The Cask of Amontillado

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 3


"Be it so," I said, replacing the tool beneath the cloak and again
offering him my arm. He leaned upon it heavily. We continued our
route in search of the Amontillado. We passed through a range of low
arches, descended, passed on, and descending again, arrived at a deep
crypt, in which the foulness of the air caused our flambeaux rather to
glow than flame.

At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less
spacious. Its walls had been lined with human remains, piled to the
vault overhead, in the fashion of the great catacombs of Paris. Three
sides of this interior crypt were still ornamented in this manner.
From the fourth side the bones had been thrown down, and lay
promiscuously upon the earth, forming at one point a mound of some
size. Within the wall thus exposed by the displacing of the bones, we
perceived a still interior recess, in depth about four feet in width
three, in height six or seven. It seemed to have been constructed for
no especial use within itself, but formed merely the interval between
two of the colossal supports of the roof of the catacombs, and was
backed by one of their circumscribing walls of solid granite.

It was in vain that Fortunato, uplifting his dull torch, endeavoured to
pry into the depth of the recess. Its termination the feeble light did
not enable us to see.

"Proceed," I said; "herein is the Amontillado. As for Luchesi--"

"He is an ignoramus," interrupted my friend, as he stepped unsteadily
forward, while I followed immediately at his heels. In an instant he
had reached the extremity of the niche, and finding his progress
arrested by the rock, stood stupidly bewildered. A moment more and I
had fettered him to the granite. In its surface were two iron staples,
distant from each other about two feet, horizontally. From one of
these depended a short chain, from the other a padlock. Throwing the
links about his waist, it was but the work of a few seconds to secure
it. He was too much astounded to resist. Withdrawing the key I
stepped back from the recess.

"Pass your hand," I said, "over the wall; you cannot help feeling the
nitre. Indeed, it is _very_ damp. Once more let me _implore_ you to
return. No? Then I must positively leave you. But I must first
render you all the little attentions in my power."

"The Amontillado!" ejaculated my friend, not

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