I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye 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 myself from the eye forever. 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 about the old man than during the whole week before I killed him, and every night, before midnight, I turned the latch of the 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 in! I moved it slowly- very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man's sleep. I took me an hour to place my 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 at 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 always found the eye 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 in 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 how 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.
They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting really pale and wish them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears: but still they sat and still chatted. The ringing became more distinct:- I talked more freely to get rid of that feeling: But it continued and gained definitiveness- until at length, I found that the noise was not within my ears. No doubt I grew very pale;- but I talked more fluently, and with a higher voice. Yet the sound increased- and what could I do? It was a low, dull quick sound- much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I gasped for breath- and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly- more vehemently; but the noise steadily increased.