The Cask of Amontillado

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 0

The Cask of Amontillado


Edgar Allan Poe

The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but
when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. You, who so well know
the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance
to a threat. _At length_ I would be avenged; this was a point definitely
settled--but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved,
precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish, but punish with
impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its
redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make
himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.

It must be understood that neither by word nor deed had I given
Fortunato cause to doubt my good will. I continued, as was my wont, to
smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my smile _now_ was at
the thought of his immolation.

He had a weak point--this Fortunato--although in other regards he was a
man to be respected and even feared. He prided himself on his
connoisseurship in wine. Few Italians have the true virtuoso spirit.
For the most part their enthusiasm is adopted to suit the time and
opportunity--to practise imposture upon the British and Austrian
_millionaires_. In painting and gemmary, Fortunato, like his countrymen,
was a quack--but in the matter of old wines he was sincere. In this
respect I did not differ from him materially: I was skillful in the
Italian vintages myself, and bought largely whenever I could.

It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the
carnival season, that I encountered my friend. He accosted me with
excessive warmth, for he had been drinking much. The man wore motley.
He had on a tight-fitting parti-striped dress, and his head was
surmounted by the conical cap and bells. I was so pleased to see him,
that I thought I should never have done wringing his hand.

I said to him--"My dear Fortunato, you are luckily met. How remarkably
well you are looking to-day! But I have received a pipe of what passes
for Amontillado, and I have my doubts."

"How?" said he. "Amontillado? A pipe? Impossible! And in the middle
of the carnival!"

"I have my doubts," I replied; "and I was silly enough to pay the full
Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter. You were not to
be found, and I was fearful of losing a bargain."


"I have my doubts."



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