by Edgar Allan Poe
TRUE! nervous, pretty, pretty dreadfully edgy I had been and am; but why WILL you say that I am mad? The sickness had sharpened my [senses], not fordone, not dulled them. Above all was the [sense] of hearing sharp. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How then am I mad? Hearken! and underlook how healthily, how coolly, I can tell you the whole tale.
It is unmaybesome to say how first the thought got in my brain, but, once forseeded, it ghosted me day and night. Gainstand there was none. Strong feeling there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me slur. For his gold I had no wish. I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this! One of his eyes looked like that of a geir -- a wan blue eye with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me my blood ran cold, and so by heights, pretty step by step, I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye for ever.
Now this is the [point]. You believe me to be mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I forfared -- with what care -- with what foresight, with what swiking, I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night about midnight I turned the latch of his door and opened it oh, so softly! And then, when I had made an opening enough for my head, I put in a dark lightdecker all shut, shut so that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I shrithed it slowly, pretty, pretty slowly, so that I might not dreef the old man's sleep. It took me a longlog to put my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this? And then when my head was well in the room I undid the lightdecker carefully -- oh, so carefully -- carefully (for the hinges creaked), I undid it just so much that only one thin ray fell upon the geir eye. And this I did for seven long nights, every night just at midnight, but I found the eye always shut, and so it was impossible to do the work, for it was not the old man who aballow me but his Evil Eye. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the room and spoke boldly to him, calling him by name in a hearty [tone], and asking how he had passed the night. So you see he would have been a pretty deep old man, indeed , to underfeel that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.
Upon the eighth night I was more than most often careful in opening the door. A watch's shortlog hand shrithes more quickly than did mine. Never before that night had I felt the lenght of my own might, of my wit. I could barely hold my feelings of win. To think that there I was opening the door little by little, and he not even to dream of my hidden deeds or thoughts. I fairly chuckled at the thought, and maybe he heard me, for he shrithed on the bed hastily as if startled. Now you may think that I drew back -- but no. His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness (for the shutters were shut fastened through fear of thieves), and so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept thrusting it on steadily, steadily.
I had my head in, and was about to open the lightdeck, when my thumb slipped upon the tin fastening , and the old man sprang up in the bed, shouting, "Who's there?"
I kept rather still and said nothing. For a whole longlog I did not shrithing a thew, and in the midtime I did not hear him lie down. He was still sitting up in the bed, listening; just as I have done night after night hearkening to the death watches in the wall.
As of now, I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of deadly dread. It was not a groan of ache or of mourning -- oh, no! It was the low deadened din that arises from the bottom of the soul when overloaded with awe. I knew the din well. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful witherclank, the dreads that offminded me. I say I knew it well. I knew what the old man felt, and ruthed him although I chuckled at heart. I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first slight din when he had turned in the bed. His fears had been ever since growing upon him. He had been trying to think of them as wertheless, but could not. He had been saying to himself, "It is nothing but the wind in the [chimney], it is only a mouse overstriding the floor," or, "It is [merely] a grasshopper which has made only one chirp." Yes he has been forseeking to forver himself with these guesses ; but he had found all for nothing. ALL FOR NOTHING, for Death in drawing near him had stalked with his black shadow before him and bewrapped the [victim]. And it was the mournful sway of the unongotten shadow that werthed him to feel, although he neither saw nor heard, to feel the bybe of my head within the room.
When I had waited a long time pretty thildly without hearing him lie down, I bychose to open a little -- a pretty, pretty little gap in the lightdeck. So I opened it -- you cannot forestell how stealthily, stealthily -- until at length only one dim beam like the thread of the spider shot out from the gap and fell upon the geir eye.
It was open, wide, wide open, and I grew wrathful as I gazed upon it. I saw it with flawless [distinctness] -- all a dull blue with a hidesome wimple over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones, but I could see nothing else of the old man's nebb or body, for I had bewarded the beam as if by whim right upon the loathsome spot.
And now have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-sharpness of the [senses]? now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick din, such as a watch makes when bewrapped in wortwool. I knew that din well too. It was the beating of the old man's heart. It eked my wrath as the beating of a drum kittles the hereman into boldness.
But even yet I forebore and kept still. I scantily breathed. I held the lightdeck still. I forsought how steadily I could keep the beam upon the eye. Midtime the hellish drumbeat of the heart eked. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder, every blinktime. The old man's dread must have been utmost! It grew louder, I say, louder every breakwhile! -- do you mark me well? I have told you that I am edgy: so I am. And now at the dead time of the night, amid the dreadful stillness of that old house, so odd a din as this thrilled me to unholdable dread. Yet, for some shortlogs longer I forebore and stood still. But the beating grew louder, louder! I thought the heart must burst. And now a new worry grabbed me -- the din would be heard by a neighbour! The old man's time had come! With a loud yell, I threw open the lightdeck and leaped into the room. He shrieked once -- once only. In a blinktime I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled merrily, to find the deed so far done. But for many shortlogs the heart beat on with a deadened din. This, however, did not abellow me; it would not be heard through the wall. At length it halted. The old man was dead. I took out the bed and undersought the dead body. Yes, he was stone, stone dead. I put my hand upon the heart and held it there many shortlogs. There was no beat. He was stone dead. His eye would dretch me no more.
If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I bewrite the wise forecare I took for the hiding of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in stillness.
I took up three boards from the flooring of the room, and put all between the [scantlings]. I then insteadened the boards so cleverly so cunningly, that no mennish eye -- not even his -- could have found out anything wrong. There was nothing to wash out -- no stain of any kind -- no blood-spot whatever. I had been too wary for that.
When I had made an end of these works, it was four o'stounder -- still dark as midnight. As the bell rang the longlog, there came a knocking at the street door. I went down to open it with a light heart, -- for what had I now to fear? There got in three men, who made known themselves, with flawless smoothness, as beadles of the law-warden. A shriek had been heard by a neighbour bewhile the night; underfeel of foul play had been stirred; kennstuff had been lodged at the law-warden ambight, and they (the beadles) had been draught up to seek through the toft.
I smiled, -- for what had I to fear? I bade the athelmen welcome. The shriek, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I spoke of, was offward in the folkland. I took my beseekers all over the house. I bade them seek – seek through well. I led them, at length, to his room. I showed them his dearworthness, sound, undreefed. In the troth-heat of my afasting, I brought seats into the room, and wished them here to rest from their weariness, while I myself, in the wild daring of my flawless win, put my own seat upon the swithe spot beneath which rested the dead body of the [victim].
The beatles were befrithed. My LUND had withwon them. I was above all at eath. They sat and while I answered merrily, they chatted of kithy things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting wan and wished them gone. My head ached, and I forstelled a ringing in my ears; but still they sat, and still chatted. The ringing became more [distinct] : I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: but it went on and got markedness -- until, at length, I found that the din was NOT within my ears.
No ink I now grew MIGHTY wan; but I talked more smoothly, and with a heightened steven. Yet the din eked -- and what could I do? It was A LOW, DULL, QUICK DIN -- MUCH SUCH A DIN AS A WATCH MAKES WHEN BEWRAPPED IN WORTWOOL. I gasped for breath, and yet the beadles heard it not. I talked more quickly, more hardspunly but the din steadily eked. I arose and squabbled about paltries, in a high key and with hest yebears; but the din steadily eked. Why WOULD they not be gone? I stepped the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if thrilled to wrath by the underquotes of the men, but the din steadily eked. O God! what COULD I do? I foamed -- I ranted -- I swore! I swung the seat upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the din arose over all and ongoingly eked. It grew louder -- louder -- louder! And still the men chatted quemely , and smiled. Was it maybesome they heard not? Almighty God! -- no, no? They heard! -- they underfelt! -- they KNEW! -- they were making a geck of my dread! -- this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this dretch! Anything was more bearable than this [derision]! I could bear those twiwaysome smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! -- and now -- again -- hark! louder! louder! louder! LOUDER! --
"Scoundrels!" I shrieked, "atlike no more! I acknowledge the deed! -- tear up the boards! -- here, here! -- it is the beating of his hidesome heart!"
WinterWind 14:21, May 9, 2012 (UTC)