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Электронная библиотека .: Детективы .: По, Эдгар Алан .: The Tell-Tale Heart

По, Эдгар Алан

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Edgar Allan Poe. The Tell-Tale Heart



TRUE! nervous, very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why
WILL you say that I am mad? 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? Hearken! and observe how healthily, how calmly, I
can tell you the whole story.
It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain, but, once
conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there
was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given
me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! Yes, it was
this! One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture -- a pale blue eye with a
film over it. Whenever it fell upon me my blood ran cold, and so by degrees,
very gradually, I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus
rid myself of the eye for ever.
Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you
should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded -- with
what caution -- with what foresight, with what dissimulation, I went to
work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I
killed him. And every night about midnight I turned the latch of his door
and opened it oh, so gently! 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. Oh, you would have laughed to see
how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly, very, very slowly, so that
I might not disturb the old man's sleep. 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. Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this? And then when my head was
well in the room 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 eye always closed, and so it
was impossible to do the work, for it was not the old man who vexed me but
his Evil Eye. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the
chamber and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone,
and inquiring how he had passed the night. So you see he would have been a
very profound old man, indeed , to suspect that every night, just at twelve,
I looked in upon him while he slept.
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. Never before
that night had I felt the extent

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