Black cat. by edgar allan poe

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. But tomorrow I
die, and today I would unburthen my soul. My immediate purpose is to
place before the world, plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a
series of mere household events. In their consequences, these events
have terrified — have tortured — have destroyed me. Yet I will not
attempt to expound them. To me, they have presented little but Horror
— to many they will seem less terrible than barroques. Hereafter,
perhaps, some intellect may be found which will reduce my phantasm to
the common-place — some intellect more calm, more logical, and far
less excitable than my own, which will perceive, in the circumstances
I detail with awe, nothing more than an ordinary succession of very
natural causes and effects.

From my infancy I was noted for the docility and humanity of my
disposition. My tenderness of heart was even so conspicuous as to
make me the jest of my companions. I was especially fond of animals,
and was indulged by my parents with a great variety of pets. With
these I spent most of my time, and never was so happy as when feeding
and caressing them. This peculiarity of character grew with my
growth, and in my manhood, I derived from it one of my principal
sources of pleasure. To those who have cherished an affection for a
faithful and sagacious dog, I need hardly be at the trouble of
explaining the nature or the intensity of the gratification thus
derivable. There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing
love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had
frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity
of mere Man.

I married early, and was happy to find in my wife a disposition
not uncongenial with my own. Observing my partiality for domestic
pets, she lost no opportunity of procuring those of the most
agreeable kind. We had birds, gold-fish, a fine dog, rabbits, a small
monkey, and a cat.

This latter was a remarkably large and beautiful animal, entirely
black, and sagacious to an astonishing degree. In speaking of his
intelligence, my wife, who at heart was not a little tinctured with
superstition, made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion,
which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise. Not that she
was ever _serious_ upon this point — and I mention the matter at all
for no better reason than that it happens, just now, to be
remembered.

Pluto — this was the cat's name — was my favorite 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 — through the
instrumentality of the Fiend Intemperance — had (I blush to confess
it) experienced a radical alteration for the worse. I grew, day by
day, more moody, more irritable, 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 not only neglected,
but ill-used them. For Pluto, however, I still retained sufficient
regard to restrain me from maltreating him, as I made no scruple of