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True! --nervous-- very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily --how calmly I can tell you the whole story...
I undid the lantern cautiously- Oh, so cautiously--cautiously (for the hinges creaked) --I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven long nights--every night just at midnight. But I found the eyes always closed.
Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the door. I chuckled; perhaps he herd me; for he moved on the bed suddenly, as if startled. You may think that I drew back--but no.
I scarcely breathed. I held the lantern motionless. I tried how steadily I could maintain the ray upon the eye. Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every instant. the old man's terror must have been extreme! It grew louder, I say, louder! ever moment!
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 dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. The old man was dead. YES, he was stone, stone dead. His eye would trouble me no more.
It was four o'clock --still dark as midnight. A shriek had been heard by a neighbor during the night; suspicion of foul play had been aroused. There came a knocking at the street door. I went to open it with a light heart, --for what had I now to fear? There entered three men, who introduced themselves as officers of the police.
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