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But

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anything was better than this agony! I showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed. He had never given me insult. would a madman have been so wise as this? Oh, you would have laughed

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to see how cunningly I thrust it in! -- they were making a mockery of my horror! I thought the heart must burst. So I opened it -- you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily -- until at length a single dim ray like the thread of the

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spider shot out from

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the crevice and

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fell upon щадящая диета the vulture eye. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder, every instant. -- they suspected! Anything was щадящая диета more tolerable than this derision! He had been saying to himself, "It is nothing but the wind in the chimney, it is only a mouse crossing the floor," or, "It щадящая диета is merely a cricket which has made a single chirp. I saw it with perfect

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distinctness -- all a dull blue with a hideous щадящая диета veil over it that щадящая диета chilled the very marrow in my bones, щадящая диета but I could see nothing else of the old man's face

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or person, for I had directed the ray as if by instinct precisely upon the damned spot. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. I scarcely breathed. I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him

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although I chuckled at heart. Now you may think that I drew back -- but no. You

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should have seen how wisely I proceeded -- with what caution -- with what foresight, with what dissimulation, I went to work! I placed my hand upon the

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heart and held it there many minutes. " I shrieked, "dissemble no more! It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. It grew louder, I say, louder every moment!

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I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done. He was stone dead. And then when my head was well in the room I undid the lantern щадящая диета cautiously -- oh, so cautiously -- cautiously (for the

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hinges creaked), I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. Why WOULD they not be gone? what COULD I do? I went down to open it with a light heart, -- for what had I now to fear? Above

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all was the sense of hearing acute. I gasped for breath, and yet the officers

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heard it not. I bade the gentlemen welcome. And now have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but

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over-acuteness of the senses? And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the

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chamber and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he had passed the night. His room

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was as black as pitch with the thick darkness (for the shutters were close fastened through fear of robbers), and so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily, steadily. And it was the mournful щадящая диета influence of the unperceived shadow that caused him to feel, although he neither saw nor heard, to feel the presence of my head within the room. and observe how healthily, щадящая диета how calmly, I can tell you the whole story. They sat and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things. The officers were satisfied. I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. I then replaced the boards щадящая диета so cleverly so cunningly, that no human eye -- not even his -- could have detected anything wrong. His fears had been ever since growing upon him. Presently, I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. There was no pulsation. One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture щадящая диета -- a pale blue щадящая диета eye with a film over it. -- this I thought, and this I think. I felt that I must scream or die! There

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entered three men,

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who introduced themselves, with perfect suavity, as officers of the police. Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers, of my sagacity. I held the lantern motionless. A shriek had щадящая диета been heard by a neighbour during the night; suspicion of foul play had been aroused; information had been lodged at the police office, and they

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(the officers) had been deputed to search the premises. I paced

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the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men, but the noise steadily increased. But the beating grew louder, louder! I knew that

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sound well too. To think that there I was opening the door

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little by little, and he not even to dream of my secret щадящая диета deeds or thoughts. The old man was dead. Yes, he was stone,

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stone dead. I swung the chair

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upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. And now at the dead

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hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. I took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings. And every night about midnight I turned the latch of his door and opened it oh, so gently! If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern щадящая диета and leaped into the room. But you should have seen щадящая диета me. " I kept quite still

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and said nothing. -- they KNEW!

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Passion there was none. He had been trying to fancy them

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causeless, but could not. It was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. As the bell sounded the hour, there came a knocking at the street door. My MANNER had convinced them. I removed the bed and examined the corpse. Upon the eighth night I was

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more than usually cautious in opening the door. I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first slight noise when he had turned in the bed. I knew the sound well. 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 the bed, crying out,

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"Who's there? I fairly chuckled at the

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idea, and perhaps he heard me, for he moved on the bed suddenly as if startled. 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. I admit the deed! The night

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waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. I led them, at length, to his chamber. For a whole hour I did not щадящая диета move a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down. I foamed -- I raved -- I swore! I talked more

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quickly, more vehemently

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but the noise steadily increased. I have told you that I am nervous:

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so I am. And still the men chatted pleasantly , and smiled. I think

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it was his eye! Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Was it possible they heard not? The ringing became more distinct : I talked more freely to get щадящая диета rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained definitiveness -- until, at length, I found that the noise was NOT within my ears. The disease had

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sharpened my senses, not destroyed, not dulled them. It was open, wide, wide open, and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. When I had made an end of these labours, it was four

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o'clock -- still dark as midnight. I bade them search -- search well. He was

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still sitting up in the bed, listening; just as I have done night after night hearkening to the death щадящая диета watches in the wall. -- tear up the planks! It was the beating of the old man's heart. This, however, did not vex me; it would not be heard through the wall. -- it is the

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beating of his hideous heart! I smiled, -- for what had I to fear? And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern all closed, closed so that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. It grew louder -- louder -- louder! He shrieked once -- once only. Yet the sound increased -- and what could I do? -- and now -- again -- hark! I say I knew it well. It was not a groan of pain or of grief -- oh, no! Yes, it was this! But even yet I refrained and kept still.

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I took my visitors all over the house. I loved the old man. Madmen know nothing. I was singularly at ease. " Yes he has been trying to comfort himself with these suppositions ; but he had found all in vain. -- "Villains! In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain, but, once conceived, it haunted me day and night. A watch's minute hand moves more quickly than did mine. And now a new anxiety seized me -- the sound would be heard by a neighbour! So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed

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, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him щадящая диета while he slept. -- here, here! ------------------------------------------------------------- TRUE! The old man's hour had come!

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My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears; but still they sat, and still chatted. But for many minutes the heart beat on with a muffled sound. ALL IN VAIN, because Death in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow before him and enveloped щадящая диета the victim. -- do you mark me well?

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I heard many things in hell. Object there was

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none. Almighty God! And this I did for seven long nights, every

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night just at midnight, but I found the eye always closed, and so it was impossible to do the work, for it was not the old man who щадящая диета vexed me but his Evil Eye. There was nothing to wash out -- no stain of any kind -- no blood-spot whatever. The old man's terror must have been extreme! It was A LOW, DULL, QUICK SOUND -- MUCH SUCH A SOUND AS A WATCH MAKES WHEN щадящая диета ENVELOPED IN COTTON. I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased. In the enthusiasm of my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here to rest

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from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which щадящая диета reposed the щадящая диета corpse

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of the victim. Yet, for some minutes longer I refrained and stood still. The old man, щадящая диета I mentioned, was absent in the

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country. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own

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bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the щадящая диета