Quaint and Curious - Parodies and Pastiches of Poe's The Raven

The Cat-Fiend

Fun Feb 1 1868

An Original Adaptation

On a bleak evening of December I sat alone in my gloomy chambers and brooded over the past. I had sought in vain to turn the current of my thoughts by plunging into metaphysical researches: Watts on the Mind[1] lay open, but unheeded, beside me. Never had the apartment worn so ghostly an aspect. My lamp threw a fitful gleam upon the sumptuous but sombre furniture; the fire was expiring, yet I lacked energy to put on more coals. If I had been expiring myself I should have hated the man who put coals upon me.

The chief object of my memories was a young person to whom I had formerly been attached. I dwelt fondly, but bitterly, upon the day when my Leonora, accompanied by her vulgar and intrusive mother, had brightened my dingy rooms in ——’s Inn with her presence to tea, previous to visiting Drury Lane Theatre.[2] That was all over now; Leonora married into the city and left me desolate. I am not even acquainted with her present name; but it fills me with despondency to think that her graceful form will never again press the velvet lining of my quaintly carved arm-chair.

While I sat buried in my sad reflections, it seemed as though there came a soft rapping at my outer door. It was growing so late that I made my mind up to disregard the summons. “It is only Briggs,” I murmured; “if I admit him he will weary me with platitudes until the dawn. Or it is Potter, perchance, advanced in liquor. I will none of him.”

At this point the rapping was renewed more loudly. My resolution suddenly changed, and I resolved that I would explore the mystery. Making my way to the door I flung it wide open. The landing was in darkness; no voice gave answer to my challenge, and, feeling a little nervous, I slammed the door and went back to my arm-chair by the fire.

Weird — ghastly — inscrutable — was the apparition that awaited me! Stretched upon the hearth-rug at my feet lay a large cat of ebon blackness, glaring at me with a pair of wild eyes in which anger was mingled with an expression of diabolical sarcasm. The blood curdled in my veins; I seized the poker and yelled, “Get out, beast! How dare you come in here? Go away directly, or ——!”

The lips of the animal opened and pronounced slowly and solemnly the words “Never no more!

My hair stood on end, and the poker fell from my grasp.

“Horrible being!” I cried; — “fearful and ungrammatical being leave me, and return to darkness and the Stygian shore.”

Never no more!” said the brute: “I’ve come to stay for ever.”

“Nonsense, monster; you are insane,” I shouted.

“Fact, I assure you,” replied my tormentor; — “they hadn’t got no raven handy, and so they sent me. It’s about the Leonora business.”

“Ah, that name! Tell me, I implore you, tell me — is she a widow yet? May I hope? Shall I again behold her?”

Never no more!

This was too much. I ran and threw the door open again — came back— firmly grasped the poker, and ——

But the beast had sought refuge under the sofa. Thence it retreated beneath my table, and thence under the arm-chair. Round and round the apartment I chased it vainly. Its demoniac laugh thrilled me with rage and horror.

* * * * *

The cat-fiend still inhabits my gloomy chambers. I have abandoned all hope of expelling it. The creature exists without food, so that the expedient of starvation is impracticable. At all hours of the day and night I am haunted by the wild eyes of my hated persecutor: at all hours of the day and night I hear the detested brute murmuring with a chuckle that maddens me,

Never no more!


  1. Watts on the MindThe Improvement of the Mind (1814) by Isaac Watts (1674–1748). (back to text)
  2. Drury Lane Theatre — The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. (back to text)

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