TRUE!—- nervous—very,— very dreadfully nervous I had been — and am; but why willyou say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses- not destroyed – not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute.
I heard all things in heaven and on earth. I heard manythings below the earth. How, then am I mad? Harken! and observe how healthily, how calmly I can tell you the wholestory. It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it hauntedme day –and night. Object—- there was none. Passion——-there was none.
I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire.Order now
Ithink—–it was——–his eye. Yes! it was this! One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture. —–apale blue eye——with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold. And so, bydegrees——very gradually—I made up my min to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myselfof that eye——-forever.
Now this is the point. You fancy me Mad. Madmen know nothing! But you should haveseen me! You should seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded—–with whatCaution—with what foresight—with what dissimulation I went to work. I was never kinder to theold man than during that the whole week before I killed him.
And every night—–Aboutmidnight—-I turned the latch of his door and opened it—Oh so gently. And then, when I hadmade an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, so that no lightshone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly Ithrust it in! I moved it slowly-very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old mans sleep. Ittook me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he layupon his bed. Ha!-would a madman have been so wise as this? And then, when my head was wellin the room, I undid the lantern cautiously-oh, so cautiously – for the hinges creaked. I undid itjust so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye.
And this I did for seven longnights-every night just at midnight-but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible todo the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye. And every morning,when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber, and spoke courageously to him calling himby name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he had passed the night. So you see he would havebeen a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in uponhim while he slept. Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the door. A watchsminute-hand moves more quickly than did mine.
Never before that night had I felt the extent ofmy own powers-of my sagacity. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. To think thatthere I was, opening the door, little by little, and he not even to dream of my secret deeds orthoughts. I fairly chuckled at the idea; and perhaps the heard me; for he moved on the bedsuddenly, as if startled.
Now you may think that I drew back-but no. His room was as black aspitch with the thick darkness, and so I know that he could not see the opening of the door, and Ikept pushing it on steadily, steadily. I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb slipped upon the tinfastening, and the old man spring up in the bed, crying out-Whos there?I kept quite still and said nothing. For a whole hour I did not move a muscle and in themeantime I did not hear him lie down. He was still sitting up in the bed, listening: just as I havedone, night after night, hearkening to the death-watches in the wall. Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror.
It was not agroan of pain or grief-oh,-no!-it was the low stifled .