My friend Auguste Dupin


I met Monsieur Auguste Dupin while I was living in Paris during the spring and summer of 1839. This young Frenchman was from an old and famous family, but the family was now very poor and Dupin only had a little money to live on. He ate and drank very little, bought no clothes, and lived very quietly. Books were the love of his life, and in Paris it is easy to get books.


Our first meeting was in a small bookshop in the Rue Montmartre. We were looking for the same old book, and that is how our conversation began. We met again and again, and were soon very friendly.


He knew much more about books than I did. Conversation with a man like him was very helpful for my studies, and after a time we agreed to find a house and live there together for the time of my stay in Paris.


We found a house in a quiet street in the Faubourg St. Germain. It was a very old house, and was neither beautiful nor comfortable. But it was right for us, and our strange way of life.


We saw no visitors, had no friends, and lived only for the night. When morning came, we closed all the shutters on our windows, and in this half-dark we spent the day reading, writing, or talking, until the true darkness came. Then we went out into the streets, and walked fur hours among the wild lights and shadows of the crowded city.


During these night walks I learnt how clever my friend was. He could think so clearly and understood so much! He could read other people's thoughts as easily as writing on a wall. He often said, with a laugh, that people had windows in their faces and that he could see through them. Sometimes he read my thoughts in ways that surprised me very much.


Edgar Allan Poe: The Murders in the Rue Morgue. Oxford Bookworms Library; Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002

Stage 2 (700 headwords)