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 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.