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I smiled - for what had I to fear? I bade the gentlemen welcome. The shriek, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I mentioned, was absent in the country.I took my visitors all over the house. I bade them to search - search well. I led them at length to his chamber. I showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed.
In the enthusiasm of my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim. The officers were satisfied. My manners convinced them.
But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears: but still they sat and chatted. It grew louder - louder - louder! Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God! They heard! They were making mockery of my horror! I felt that I must scream or die! "Villians!" I shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit the deed! - Tear up the planks! Here, here! - It is the beating of his hideous heart!"
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