THE CRITIC 125 �which Poe here quotes twice. "If Poe wrote that ar- ticle," so runs the indictment, "he wrote it after having read the fifth chapter of Dickens's novel." The pros- pective notice, however, has since been discovered and Poe's self-quotations are accurate, I find, to the mi- nutest detail. But of course he had read the fifth chapter. When he says that "the secret" was discov- ered as soon as he had read Solomon Daisy's story that is, chapter one he means the secret of the real murderer, not the secret of the blood-smeared wrist which is mentioned for the first time in chapter five. And when Poe adds that he wrote his prospective no- tice after the novel had been "only begun," he does not mean that this beginning stopped with chapter one. In fact the prospective notice proves to be a notice of "Nos. i, 2, and 3" of the 19 numbers or parts that were to contain the entire novel. Number I is known to have contained the first three chapters. Is it con- ceivable that numbers 2 and 3 stopped short of chapter five ? Poe did not attempt to deceive anybody. Dick- ens is said to have expressed astonishment at the de- tective ability shown in the prospective notice, but the prospective notice is not equal to the retrospective no- tice that follows. You will observe, by the way, that the next to the last paragraph of our extract contains the egg from which three years later was hatched The Raven.} �We have given, as may well be supposed, but a very meagre outline of the story, and we have given it in the simple or natural sequence. That is to say, we have related the events, as nearly as might be, in the order of their occurrence. But this order would by ��� �
Page:Edgar Allan Poe - how to know him.djvu/145
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