The Tell-Tale Heart, Part 1

By Edgar Allan Poe

Click arrow above to play a carefully selected musical accompaniment while you read, a creepy, cinema-style tune titled Lurking, by Silent Partner.
Click arrow above to hear this story read aloud.
Me
You are nervous, but I must say, as an experienced detective, nervousness could be sign of madness.
Suspect
TRUE!—nervous—very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? 
Me
Not  I, it is just possible. Doubtless you have a nervous disorder, some disease no doubt dulling or destroying your ability to sense what is real.
Suspect
The disease has sharpened my senses—not destroyed—not dulled them. 
Me
Please explain. And pray tell how then you did not hear anything of the old man’s destruction and disappearance?
Me
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.

The whole story

Suspect
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. 
Me
You did not dislike the old man?
Suspect
I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire.
Me
You must have disliked something about him! What could it have been?
Suspect
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 rid myself of the eye forever.
Me
But it’s so trivial, so pointless! And yet you say you are not mad?
Suspect
Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. 
Me
I did see you. 
Suspect
Now that seems mad. You are the detective, as you stated, although how you came here so quickly after—
Me
You were saying?
Suspect
: 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. 
Me
Ah! So, you admit it!
Suspect
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, 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!
Me
But I dared not laugh in observing you! Any audible sound might have been your undoing, or the old man’s, who we loved! The lantern revealed an angelic face in slumber.
Suspect
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?
Me
Doubtless it seemed wise to you at the time, I know. But does it still seems wise after your confession? But I digress; pray continue your own account, and tell us why we have not found the corpse.

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Look for Part 2!