By Edgar Allan Poe
Adapted to chat story format by Captivated Chat
“To this horrible mystery there is not as yet, we believe, the slightest clew.”
As this is the late edition, my friend, the paper has added the additional particulars of witness testimony on page two.
All right, I will keep decanting them to you: “The Tragedy in the Rue Morgue,” it is called. It says: “Many individuals have been examined regarding this most extraordinary and frightful affair, but nothing has transpired to throw light upon it. Below is all the testimony elicited.” And Dupin, these pictures! I know some of these individuals who have given depositions! “Their testimony follows!”
Reputed to have money
laundress, deposes that she has known both the deceased for three years, having washed for them during that period. The old lady and her daughter seemed on good terms—very affectionate towards each other. They made excellent paying customers. But she could not speak in regard to their mode or means of living. Believed that Madame L. told fortunes for a living. Was reputed to have money put by. She never met any persons in the house when she called. Was sure that they had no servant. Moreover, she saw no furniture in the building except in the fourth story.
tobacconist, deposes he has been selling small quantities of tobacco and snuff to Madame L’Espanaye for nearly four years. The victims had lived in the murder house for more than six years, it was formerly occupied by a jeweller, who sublet the upper rooms. The house belonged to Madame L. who, angered by the abuse of it by tenants, moved in herself and refused to let rooms. She was childish. Witness had seen the daughter some five or six times in six years. The two lived a very retired life—were reputed to have money. Neighbors said Madame L. told fortunes. But he had never seen any outside person enter, except a porter once or twice, and a physician.
A good house
“Many neighbors, gave evidence to the same effect. No one was frequenting the house. Not known if any living connexions exist to victims. The family never opened the front window shutters. They kept the rear ones closed, also, with the exception of the large back room, fourth story. The house was a good house—not very old. “
gendarme, called to the house about three in the morning, and found thirty persons pushing at the gate. Had little difficulty prying it open with a bayonet. Shrieks heard only until gate forced. They were screams of great agony—loud and drawn out. He led the way upstairs, and heard two voices arguing—one gruff, the other shrill and very strange . Could distinguish some words of the former, a Frenchman, including ‘sacré’ and ‘diable.’ The shrill voice was a foreigner’s, Spanish he believed.
a neighbor, and by trade a silversmith, was one of the first to enter the house. Corroborates testimony of Muset in general. After entering, they reclosed the door to keep out the crowd, which collected very fast. The shrill voice was speaking in Italian, not French. Perhaps a woman’s voice. Could not distinguish the words. Knew Madame L. and her daughter. Had conversed with both frequently. Was sure that the shrill voice was not that of either.
Gruff voice: ‘diable’
//Image: [Odenheimer] [https://captivatedchat.com/wp-content/uploads/Restauranteur-e1557773367866.jpg]
restaurateur. This witness is a native of Amsterdam. Was passing and heard the shrieks. They lasted ten minutes, were long and loud—very awful. Meanwhile he joined crowd entering the building. Corroborated all details but one: the shrill voice was that of a Frenchman. Could not, however, distinguish the words uttered. They were loud and quick, spoken in fear and anger. That voice was harsh—not so much shrill as harsh. The gruff voice said repeatedly ‘sacré,’ ‘diable,’ and once ‘mon Dieu.’
banker, of the firm of Mignaud et Fils, Rue Deloraine. Is the elder Mignaud. Madame L’Espanaye had some property. Had opened an account with his bank in the spring—eight years previously. Made frequent deposits, but in small sums. Had checked for nothing until the third day before her death, when she took out in person the sum of 4,000 francs, paid in gold, and a clerk accompanied her home with it.
Adolphe Le Bon
bank clerk at Mignaud et Fils, deposes that on the day in question, about noon, he accompanied Madame L’Espanaye to her residence with her withdrawn 4,000 francs, put up in two bags. Upon the door being opened, Mademoiselle L. appeared and took from his hands one of the bags, while the old lady relieved him of the other. He then bowed and departed. During that time he did not see any person in the street. It is a bye-street—very lonely.
No person seen
tailor, deposes he was one of those who entered the house. Is an Englishman. Heard the voices in contention. The gruff voice was that of a Frenchman. Could make out several words, but cannot now remember all. Heard distinctly ‘sacré’ and ‘mon Dieu.’ Further, there was a sound of several persons struggling—a scraping and scuffling. The shrill voice was certainly not the voice of an Englishman. Appeared to be German. Might have been a woman.
“Four of the above-named witnesses, being recalled, deposed that the door of the chamber in which was found the body of Mademoiselle L. was locked on the inside. Everything was perfectly silent—no groans or noises of any kind. Upon forcing the door, no person was seen. The windows, both of the back and front room, were down and firmly fastened from within. A door between the two rooms was closed, but not locked. The door leading from the front room into the passage was locked, with the key on the inside.
“A small room in the front on the fourth story at the head of the passage was ajar. This room was crowded with old beds, boxes, and so forth. However these were carefully removed and searched. The house was carefully searched. Sweeps were sent up and down the chimneys, for example. The house was four stories, with garrets (mansardes.) A trap-door on the roof was nailed down very securely—apparently years ago. The time between hearing the voices and the breaking open of the room door, with difficulty, was variously estimated. To be precise, some made it three minutes—some as long as five.”
More witness testimony
undertaker, deposes that he resides in the Rue Morgue. Is a native of Spain. Was one of the party who entered. But did not proceed up stairs. Is nervous, so was apprehensive about agitating himself. However he heard the voices in contention. The gruff voice was certainly that of a Frenchman. But the witness could not distinguish words. The shrill voice was English—is sure of this. Does not understand the language, but judges by the intonation.” Continued on page 8, it says. Hmmm…
It is after the fold back there.
confectioner, deposes that he was among the first to ascend the stairs. Certainly heard the voices in question. The gruff voice was that of a Frenchman. Distinguished several words. What’s more, the speaker appeared to be expostulating. But could not make out the words of the shrill voice. Above all, the fellow spoke quick and unevenly. Thinks it the voice of a Russian. Corroborates the general testimony. Is an Italian. However, he has never conversed with a native of Russia.
“Several witnesses testified that the fourth-story chimneys were too narrow to admit passage of a human being. The only ‘sweeps’ were cylindrical sweeping brushes. The chimney cleaner passed these up and down every flue in the house. There is no back stairs by which murderers could have escaped. The killers had wedged Mademoiselle L’Espanaye’s body so firmly in the chimney that she could not be got down until four or five of the party united their strength. “
physician, viewed the bodies about day-break. Dumas examined both bodies in the bedroom. The fiends had bruised and excoriated the young lady’s corpse. The fact that it had been thrust up the chimney would sufficiently account for this. Throat was greatly chafed, with several deep scratches just below the chin, together with a series of livid spots, evidently the impression of fingers. He found the face discolored, with the eyes protruding, and the tongue partially bitten through. The killers also had caused a large bruise on her stomach, produced, apparently from a knee.
In the opinion of M. Dumas, Mademoiselle L’Espanaye had been throttled to death by some person or persons unknown. The corpse of the mother was mutilated. All the bones of the right leg and arm were shattered. The left tibia much splintered, as well as all the ribs of the left side. Whole body dreadfully bruised, but how is unknown. A wooden club, or a broad iron bar—a chair—any large, heavy, and obtuse weapon could have been used, if wielded by a very powerful man. No woman could have inflicted the blows. The head, witness said, was entirely separated from the body, and was also shattered. The throat had evidently been cut with some very sharp instrument—probably with a razor.
surgeon, was called with M. Dumas to view the bodies. In short, he corroborated the testimony, and the opinions of Dumas.
“Nothing farther of importance was elicited, although several other persons were examined. A murder so mysterious, and so perplexing in all its particulars, was never before committed in Paris—if indeed a murder has been committed at all. The police are entirely at fault—an unusual occurrence in affairs of this nature. There is not, however, the shadow of a clew apparent.”
“The greatest excitement still continues in the Quartier St. Roch—the premises in question had been carefully re-searched, and fresh examinations of witnesses instituted, but all to no purpose.”
But the writer added a postscript, set in agate type at the bottom of that same page.
Yes, now I see it! “Police have arrested and imprisoned Adolphe Le Bon.” That is the bank clerk who accompanied the old woman home with 4,000 francs!