"The Rats in the Walls" is narrated by the scion of the Delapore family, who has moved from Massachusetts to his ancestral estate in England, known as Exham Priory. On several occasions, the protagonist and his cats, specifically his favorite cat, hear the eponymous sounds of rats scurrying behind the walls. Upon investigating further, he finds that his family maintained an underground city for centuries and that the inhabitants of the city fed on human flesh, even going so far as to raise generations of human cattle, who eventually began to de-evolve due to their sub-human living conditions. (Another possibility is that Lovecraft is providing a suggestion of the fate of early pre-human Homininae species following the rise of Homo sapiens). In the end, the protagonist, unknowingly maddened by the revelations of his family's past and driven by the stronger force of his own heritage, attacks one of his friends in the dark of the cavernous city and begins eating him. He is subsequently subdued and locked in a mental institution. Soon after, Exham Priory is destroyed. The protagonist of the story maintains his innocence, proclaiming that it was "the rats, the rats in the walls," who ate the man. The rats still persist, however, as he continues to be plagued by the sounds and sights of rats in the walls of his cell...
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