"This letter had a large green stamp on it. The address was written in small letters in blue ink. I memorized every detail of the letter while I talked to D'Arcy. Then when he was not looking, I dropped one of my gloves on the floor under my chair.
"The next morning, I stopped at his apartment to look for my glove. While we were talking, we heard people shouting in the street. D'Arcy went to the window and looked out. Quickly, I stepped to the shelf and put the letter in my pocket. Then I replaced it with a letter that looked exactly like it, which I had taken with me. I had made it the night before.
"The trouble in the street was caused by a man who had almost been run over by a horse and carriage. He was not hurt. And soon the crowd of people went away. When it was over, D'Arcy came away from the window. I said good-bye and left.
"The man who almost had an accident was one of my servants. I had paid him to create the incident."
Dupin stopped talking to light his pipe. I did not understand. "But, Dupin," I said, "why did you go to the trouble of replacing the letter? Why not just take it and leave?"
Dupin smiled. "D'Arcy is a dangerous man," he said. "And he has many loyal servants. If I had taken the letter, I might never have left his apartment alive."
"The Purloined Letter" was written by Edgar Allan Poe and adapted into Special English by Dona De Sanctis. The storyteller was Shep O'Neal. The producer was Lawan Davis. You can read and listen to other AMERICAN STORIES at our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Barbara Klein.