The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 107

the chained form, seemed to thrust me violently back. For a
brief moment I hesitated--I trembled. Unsheathing my rapier, I began to
grope with it about the recess: but the thought of an instant reassured
me. I placed my hand upon the solid fabric of the catacombs, and felt
satisfied. I reapproached the wall. I replied to the yells of him
who clamored. I re-echoed--I aided--I surpassed them in volume and in
strength. I did this, and the clamorer grew still.

It was now midnight, and my task was drawing to a close. I had completed
the eighth, the ninth, and the tenth tier. I had finished a portion
of the last and the eleventh; there remained but a single stone to
be fitted and plastered in. I struggled with its weight; I placed it
partially in its destined position. But now there came from out the
niche a low laugh that erected the hairs upon my head. It was succeeded
by a sad voice, which I had difficulty in recognising as that of the
noble Fortunato. The voice said--

"Ha! ha! ha!--he! he!--a very good joke indeed--an excellent jest. We
will have many a rich laugh about it at the palazzo--he! he! he!--over
our wine--he! he! he!"

"The Amontillado!" I said.

"He! he! he!--he! he! he!--yes, the Amontillado. But is it not getting
late? Will not they be awaiting us at the palazzo, the Lady Fortunato
and the rest? Let us be gone."

"Yes," I said, "let us be gone."

"_For the love of God, Montressor!_"

"Yes," I said, "for the love of God!"

But to these words I hearkened in vain for a reply. I grew impatient. I
called aloud--

"Fortunato!"

No answer. I called again--

"Fortunato!"

No answer still. I thrust a torch through the remaining aperture and let
it fall within. There came forth in return only a jingling of the bells.
My heart grew sick--on account of the dampness of the catacombs. I
hastened to make an end of my labor. I forced the last stone into its
position; I plastered it up. Against the new masonry I re-erected the
old rampart of bones. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed
them. _In pace requiescat!_




THE IMP OF THE PERVERSE

IN THE consideration of the faculties and impulses--of the prima mobilia
of the human soul, the phrenologists have failed to make room for a
propensity which, although obviously existing as a radical, primitive,
irreducible sentiment, has been equally overlooked by all the moralists
who have preceded them. In the pure arrogance of the reason, we have
all overlooked it. We have suffered its existence to

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