فصل 06

مجموعه: کتاب های ساده / کتاب: قتل در رو مورگو / فصل 6

کتاب های ساده

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فصل 06

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  • زمان مطالعه 7 دقیقه
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CHAPTER 6

A Sailor’s Story

At that moment we heard the sound of footsteps on the stairs. But now the visitor seemed to hesitate and we heard him going back down. Dupin was moving to the door when we heard him coming back up. This time he did not hesitate but came to our door and knocked.

“Come in,” said Dupin in a friendly voice. A man entered. He was a sailor, a tall, muscular man.

“Good evening,” he said.

“Sit down, my friend,” said Dupin. “I imagine you are here for the orang-outang. A remarkable beast. How old is he?”

“I don’t know exactly,” the sailor replied, “maybe four or five. Have you got him here?”

“Oh no,” said Dupin. “We cannot keep him here. He is at a stable in the Rue Dubourg. You can get him in the morning.”

“Thank you,” said the sailor. “I will of course pay you a reward for finding him.”

“That’s very kind of you,” said Dupin. “Now let me see. What shall I ask for this service? Ah yes, I know. My reward shall be this. You will tell me everything you know about these murders in the Rue Morgue.”

As he said these words, Dupin walked slowly to the door and locked it, and put the key in his pocket. He then took a pistol from his pocket and placed it calmly on the table.

The sailor fell back into his chair, trembling with fear. His face went as white as death itself. He did not say a word.

“My friend,” said Dupin in a kind voice. “There is no need to be alarmed. I know that you are innocent of the murders in the Rue Morgue. But you must admit that you are involved in them in some way. You have nothing to hide.

But every principle of honour obliges you to confess all that you know. An innocent man is now in prison, charged with these murders. You must tell us who the real perpetrator is.”

“I will tell you all I know about this business, but you will not believe me. I do not really believe it myself. But I am innocent.”

The sailor was silent for a moment. Then he began to tell the story.

“It began on the island of Borneo. Our ship stopped there on the way to India. A friend of mine captured an orang-outang but he fell sick and died. I became the beast’s master. I took it with me on board the ship, where it stayed until we got back to Paris. Then I hid it in my apartment. I knew that it was valuable so I decided to sell it.

“The next evening I went out with some sailor- friends. When I got back in the early morning I could not believe what I saw. There, sitting in my chair, was the orang-outang. Its face was covered in shaving foam and in its hand was my razor. It sat there looking at itself in the mirror. I realized that the beast was trying to shave. But all I could think about was the razor in its hand. I was terrified. For a minute I didn’t know what to do. Then I took the whip that I used to control the orang-outang. When he saw it he was afraid, but before I could do anything he ran out of the room and down the stairs, and then jumped out of an open window into the street.

“I followed the orang-outang down street after street. The city was deserted. It was three o’clock in the morning and everyone was in bed. Finally I trapped it in an alley at the rear of the Rue Morgue. But then the beast saw a light shining from the open window of Madame L’Espanaye’s room on the fourth floor of her house. Running to the building, it saw the lightning rod, which it climbed with unbelievable agility. Then, with one long arm, it grasped the shutter which was against the wall and used it to swing itself into the room.

“At first I was happy. The beast was trapped and it would be easy to capture it now. But I was afraid for the occupants of the house. So I decided to follow it. With some difficulty, I climbed up the lightning rod, but when I got to the level of the window I could not reach the shutter. I could only look into the room. I was horrified by what I saw and heard. The two women were screaming. I saw the orang-outang take Madame L’Espanaye by the hair and cut her throat with the razor. The movement of its arm was so powerful that the woman’s head was almost separated from her body. On seeing her blood, it became furious and jumped upon the girl, putting its hands around her throat until she too was dead. Just then, it saw me through the window and was suddenly afraid.

“It became agitated and started throwing the furniture around the room. I could see it wanted to hide the evidence of its terrible acts, so it took the body of the girl and pushed it up the chimney. Then it turned to the body of the old woman which it threw out of the window.

“As the orang-outang approached the window I was terrified. I climbed back down the lightning rod and ran home as fast as I could. I wanted to get as far away from the beast as possible.”

“So the words that the party on the stairs heard were your exclamations of horror,” I said.

“And the shrill, harsh voice was that of the beast,” Dupin added.

And that is almost the end of the story. Dupin and I went to the police and told them everything. They immediately released Adolphe Le Bon, the clerk from the bank. And as for the sailor - well, he finally caught his orang-outang and sold it to the city zoo for a very large sum of money.

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