For the most wild yet most homely narrative
which I am about to pen,
I neither expect nor solicit belief.
Mad indeed would I be to expect it,
in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence.
Yet, mad am I not –
and very surely do I not dream.
to-morrow I die,
and today I would unburden my soul…
From my infancy
I was noted for the docility and humanity
of my disposition…
I was especially fond of animals…
I married early,
and was happy to find in my wife a disposition
not uncongenial with my own…
We had birds, gold-fish, a fine dog,
rabbits, a small monkey,
and a cat.
This latter was a remarkably large and beautiful animal,
and sagacious to an astonishing degree…
in speaking of his intelligence,
made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion
which regarded all black cats as
witches in disguise…
– this was the cat’s name –
was my favourite pet and playmate
I alone fed him, and he attended me wherever
I went about the house.
It was even with difficulty that I could prevent him
from following me through the streets.
Our friendship lasted, in this manner,
for several years,
during which my general temperament and character
– though the instrumentality of the Fiend Intemperance -
had (I blush to confess it) experienced
a radical alteration for the worse.
day by day,
more regardless of the feelings of others.
I suffered myself to use intemperate language to my wife.
At length, I even offered her personal violence.
My pets, of course, were made to feel
the change in my disposition…
I still retained sufficient regard to restrain me
from maltreating him…
my disease grew upon me
– for what disease is like Alcohol! –
and at length… even Pluto began to experience
the effects of my ill temper…