One night, returning home,
I fancied … the cat avoided my presence.
I seized him, when…
he inflicted a slight wound upon my hand with his teeth.
My original soul seemed,
to take its flight from my body…
I took from my waistcoat-pocket a penknife,
grasped the poor beast by the throat,
and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket!
while I pen the damnable atrocity.
When reason returned with the morning…
I experienced a sentiment half of horror,
half of remorse,
for the crime of which I had been guilty;
but it was, at best,
a feeble and equivocal feeling,
and the soul remained
I again plunged into excess,
and soon drowned in wine all memory of the deed...
… and then came,
as if to my final and irrevocable overthrow,
the spirit of PERVERSENESS.
Of this spirit
philosophy takes no account.
I am not more sure
that my soul lives,
than I am
that perverseness is one of the primitive impulses
of the human heart –
one of the indivisible primary faculties, or sentiments,
which give direction to
the character of
It was this unfathomable longing of the soul
to vex itself
- to offer violence to its own nature –
- to do wrong for the wrong’s sake only –
that urged me to continue and finally
to consummate the injury I had inflicted upon
the unoffending brute.
in cold blood,
I slipped a noose about its neck and
to the limb of a tree;
- hung it
with the tears streaming from my eyes,
and with the bitterest remorse at my heart; -
because I knew that it had loved me,
and because I felt it had given me no reason of offence; -
because I knew that in so doing I was committing…
a deadly sin that would so
jeopardize my immortal soul…
On the night… this most cruel deed was done…
the whole house was blazing…
the destruction was complete…
The walls, with one exception, had fallen in.
This exception was…
a compartment wall…
I approached and saw,
as if graven in bas-relief upon the white surface,
the figure of a gigantic
… there was a rope about the animal’s neck…