The Telltale Heart

by Edgar Allen Poe

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I was never kinder to the old man than during the
whole week before I killed him.

I loved him, but he had the eye of a vulture--
a pale blue eye, with a film over it.

I made up my mind to take the life of the old man,
and thus rid myself of the eye forever.

Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the door. A watch's minute hand moves more quickly than did mine.

I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern,
when my thumb slipped upon the tin fastening, and
the old man sprang up in bed, crying out --Who's there?

Presently I heard a slight groan, and
I knew it was the groan of mortal terror.

When I had waited a long time, very patiently, without hearing him lie down, I resolved to open a little --a very, very little crevice in the lantern. --until, at length a simple dim ray, like the thread of the spider, shot from out the crevice and fell full upon the vulture eye.

It was open --wide, wide open --and I grew furious as I gazed upon it.

There came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a
watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well, too.
It was the beating of the old man's heart.

The old man's hour had come! With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once --once only.

I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there many minutes.
There was no pulsation. He was stone dead.
His eye would trouble me no more.

I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye --not even his --
could have detected any thing wrong.

As the bell sounded the hour, there came a knocking at the street door.

There entered three men, who introduced themselves,
with perfect suavity, as officers of the police.
They had been deputed to search the premises.

I bade them search --search well.
I led them, at length, to his chamber.

They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things.

My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears.
The ringing became more distinct: --until, at length,
I found that the noise was not within my ears.

I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice.
Yet the sound increased.

I talked more quickly --more vehemently;
but the noise steadily increased

I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased

I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men --but the noise steadily increased

I foamed --I raved --I swore!
I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the
boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased

anything was better than this agony! I felt that I must scream or die! and now --again! --hark! l ouder! louder! louder! louder!

I admit the deed! --tear up the planks! here, here! --
It is the beating of his hideous heart!