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The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe

The 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 to-morrow I die, and to-day 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 baroques. 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 maltreating the rabbits, the monkey, or even the dog, when by accident, or through affection, they came in my way. But my disease grew upon me - for what disease is like Alcohol! - and at length even Pluto, who was now becoming old, and consequently somewhat peevish -even Pluto began to experience the effects of my ill temper.

One night, returning home, much intoxicated, from one of my haunts about town, I fancied that the cat avoided my presence. I seized him; when, in his fright at my violence, he inflicted a slight wound upon my hand with his teeth. The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fiber of my frame. I took from my waistcoat-pocket a pen-knife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket! I blush, I burn, I shudder, while I pen the damnable atrocity.

When reason returned with the morning - when I had slept off the fumes of the night's debauch - 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 which remained untouched. I again plunged into excess, and soon drowned in wine all memory of the deed.

In the meantime the cat slowly recovered. The socket of the lost eye presented, it is true, a frightful appearance, but he no longer appeared to suffer any pain. He went about the house as usual, but, as might be expected, fled in extreme horror at my approach. I had so much of my old heart left, as to be at first grieved by this evident dislike on the part of a creature which had had once loved-but this feeling soon gave place to irritation.

And then came, as if to my final and irrevocable overthrow, the spirit of perverseness. Then I am that perverseness - one of the primitive impulses of the human heart - one of the indivisible primary faculties, or sentiments, which give direction to the character of Man. Who has not, a hundred times, found himself committing a vile or a silly act, for no other reason than because he knows he should not? Have we not a perpetual inclination, in the teeth of our best judgment, to violate that which is Law, merely because we understand it to be such? This spirit of perverseness, I say, came to my final overthrow. 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.

One morning, in cool blood, I slipped a noose about its neck and hung it to the limb of a tree; - hung it with the tears streaming from my eyes, and with the bitterest remorse at my heart; - hung it because I knew that it had loved me, and because I felt it had given me no reason of offence; - hung it because I knew that in so doing I was committing a sin - a deadly sin that would so jeopardize my immortal soul as to place it - if such a thing wore possible - even beyond the reach of the infinite mercy of the Most Merciful and Most Terrible God.

On the night of the day on which this cruel deed was done, I was aroused from sleep by the cry of fire. The curtains of my bed were inflames. The whole house was blazing. It was with great difficulty that my wife, a servant, and myself, made our escape from the conflagration. The destruction was complete. My entire worldly wealth was swallowed up, and I resigned myself thenceforward to despair.

I am above the weakness of seeking to establish a sequence of cause and effect, between the disaster and the atrocity. But I am detailing a chain of facts - and wish not to leave even a possible link imperfect. On the day succeeding the fire, I visited the ruins. The walls, with one exception, had fallen in. This exception was found in a compartment wall, not very thick, which stood about the middle of the house. About this wall a dense crowd were collected, and many persons seemed to be examining a particular portion of it with very minute and eager attention.

The words "strange!" "singular!" and other similar expressions, excited my curiosity. I approached and saw, as if graven in bas relief upon the white surface, the figure of a gigantic cat. The impression was given with an accuracy truly marvelous. There was a rope about the animal's neck.

When I first beheld this apparition - for I could scarcely regard it as less - my wonder and my terror were extreme. But at length reflection came to my aid. The cat, I remembered, had been hung in a garden adjacent to the house. Upon the alarm of fire, this garden had been immediately filled by the crowd - by some one of whom the animal must have been cut from the tree and thrown, through an open window, into my chamber. This had probably been done with the view of arousing me from sleep. The falling of other walls had compressed the victim of my cruelty into the substance of the fleshy-spread plaster; the lime of which, with the flames, and the ammonia from the carcass, had then accomplished the portraiture as I saw it.

Although I thus readily accounted to my reason, if not altogether to my conscience, for the startling fact just detailed, it did not the less fail to make a deep impression upon my fancy. For months I could not rid myself of the phantasm of the cat; and, during this period, there came back into my spirit a half-sentiment that seemed, but was not, remorse. I went so far as to regret the loss of the animal, and to look about me, among the vile haunts which I now habitually frequented, for another pet of the same species, and of somewhat similar appearance, with which to supply its place.

One night as I sat, half stupefied, in a den of more than infamy, my attention was suddenly drawn to some black object, reposing upon the head of one of the immense hogsheads of Gin, or of Rum, which constituted the chief furniture of the apartment. I had been looking steadily at the top of this hogshead for some minutes, and what now caused me surprise was the fact that I had not sooner perceived the object thereupon. I approached it, and touched it with my hand. It was a black cat - a very large one - fully as large as Pluto, and closely resembling him in every respect but one. Pluto had not a white hair upon any portion of his body; but this cat had a large, although indefinite splotch of white, covering nearly the whole region of his breast.

Upon my touching him, he immediately arose, purred loudly, rubbed against my hand, and appeared delighted with my notice. This, then, was the very creature of which I was in search. I at once offered to purchase it of the landlord; but this person made no claim to it - knew nothing of it - had never seen it before.

I continued my caresses, and, when I prepared to go home, the animal evinced a disposition to accompany me. I permitted it to do so; occasionally stopping and patting it as I proceeded. When it reached the house it domesticated itself at once, and became immediately a great favorite with my wife.

For my own part, I soon found a dislike to it arising within me. This was just the reverse of what I had anticipated; but - I know not how or why it was - its evident fondness for myself rather disgusted and annoyed. By slow degrees, these feelings of disgust and annoyance rose into the bitterness of hatred. I avoided the creature; a certain sense of shame, and the remembrance of my former deed of cruelty, preventing me from physically abusing it. I did not, for some weeks, strike, or otherwise violently ill use it; but gradually - very gradually - I came to look upon it with unutterable loathing, and to flee silently from its odious presence, as from the breath of a pestilence.

What added, no doubt, to my hatred of the beast, was the discovery, on the morning after I brought it home, that, like Pluto, it also had been deprived of one of its eyes. This circumstance, however, only endeared it to my wife, who, as I have already said, possessed, in a high degree, that humanity of feeling which had once been my distinguishing trait, and the source of many of my simplest and purest pleasures. With my aversion to this cat, however, its partiality for myself seemed to increase. It followed my footsteps with a pertinacity which it would be difficult to make the reader comprehend.

Whenever I sat, it would crouch beneath my chair, or spring upon my knees, covering me with its loathsome caresses. If I arose to walk it would get between my feet and thus clearly throw me down, or, fastening its long and sharp claws in my dress, clamber with a blow, I was yet withheld from so doing, partly by a memory of my former crime, but chiefly - let me confess it once - by absolute dread of the beast.

This dread was not exactly a dread of physical evil - and yet I should be at a loss to otherwise to define it. I am almost ashamed to own - yes, even in this felon's cell, I am almost ashamed to own -that the terror and horror with which the animal inspired me, had been heightened by one of the merest chimaeras it would be possible to conceive. My wife had called my attention, more than once, to the character of the mark of white hair, of which I had spoken, and which constituted the sole visible difference between the strange beast and the one I had destroyed. The reader will remember that this mark, although large, had been originally very indefinite; but, by slow degrees - degrees nearly imperceptible, and which for a longtime my reason struggled to reject as fanciful - it had, at length, assumed a rigorous distinctness of outline. It was now the representation of an object that I shudder to name - and for this, above all, I loathed, and dreaded, and would have rid myself of the monster had I dared - it was now, I say, the image of a hideous -of a ghastly thing - of the GALLOWS ! - oh, mournful and terrible engine of horror and of crime - of agony and of death !

And now was I indeed wretched beyond the wretchedness of mere Humanity. And a brute beast - whose fellow I had contemptuously destroyed - a brute beast to work out for me - for me a man, fashioned in the image of the High God - so much of insufferable wo! Alas! neither by day nor by night knew I the blessing of rest anymore! 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, and its vast weight- an incarnate nightmare that I had no power to shake off -incumbent eternally upon my heart !

Beneath the pressure of torments such as these, the feeble remnant of the good within me succumbed. Evil thoughts became my sole intimates - the darkest and most evil of thoughts. The moodiness of my usual temper increased to hatred of all things and of all mankind; while, from the sudden, frequent, and ungovernable outbursts of a fury to which I now blindly abandoned myself, my uncomplaining wife, alas! was the most usual and the most patient of sufferers.

One day she accompanied me, upon some household errand, into the cellar of the old building which our poverty compelled us to inhabit. The cat followed me down the steep stairs, and, nearly throwing me headlong, exasperated me to madness. Uplifting an axe, and forgetting, in my wrath, the childish dread which had hitherto stayed my hand, I aimed a blow at the animal which, of course, would have proved instantly fatal had it descended as I wished. But this blow was arrested by the hand of my wife. Goaded, by the interference, into a rage more than demonical, 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, and with entire deliberation, to the task of concealing the body. I knew that I could not remove it from the house, either by day or by night, without the risk of being observed by the neighbors. Many projects entered my mind. At one period I thought of cutting the corpse into minute fragments, and destroying them by fire. At another, I resolved to dig a grave for it in the floor of the cellar.

Again, I deliberated about casting it in the well in the yard - about packing it in a box, as if merchandize, with the usual arrangements, and so getting a porter to take it from the house. Finally I hit upon what I considered a far better expedient than the others. I determined to wall it up in the cellar - as the monks of the middle ages are recorded to have walled up their victims.

For a purpose such as this the cellar was well adapted. Its walls were loosely constructed, and had lately been plastered throughout with a rough plaster, which the dampness of the atmosphere had prevented from hardening. Moreover, in one of these walls was a projection, caused by a false chimney, or fireplace, that had been filled up, and made to resemble the red of the cellar. I made no doubt that I could readily displace the bricks at this point, insert the corpse, and wall the whole up as before, so that no eye could detect any thing suspicious. And in this calculation I was not deceived.

By means of a crow-bar I easily dislodged the bricks, and, having carefully deposited the body against the inner wall, I propped it in that position, while, with little trouble, I re-laid the whole structure as it originally stood. Having procured mortar, sand, and hair, with every possible precaution, I prepared a plaster which could not be distinguished from the old, and with this I very carefully went over the new brickwork. When I had finished, I felt satisfied that all was right. The wall did not present the slightest appearance of having been disturbed. The rubbish on the floor was picked up with the minutest care. I looked around triumphantly, and said to myself - "Here at least, then, my labor has not been in vain. " 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. Had I been able to meet with it, at that moment, there could have been no doubt of its fate; but it appeared that the crafty animal had been alarmed at the violence of my previous anger, and forbore to present itself in my present mood. It is impossible to describe, or to imagine, the deep . the blissful sense of relief which the absence of the detested creature occasioned in my bosom. 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; aye, 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 as a freeman. The monster, in terror, had fled the premises forever! I should behold it no more! My happiness was supreme! The guilt of my dark deed disturbed me but little. Some few inquiries had been made, but these had been readily answered. Even a search had been instituted - but of course nothing was to be discovered. I looked upon my future felicity as secured.

Upon the fourth day of the assassination, a party of the police came, very unexpectedly, into the house, and proceeded again to make rigorous investigation of the premises. Secure, however, in the inscrutability of my place of concealment, I felt no embarrassment whatever. The officers bade me accompany them in their search. They left no nook or corner unexplored. At length, for the third or fourth time, they descended into the cellar. I quivered not in a muscle. My heart beat calmly as that of one who slumbers in innocence. I walked the cellar from end to end. I folded my arms upon my bosom, and roamed easily to and fro. The police were thoroughly satisfied and prepared to depart. The glee at my heart was too strong to be restrained. I burned to say if but one word, by way of triumph, and to render doubly sure their assurance of my guiltlessness.

"Gentlemen," I said at last, as the party ascended the steps, "I delight to have allayed your suspicions. I wish you all health, and a little more courtesy. By and bye, gentlemen, this - this is a very well constructed house." [In the rabid desire to say something easily, I scarcely knew what I uttered at all.] - "I may say an excellently well constructed house. These walls are you going, gentlemen? - these walls are solidly put together;" and here, through the mere frenzy of bravado, I rapped heavily, with a cane which I held in my hand, upon that very portion of the brick-work behind which stood the corpse of the wife of my bosom. But may God shield and deliver me from the fangs of the Arch-Fiend! No sooner had the reverberation of my blows sunk into silence, than I was answered by a voice from within the tomb! - by a cry, at first muffled and broken, like the sobbing of a child, and then quickly swelling into one long, loud, continuous scream, utterly anomalous and inhuman - a howl - a wailing shriek, half of horror and half of triumph, such as might have arisen only out of hell, conjointly from the throats of the dammed in their agony and of the demons that exult in the damnation.

Of my own thoughts it is folly to speak. Swooning, I staggered to the opposite wall. For one instant the party upon the stairs remained motionless, through extremity of terror and of awe. In the next, a dozen stout arms were toiling at the wall. It fell bodily. The corpse, already greatly decayed and clotted with gore, stood erect before the eyes of the spectators. Upon its head, with red extended mouth and solitary eye of fire, sat the hideous beast whose craft had seduced me into murder, and whose informing voice had consigned me to the hangman. I had walled the monster up within the tomb!


The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe El gato negro de Edgar Allan Poe

For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Für die wildeste und zugleich wohnlichste Erzählung, die ich schreiben werde, erwarte ich weder Glauben noch erbitte ich sie. For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Para la narrativa más salvaje y sin embargo más hogareña que estoy a punto de escribir, no espero ni solicito creencia. Pour le récit le plus sauvage et le plus simple que je vais écrire, je n’attends ni ne sollicite aucune conviction. 最も野性的でありながら私が思うに最も家庭的な物語のために、私は信念を期待したり求めたりしません。 Para a narrativa mais selvagem, porém mais caseira, que estou prestes a escrever, não espero nem solicito crença. Для самого дикого, но в то же время самого домашнего повествования, которое я собираюсь написать, я не ожидаю и не требую веры. För den mest vilda, men ändå mest hemtrevliga berättelsen som jag håller på att skriva, förväntar jag mig inte eller ber om tro. Yazmak üzere olduğum en vahşi ama yine de en çirkin anlatı için, ne beklemiyorum ne de inanç istiyorum. 对于我将要写的最狂野,最亲切的叙述,我既不期望也不征求信仰。

Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Je serais vraiment fou de m'y attendre, dans un cas où mes sens mêmes rejettent leur propre témoignage. Я действительно был бы безумен, чтобы ожидать этого, в случае, когда мои чувства отвергают их собственные доказательства. Galet skulle jag verkligen förvänta mig det, i ett fall där mina sinnen avvisar sina egna bevis. 在我的感官拒绝他们自己的证据的情况下,我确实会很疯狂。 Yet, mad am I not - and very surely do I not dream. Sin embargo, estoy loco, no lo estoy, y seguramente no sueño. Pourtant, je ne suis pas fou - et je ne rêve certainement pas. But to-morrow I die, and to-day I would unburthen my soul. Mais demain je meurs, et aujourd'hui je soulagerai mon âme. Men i morgon dör jag och i dag skulle jag lossa min själ. 但是明天我死了,今天我会发掘我的灵魂。 My immediate purpose is to place before the world, plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a series of mere household events. Mon but immédiat est de placer devant le monde, simplement, succinctement et sans commentaire, une série de simples événements domestiques. Моя непосредственная цель состоит в том, чтобы представить миру просто, кратко и без комментариев ряд чисто бытовых событий. 我的直接目的是,将一系列纯粹的家庭事件简单,简洁且毫无保留地摆在世界面前。 In their consequences, these events have terrified - have tortured - have destroyed me. Dans leurs conséquences, ces événements m'ont terrifié - m'ont torturé - m'ont détruit. 这些事件的后果令人震惊-遭受酷刑-摧毁了我。 Yet I will not attempt to expound them. Pourtant, je n'essaierai pas de les exposer. И все же я не буду пытаться излагать их. Ändå kommer jag inte att försöka redogöra för dem. To me, they have presented little but Horror- to many they will seem less terrible than baroques. Pour moi, ils ont présenté peu mais Horreur - à beaucoup ils sembleront moins terribles que les baroques. Мне они мало что представили, кроме Ужаса - многим они покажутся менее ужасными, чем барокко. För mig har de presenterat lite men skräck - för många kommer de att verka mindre hemska än barocker. 对我来说,他们几乎没有表现出恐怖,对许多人来说,他们看上去比巴洛克人可怕。 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. On trouvera peut-être par la suite quelque intellect qui réduira mon fantasme au lieu commun - un intellect plus calme, plus logique et beaucoup moins excitable que le mien, qui ne percevra, dans les circonstances que je détaille avec admiration, rien de plus. qu'une succession ordinaire de causes et d'effets très naturels. 今後、おそらく、私の幻想をありふれた場所に還元する何らかの知性が見出されるかもしれません - 私自身よりも冷静で、より論理的で、はるかに興奮しにくい知性があります。非常に自然な原因と結果の通常の連続よりも。

From my infancy I was noted for the docility and humanity of my disposition. Od dětství jsem byl známý svou poslušností a lidskostí. 幼い頃から、私は従順で人間的な気質で知られていました。 My tenderness of heart was even so conspicuous as to make me the jest of my companions. 私の心の優しさは、仲間の冗談を言うほど目立っていました. Моя нежность сердца была настолько заметной, что заставила меня посмеяться над моими товарищами. Min ömhet i hjärtat var till och med så iögonfallande att jag blev en skämt av mina följeslagare. I was especially fond of animals, and was indulged by my parents with a great variety of pets. Měl jsem obzvláště rád zvířata a moji rodiče mi dopřáli širokou škálu domácích mazlíčků. Ich war besonders tierlieb und wurde von meinen Eltern mit einer großen Auswahl an Haustieren verwöhnt. 私は特に動物が好きで、両親は多種多様なペットを飼っていました。 With these I spent most of my time, and never was so happy as when feeding and caressing them. 私はほとんどの時間をこれらと一緒に過ごしましたが、それらに餌をやったり愛撫したりするときほど幸せなことはありませんでした. This peculiarity of character grew with my growth, and in my manhood, I derived from it one of my principal sources of pleasure. Tato povahová zvláštnost rostla s mým růstem a ve svém mužství jsem z ní čerpal jeden ze svých hlavních zdrojů potěšení. この性格の特異性は、私の成長とともに大きくなり、成人期には、それが私の主要な喜びの源の 1 つになりました。 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. Těm, kteří chovali náklonnost k věrnému a bystrému psovi, se nemusím obtěžovat vysvětlovat povahu nebo intenzitu takto dosažitelného uspokojení. Denjenigen, die eine Zuneigung zu einem treuen und klugen Hund hegen, brauche ich mir kaum die Mühe zu machen, die Natur oder die Intensität der so ableitbaren Befriedigung zu erklären. 忠実で賢明な犬への愛情を大切にしてきた人たちに、このようにして得られる満足の性質や強さを説明するのに苦労する必要はほとんどありません. 对于那些对忠实而睿智的狗怀有感情的人,我几乎不需要解释因此可以得出的满足的本质或强度。 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. V nesobecké a obětavé lásce surovce je cosi, co jde přímo do srdce toho, kdo měl často příležitost otestovat ubohé přátelství a bláznivou věrnost pouhého Člověka. Es gibt etwas in der selbstlosen und aufopfernden Liebe eines Rohlings, das direkt ins Herz dessen geht, der häufig Gelegenheit hatte, die dürftige Freundschaft und hauchdünne Treue eines bloßen Menschen auf die Probe zu stellen. 野蛮人の無私の自己犠牲的な愛には何かがあり、それは、単なる人間の取るに足らない友情と繊細な忠実さを試す機会を頻繁に持っていた彼の心に直接行きます. 在一个粗野的无私和自我牺牲的爱中有一些东西直接进入他的心脏,他经常有机会测试人类的微不足道的友谊和游丝的忠诚。

I married early, and was happy to find in my wife a disposition not uncongenial with my own. 私は早くに結婚し、妻の気質が自分と相容れないものであることがわかってうれしかった. 我很早就结婚了,很高兴在我妻子身上找到一种不与我自己不相称的性格。 Observing my partiality for domestic pets, she lost no opportunity of procuring those of the most agreeable kind. Als sie meine Vorliebe für Haustiere bemerkte, ließ sie keine Gelegenheit aus, sich die angenehmsten zu besorgen. 私が飼いならされたペットを好むのを見て、彼女は最も快適な種類のペットを手に入れる機会を失うことはありませんでした. 观察我对家养宠物的偏爱,她没有机会获得最令人愉快的宠物。 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. Letzteres war ein bemerkenswert großes und schönes Tier, ganz schwarz und in einem erstaunlichen Maße scharfsinnig. この後者は、非常に大きくて美しい動物で、全身が黒く、驚くほど聡明でした。 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. Als sie von seiner Intelligenz sprach, spielte meine Frau, die im Herzen nicht wenig abergläubisch war, häufig auf die alte Volksmeinung an, die alle schwarzen Katzen als verkleidete Hexen betrachtete. 彼の知性について話すとき、私の妻は心の中で少なからず迷信の色を帯びていましたが、黒猫はすべて変装した魔女と見なす古代の一般的な概念に頻繁に言及しました。 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. 彼女がこの時点で真剣だったというわけではありません - そして私がこの件について言及したのは、たった今、覚えておくべきことが起こったからです。 并不是说她在这一点上是认真的 - 而且我完全没有提到这个问题,而是因为它刚才被记住了。

Pluto - this was the cat’s name - was my favorite pet and playmate. Pluto – so hieß die Katze – war mein Lieblingshaustier und Spielgefährte. プルート - これは猫の名前でした - は私のお気に入りのペットであり、遊び相手でした。 I alone fed him, and he attended me wherever I went about the house. 私は一人で彼に食事を与えました、そして彼は私が家のどこに行っても私に付き添いました。 It was even with difficulty that I could prevent him from following me through the streets. 彼が通りで私を追いかけるのを防ぐのは困難でさえありました. 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. このようにして私たちの友情は数年間続き、その間に私の一般的な気質と性格は、悪霊の不節制の働きによって、(正直に言うと赤面して)悪化する根本的な変化を経験しました. I grew, day by day, more moody, more irritable, more regardless of the feelings of others. 私は日に日に不機嫌になり、イライラしやすくなり、他人の気持ちに関係なく成長しました。 I suffered myself to use intemperate language to my wife. 私は妻に節度のない言葉を使うことに耐えました。 At length, I even offered her personal violence. とうとう、私は彼女に個人的な暴力を振るうことさえしました。 My pets, of course, were made to feel the change in my disposition. もちろん、私のペットは私の気質の変化を感じさせられました。 I not only neglected, but ill-used them. Ich habe sie nicht nur vernachlässigt, sondern auch missbraucht. 私はそれらを無視しただけでなく、悪用しました。

For Pluto, however, I still retained sufficient regard to restrain me from maltreating him, as I made no scruple of maltreating the rabbits, the monkey, or even the dog, when by accident, or through affection, they came in my way. しかし、プルートに対しては、うさぎ、猿、あるいは犬でさえも、偶発的または愛情によって私の邪魔をするときに虐待することを躊躇しなかったので、私は彼を虐待しないようにするのに十分な注意を払っていました。 But my disease grew upon me - for what disease is like Alcohol! しかし、私の病気は私にかかってきました - アルコールのような病気のために! - and at length even Pluto, who was now becoming old, and consequently somewhat peevish -even Pluto began to experience the effects of my ill temper. -そしてついに、今や年を取り、その結果、やや不機嫌になったプルートでさえ、私の不機嫌の影響を経験し始めました.

One night, returning home, much intoxicated, from one of my haunts about town, I fancied that the cat avoided my presence. ある夜、街中のたまり場の 1 つから酔っ払って家に帰ったとき、猫が私の存在を避けているように思いました。 I seized him; when, in his fright at my violence, he inflicted a slight wound upon my hand with his teeth. 私は彼を捕まえました。彼は私の暴力に怯え、歯で私の手に軽傷を負わせた。 The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. 悪魔の怒りが即座に私を取り憑きました。 I knew myself no longer. 私はもはや自分自身を知りませんでした。 My original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fiber of my frame. 私の元の魂はすぐに私の体から飛び去り、ジンで育まれた悪魔以上の悪意が私のフレームのすべての繊維を興奮させた. I took from my waistcoat-pocket a pen-knife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket! 私はチョッキのポケットからペンナイフを取り出し、それを開き、哀れな獣の喉をつかみ、故意にソケットから片方の目を切り落としました! I blush, I burn, I shudder, while I pen the damnable atrocity. 私は顔を赤らめ、燃え、身震いしながら、いまいましい残虐行為を書いています。

When reason returned with the morning - when I had slept off the fumes of the night’s debauch - 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 which remained untouched. 朝になって理性が戻ってきたとき――夜の放蕩の煙を眠りにつけたとき――私は半分は恐怖、半分は自責の念、自分が犯した罪に対する感情を経験した。しかし、それはせいぜい、弱くて曖昧な感情であり、手つかずのままの魂でした。 I again plunged into excess, and soon drowned in wine all memory of the deed. 私は再び過剰に飛び込み、すぐにその行為のすべての記憶をワインに溺れさせました。

In the meantime the cat slowly recovered. その間、猫はゆっくりと回復しました。 The socket of the lost eye presented, it is true, a frightful appearance, but he no longer appeared to suffer any pain. 失われた眼窩は確かに恐ろしい外見を示していたが、彼はもはや痛みを感じていないようだった。 He went about the house as usual, but, as might be expected, fled in extreme horror at my approach. 彼はいつものように家の中を歩き回りましたが、予想通り、私が近づくと極度の恐怖で逃げました。 I had so much of my old heart left, as to be at first grieved by this evident dislike on the part of a creature which had had once loved-but this feeling soon gave place to irritation. 私はかつて愛していた生き物のこの明らかな嫌悪感に最初は悲しむほど、昔の心をたくさん残していましたが、この感情はすぐに苛立ちに変わりました。

And then came, as if to my final and irrevocable overthrow, the spirit of perverseness. そして、あたかも私の最終的で取り返しのつかない転覆のように、ひねくれた精神がやって来ました。 Then I am that perverseness - one of the primitive impulses of the human heart - one of the indivisible primary faculties, or sentiments, which give direction to the character of Man. そして私は、人間の心の原始的な衝動の 1 つであり、人間の性格に方向性を与える不可分の主要な能力、または感情の 1 つである、そのひねくれです。 Who has not, a hundred times, found himself committing a vile or a silly act, for no other reason than because he knows he should not? してはならないことを知っているという理由だけで、卑劣な行為やばかげた行為を行っていることに100回も気付いていない人はいますか? Have we not a perpetual inclination, in the teeth of our best judgment, to violate that which is Law, merely because we understand it to be such? 私たちは、最善の判断を下しても、法律が法律であると理解しているという理由だけで、法律に違反するという絶え間ない傾向を持っているのではないでしょうか? This spirit of perverseness, I say, came to my final overthrow. 私が言うには、このひねくれた精神が私の最後の転覆に至りました。 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. 自分自身を悩ませたいという魂のこの計り知れない願望 - それ自身の本性に暴力を与えること - 悪のためだけに悪を行うこと - が、私を続行させ、最終的に私が無害な野獣に負わせた怪我を完遂するように促した.

One morning, in cool blood, I slipped a noose about its neck and hung it to the limb of a tree; - hung it with the tears streaming from my eyes, and with the bitterest remorse at my heart; - hung it because I knew that it had loved me, and because I felt it had given me no reason of offence; - hung it because I knew that in so doing I was committing a sin - a deadly sin that would so jeopardize my immortal soul as to place it - if such a thing wore possible - even beyond the reach of the infinite mercy of the Most Merciful and Most Terrible God. ある朝、私は冷静にその首に縄を巻きつけ、木の枝に吊るしました。 -私の目から流れる涙と、私の心に最も苦い反省を込めて、それを吊るしました。 - それが私を愛していることを知っていたので、そしてそれが私を怒らせる理由を与えなかったと感じたので、それを吊るしました。 - そうすることで私が罪を犯していることを知っていたので、それを吊るしました - 私の不滅の魂を危険にさらす致命的な罪 - もしそのようなことが可能であれば - 最も慈悲深い神の無限の慈悲の手の届かないところにさえそして最も恐ろしい神。

On the night of the day on which this cruel deed was done, I was aroused from sleep by the cry of fire. この残忍な行為が行われた日の夜、私は火の叫び声で眠りから覚めました。 The curtains of my bed were inflames. 私のベッドのカーテンは炎症を起こしていました。 The whole house was blazing. 家全体が燃えていた。 It was with great difficulty that my wife, a servant, and myself, made our escape from the conflagration. 使用人である妻と私が大火から逃れるのは非常に困難でした。 The destruction was complete. 破壊は完了しました。 My entire worldly wealth was swallowed up, and I resigned myself thenceforward to despair. 私の世俗的な富はすべて飲み込まれ、私はそれ以来、絶望することを辞任しました.

I am above the weakness of seeking to establish a sequence of cause and effect, between the disaster and the atrocity. 私は、災害と残虐行為の間の一連の因果関係を確立しようとする弱さを超えています。 But I am detailing a chain of facts - and wish not to leave even a possible link imperfect. しかし、私は一連の事実を詳しく説明しています - そして、可能性のあるリンクでさえも不完全なままにしたくありません. On the day succeeding the fire, I visited the ruins. 火事の翌日、私は廃墟を訪れた。 The walls, with one exception, had fallen in. 壁は、1 つの例外を除いて、陥没していました。 This exception was found in a compartment wall, not very thick, which stood about the middle of the house. この例外は、家の真ん中あたりにある区画の壁で、それほど厚くはありませんでした。 About this wall a dense crowd were collected, and many persons seemed to be examining a particular portion of it with very minute and eager attention. この壁の周りには密集した群衆が集まっており、多くの人がその特定の部分を非常に細心の注意を払って調べているようでした。

The words "strange!" "singular!" "特異な!" and other similar expressions, excited my curiosity. と他の同様の表現は、私の好奇心を刺激しました。 I approached and saw, as if graven in bas relief upon the white surface, the figure of a gigantic cat. 近づいてみると、白い表面に浅浮き彫りで彫られているかのように、巨大な猫の姿が見えました。 The impression was given with an accuracy truly marvelous. 印象は本当に素晴らしい精度で与えられました。 There was a rope about the animal’s neck. 動物の首にはロープがかけられていました。

When I first beheld this apparition - for I could scarcely regard it as less - my wonder and my terror were extreme. 私がこの幻影を最初に見たとき――それはそれよりも少ないとしか思えなかったからである――私の驚きと恐怖は極度のものだった。 But at length reflection came to my aid. しかし、ついに反省が私の助けになりました。 The cat, I remembered, had been hung in a garden adjacent to the house. Upon the alarm of fire, this garden had been immediately filled by the crowd - by some one of whom the animal must have been cut from the tree and thrown, through an open window, into my chamber. 火事の警報が鳴ると、この庭はすぐに群衆でいっぱいになりました - そのうちの誰かによって動物が木から切り取られ、開いた窓から私の部屋に投げ込まれたに違いありません. This had probably been done with the view of arousing me from sleep. これはおそらく、私を眠りから覚ますという目的で行われたのでしょう。 The falling of other walls had compressed the victim of my cruelty into the substance of the fleshy-spread plaster; the lime of which, with the flames, and the ammonia from the carcass, had then accomplished the portraiture as I saw it. 他の壁が崩壊したことで、私の残虐行為の犠牲者は肉厚のしっくいの物質に押し込まれました。その石灰は、炎と死体からのアンモニアとともに、私が見たような肖像画を完成させました。

Although I thus readily accounted to my reason, if not altogether to my conscience, for the startling fact just detailed, it did not the less fail to make a deep impression upon my fancy. このように、私は自分の理性を、完全に良心とは言わないまでも、詳述したばかりの驚くべき事実について容易に説明しましたが、それでもなお、私の空想に深い印象を与えることには失敗しませんでした。 For months I could not rid myself of the phantasm of the cat; and, during this period, there came back into my spirit a half-sentiment that seemed, but was not, remorse. 何ヶ月もの間、私は猫の幻想を取り除くことができませんでした。そして、この期間中、後悔のように見えたがそうではなかった半分の感情が私の精神に戻ってきました。 I went so far as to regret the loss of the animal, and to look about me, among the vile haunts which I now habitually frequented, for another pet of the same species, and of somewhat similar appearance, with which to supply its place. 私はその動物を失ったことを悔やみ、今では頻繁に訪れている下劣なたまり場の中で、自分の周りを探して、その場所を提供する同じ種の、やや似た外観の別のペットを探しました。

One night as I sat, half stupefied, in a den of more than infamy, my attention was suddenly drawn to some black object, reposing upon the head of one of the immense hogsheads of Gin, or of Rum, which constituted the chief furniture of the apartment. ある夜、悪名高い以上の巣穴に半分呆然として座っていたとき、私の注意は突然、ジンまたはラムの巨大なホグスヘッドの頭の上にある何か黒い物体に引き寄せられました。アパート。 I had been looking steadily at the top of this hogshead for some minutes, and what now caused me surprise was the fact that I had not sooner perceived the object thereupon. 私は数分間このホグスヘッドの頂部をじっと見つめていましたが、今驚いたことは、その上にある物体をすぐに認識しなかったという事実でした。 I approached it, and touched it with my hand. 私はそれに近づき、手で触れました。 It was a black cat - a very large one - fully as large as Pluto, and closely resembling him in every respect but one. それは黒い猫だった - 非常に大きな猫 - 完全に冥王星と同じくらいの大きさで、1つを除いてあらゆる点で彼によく似ていた. Pluto had not a white hair upon any portion of his body; but this cat had a large, although indefinite splotch of white, covering nearly the whole region of his breast. プルートは体のどの部分にも白髪がありませんでした。しかし、この猫には、胸のほぼ全体を覆う大きな、しかし不明確な白い斑点がありました。

Upon my touching him, he immediately arose, purred loudly, rubbed against my hand, and appeared delighted with my notice. 私が彼に触れると、彼はすぐに立ち上がり、大声でのどを鳴らし、私の手をこすり、私の通知に喜んでいるように見えました。 This, then, was the very creature of which I was in search. つまり、これはまさに私が探し求めていた生き物でした。 I at once offered to purchase it of the landlord; but this person made no claim to it - knew nothing of it - had never seen it before. 私はすぐに家主からそれを購入することを申し出ました。しかし、この人はそれを主張していませんでした-それについて何も知りませんでした-前にそれを見たことがありませんでした.

I continued my caresses, and, when I prepared to go home, the animal evinced a disposition to accompany me. 私は愛撫を続け、家に帰る準備をしたとき、動物は私に同行する傾向を示しました。 I permitted it to do so; occasionally stopping and patting it as I proceeded. 私はそれを許可しました。私が進むにつれて、時々それを止めて軽くたたきました。 When it reached the house it domesticated itself at once, and became immediately a great favorite with my wife. 家に着くとすぐに飼い慣らし、すぐに妻のお気に入りになりました。

For my own part, I soon found a dislike to it arising within me. 私自身は、すぐにそれに対する嫌悪感が自分の中で生じていることに気づきました。 This was just the reverse of what I had anticipated; but - I know not how or why it was - its evident fondness for myself rather disgusted and annoyed. これは私が予想していたものの逆でした。しかし、それがどのように、またはなぜだったのかはわかりませんが、自分自身への明らかな愛情は、むしろうんざりしてイライラしていました。 By slow degrees, these feelings of disgust and annoyance rose into the bitterness of hatred. ゆっくりと、これらの嫌悪感と苛立ちの感情は、憎しみの苦味へと変化していきました。 I avoided the creature; a certain sense of shame, and the remembrance of my former deed of cruelty, preventing me from physically abusing it. 私はその生き物を避けました。ある種の恥の感覚と、以前の残酷な行為の記憶が、私がそれを身体的に虐待するのを妨げていました。 I did not, for some weeks, strike, or otherwise violently ill use it; but gradually - very gradually - I came to look upon it with unutterable loathing, and to flee silently from its odious presence, as from the breath of a pestilence. 数週間、私はそれをストライキしたり、暴力的に悪用したりしませんでした。しかし、徐々に、非常に徐々に、言葉にできないほどの嫌悪感を持ってそれを見るようになり、疫病の息からのように、その忌まわしい存在から静かに逃げるようになりました。

What added, no doubt, to my hatred of the beast, was the discovery, on the morning after I brought it home, that, like Pluto, it also had been deprived of one of its eyes. 獣に対する私の憎しみをさらに増したのは、家に持ち帰った翌朝、冥王星のように片目を奪われていたことを発見したことです。 This circumstance, however, only endeared it to my wife, who, as I have already said, possessed, in a high degree, that humanity of feeling which had once been my distinguishing trait, and the source of many of my simplest and purest pleasures. しかし、この状況は、すでに述べたように、かつて私の際立った特徴であり、私の最も単純で最も純粋な喜びの多くの源であった感情の人間性を高度に持っていた妻にのみ愛されました. With my aversion to this cat, however, its partiality for myself seemed to increase. しかし、この猫への嫌悪感とともに、私への偏愛が増しているように見えました。 It followed my footsteps with a pertinacity which it would be difficult to make the reader comprehend. それは、読者に理解させるのが難しいほどの粘り強さで私の足跡をたどりました。

Whenever I sat, it would crouch beneath my chair, or spring upon my knees, covering me with its loathsome caresses. 私が座っているときはいつでも、それは私の椅子の下にしゃがんだり、私の膝の上に飛び乗ったりして、その忌まわしい愛撫で私を覆いました. If I arose to walk it would get between my feet and thus clearly throw me down, or, fastening its long and sharp claws in my dress, clamber with a blow, I was yet withheld from so doing, partly by a memory of my former crime, but chiefly - let me confess it once - by absolute dread of the beast.

This dread was not exactly a dread of physical evil - and yet I should be at a loss to otherwise to define it. I am almost ashamed to own - yes, even in this felon’s cell, I am almost ashamed to own -that the terror and horror with which the animal inspired me, had been heightened by one of the merest chimaeras it would be possible to conceive. My wife had called my attention, more than once, to the character of the mark of white hair, of which I had spoken, and which constituted the sole visible difference between the strange beast and the one I had destroyed. The reader will remember that this mark, although large, had been originally very indefinite; but, by slow degrees - degrees nearly imperceptible, and which for a longtime my reason struggled to reject as fanciful - it had, at length, assumed a rigorous distinctness of outline. It was now the representation of an object that I shudder to name - and for this, above all, I loathed, and dreaded, and would have rid myself of the monster had I dared - it was now, I say, the image of a hideous -of a ghastly thing - of the GALLOWS ! - oh, mournful and terrible engine of horror and of crime - of agony and of death !

And now was I indeed wretched beyond the wretchedness of mere Humanity. And a brute beast - whose fellow I had contemptuously destroyed - a brute beast to work out for me - for me a man, fashioned in the image of the High God - so much of insufferable wo! Alas! neither by day nor by night knew I the blessing of rest anymore! 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, and its vast weight- an incarnate nightmare that I had no power to shake off -incumbent eternally upon my heart !

Beneath the pressure of torments such as these, the feeble remnant of the good within me succumbed. Evil thoughts became my sole intimates - the darkest and most evil of thoughts. The moodiness of my usual temper increased to hatred of all things and of all mankind; while, from the sudden, frequent, and ungovernable outbursts of a fury to which I now blindly abandoned myself, my uncomplaining wife, alas! was the most usual and the most patient of sufferers.

One day she accompanied me, upon some household errand, into the cellar of the old building which our poverty compelled us to inhabit. The cat followed me down the steep stairs, and, nearly throwing me headlong, exasperated me to madness. Uplifting an axe, and forgetting, in my wrath, the childish dread which had hitherto stayed my hand, I aimed a blow at the animal which, of course, would have proved instantly fatal had it descended as I wished. But this blow was arrested by the hand of my wife. Goaded, by the interference, into a rage more than demonical, 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, and with entire deliberation, to the task of concealing the body. I knew that I could not remove it from the house, either by day or by night, without the risk of being observed by the neighbors. Many projects entered my mind. At one period I thought of cutting the corpse into minute fragments, and destroying them by fire. At another, I resolved to dig a grave for it in the floor of the cellar.

Again, I deliberated about casting it in the well in the yard - about packing it in a box, as if merchandize, with the usual arrangements, and so getting a porter to take it from the house. Finally I hit upon what I considered a far better expedient than the others. I determined to wall it up in the cellar - as the monks of the middle ages are recorded to have walled up their victims.

For a purpose such as this the cellar was well adapted. Its walls were loosely constructed, and had lately been plastered throughout with a rough plaster, which the dampness of the atmosphere had prevented from hardening. Moreover, in one of these walls was a projection, caused by a false chimney, or fireplace, that had been filled up, and made to resemble the red of the cellar. I made no doubt that I could readily displace the bricks at this point, insert the corpse, and wall the whole up as before, so that no eye could detect any thing suspicious. And in this calculation I was not deceived.

By means of a crow-bar I easily dislodged the bricks, and, having carefully deposited the body against the inner wall, I propped it in that position, while, with little trouble, I re-laid the whole structure as it originally stood. Having procured mortar, sand, and hair, with every possible precaution, I prepared a plaster which could not be distinguished from the old, and with this I very carefully went over the new brickwork. When I had finished, I felt satisfied that all was right. The wall did not present the slightest appearance of having been disturbed. The rubbish on the floor was picked up with the minutest care. I looked around triumphantly, and said to myself - "Here at least, then, my labor has not been in vain. " 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. Had I been able to meet with it, at that moment, there could have been no doubt of its fate; but it appeared that the crafty animal had been alarmed at the violence of my previous anger, and forbore to present itself in my present mood. It is impossible to describe, or to imagine, the deep . the blissful sense of relief which the absence of the detested creature occasioned in my bosom. 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; aye, 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 as a freeman. The monster, in terror, had fled the premises forever! I should behold it no more! My happiness was supreme! The guilt of my dark deed disturbed me but little. Some few inquiries had been made, but these had been readily answered. Even a search had been instituted - but of course nothing was to be discovered. I looked upon my future felicity as secured.

Upon the fourth day of the assassination, a party of the police came, very unexpectedly, into the house, and proceeded again to make rigorous investigation of the premises. Secure, however, in the inscrutability of my place of concealment, I felt no embarrassment whatever. The officers bade me accompany them in their search. They left no nook or corner unexplored. At length, for the third or fourth time, they descended into the cellar. I quivered not in a muscle. My heart beat calmly as that of one who slumbers in innocence. I walked the cellar from end to end. I folded my arms upon my bosom, and roamed easily to and fro. The police were thoroughly satisfied and prepared to depart. The glee at my heart was too strong to be restrained. I burned to say if but one word, by way of triumph, and to render doubly sure their assurance of my guiltlessness.

"Gentlemen," I said at last, as the party ascended the steps, "I delight to have allayed your suspicions. I wish you all health, and a little more courtesy. By and bye, gentlemen, this - this is a very well constructed house." [In the rabid desire to say something easily, I scarcely knew what I uttered at all.] - "I may say an excellently well constructed house. These walls are you going, gentlemen? - these walls are solidly put together;" and here, through the mere frenzy of bravado, I rapped heavily, with a cane which I held in my hand, upon that very portion of the brick-work behind which stood the corpse of the wife of my bosom. But may God shield and deliver me from the fangs of the Arch-Fiend! No sooner had the reverberation of my blows sunk into silence, than I was answered by a voice from within the tomb! - by a cry, at first muffled and broken, like the sobbing of a child, and then quickly swelling into one long, loud, continuous scream, utterly anomalous and inhuman - a howl - a wailing shriek, half of horror and half of triumph, such as might have arisen only out of hell, conjointly from the throats of the dammed in their agony and of the demons that exult in the damnation.

Of my own thoughts it is folly to speak. Swooning, I staggered to the opposite wall. For one instant the party upon the stairs remained motionless, through extremity of terror and of awe. In the next, a dozen stout arms were toiling at the wall. It fell bodily. The corpse, already greatly decayed and clotted with gore, stood erect before the eyes of the spectators. Upon its head, with red extended mouth and solitary eye of fire, sat the hideous beast whose craft had seduced me into murder, and whose informing voice had consigned me to the hangman. I had walled the monster up within the tomb!