Alas! Neither by day nor by night
knew I the blessing of rest any more!
During the former the creature left me no moment alone,
and in the latter I started
hourly from dreams of unutterable fear
to find the hot breath of
the thing upon my face…
… an incarnate nightmare…
… incumbent eternally upon my heart!
… the feeble remnant of the good within me succumbed…
The moodiness of my usual temper increased
to hatred of all things and of all mankind…
… my uncomplaining wife… was the most usual
and the most patient of sufferers.
I aimed a blow at the animal…
… but this blow was arrested by the hand of my wife.
Goaded by the interference into a rage
more than demoniacal,
I withdrew my arm from her grasp
and buried the axe in her brain.
She fell dead upon the spot without a groan.
This hideous murder accomplished,
I set myself forthwith…
to the task of concealing the body.
Many projects entered my mind…
… I thought of cutting the corpse into minute fragments
and destroying them by fire…
… I resolved to dig a grave for it in the floor of the cellar…
… I deliberated about casting it in a well in the yard…
… about packing it in a box… and…
… getting a porter to take it from the house…
Finally I determined to wall it up in the cellar,
as the monks of the Middle Ages
are recorded to have walled up their victims…
By means of a crowbar I easily dislodged the bricks,
having carefully deposited the body against the inner wall…
I relaid the whole structure as it originally stood.
When I had finished,
I felt satisfied that all was right…
My next step was to look for the beast which had been
the cause of so much wretchedness,
for I had, at length,
firmly resolved to put it to death…
… it did not make its appearance during the night;
and thus for one night, at least,
since its introduction into the house,
I soundly and tranquilly slept;
even with the burden of murder upon my soul.
The second and the third day passed,
and still my tormentor came not.
Once again I breathed like a freeman.
had fled the premises for ever!
My happiness was supreme!
The guilt of my dark deed disturbed me but little.
Some few inquiries had been made,
these had been readily answered.
Even a search had been instituted –
of course nothing was to be discovered.