officers were satisfied. My manner had convinced them. I was
singularly at ease. They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they
chatted of familiar things. 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 still chatted. The ringing became more
distinct:--It continued and became more distinct: I talked more
freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained
definiteness--until, at length, I found that the noise was not within my
No doubt I now grew _very_ pale;--but I talked more fluently, and with a
heightened 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. I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with
violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased. Why would
they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if
excited to fury by the observations of the men--but the noise steadily
increased. Oh God! what could I do? I foamed--I raved--I swore! I swung
the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the
boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It
grew louder--louder--louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly, and
smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God!--no, no! They
heard!--they suspected!--they knew!--they were making a mockery of my
horror!-this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than
this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear
those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die!
and now--again!--hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!
"Villains!" I shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit the deed!--tear up
the planks! here, here!--It is the beating of his hideous heart!"
Dicebant mihi sodales, si sepulchrum amicae visitarem, curas
meas aliquantulum forelevatas.
MISERY is manifold. The wretchedness of earth is multiform. Overreaching
the wide horizon as the rainbow, its hues are as various as the hues of
that arch--as distinct too, yet as intimately blended. Overreaching the
wide horizon as the rainbow! How is it that from
Blood was its Avatar and its seal--the redness and the horror of blood.Page 1
But in the corridors that followed the suite, there stood, opposite to each window, a heavy tripod, bearing a brazier of fire, that projected its rays through the tinted glass and so glaringly illumined the room.Page 2
To and fro in the seven chambers there stalked, in fact, a multitude of dreams.Page 3
And the rumour of this new presence having spread itself whisperingly around, there arose at length from the whole company a buzz, or murmur, expressive of disapprobation and surprise--then, finally, of terror, of horror, and of disgust.Page 4
At first, as he spoke, there was a slight rushing movement of this group in the direction of the intruder, who at the moment was also near at hand, and now, with deliberate and stately step, made closer approach to the speaker.Page 5
And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.