I kept quite still and said nothing. For a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down.
A shriek had been heard by a neighbor during the night; suspicion of foul play had been aroused.
In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done.
I then took 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 anything wrong.
The disease had sharpened my senses—not destroyed—not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad?
The shriek was my own in a dream. The old man, was absent in the country.
They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things.
“Villains!,dissemble no more! I admit the deed!— tear up the planks!—here, here!—it is the beating of his hideous heart!”