.(85)

“Notwithstanding the acclamation{g} with which the discovery of this thicket was received by the press, and the unanimity with which it was supposed to indicate the precise scene of the outrage, it must be admitted that there was some very good reason for doubt. That it was the scene, {hh}I may or I may not{hh} believe — but there was excellent reason for doubt.(86) Had the true scene been, as Le Commerciel suggested,(87) in the neighborhood of the Rue Pavée St. Andrée, the perpetrators of the crime, supposing them still resident in Paris, would naturally have been stricken with terror at the public attention thus acutely directed into the proper channel; and, in certain classes of minds, there would have arisen, at once, a sense of the necessity of some exertion to redivert this attention. And thus, the thicket{i} of the Barrière du Roule having been already suspected, the idea of placing the articles where they were found, might have been naturally entertained. There is no real evidence, although Le Soleil{j} so supposes, that the articles discovered had been more than a very few days in the thicket;(88) while there is much circumstantial proof that they could{k} not have remained there, without attracting attention, during the twenty days elapsing between the fatal Sunday and the afternoon upon which they were found by the boys.(89) ‘They were all mildewed down hard,’ says Le [page 759:] Soleil, adopting the opinions of its predecessors, ‘with the action of the rain, and stuck together from mildew. The grass had grown around and over some of them. The silk of the parasol was strong, but the threads of it were run together within. The upper part, where it had been doubled and folded, was all mildewed and rotten, and tore on being opened.’ In respect to the grass having ‘grown around and over some of them,’ it is obvious that the fact could{l} only have been ascertained from the words, and thus from the recollections, of two small boys; for these boys removed the articles and took them home before they had been seen by a third party.(90) But grass will grow, especially in warm and damp weather, (such as was that of the period of the murder,) as much as{m} two or three inches in a single day. A parasol lying upon a newly turfed ground, might, in a{n} week, be entirely concealed from sight by the upspringing grass.(91) And touching that mildew upon which the editor of Le Soleil{o} so pertinaciously insists, that he employs the word no less than three times in the brief paragraph just quoted,{p} is he{q} really unaware of the nature of this mildew? Is he to be told that it is one of the many classes of fungus, of which the most ordinary{r} feature is its upspringing and decadence within twenty-four hours?

“Thus we see, at a glance, that what has been most triumphantly adduced in support of the idea that the articles had been ‘for at least three or four weeks’ in the thicket, is most absurdly null as regards any evidence of that fact. On{s} the other{t} hand, it is exceedingly difficult to believe that these articles could have remained in the thicket specified, for a longer period than a single week — for a longer period than from one Sunday to the next. Those who know any thing of the vicinity of Paris, know the extreme difficulty of finding seclusion, unless at a great distance from its suburbs. Such a thing as an unexplored, or even an unfrequently visited recess, amid its woods or groves, is not for a moment to be imagined. Let any one who, being at heart a lover of nature, is yet chained by duty to the dust and heat of this great metropolis — let any such one attempt, even [page 760:] during the weekdays, to slake his thirst for solitude amid the scenes of natural loveliness which immediately surround us. At every second step, he will find the growing charm dispelled by the voice and personal intrusion of some ruffian or party of carousing blackguards. He will seek privacy amid the densest foliage, all in vain. Here are the very nooks where the unwashed most abound — here are the temples most desecrate.{u} With{v} sickness of the heart the wanderer will flee back to the polluted Paris as to a less odious because less incongruous sink of pollution. But if the vicinity{w} of the city is so beset during the working days of the week, how much more so on the Sabbath! It is now{x} especially that, released from the claims of labor, or deprived of the customary opportunities of crime, the{y} town blackguard seeks the precincts of the town, not through love of the rural, which in his heart he despises, but by way of escape from the restraints and conventionalities of society. He desires less the fresh air and the green trees, than the utter license of the country. Here, at the road-side inn, or beneath the foliage of the woods, he indulges, unchecked by any eye except those of his boon companions, in all the mad excess of a counterfeit hilarity — the joint offspring of liberty and of{z} rum. I say nothing more than what must be obvious to every dispassionate observer, when I repeat that the circumstance of the articles in question having remained undiscovered, for a longer period than from one Sunday to another, in any thicket in the immediate neighborhood of Paris, is to be looked upon as little less than miraculous.

“But there are not wanting other grounds for the suspicion that the articles were placed in the thicket with the view of diverting attention from the real scene of the outrage. And, first, let me direct your notice to the date of the discovery of the articles. Collate this with the date of the fifth extract made by myself from the newspapers.(92) You will find that the discovery followed, almost immediately, the urgent communications{a} sent to the evening paper. These communications, although various, and apparently from various [page 761:] sources, tended all to the same point — viz., the directing of attention to a gang as the perpetrators of the outrage, and to the neighborhood of the Barrière du Roule as its scene.{b} Now here, of course, the suspicion is not that, in consequence of these communications, or of the public attention by them directed, the articles were found by the boys; but the suspicion might and may well have been, that the articles were not before found by the boys, for the reason that the articles had not before been in the thicket; having been deposited there only at so late a period as at the date, or shortly prior to the date of the communications, by the guilty authors of these communications themselves.

“This thicket was a singular — an exceedingly singular one. It was unusually dense. Within its naturally walled enclosure were three extraordinary stones, forming a seat with a back and footstool. And this thicket, so full of a natural art, was in the immediate vicinity, within a few rods, of the dwelling of Madame Deluc, whose boys were in the habit of closely examining the shrubberies about them in search of the bark of the sassafras. Would it be a rash wager — a wager of one thousand to one — that a day never passed over the heads of these boys without finding at least one of them ensconced in the umbrageous hall, and enthroned upon its natural throne? Those who would hesitate at such a wager, have either never been boys themselves, or have forgotten the boyish nature. I repeat — it is exceedingly hard to comprehend how the articles could have remained in this thicket undiscovered, for a longer period than one or two days; and that thus there is good ground for suspicion, in spite of the dogmatic ignorance of Le Soleil,{c} that they were, at a comparatively late date, deposited where found.(93)

“But there are still other and stronger reasons for believing them so deposited, than any which I have as yet urged. And, now, let me beg your notice to the highly artificial arrangement of{d} the articles. On the upper stone lay a white petticoat; on the second a silk scarf; scattered around, were a parasol, gloves, and a pocket-handkerchief bearing the name, ‘Marie Rogêt.’ Here is just such an arrangement as would naturally be made by a not-over-acute person [page 762:] wishing to dispose the articles naturally. But it is by no means a really natural arrangement. I should rather have looked to see the things all lying on the ground and trampled under foot. In the narrow limits of that bower, it would have been scarcely possible that the petticoat and scarf should have retained a position upon the stones, when subjected to the brushing to and fro of many struggling persons. ‘There was evidence,’ it is said, ‘of a struggle; and the earth was trampled, the bushes were broken,’ — but the petticoat and the scarf are found deposited as if upon shelves. ‘The pieces of the frock torn out by the bushes were about three inches wide and six inches long. One part was the hem of the frock and it had been mended. They looked like strips torn off.’ Here, inadvertently, Le Soleil{e} has employed an exceedingly suspicious phrase. The pieces, as described, do indeed ‘look like strips torn off;’ but purposely and by hand. It is one of the rarest of accidents that a piece is ‘torn off,’ from any garment such as is now in question, by the agency of a thorn. From the very nature of such fabrics, a thorn or nail becoming entangled in them, tears them rectangularly — divides them into two longitudinal rents, at right angles with each other, and meeting at an apex where the thorn enters — but it is scarcely possible to conceive the piece ‘torn off.’ I never so knew it, nor did you. To tear a piece off from such fabric, two distinct forces, in different directions, will be, in almost every case, required. If there be two edges to the fabric — if, for example, it be a pocket-handkerchief, and it is desired to tear from it a slip, then, and then only, will the one force serve the purpose. But in the present case the question is of a dress, presenting but one edge. To tear a piece from the interior, where no edge is presented, could only be effected by a miracle through the agency of thorns, and no one thorn could accomplish it. But, even where an edge is presented, two thorns will be necessary, operating, the one in two distinct directions, and the other in one. And this in the supposition that the edge is unhemmed. If hemmed, the matter is nearly out of the question. We thus see the numerous and great obstacles in the way of pieces being ‘torn off’ through the simple agency of ‘thorns;’ yet we are required [page 763:] to believe not only that one piece but that many have been so torn. ‘And one part,’ too, ‘was the hem of the frock!’ Another piece was ‘part of the skirt, not the hem,’ — that is to say, was torn completely out, through the agency of thorns, from the unedged interior of the dress! These, I say, are things which one may well be pardoned for disbelieving; yet, taken collectedly, they form, perhaps, less of reasonable ground for suspicion, than the one startling circumstance of the articles’ having been left in this thicket at all, by any murderers who had enough{f} precaution to think of removing the corpse. You will not have apprehended me rightly, however, if you suppose it my design to deny this thicket as the scene of the outrage. {gg}There might have been a wrong here, or, more possibly, an accident at Madame Deluc’s.{gg} (94) But,{h} in fact, this is a point of minor importance. We are not engaged in an attempt to discover the scene, but to produce the perpetrators of the murder. What I have adduced, notwithstanding the minuteness with which I have adduced it, has been with the view, first, to show the folly of the positive and headlong assertions of Le Soleil,{i} but secondly and chiefly, to bring you, by the most natural route, to a further contemplation of the doubt whether this assassination has, or has not been, the work of a gang.

“We will resume this question by mere allusion to the revolting details of the surgeon examined at the inquest. It is only necessary to say that his published inferences, in regard to the number of the ruffians, have been properly ridiculed as unjust and totally baseless, by all the reputable anatomists of Paris. Not that the matter might not have been as inferred, but that there was no ground for the {jj}inference: — was there not much for another?{jj} (95)

“Let us reflect now upon ‘the traces of a struggle;’(96) and let me ask what these traces have been supposed to demonstrate. A gang. But do they not rather demonstrate the absence of a gang? What struggle could have taken place — what struggle{k} so violent and so enduring as to have left its ‘traces’ in all directions — between a weak and defenceless girl and the gang of ruffians imagined? The silent grasp of a few rough arms and all would have been over. The [page 764:] victim must have been absolutely passive at their will. You will here bear in mind{l} that the arguments urged against{m} the thicket as the scene, are applicable, in chief part, only against it as the scene of an outrage committed by more than a single individual. If we imagine but one violator, we can conceive, and thus only conceive, the struggle of so violent and so obstinate a nature as to have left the ‘traces’ apparent.

“And again. I have already mentioned the{n} suspicion to be excited by the fact that the articles in question were suffered to remain at all in the thicket where discovered.(97) It seems almost impossible that these evidences of guilt should have been accidentally left where found. There was sufficient presence of mind {oo}(it is supposed){oo} to remove the corpse; and yet a more positive evidence than the corpse itself (whose features might have been quickly obliterated by decay,) is allowed to lie conspicuously in the scene of the outrage — I allude to the handkerchief with the name of the deceased.(98) If this was accident, it was not the accident of a gang. We can imagine it only the accident of an individual. Let us see.(99) An individual has committed the murder. He is alone with the ghost of the departed. He is appalled by what lies motionless before him. The fury of his passion is over, and there is abundant room in his heart for the natural awe of the deed. His is none of that confidence which the presence of numbers inevitably inspires. He is alone with the dead. He trembles and is bewildered. Yet there is a necessity for disposing of the corpse. He bears it to the river, but leaves behind him the other evidences of guilt; for it is difficult, if not impossible to carry all the burthen at once, and it will be easy to return for what is left. But in his toilsome journey to the water his fears redouble within him. The sounds of life encompass his path. A dozen times he hears or fancies the step of an observer. Even the very lights from the city bewilder him. Yet, in time, and by long and frequent pauses of deep{p} agony, he reaches the river’s brink, and disposes of his ghastly charge — perhaps through the medium [page 765:] of a boat. But now what treasure does the world hold — what threat of vengeance could it hold out — which would have power to urge the return of that lonely murderer over that toilsome and perilous path, to the thicket and its blood-chilling recollections? He returns not, let the consequences be what they may. He could not return if he would. His sole thought is immediate escape. He turns his back forever upon those dreadful shrubberies, and flees as from the wrath to come.(100)

“But how with a gang? Their number would have inspired them with confidence; if, indeed, confidence is ever wanting in the breast of the arrant blackguard; and{q} of arrant blackguards alone are the supposed gangs ever constituted. Their number, I say, would have prevented the bewildering and unreasoning terror which I have imagined to paralyze the single man. Could we suppose an oversight in one, or two, or three, this oversight would have been remedied by a fourth. They would have left nothing behind them; for their number would have enabled them to carry all at once. There would have been no need of return.

“Consider now the circumstance that, in the outer garment of the corpse when found, ‘a slip, about a foot wide, had been torn upward from the bottom hem to the waist, wound three times round the waist, and secured by a sort of hitch in the back.’(101) This was done with the obvious design of affording a handle by which to carry the body. But would any number of men have dreamed of resorting to such an expedient? To three or four, the limbs of the corpse would have afforded not only a sufficient, but the best possible hold. The device is that of a single individual; and this brings us to the fact that ‘between the thicket and the river, the rails of the fences were found taken down, and the ground bore evident traces of some heavy burden having been dragged along it!(102) But would a number of men have put themselves to the superfluous trouble of taking down a fence, for the purpose of dragging through it a corpse which they might have lifted over any fence in an instant? Would a number of men have so dragged a corpse at all as to have left evident traces of the dragging? [page 766:]

“And here we must refer to an observation of Le Commerciel; an observation upon which I have already, in some measure, commented. ‘A piece,’ says this journal, ‘of one of the unfortunate girl’s petticoats was torn out and tied under her chin, and around the back of her head, probably to prevent screams. This was done by fellows who had no pocket-handkerchiefs.’(103)

“I have before{r} suggested that a genuine blackguard is never without a pocket-handkerchief.(104) But it is not to this fact that I now especially advert. That it was not through want of a handkerchief for the purpose imagined by Le Commerciel, that this bandage was employed, is rendered apparent by the handkerchief left in the thicket; and that the object was not ‘to prevent screams’ appears, also, from the bandage having been employed in preference to what would so much better have answered the purpose. But the language of the evidence speaks of the strip in question as ‘found around the neck, fitting loosely, and secured with a hard knot.’(105) These words are sufficiently vague, but differ materially from those of Le Commerciel. The slip was eighteen inches wide, and therefore, although of muslin, would form a strong band when folded or rumpled longitudinally. And thus rumpled it was discovered. My inference is this. The solitary murderer, having borne the corpse, for some distance, {ss}(whether from the thicket or elsewhere){ss} by means of the bandage hitched around its middle, found the weight, in this mode of procedure, too much for his strength. He resolved to drag the burthen — the evidence goes to show that it was dragged. With this object in view, it became necessary to attach something like a rope to one of the extremities. It could be best attached about the neck, where the head would prevent its slipping off. And, now, the murderer bethought him, unquestionably, of the bandage about the loins.(106) He would have used this, but for its volution about the corpse, the hitch which embarrassed it, and the reflection that it had not been ‘torn off’ from the garment. It was easier to tear a new slip from the petticoat. He tore it, made it fast about the neck, and so dragged his victim to the brink of the river. That this ‘bandage,’ only attainable with trouble and [page 767:] delay, and but imperfectly answering its purpose — that this bandage was employed at all, demonstrates that the necessity for its employment sprang from circumstances arising at a period when the handkerchief was no longer attainable — that is to say, arising, as we have imagined, after quitting the thicket, {tt}(if the thicket it was),{tt} and on the road between the thicket and the river.

“But the evidence, you will say, of Madame Deluc,(!){u} points especially to the presence of a gang, in the vicinity of the thicket, at or about the epoch of the {vv}murder. This I{vv} grant. I doubt if there were not a dozen gangs, such as described by Madame Deluc, in and about the vicinity of the Barrière du Roule at or about the period of this tragedy. But the gang which has drawn upon itself the pointed animadversion, although the somewhat tardy {ww}and very suspicious{ww} evidence of Madame Deluc, is the only gang which is represented by that honest and scrupulous old lady as having eaten her cakes and swallowed her brandy, without putting themselves to the trouble of making her payment. Et hinc illæ iræ?(107)

“But what is the precise evidence of Madame Deluc? ‘A gang of miscreants made their appearance, behaved boisterously, ate and drank without making payment, followed in the route{x} of the young man and girl, returned to the inn about dusk, and recrossed the river as if in great haste.’(108)

“Now this ‘great haste’ very possibly seemed greater haste in the eyes of Madame Deluc, since she dwelt lingeringly and lamentingly upon her violated cakes and ale(109) — cakes and ale for which she might still have entertained a faint hope of compensation. Why, otherwise, since it was about dusk, should she make a point of the haste? It is no cause for wonder, surely, that even a gang of blackguards should make haste to get home, when a wide river is to be crossed in small boats, when storm impends, and when night approaches.

“I say approaches; for the night had not yet arrived. It was only about dusk that the indecent haste of these ‘miscreants’ offended the sober eyes of Madame Deluc. But we are told that it was upon [page 768:] this very evening that Madame Deluc, as well as her eldest son, ‘heard the screams of a female in the vicinity of the inn.’ And in what words does Madame Deluc designate the period of the evening at which these screams were heard? ‘It was soon after dark,’ she says. But’soon after dark,’ is, at least, dark; and ‘about dusk’ is as certainly daylight. Thus it is abundantly clear that the gang quitted the Barrière du Roule prior to the screams overheard(?){y} by Madame Deluc.(110) And although, in all the many reports of the evidence, the relative expressions in question are distinctly and invariably employed just as I have employed them in this conversation with yourself, no notice whatever of the gross discrepancy has, as yet, been taken by any of the public journals, or by any of the Myrmidons of police.

“I shall add but one to the arguments against a gang; but this one has, to my own understanding at least, a weight altogether irresistible. Under the circumstances of large reward offered, and full pardon to any King’s evidence,(111) it is not to be imagined, for a moment, that some member of a gang of low ruffians, or of any body of men, would not long ago have betrayed his accomplices. Each one of a gang so placed, is not so much greedy of reward, or anxious for escape, as fearful of betrayal. He betrays eagerly and early that he may not himself be betrayed. That the secret has not been divulged, is the very best of proof that it is, in fact, a secret. The horrors of this dark deed are known only to {zz}one, or two,{zz} living human beings,{a} and to God.

{bb}Let us sum up{bb} now the meagre yet certain fruits of our long analysis. We have attained the idea {cc}either of a fatal accident under the roof of Madame Deluc, or{cc} of a murder perpetrated, in the thicket at the Barrière du Roule, by a lover, or at least by an intimate and secret associate of the deceased.(112) This associate is of swarthy complexion. This complexion, the ‘hitch’ in the bandage, and the’sailor’s knot,’ with which the bonnet-ribbon is tied, point to a seaman. His companionship with the deceased, a gay, but not [page 769:] an abject young girl, designates him as above the grade of the common sailor. Here the well written and urgent communications to the journals are much in the way of corroboration. The circumstance of the first elopement, as mentioned by Le Mercurie, tends to blend the idea of this seaman with that of the ‘naval officer’ who is first known to have led the unfortunate into crime.{d} (113)

“And here, most fitly, comes the consideration of the continued absence of him of the dark complexion. Let me pause to observe that the complexion of this man is dark and swarthy; it was no common swarthiness which constituted the sole point of remembrance, both as regards Valence and Madame Deluc. But why{e} is this man absent? Was he murdered by the gang?{f} If so, why are there only traces of the assassinated girl? The scene of the two outrages will naturally be supposed identical. And where is his corpse? The assassins would 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{g} 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 [page 770:] these means multiplying and gathering distinctness as we proceed.{h} 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.(114) 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 {ii}(or upon others){ii} — information which the parties themselves may not even be aware of possessing.(115) 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.(116) With a proper caution and perseverance we shall infallibly trace this boat; for not only can the bargeman who picked it up identify it, but the rudder is at hand. The rudder of a sail-boat would not have been abandoned, without inquiry, by one altogether at ease in heart. And here let me pause to insinuate a question. There was no advertisement of the picking up of this boat. It was silently taken to the barge-office, and as silently removed. But its owner or employer — how happened he, at so early a period as Tuesday morning, to be informed, without the agency of advertisement, of the locality of the boat taken up on Monday, unless we imagine some connexion with the navy — some personal permanent connexion leading to cognizance of its minute interests — its petty local news? [page 771:]

“In speaking of the lonely assassin dragging his burden to the shore, I have already suggested the probability of his availing himself of a boat.(117) Now we are to understand that Marie Rogêt was precipitated from a boat. This would naturally have been the case. The corpse could not have been trusted to the shallow waters of the shore. The peculiar marks on the back and shoulders of the victim tell of the bottom ribs of a boat.(118) That the body was found without weight is also corroborative of the idea.(119) If thrown from the shore a weight would have been attached. We can only account for its absence by supposing the murderer to have neglected the precaution of supplying himself with it before pushing off. In the act of consigning the corpse to the water, he would unquestionably have noticed his oversight; but then no remedy would have been at hand. Any risk would have been preferred to a return to that accursed shore. Having rid himself of his ghastly charge, the murderer would have hastened to the city. There, at some obscure wharf, he would have leaped on land. But the boat — would he have secured it? He would have been in too great haste for such things as securing a boat. Moreover, in fastening it to the wharf, he would have felt as if securing evidence against himself. His natural thought would have been{j} to cast from him, as far as possible, all that had held connection with his crime. He would not only have fled from the wharf, but he would not have permitted the boat to remain. Assuredly he would have cast it adrift. Let its pursue our fancies. — In the morning, the wretch is stricken with unutterable horror at finding that the boat has been picked up and detained at a locality which he is in the daily habit of frequenting — at a locality, perhaps, which his duty compels him to frequent. The next night, {kk}without daring to ask for the rudder,{kk} he removes it. Now where is that rudderless boat? Let it be one of our first purposes to discover. With the first glimpse we obtain of it, the dawn of our success shall begin. This boat shall guide its, with a rapidity which will surprise even ourselves, to him who employed it in the midnight of the fatal Sabbath. Corroboration will rise upon {ll}corroboration, and the murderer{ll} will be traced.” [page 772:]

[For reasons which we shall not specify, but which to many readers will appear obvious, we have taken the liberty of here omitting, from the MSS. placed in our hands, such portion as details the following up of the apparently slight clew obtained by Dupin. We feel it advisable only to state, in brief, that the result desired was brought to pass; and{m} that the Prefect fulfilled punctually, although with reluctance, the terms of his compact with the Chevalier. Mr. Poe’s article concludes with the following words. — Eds.{n}] (120)

It will be understood that I speak of coincidences and no more. What I have said above upon this topic must suffice. In my own heart there dwells no faith in præter-nature. That Nature and its God are two, no man who thinks, will deny. That the latter, creating the former, can, at will, control or modify it, is also unquestionable. I say “at will;” for the question is of will,{o} and not, as the insanity of logic has assumed, of power.{p} It is not that the Deity cannot modify his laws, but that we insult him in imagining a possible necessity for modification. In their origin these laws were fashioned to embrace all contingencies which could lie in the Future. With God all is Now. (121)

I repeat, then, that I speak of these{q} things only as of coincidences. And farther: in what I relate it will be seen that between the fate of the unhappy Mary Cecilia Rogers, {rr}so far as that fate is known,{rr} and the fate of one Marie Rogêt {ss}up to a certain epoch in her history,{ss} there has existed a parallel in the contemplation of whose wonderful exactitude the reason becomes embarrassed. I say all this will be seen. But let it not for a moment be supposed that, in proceeding with the sad narrative of Marie from the epoch just mentioned, and in tracing to its dénouement the mystery which [page 773:] enshrouded her, it is my covert design to hint {tt}at an extension of the parallel,{tt} or even to suggest that the measures adopted in Paris for the discovery of the assassin of a grisette, or measures founded in any similar ratiocination, would produce any similar result.

For, in respect to the latter branch of the supposition, it should be considered that the most trifling variation in file facts of the two cases might give rise to the most important miscalculations, by diverting thoroughly the two courses of events; very much as, in arithmetic, an error which, in its own individuality, may be inappreciable, produces, at length, by dint of multiplication at all points of the process, a result enormously at variance with truth. And, in regard to the former branch, we must not fail to hold in view that the very Calculus of Probabilities to which I have referred, forbids all idea of the extension of the parallel: — forbids it with a positiveness strong and decided just in proportion as this parallel has already been long-drawn and exact. This is one of those anomalous propositions which, seemingly appealing to thought altogether apart from the mathematical, is yet one which only the mathematician can fully entertain. Nothing, for example, is more difficult than to convince the merely general reader that the fact of sixes having been thrown twice in succession by a player at dice, is sufficient cause for betting the largest odds that sixes will not be thrown in the third attempt.(122) A suggestion to this effect is usually rejected by the intellect at once. It does not appear that the two throws which have been completed, and which lie now absolutely in the Past, can have influence upon the throw which exists only in the Future. The chance for throwing sixes seems to be precisely as it was at any ordinary time — that is to say, subject only to the influence of the various other throws which may be made by the dice. And this is a reflection which appears so exceedingly{u} obvious that attempts to controvert it are received more frequently with a derisive smile than with anything like respectful attention. The error here involved — a gross error redolent of mischief — I cannot pretend to expose within the limits assigned me at present; and with the philosophical it needs no exposure. It may be sufficient here to say that it forms one of an infinite series of [page 774:] mistakes which arise in the path of Reason through her propensity for seeking truth in detail.

 


[[Poe’s Footnotes]]

[The following footnotes appear near the bottom of page 723:]

*  On{b} the original publication of “Marie Rogêt,” the foot-notes now appended were considered unnecessary; but the lapse of several years since the tragedy upon which the tale is based, renders it expedient to give them, and also to say a few words in explanation of the general design. A young girl, Mary Cecilia Rogers, was murdered in the vicinity of New York; and, although her death occasioned an intense and long-enduring excitement, the mystery attending it had remained unsolved at the period when the present paper was written and published (November, 1842). Herein, under pretence of relating the fate of a Parisian grisette, the author has followed, in minute detail, the essential, while merely paralleling the inessential facts of the real murder of Mary Rogers. Thus all argument founded upon the fiction is applicable to the truth: and the investigation of the truth was the object.

The “Mystery of Marie Rogêt” was composed at a distance from the scene of the atrocity, and with no other means of investigation than the newspapers afforded. Thus much escaped the writer of which he could have availed himself had he been on{c} the spot, and visited the localities. It may not be improper to record, nevertheless, that the confessions of two persons, (one of them the Madame Deluc of the narrative) made, at different periods, long subsequent to the publication, confirmed, in full, not only the general conclusion, but absolutely all the chief hypothetical details by which that conclusion was attained.(1) [Poe’s note]

  The nom de plume of Von Hardenburg. [Poe’s note]

[The following footnotes appear near the bottom of page 725:]

*  Nassau Street. [Poe’s note]

  Anderson. [Poe’s note]

[The following footnotes appear near the bottom of page 726:]

*  The Hudson. [Poe’s note]

  Weehawken. [Poe’s note]

[The following footnotes appear near the bottom of page 729:]

*  Payne. [Poe’s note]

  Crommelin. [Poe’s note]

[The following footnotes appear near the bottom of page 731:]

*  The “N. Y. Mercury.” [Poe’s note]

  The “N. Y. Brother Jonathan,” edited by H. Hastings Weld, Esq. [Poe’s note]

[The following footnote appears near the bottom of page 734:]

*  N. Y. “Journal of Commerce.” [Poe’s note]

[The following footnote appears near the bottom of page 735:]

*  Phil. “Sat. Evening Post,” edited by C. J.{e} Peterson, Esq. [Poe’s note]

[The following footnote appears near the bottom of page 736:]

*  Adam. [Poe’s note]

[The following footnote appears near the bottom of page 737:]

*  See “Murders in the Rue Morgue.” [Poe’s note]

[The following footnote appears near the bottom of page 740:]

*  The “N. Y. Commercial Advertiser,” edited by Col. Stone. [Poe’s note]

[The following footnote appears near the bottom of page 747:]

*  “A theory based on the qualities of an object, will prevent its being unfolded according to its objects; and he who arranges topics in reference to their causes, will cease to value them according to their results. Thus the jurisprudence of every nation will show that, when law becomes a science and a system, it ceases to be justice. The errors into which a blind devotion to principles of classification has led the common law, will be seen by observing how often the legislature has been obliged to come forward to restore the equity its scheme had lost.” — Landor. [Poe’s note]

[The following footnotes appear near the bottom of page 753:]

*  “N. Y. Express.” [Poe’s note]

  “N. Y. Herald.” [Poe’s note]

  “N. Y. Courier and Inquirer.” [Poe’s note]

§  Mennais was one of the parties originally suspected and arrested, but discharged through total lack of evidence. [Poe’s note]

**  “N. Y. Courier and Inquirer.” [Poe’s note]

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 754:]

  “N. Y. Evening Post.” [Poe’s note]

§  “N. Y. Standard.” [Poe’s note]

[The following footnote appears near the bottom of page 772:]

*  Of the Magazine in which the article was originally published. [Poe’s note]

 


VARIANTS

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 723:]

Title:  The starred footnote was omitted in A, as were all Poe’s other footnotes except that on the motto and that referring to “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”; most are not noticed individually in the variants below.

Motto:  gewöhnlich is misprinted gewohulich (A, B, C, D) .

a  Moral (A, B, C, D) corrected editorially.

b  Upon (B, D)

c  upon (B, D)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 724:]

d  such sentiments are (A, B, D)

e  was thoroughly (A, B, D)

f  the wild (A, B, D)

g  it (A)

h  remain longer (A)

i  moody and fantastic (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 725:]

j  Omitted (A)

k  on (A)

ll . . . ll  The only instance, nevertheless, in which such attempt proved successful, was the instance to which I have already alluded — that (A)

m  “segar-girl,” (A)

n  parfumerie; (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 726:]

o  but (A)

p  Omitted (A)

q  parfumerie. (A)

r  three years / five months (A, B, D)

s  discussing (A)

[The following variant appears at the bottom of page 727:]

t  excitement became (A)

[The following variant appears at the bottom of page 728:]

u  which (A)

[The following variant appears at the bottom of page 729:]

v  Omitted (A)

[The following variant appears at the bottom of page 730:]

ww . . . ww  subjected to (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 731:]

x  and (A)

y  small daily print (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 732:]

z  We (A)

a  our (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 733:]

b  But the (A)

cc . . . cc  Some (A)

d  Beauvais, by the following fact. (A)

[The following variant appears at the bottom of page 735:]

e  Peterson’s middle name was Jacobs, hence J is printed for the I of the original texts (B, C, D)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 736:]

f  would (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 737:]

g  Espanage, (A)

h  sweet (A)

i  the especially (A)

i  Omitted (A)

k  Espanage (A)

ll . . . ll  “I know not what effect the arguments of ‘L’Etoile’ may have wrought upon your own understanding. With the public they (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 738:]

m  Omitted (A)

n  has (A)

o  this journal’s / the (A)

p  would (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 739:]

q  it (A)

r  we (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 740:]

s  Omitted (A)

tt . . . tt  as exceptions alone (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 741:]

u  suffers (A)

v  suffers (A)

[The following variant appears at the bottom of page 742:]

w  to (B, C) misprint

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 743:]

xx . . . xx  body (A)

y  argument of the journal, (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 744:]

zz . . . zz  No (A)

aa . . . aa  decomposition. (A)

b  be. (A)

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 745:]

cc . . . cc  object (A)

d  grisette. (A)

e  our paper (A)

ff . . . ff  general (A)

g  must have been / was (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 746:]

h  journal (A)

ii . . . ii  direct, but in one highly (A)

j  accomodate (A)

kk . . . kk  accomodation (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 747:]

l  had (A)

m  engenders frequently (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 748:]

n  the paper, / our journal, (A)

o  our (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 749:]

p  he (A)

qq . . . qq  with himself. (A)

r  individuals (D) misprint

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 750:]

ss . . . ss  one of observation, (A)

t  a vast (A, B, D)

u  pity that (A)

vv . . . vv  more minute. It is easy to surmise, and as easy to assert. (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 751:]

w  repeated what others have done, (without establishing any incontrovertible proofs) (A)

x  After this Here, again, he speaks but from suspicion, and brings nothing to bear conclusively upon the matter. (A)

y  Saint (A)

z  Saint (A)

a  the analysis (A)

b  interior (A)

c  outskirts. (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 752:]

d  circumstantial (A)

e  relevancy. (A)

f  subtructure. (A) misprint

g  certainty. (A)

h  proportion (A)

i  Saint (A)

[The following variant appears at the bottom of page 753:]

jj . . . jj  Two or three years since, (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 754:]

k  Omitted (A)

l  ten thousand (A)

mm . . . mm  precisely (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 755:]

n  villany (A, B, C, D)

oo . . . oo  accomplished? (A)

p  Saint (A)

q  Saint (A)

r  meet with (A)

s  at so / atso (A)

tt . . . tt  Omitted (A)

u  Saint (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 756:]

v  Saint (A)

ww . . . ww  elopement. (A)

x  well (B, C, D) misprint

y  Saint (A)

z  Saint (A)

a  Saint (A)

bb . . . bb  return, the (A)

c  After this is another paragraph: “Such thoughts as these we may imagine to have passed through the mind of Marie, but the point is one upon which I consider it necessary now to insist. I have reasoned thus, merely to call attention, as I said a minute ago, to the culpable remissness of the police. (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 757:]

d  The (A)

e  in fact, / to the philosophical, (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 758:]

f  us now (A)

g  acclammation (A) misprint

hh . . . hh  I (A)

i  thickets (A)

j  Soliel (A) misprint

k  would (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 759:]

l  would (A)

m  Omitted (A)

n  a single (A, B, D)

o  Soliel (A) misprint

p  just quoted,/quoted just now — (A)

q  the editor (A)

r  remarkable (A)

s  But, on (A)

t  otner (D) misprint

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 760:]

u  rife with desecration. (A)

v  With a deadly (A)

w  vicinage (A)

x  Omitted (A)

y  the lower order of the (A)

z  Omitted (A)

a  communication (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 761:]

b  theatre. (A)

c  Soliel (A) misprint

d  or disposal of (A)

[The following variant appears at the bottom of page 762:]

e  Soliel (A) misprint

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 763:]

f  enough of (A)

gg . . . gg  Omitted (A)

h  For, (A)

i  Soliel, (A)

jj . . . jj  inference. (A)

k  Omitted (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 764:]

l  mind that I admit the thicket as the scene of the outrage; and you will immediately perceive (A)

m  against (A)

n  the strong and just (A)

oo . . . oo  Omitted (A)

p  long (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 765:]

q  for (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 766:]

r  already (A)

ss . . . ss  Omitted (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 767:]

tt . . . tt  Omitted (A)

u  (!) omitted (A)

vv . . . vv  murder, I (A)

ww . . . ww  Omitted (A)

x  rout (A) misprint

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 768:]

y  (?) omitted (A)

zz . . . zz  one (A)

a  being, (A)

bb . . . bb  And who that one? It will not be impossible — perhaps it will not be difficult to discover. Let us sum up (A)

cc . . . cc  Omitted (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 769:]

d  After this we are not forced to suppose a premeditated design of murder or of violation. But there was the friendly shelter of the thicket, and the approach of rain — there was opportunity and strong temptation — and then a sudden and violent wrong, to be concealed only by one of darker dye. (A)

e  why (A)

f  the gang? (A)

g  the dark (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 770:]

h  proceed — provided that our preparatory analysis of the subject has not greatly diverged from the principles of truth. (A)

ii . . . ii  omitted (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 771:]

j  have been / be (A)

kk . . . kk  Not italicized (A)

ll . . . ll  corroboration. The murderer (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 772:]

m  that an individual assassin was convicted, upon his own confession, of the murder of Marie Rogêt, and (A)

n  The starred footnote is omitted in A. The reader is reminded that Poe added this and all other footnotes, except that on the motto, and the one referring to “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” in his second printing of the story, Tales (1845). See n. 120.

o  will, (A)

p  power. (A)

q  certain (A)

rr . . . rr  so far as that fate is known, (A)

ss . . . ss  up to a certain epoch in her history, (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 773:]

tt . . . tt  an extension of the parallel, (A)

u  exceedingly (A)

 


[page 774, continued:]

NOTES

Title:  Throughout the texts of the tale and in the manuscript table of contents for PHANTASY-PIECES Poe used the circumflex in “Rogêt,” but none of the printed texts collated carried the accent in the title, which in each case is printed in large capitals. Practice among scholars in referring to the tale differs; some follow the title literally as printed; others adopt the circumflex, which seems to be the form intended by Poe.

Motto:  The English translation Poe found in a book he reviewed in Graham’s for December 1841, Sarah Austin’s Fragments from German Prose Writers (London, reprinted in New York, 1841), p. 97. He improved the translator’s style slightly. In “Poe’s Knowledge of German,” Modern Philology, June 1904, Gustav Gruener traced the original to “Moralische Ansichten,” in Novalis Schriften edited by Ludwig Tieck and Friedrich Schlegel (first edition, Berlin, 1802, II, 532). Other fragments from Novalis — correctly, Friedrich you Hardenberg, 1772-1801 — in Mrs. Austin’s book are used in “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains” and “Marginalia,” no. 164 (Democratic Review, April 7, 1846, p. 270).

1.  “The facts of the case as given by Poe are in the main correct,” says Wimsatt; “that is, he reproduces rather faithfully what he read in the widely published documents I have listed” (PMLA, March 1941, p. 233). Poe did indeed follow “in minute detail” many of the “essential” facts, but more than once he deliberately altered them and proceeded to develop his arguments on the fictitious basis; see, for example, n. 12 below. His repeated references to a second confession are not substantiated by the evidence found.

2.  Poe refers again to the Calculus of Probabilities at the end of his story, and dallies with mathematical probability several times between. Wimsatt (n. 32) says that “French writers of Poe’s time hailed him with delight as a pupil of Laplace,” but I think it unlikely that he went directly to the works of that mathematical philosopher.

3.  Avowedly writing fiction, Poe gave his characters French (or French-sounding) names and helped himself, with fiction-writer’s license, to actual Parisian streets and landmarks, inventing others. The liberties he took disturbed some French readers; see n. 17 below. The “essential” facts of Mary Rogers’ background here used — widowed mother, boarding house, offer of employment — along with other interesting details quoted from the Sunday News are mentioned in the New York Brother Jonathan, August 14, 1841. Brother Jonathan was published weekly, on Saturday, but it had a daily edition, the Tattler, from which — as well as from many unrelated papers — it printed excerpts, often explicitly credited.

4.  Brother Jonathan, August 14, 1841, refers to this first disappearance of [page 775:] Mary Rogers. Walsh (Poe the Detective, pp. 11-18) quotes passages dealing with it from New York papers of October 5 and 6, 1838.

5.  At the beginning of this paragraph Poe made a very significant manuscript change in the Lorimer Graham copy of his Tales — from “five months” to “three years.” For the Barrière du Roule, see n. 17 below.

6.  The French word émeutes — tumults or uprisings — Poe quoted from Mrs. Trollope in his review of her Paris and the Parisians (SLM, May 1836). He used it again in a review of Isabella F. Romer’s Sturmer in Graham’s for March 1842 and in the “Literati” sketch of N. P. Willis in 1846.

7.  The New York Evening Post, August 12, 1841, reported that a meeting of citizens on August 11 had subscribed the sum of $445 to “be paid on the conviction of the murderer, aside from any reward which the civil authorities may offer.” On August 31, Governor Seward issued a proclamation offering a reward of $750 and enjoining “all . . . ministers of justice that they be diligent in their efforts to bring the offender or offenders to condign punishment.” Seward’s proclamation was printed in Brother Jonathan for September 4 from the Albany Journal of September 1, with the remark that the total reward now amounted to $1350, Seward later “offered a pardon to any accomplice in the crime who should turn state’s evidence, so that the others might be ferreted out and convicted” (Autobiography of William H. Seward, 1877, edited by F. W. Seward, p. 566).

8.  One of the men the police suspected was William Koekkock of the U.S.S. North Carolina. He was thrice questioned by the police. He had boarded with Mrs. Rogers in 1840, and called on Mary on July 3, 1841, but he had an alibi to show he was not in Mary’s company on the fatal Sunday of July 25. His testimony was printed in the Evening Post, August 13, 1841. The surname (meaning cuckoo) is not rare in Holland. Its pronunciation involves a sound unknown in English (save that of some New Yorkers). The newspapers spelled it in half a dozen ways, never correctly. My informant is Professor Byron Koekkoek, no relation of Mary’s sailor.

9.  In this connection it may (or may not) be significant that Peterson’s article in the Saturday Evening Post of August 14 calling for an analysis of the case appeared at the end of the third week following Mary Rogers’ death.

10.  Here, in his translation of Poe’s story, Baudelaire identified the Prefect, Gisquet, in a footnote; see “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” n. 31. With the Prefect’s visit Poe begins his fictional dating, without, however, specifying the day of the week.

11.  Green spectacles are mentioned also in “Bon-Bon” and “The Purloined Letter.”

12.  Poe substitutes “June the twenty-second, 18—” for July 25, 1841, and — with several exceptions — cites later dates accordingly. He may have found it convenient to follow the readily available calendar of August 1841 — in which the twenty-second fell on Sunday — and thus may have been trapped into giving a date of Wednesday, June 31, to a newspaper article. He deliberately departs, however, from the scheme announced in his introductory footnote, of following [page 776:] “in minute detail the essential facts . . . of the real murder of Mary Rogers,” and gives the hour of the girl’s setting forth as nine o’clock instead of ten — here and in every subsequent reference to the time of her leaving home. See n. 1 above. The account otherwise follows with only minor changes the testimony of Mary’s fiancé, Daniel Payne, reported in the New York Evening Post of August 12 and in Brother Jonathan of August 14, 1841. See n. 14 below.

18.  The Rue des Drômes is a made-up name for Jane Street.

14.  From the Evening Post of August 12, 1841:

Daniel C. Payne, of No. 47 John street, cork cutter, went yesterday to the Police office, at the request of Justice Parker, to give any information he might possess or which might lead to throw any light upon the disappearance of Miss Mary C. Rogers, said to have been murdered at Hoboken, and made the following statements: —

“I have known Mary C. Rogers since October or November last, at which time I went to board at her mother’s, at No. 126 Nassau street. During my stay there, (which was until within a few days of the time Mrs. Rogers gave up keeping boarders,) myself and Miss Rogers formed an attachment for each other, the result of which was that we were engaged to be married. The last time I saw her was on Sunday morning, the 25th July last.

“About the hour of ten o’clock on that morning, I was busy shaving myself in my room, when she came and knocked on my door; upon which I opened the same, when she told me she was going to Mrs. Downing’s; when I replied, very well, Mary, I shall look out for you in the evening. At this time she appeared cheerful and lively as usual. — During the time that I had been acquainted with her she had been to Mrs. Downing’s some three or four times to my knowledge; and [on] two occasions as she returned from there, I had waited for her about dark, at the comer of Broadway and Ann street, until she alighted from an omnibus, and then walked home with her.

“Mrs. Downing lives in Jane street, No. 68. I did not go to the corner of Ann street and Broadway on this occasion to wait for her, as I had done before, on account of a very heavy storm coming on about dusk, and I feeling in my own mind that she would not leave Mrs. Downing’s that night, but remain there, as she had done on another occasion.”

15.  The remark of Mrs. Rogers was made to a colored servant woman who recounted it to Officer Cockefair, according to the Evening Post of August 19, 1841, following the Democratic Republican New Era of the same day. Brother Jonathan, August 28, p. 2, col. 8, repeated this information.

16.  Payne further testified (Evening Post, August 12): “[On Monday] I returned home for my dinner, and then heard that she had not been either at Mrs. Downing’s or Mrs. Hayes’ at which the family were much alarmed. I then commenced searching for her . . . at Harlem . . . and Williamsburg . . . and next day proceeded to Hoboken and also to Staten Island, and also . . . to South Ferry and enquired of different persons at all those places if they had seen any person of her description . . . On the evening of the same day, [Tuesday] I carried an advertisement to the Sun newspaper reporting her absence . . . On the following day [page 777:] Wednesday I made further enquiry and searched for her . . . but obtained no trace of her whatever. . . and returned home again about seven o’clock.”

17.  This is one of the juxtapositions that upset the critic E. D. Forgues, who in his discussion of Poe’s Tales (1845) in the Revue des deux mondes, October 1846, remarked: “French readers would be greatly astonished to find . . . the Barrière du Roule on the shore of the Seine ‘on the bank opposite the rue Pavée-Saint-André.’ “Actually, the rue Pavée-Saint-André is an old Parisian street dating from the thirteenth century, and the Barrière du Roule, erected in the eighteenth century, is one of the impressive structures marking the places where taxes were collected on merchandise coming into the city. They are not geographically related as Poe has them. See Dictionnaire administratif et historique des rues de Paris et de ses monuments by Felix and Louis Lazare (Paris, 1844).

18.  The substance of this account of the finding of the body appeared in the Evening Post of August 13, which reported the depositions of Mary’s former suitor, Alfred Crommelin, and his friend Archibald Padley, both of 19 John Street and both former boarders with Mrs. Rogers. The paper also reported the depositions of Henry Mallin and James Boullard, who testified that they had brought the body ashore. Poe omitted many of the details in the testimony, probably because they were unnecessary for the development of his narrative but also, perhaps, as Wimsatt (PMLA, n. 19) suggests, he had not seen this issue of the Evening Post; see n. 68 below. Brother Jonathan, in its issues of August 14, 21, and 28, covers, piecemeal, the items used by Poe. The reference to Beauvais’s hesitation comes from Brother Jonathan of August 28; see nn. 60 and 62 below.

19.  The foregoing description follows very closely the answers of Dr. Richard F. Cook, who performed the coroner’s autopsy, when he was questioned on August 16 by the Mayor of New York. Originally reported in the New York Herald of August 17, the Mayor’s examination of Dr. Cook was reprinted in Brother Jonathan of August 21. See p. 730 above.

20.  This paragraph also closely follows Dr. Cook’s testimony — with some omissions — as reported in Brother Jonathan, August 21.

21.  Deposition of Crommelin, Evening Post, August 13: “[Deponent] remained with the body all afternoon until the coroner had taken an inquest which was at nearly nine o’clock at night. Deponent took a part of the skirt of her dress, and a piece from off the sleeve. Dr. Cook who was associated with the coroner gave him the flowers from inside and outside of Mary’s hat, a garter, the bottom of her pantalette, a shoe, and a curl of her hair, which deponent brought over to Mary’s mother, and all of which was recognized by her and the family . . . Deponent further says that when he first saw the body he cut her sleeve open and rubbed her arm for the purpose of identifying her.  . . Deponent also says that at the meeting between the coroner, Dr. Cook and himself at Hoboken, on the morning after the inquest was held on Mary’s body it was deemed necessary, in consequence of the great heat of the weather to temporarily inter the body which was done, at two feet from the surface of the earth and in a double coffin.”

22.  Brother Jonathan, on September 4, averred: “It is true as has been asserted [page 778:] that the attention of the police was first called to the matter by the paragraph of the Sunday Mercury of August 1.”

23.  From the Evening Post, August 13, 1841 (p. 2, col. 7), crediting the Express: “Phoebe Rogers, of No. 126 Nassau street, deposed that she has this day [August 12] seen the dress, now in the police office, taken from the person of a drowned female at Hoboken, and that it is the clothing of her daughter, Mary Cecilia Rogers, who had the same on her person when she left her house on Sunday morning, the 25th of July last.”

24.  Brother Jonathan, August 21, 1841: “Payne has procured a string of affidavits setting forth where he was at every hour of the day.”

25.  Brother Jonathan, August 28, 1841: “From our Daily Paper of Monday [August 23]: Is MARY ROGERS MURDERED? . . . we have had strong doubts . . . never entirely satisfied of her death. . .”

26.  The three passages “translated” from L’Etoile at nn. 27, 29, and 31 are virtually literal transcriptions from the weekly Brother Jonathan, August 28, 1841, reprinting excerpts from its daily sheet, the Tattler. Except for substituting fictional for actual names and dates, and asterisks for omitted material, the quoted passages follow their sources almost verbatim. Much of the history of the Rogers’ case is to be found in this one issue of the weekly.

27.  This first quoted passage (pp. 731-732) comes from Brother Jonathan of Saturday, August 28, reprinting an excerpt from the Tattler of Monday, August 23. It provides material (including the altered time — see n. 12 above) for much of Dupin’s later discussion.

28.  Report of Crommelin’s deposition (Evening Post, August 13, 1841): “On looking at the person deponent recognized the body to be that of Miss Mary C. Rogers . . . Archibald W. Padley of 19 John Street corroborated the statements of Mr. Crommelin.”

Examination of Dr. Cook by the Mayor of New York, Monday, August 16, reported by the New York Herald, August 17, and copied by Brother Jonathan August 21:

Mayor — Was the body in such a state when you first saw it that there could be no difficulty about the recognizing of it?

Dr. Cook — It was; and Mr. Crommelin appeared to recognize it immediately.

29.  This second “translation” (p. 732) also comes from Brother Jonathan of August 28, 1841, again quoting the Tattler of August 23, which reports an apparent indifference toward Mary’s fate on the part of those closest to her.

30.  The accusations of “apathy” on the part of Mary’s family were “disproved” in the same issue of Brother Jonathan in which they were made — that of August 28, 1841, this time quoting from the Tattler of August 25 an interview with Mary’s kinsman, Edward B. Hayes.

31.  This third quoted passage (p. 733), from “a subsequent number of the [page 778:] paper,” is from the Tattler of Wednesday, August 25, reprinted, like the excerpts from the issue of August 23, in Brother Jonathan of August 28.

32.  Archibald Padley, who “corroborated the statements of Mr. Crommelin” — see n. 28 — also deposed that “On Saturday the 24th of July last he saw the name of Miss Rogers written on Mr. Crommelin’s slate, and also a rose put into his keyhole at the same time” (Evening Post, August 13, and Brother Jonathan, September 4, which identified the visitor as Padley).

33.  Gangs of ruffians were plaguing the metropolitan area at the time; there were frequent reports of the molestation of women and other cases of violence, and the papers were full of indignation and demands for solutions to the problem. On the day of Mary Rogers’ disappearance a young girl had been abducted and assaulted at Hoboken by a group of young men in a boat. See Wimsatt, PMLA, p. 237.

34.  The extract on p. 734 from Le Commerciel is actually from the New York Journal of Commerce, August 23, 1841, p. 2, col. 2. Poe reproduces the passage almost verbatim, substituting his fictional names for Weehawken and Jane Street and asterisks for material omitted. His source made “pocket handkerchief” plural.

35.  Here Poe again takes liberties with the timing of events. The information referred to, according to the narrator on p. 728, was in the hands of the police less than three weeks after the death of Marie; the parallel “discovery” of Mary Rogers’ possessions was dated August 25, a month after her death. See Wimsatt, PMLA, nn. 20 and 40, pp. 234 and 237. See also Walsh’s account (pp. 29-33) of how the Herald hinted, September 6 and 7, at the disclosure to come and on September 17 broke the sensational news. The “essential” details all appear in the Herald’s report, which was the basis of Brother Jonathan’s on September 25. The factual original of Madame Deluc was Mrs. Frederica Loss, alias Kellenbarack, keeper of the tavern known as Nick Moore’s House at Weehawken. Later evidence shows that she had three sons but that only “her little boy Oscar” — mentioned by the Herald and by Brother Jonathan — could be called a small boy.

36.  Except for the asterisks indicating Poe’s omissions, the passage (p. 735) on the things found in the thicket is verbatim from the Saturday Evening Post, September 25, 1841, p. 2, col. 3. Brother Jonathan published the same material the same day; both papers copied it from the New York Herald of September 17.

37.  The stories of the fatal Sunday told by Mrs. Loss (p. 735) were the first indication that Mary Rogers had been seen alive as late as three o’clock in the afternoon on July 25. The material here presented by the narrator is to be found in Brother Jonathan, September 18 and 25. Poe left out some bits that indicated suspicion of Mrs. Loss.

38.  The New York Herald, September 17, p. 2, reported that Mary Rogers “was seen to arrive at Hoboken about 3 o’clock by the ferry boat. Adam — the stage driver for Mr. Van Buskirk, and another young man saw her and recognized her as she left the boat.” Brother Jonathan, September 18, gave the name [page 780:] of the stage driver as Adam Wall. For the identification of the clothing, see n. 23 above.

39.  Here again Poe tampered with chronology. Payne died on October 8, not immediately after but more than six weeks after Mary Rogers’ clothes turned up at Weehawken. He was found, breathing but unconscious, on a roadside bench near the place where Mary’s body had been discovered and a mile or so from the thicket supposed to be the site of the murder. His hat was found soon afterward in the thicket, and a bottle that had contained laudanum just outside. The Herald of October 9 under the heading “More Mystery — Extraordinary Circumstance — Suicide of the lover of Mary Rogers” carried a short article, noting the calling of a coroner’s inquest. On Monday, October 11, the Herald and the New-York Tribune gave considerable space to the story. Brother Jonathan published a shorter account on October 16. According to the Tribune, “From the evidence deduced before the coroner’s jury it appeared that Payne had not committed suicide as was at first reported, but had fallen victim to his own melancholy and insane wanderings while brooding over the memory of her he loved.” A note found with his body read: “To the World. Here I am on the spot. God forgive me for my misfortune, or for my misspent time.” The verdict of the coroner’s jury was “dead with congestion of the brain, supposed to be brought about by exposure and irregularity of living incident to aberration of mind.”

The empty bottle found near Payne’s hat, according to the Tribune article, was “marked laudanum, Souillard & Delluc.” Walsh, pp. 37 and 87, suggests that the marking on the bottle may have been Poe’s source for Madame Deluc’s name.

40.  Myrmidons were the followers of Achilles, hence, jocularly, the term means “brave fellows,” in au uncomplimentary way.

41.  Dupin begins his analysis with a restatement of one of his basic tenets. Compare his discussion in “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” pp. 547-548, at n. 33.

42.  Brother Jonathan, August 28, quoting the Tattler of August 24 commenting on the Tattler of Monday, August 23 — the “conclusive” article. See excerpts from the latter at notes 27 and 29 above. Wimsatt observes, “True, the papers spoke of the article, but not as ‘conclusive’ ” (PMLA, p. 235), and points out that the editorial arguments and the material used in refuting them come principally from the same source, the August 28 issue of Brother Jonathan.

43.  “The mingled epigram and melodrame” is a light-hearted phrase not included among the instances of rhymes in serious prose given in Appendix I to the Poems (Mabbott, I, 484). Melodrame for melodrama is nearly obsolete today but was used with some frequency in the first half of the nineteenth century. The OED cites its use by (among others) Lady Morgan in 1817 and 1818, Byron in 1822, the Gentleman’s Magazine in 1825, J. P. Kennedy in 1835, and the Quarterly Review in 1845.

44.  Dupin quotes the first “translation” from L’Etoile, at n. 27 above.

45.  Here Poe repeats his alteration of the evidence, substituting 9 o’clock for 10. See notes 1, 12, and 27, above. [page 781:]

46.  Quoted from the remarks about drowned bodies in the first passage from L’Etoile, at n. 27 above.

47.  Wimsatt (PMLA, p. 235) says: “The papers, far from ‘tacitly agreeing,’ united in a chorus of dissent,” and in his note 28 cites five papers besides the Commercial Advertiser, which Poe himself cites.

48.  The first installment of the tale ends as it began, with an allusion to the mathematics of probability. See n. 2. The text of the second installment begins with the next paragraph; the motto is repeated.

49.  Dupin’s long discussion of corpses in water opens the second installment of the story (December 1841) in Snowden’s Ladies’ Companion. It is “closely in accord with medico-legal authorities,” says Wimsatt (PMLA, p. 235), who failed to find Poe’s specific source but found “almost point for point agreement with Poe in a later authority” — Alfred S. Taylor’s Principles and Practice of Medical Jurisprudence (1873).

50.  Second repetition (first at n. 46) from the passage about drowned bodies at n. 27.

51.  Another quotation from the L’Etoile excerpt at n. 27.

52.  This quotation about the body without a weight is also from the excerpt at n. 27.

53.  The concluding sentence of this paragraph does not appear in any of the “translated” extracts from L’Etoile furnished by the narrator. It does appear in the first paragraph of the “conclusive” article in the Tattler of August 23 as reprinted in Brother Jonathan of August 28 (see n. 42, above). Poe used it where it would best further his effect.

54.  Still quoting the first passage from L’Etoile, at n. 27, Dupin repeats the altered time — nine o’clock — to which he will refer again in later reasoning.

55.  See the second quoted passage from L’Etoile, p. 732 at n. 29, and compare Crommelin’s deposition as reported in the Evening Post, August 13: “Deponent further says that when he first saw the body he cut her sleeve open and rubbed her arm for the purpose of identifying her and also made use of every proper means for the same purpose.”

56.  This discussion, not included in the excerpts, is from Brother Jonathan, August 28, p. 3.

57.  There are similar arguments on the increasing weight of multiple facts in the “Longfellow War” papers in 1845. For a brief description of the “Longfellow War, see Quinn, Poe, pp. 453-455.

58.  A writ issued under common-law rules, on petition to the chancery court, calling for a jury trial of the fact of insanity. On January 12, 1842, the New-York Tribune carried the announcement: “ ‘The Commissioner, or De Lunatico Inquirendo,’ is the title of a new satirical romance, now publishing in monthly numbers by Carey and Hart, Philadelphia, and Wiley & Putnam, New-York.” [page 782:]

59.  The footnote is quoted from Stanley (Philadelphia, 1838), II, 78. Thus anonymous novel, written by Horace Binney Wallace, whom Poe knew under the pseudonym “William Lander,” Poe often quoted, with and without credit.

60.  Editorial comment in Brother Jonathan’s issues of September 4, 18, and 25 indicates that the editorial staff had several interviews with Crommelin, whose statements were frequently confusing or conflicting.

61.  Most of the material in this paragraph comes from Brother Jonathan, August 28. Dupin’s designation of Beauvais as a busybody is justified by the accounts of Crommelin’s manifold activities.

62.  For the background of Dupin’s dismissal of Beauvais as a suspect, see nn. 29-32.

63.  See the passage from Le Commerciel quoted at n. 34.

64.  See nn. 12, 27, 45, and 54 above for Poe’s change of the time.

65.  The passage from Le Commerciel as quoted at n. 34 makes pocket-handkerchief singular, whereas Dupin, here and on p. 766 at n. 103, makes it plural (as the sense requires).

66.  The passage from Le Soleil is quoted at n. 36.

67.  Wimsatt (PMLA, n. 17) points out that although Dupin, commenting on the passage from Le Soleil, says that the articles were gathered up “from this paper and from that,” the whole thing was from the account in the New York Herald, September 17.

68.  Dupin’s question about jewelry supports Wimsatt’s suggestion (his note 19) that Poe may never have seen the testimony of Mallin and Boullard (Evening Post, August 13, 1841), who deposed that when the body of Mary Rogers was found, “There were no rings, breastpin or any other jewelry on her person.” See n. 18 above.

69.  Walsh (p. 43) says this passage “anticipated the tone of a good deal of the detective fiction that followed.” An elaborated version of Dupin’s exposition in this paragraph and the next appears in Poe’s sixth letter to The Columbia Spy, June 18, 1844, where he mentions the Mary Rogers case in a discussion of magisterial justice with reference to the impending trial of Polly Bodine. See Doings of Gotham, pp. 66-67. See also Dupin on the effectiveness of indirect vision in “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” pp. 545-546, at n. 30.

70.  For the spirit and the letter see Romans 7:6 — “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held: that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” See also II Corinthians 3:6 — “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”

71.  The “scrupulous examination” is part of the fiction. Payne’s affidavits had been accepted by the authorities (n. 24 above), but the circumstances of his death, as revealed by the official inquest, served to wipe out lingering skepticism [page 783:] and exonerate him of all guilt in regard to Mary’s death. Brother Jonathan, August 16, recorded the change of attitude in two articles, one critical, the other an apology to Payne for past suspicion. Compare Wimsatt, p. 233.

72.  Dupin’s six “extracts” on pp. 753 and 754 are not as clearly traceable to their sources as are most of those collected by the narrator. Wimsatt, p. 239, n. 48, commented, “Since the [foot]notes in which Poe supplies the names of the papers would seem to have been prepared especially for the 1845 version, and very likely from memory, the remarkable thing is not that some of the references cannot be found but that so many can be.” Dupin, alias Poe, seems to have used the process he ascribed to the editor of Le Soleil (see n. 67 above), putting together items collected “with laudable industry from this paper and from that.” Note the change from the first printing that Poe made at the beginning of the first passage, and watch the variants for significant deletions and insertions modifying the direction of Dupin’s argument.

73.  Two newspaper articles, widely spaced in time, may have contributed to the first two “extracts.” Walsh, p. 13, reproduces from the New York Times and Commercial Intelligencer of October 5, 1838, a paragraph on the first disappearance of Mary Rogers that mentions “a gallant gay Lothario whose name did not transpire,” and Wimsatt (see his note 50) found in the New York Herald, August 3, 1841, a piece on the murder recalling that “this young girl, Mary Rogers, was missing from Anderson’s cigar store three years ago, for two weeks. It is asserted that she was then seduced by an officer of the United States Navy and kept at Hoboken for two weeks. His name is well known on board his ship.”

74.  Dupin’s third extract was probably derived from a report in the Courier and Enquirer, August 16, 1841 (obtained through the courtesy of Mildred M. Ledden, Associate Librarian of the University of the State of New York):

On Thursday evening last, a gentleman accompanied by his wife and daughter, the latter aged about 18 years, engaged a small boat, in which were four men, in the upper part of the city, to take them to a spot near Williamsburg — on landing the party left the boat, but after they had proceeded a short distance, the daughter discovering she had left her parasol in the boat, went back to get it, her parents continuing on their walk. When she reached the boat she saw the parasol in the stern sheets, where she had been sitting, and stepped in to get it, when the ruffians in charge of the boat pushed from the shore and pulled into the middle of the stream, where they accomplished their hellish designs — they then rowed to the New York side, and left the poor girl on the dock, more dead than alive. We believe that this case has not been made known to the authorities here, but surely if it were it could not be difficult to detect these scoundrels. We hope that no motives of delicacy will prevent the making of the complaint. [The above case we have from a gentleman in Brooklyn].

The same story in different words appeared on August 16 in the Commercial Advertiser and the Evening Post, which credited the Brooklyn Daily News of August 13. The article in the Brooklyn paper, however, recounted the outrage as something not fully authenticated; the file of the paper used is at the Long [page 784:] Island Historical Society. Poe again disregards the actual chronology. The episode described in Dupin’s extract is reported as occurring on the day of Marie’s disappearance; that in the newspapers was said to have taken place nearly two weeks after the disappearance of Mary Rogers. See n. 83.

75.  Mennais, in the fourth of Dupin’s excerpts, is named for a French philosopher, Père Felicité-Robin de Lamennais (1782-1854). In Poe’s story he represents Joseph W. Morse, a wood-engraver of 120 Nassau Street, an acquaintance of Mary Rogers. On the fatal Sunday he went with a girl to Staten Island, quarreled with her, returned alone, and fearing the anger of his wife, fled to Worcester, Massachusetts. Suspicion fell upon him, and he was arrested and brought back to New York, but the girl who had gone to Staten Island came forward to provide the alibi that cleared him. There is much about this in the newspapers, including the Courier and Enquirer, August 16-23, 1841, but this passage has not been located and was probably composed by Poe.

76.  Note the impossible date assigned to the fifth extract. It is true that the papers received numbers of letters in support of the gang theory, but this passage itself has not been found. See Wimsatt, PMLA, p. 237, n. 40. He calls attention again to Poe’s inconsistent chronology of events.

77.  Poe documents this sixth extract as from the Standard, but search of the unique file of that paper in the New York Society Library did not reveal it. Wimsatt, who examined eight papers, found no more than a reference to the supposed carrying of Mary from shore to deep water in a boat. See New York Herald, September 24, 1841. I believe this incident to be Poe’s invention.

78.  See the narrator’s account, at n. 15, p. 729, saying that the remark was made by Mrs. Rogers toward nightfall. Wimsatt points out (p. 244, n. 73) that Poe refers twice to this remark by Mary’s mother but makes no inference from it. The inference is not explicit, but Dupin’s further argument certainly suggests that the inference was made in Poe’s mind.

79.  The hour comes from the testimony of Madame Deluc and the omnibus driver, at nn. 37 and 38 above. Observe Poe’s significant insertion, {tt}for the second printing.

80.  See variants {ww}and {bb} in this paragraph, indicating important changes for the second printing.

81.  See the narrator’s report on gang activities at n. 33.

82.  See Dupin’s third extract, at n. 74.

83.  Dupin summarizes and comments on the episode recounted in his third extract as understandably influencing popular opinion. He goes on, however, to argue that, “the one atrocity, known to be so committed, is, if any thing, evidence that the other, committed at a time nearly coincident, was not so committed.” Of this statement Wimsatt (p. 236) says, “Here as again, flagrantly, at the end of his story, Poe has asserted the contrary of one of the principles of a priori probability.” Wimsatt further (p. 237) indicates that there actually were two such episodes: the one on the East River, August 12, which seems to be the genesis of Dupin’s third extract, and one on the Hudson at Hoboken on July 25 (see n. [page 785:] 33), “widely discussed and widely confused with the case of Mary Rogers.” The incident on the Hudson was referred to in Brother Jonathan as late as September 4 (p. 3, col. 4): “The Hoboken Villainy. We learn that the young woman so badly treated on July 25 was a mere child of fifteen. . .”

84.  The delayed third installment of the tale in Snowden’s Ladies’ Companion for February 1843 begins with the next paragraph, first repeating the motto.

85.  See the narrator’s account of the thicket, at n. 35, pp. 734 and 735.

86.  The variants here reveal another significant change for the second printing.

87.  See the passage quoted from Le Cornmerciel at n. 34.

88.  Dupin here refers to the passage from Le Soleil quoted at n. 36.

89.  According to the testimony of Mrs. Loss, the boys found Mary Rogers’ belongings on August 25 (New York Herald, September 17, and Brother Jonathan, September 25), one month after her disappearance. See n. 35 above.

90.  Only one of the boys was small (see n. 35), but Dupin makes a point here that is sometimes overlooked, the dubious reliability of the testimony. In this connection Walsh (p. 34) points out that the newspaper accounts failed to note that the description of the clothes in the thicket rested solely on the account of Mrs. Loss. “No one else saw the clothes in place, not even the police.”

91.  Rolland McKee, of the United States Department of Agriculture, wrote me that timothy grass grew ten inches in a week in Ohio, and that crabgrass might grow faster in more southern latitudes, in a part of the country Poe knew better than he knew Hoboken. I observed an extraordinary growth of grass between cobblestones on Fifth Avenue beside Central Park in Manhattan on July 20, 1942.

92.  For information concerning the date of the discovery of the articles, see n. 89. See Dupin’s fifth extract, at n. 76, for a date that does not exist. The rest of this paragraph is probably intentionally confusing, but it does further Dupin’s argument fostering doubts of the validity of the evidence discussed. See also Wimsatt, pp. 237-238 and his notes 40 and 41. He cites the long article in Brother Jonathan, September 25, p. 2, col. 8, “based on a visit to the spot,” that casts further doubt on the evidence concerning the thicket. The Brother Jonathan article undoubtedly provided both arguments and information supplementing the material included in the “extracts.”

93.  The next few pages are based on the passage quoted at n. 36 as from Le Soleil; see also the narrators description at n. 35.

94.  Here ({gg}) Poe made a significant addition for the second printing.

95.  See the narrator’s summary of the medical testimony, at n. 19 above. Brother Jonathan, August 21, reproducing the report of Dr. Cook’s examination by the Mayor of New York, concluded with the following statements (p. 2, col. 7):

The rest of Dr. Cook’s examination is of such a nature that it cannot be [page 786:] given in detail. It related, however, to the appearance of the body, which enabled the Doctor to state positively that the poor girl had been brutally violated. The following, however, is the substance of what he did say on this subject. He said that previous to the shocking outrage, she had evidently been a person of chastity and correct habits; that her person was horribly violated by more than two or three persons; he gave sufficient reasons for coming to this conclusion. He also stated distinctly, that he examined fully on that point, and found that there was not the slightest trace of pregnancy.

On September 4, however, having altered its view of the case, Brother Jonathan characterized the doctor’s inferences as “disgustingly ridiculous.” For further details in other papers sec Wimsatt’s notes 43 and 72.

At the end of the paragraph Poe added a significant sentence for the second printing.

96.  Dupin continues to discuss the material in the quotation from Le Soleil reproduced at n. 36 above. For mention of “traces of a struggle,” see also the narrator’s description of the thicket on p. 734 and another mention on p. 758. See the variants here for a sentence in the first printing significantly deleted for the second.

97.  Dupin mentioned “ground for suspicion” on p. 761 at n. 93.

98.  The handkerchief with the victim’s name is mentioned in the narrator’s account at n. 35.

99.  Dupin’s hypothetical description of the individual murderer alone with the dead may have been influenced by a flight of imagination in the New York Herald, September 24, 1841, found by Wimsatt, who quotes it on his p. 239 as follows: “[The murderer] stayed by the dead and mangled body of his victim, in that dark thicket, with no eye but that of God upon the murderer and the murdered maid, until all was still — perhaps till near midnight. Then, tying the frock around her to form a handle, he carried her to the river, and hurled her in, and fled, too horror stricken to think of returning to the scene of the murder, to remove the articles found by the boys.”

100.  For fleeing frnm “the wrath to come,” see St. Matthew 3:7 and St. Luke 3:7: “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you of the wrath to come?”

101.  The “slip. . . tom upward from the bottom hem” and the “hitch in the back” are from Dr. Cook’s testimony (Brother Jonathan, August 21) and are mentioned by the narrator at n. 20.

102.  For the fences taken down, see the narrator’s account at n. 35.

103.  Dupin quotes Le Commerciel here from the excerpt at n. 34.

104.  He first made this suggestion at n. 65 when commenting on the extract from Le Commerciel.

105.  The strip of muslin fitting loosely around the neck is mentioned by the narrator at n. 20. Compare the account Dr. Cook gave the Mayor of New York, reported in Brother Jonathan, August 21, p, 3, cols. 6 and 7: “The dress immediately beneath the frock, and between the frock and the upper petticoat, was made of fine muslin; a piece was torn clean out of this garment, about a foot or [page 787:] eighteen inches in width; this piece was torn very evenly, and with great care, commencing at the bottom of the garment. This same piece was afterwards tied round her mouth, with a hard knot at the back part of the neck; I think this was done to smother her cries, and that it was probably held tight round her mouth by one of her ravishers: This same piece of muslin was found by me around her neck, fitting loosely to the neck with the knot remaining. — Over these were tied the hat and hat strings.”

106.  The “bandage hitched around its middle” — “the bandage about the loins” — is described, from Dr. Cook’s testimony, at n. 101.

107.  See the variants for the record of three insertions in this paragraph made for the second printing in an endeavor to suggest distrust of Madame Deluc’s testimony. Poe’s Latin phrase means “And hence this anger?” He used it again in an editorial in the Broadway Journal, November 1, 1845. It is a mixture of tantaene animis caelestibus irae from the Æneid, I, 11; and hinc illae lacrimae quoted by Horace, Epistolae, I, xix, 41, from Terence’s Andria.

108.  For Madame Deluc’s testimony concerning the fatal day, discussed in this paragraph and the next two, see the narrator’s summary at n. 37.

109.  For “cakes and ale” see Twelfth Night, II, iii, 124; Poe used this commonplace in his exordium in “Review of New Books,” Graham’s, January 1842, p. 69.

110.  Compare the skepticism indicated by the addition here with that at n. 107.

111.  See the narrator’s account of the rewards offered for the apprehension of the murderer or murderers, at n. 7. Two significant insertions for the second printing were made in the last sentence of this paragraph; see the variants.

112.  The insertion {cc}here is very important.

113.  In this paragraph Dupin has brought together a series of clues leading toward the identification of the murderer. The dark (sunburned?) complexion comes from the testimony of Madame Deluc and the onmibus driver Valence (at nn. 37 and 38); the hitch in the carrying bandage and the “sailor’s knot,” from the testimony of Dr. Cook relayed by the narrator at n. 20. The murderer’s status is deduced from his companionship with a young, beautiful, and popular girl and from the evidence of intelligence and education Dupin sees in the letters to the papers he almost ascribes to the culprit himself (Dupin’s fourth and fifth extracts, at nn. 75 and 76), and finally, the mention of the naval officer of the first disappearance (in Dupin’s second extract, at n. 73). Note in the variants the deletion from the end of the paragraph that appeared in the first printing.

114.  Dupin apparently feels that it would be possible to find, for comparison, authentic specimens of the handwriting of a man “well known on board his ship.” See n. 73 above.

115.  This sentence includes another face-saving insertion in parentheses.

116.  For the boat picked up by the bargeman, see the last of Dupin’s extracts, at n. 77. [page 788:]

117.  For the suggestion that the lonely assassin might use a boat, see pp. 764 and 765 above.

118.  The marks on the victim’s back and shoulders are mentioned by the narrator (at n. 19) and in the report of Dr. Cook’s testimony before the Mayor of New York (Brother Jonathan, August 21, p. 3, col. 6):

Dr. Cook — There was considerable excoriation upon the top of the back and both shoulder bones, and excoriation at the bottom of the back.

Mayor — How, in your opinion, was this produced?

Dr. C. — I think, by the young girl struggling to get free, while being brutally held down on her back, to effect her violation; and therefore, that this outrage was a hard board floor, the bottom of a boat, or something similar.

119.  Dupin comments on the body without a weight at n. 52; it is mentioned in the first “translation” from L’Etoile at n. 27. Henry Mallin, one of the men who brought Mary Rogers’ body to the shore, deposed that when the body was found “it was perfectly free, without rope, cord or anything attached” (Evening Post, August 13, 1841).

120.  Poe of course invented this entire bracketed explanation (in which he found it necessary to make some changes for the second printing). Compare a similar maneuver in “Von Kempelen and His Discovery.” In reply to a question from George Eveleth he wrote, January 4, 1848: “Nothing was omitted in ‘Marie Roget’ but what I omitted myself: — all that is mystification. The story was originally published in Snowden’s ‘Lady’s Companion.’ The ‘naval officer’ who committed the murder (or rather the accidental death arising from an attempt at abortion) confessed it; and the whole matter is now well understood — but, for the sake of relatives, this is a topic on which I must not speak further.”

I am convinced that the second confession — that of the “naval officer” referred to here — was also mystification. Sarah Helen Whitman, on March 2, 1867, wrote Eveleth that the officer’s name was Spencer (her letter is number 103 in the Ingram List), and Ingram mentioned this in his Life (1880), 1:235 and (1886), p. 190. Wimsatt could find no naval man of the name who could have had any connection with the Rogers case; but reminds us that Philip Spencer was the wild young midshipman of prominent family who was hanged at sea for mutiny in December 1842. I find no reason to think that he ever injured a woman.

121.  Compare “The Landscape Garden” at n. 14: “Art is made to assume the air of an intermediate or secondary Nature — a Nature which is not God, nor any emanation of God, but which still is Nature, in the sense that it is the handiwork of the angels that hover between man and God.” Walsh (p. 66) thought this was the final paragraph of Poe’s first draft of the story, and that the next two paragraphs were tacked on in order “to forestall any too-serious linking of the story with the Rogers case.”

122.  “Poe states a principle which he could have read in Laplace’s Essai Philosoplhique sur les Probabilities. . . that equally probable independent events (e.g. throws of a given number with dice) remain equally probable at any point in any series” (Wimsatt, n. 32). Then, quoting the penultimate sentence of this paragraph, “The error here involved. . .” Wimsatt (ibid.) remarks, wryly, “It is hardly necessary to say that Poe stands almost alone among the ‘philosophical’.”

 


[[Footnotes]]

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 715:]

*  Dorothy Sayers, however, in her introduction to The Omnibus of Crime (1929), p. 18, says that of the Dupin stories — the others being “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Purloined Letter” — she finds it “the most interesting of all to the connoisseur.” [Richard P. Benton, Studies in Short Fiction, Winter 1969, agrees with Miss Sayers, and after recounting some of the adverse criticism of Poe’s story, sets forth in detail his reasons for believing “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” is “caviar for the gourmet.”)

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 715, running to the bottom of page 716:]

  In PMLA, March 1941, Professor William K. Wimsatt, Jr. published “Poe and the Mystery of Mary Rogers,” based on his study of eight contemporary newspapers and all the many later articles he found. Through this morass of “confused and contradictory journalism” he traced the course of events by listing the principal documents in chronological sequence and by citing, with critical comments, newspaper [page 716:] accounts of the official proceedings, as well as influential journalistic theorizing, from July 28 to October 10, 1841. It is rarely necessary to go back of this synoptic article, although I have checked all of Poe’s quotations from newspapers, either in person or through librarians. Most of the files are in the New York Society Library, the New-York Historical Society, the American Antiquarian Society, or the Library of Congress. The Courier and Enquirer was examined for me by Miss Evelyn Nelson at the State Library, Albany; the Sunday Mercury by Mr. T. M. Hodges at Hamilton College, Clinton, New York. Excerpts from the newspapers are given by John Walsh in Poe the Detective (1968). These two studies, by Wimsatt and Walsh, are fundamental to any serious consideration of the tale; in the comment and the notes that follow they are frequently cited simply by the author’s name.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 716:]

  John Anderson is listed in the New York Business Directory, 1840-1841, as “Importer of Havana & Principe Segars in all their varieties, 321 Broadway, sign of the Indian Chief.” On September 13, 1840, the New York Sunday Morning Atlas carried a woodcut of a dark-haired beauty proffering a cigar as “The Cigar Girl,” No. 22 in an illustrated series, “Portraits of the People.” The picture was accompanied by an essay on the recently adopted English practice of hiring pretty girls as clerks in cigar stores for the purpose of attracting the “men about town.” Following the essay was a “brief history” emphasizing the dangers of such employment, although in the narrative the virtue of the fictional heroine triumphs and is rewarded. The Atlas picture was used again in that paper for August 6, 1841 as a portrait of Mary Rogers (see Walsh, Poe the Detective, p. 59).

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 718:]

§  References to a similar letter to Thomas W. White seem to be based on an auction catalogue of Bangs & Co., New York, May 28, 1897, lot 2302 — actually the letter to Roberts.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 719:]

*  Now very well known, this notice was first called to my attention by Walter E. Peck. The sensational murder of Samuel Adams by John C. Colt (which suggested Poe’s “Oblong Box”), and Colt’s suicide, reported on November 19, were filling the papers, and the “confession” of Mrs. Loss did not receive the attention it might otherwise have been accorded.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 721:]

  See Samuel Copp Worthen in Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society, April 1942, and in American Literature, November 1948. He used a copy of the testimony in the suit. Commenting on Worthen’s articles, Professor Wimsatt (whose very important article in PMLA for March 1941 is described in the second footnote above) remarked in American Literature for January 1950: “Anderson’s responsibility may have gone no further than that earlier push which he had given her on the downward path.” Worthen, however, careful to use only sworn testimony, did not print the plain statement to him of Mrs. Appleton that her father regarded himself remorsefully as in a way responsible for Mary’s death. Mr. Worthen told me all this, and I reveal it, years after his death, because of Wimsatt’s argument that less might be implied by what Worthen printed.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 722:]

  In addition to the literature cited above, there are many lesser discussions of the Rogers case, some of them eccentric or otherwise worthless. The National Police Gazette, November 28, 1846, suggested (with some reason) that the notorious abortionist Madame Restelle had something to do with the case (see Edward Van Every, Sins of New York, New York, 1930, p. 98). The Confession of Charles Wallace (New Orleans, 1851) includes a fictional account of how that malefactor murdered Mary Rogers. There is something on the Rogers case in The Tale of a Physician (1869) by Andrew Jackson Davis. J. H. Ingraham’s The Beautiful Cigar Girl (New York, 1844) relates only remotely to Mary. An article by Will M. Clemens in the Era Magazine, November 1904, is perhaps deliberately misleading. Two decades later, Irving Wallace, in The Fabulous Originals (1955), suggested that Poe was the murderer — a bit of ironic humor, I suppose, which may have been taken seriously by some readers. Other details have come to light in recent years, but of a confession of a second person, mentioned by Poe in his introductory footnote, no trace has ever been found.

 


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Notes:

None.


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[S:1 - TOM3T, 1978] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (T. O. Mabbott) (The Mystery of Marie Roget)