El Barüc d'Amontiglhado

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El Barüc d'Amontiglhado

Author: Canun, Iustì Carlüs
Date: 31st of October, 2011/XXXII
Description: Talossan translation of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado.

El Barüc d’Amontiglhado (by Edgar Allan Poe, original title: The Cask of Amontillado) is the third Day-Late, Louis-Short Halloween Story, translated by Iustì C. Canun and published in 2011/XXXII. Curiously, although the name requires the short story to be released after Halloween, that particular year, the Halloween Story was released one day before Halloween. Furthermore, this being a very long text, it does not quite fit the description of a Louis-Short Story. Hence, this year 2011/XXXII’s Halloween Story is unusual by all accounts.










Text

Talossan translation Original text
El Barüc d’Amontiglhado
par Edgar Allan Poe
glheþinat par Iustì C. Canun

El þúsund da laisuras da Fortunato tignhoveu demußat come pognheveu, mas quand o rischcieva à’iensa ingürxha nadoreveu à tirh va vendetsch. Voi, qi sa ben cognheçetz el natür da v’alma, non suposarhetz, com’evri, q’oirschireveu ’n menaça. Àl lungatà estadréu revindicat; c’estev’iens pünt definìmint deçidat—mas la defininità avetz qi c’esteva resolvat unpouçivaliçeva l’idéa dal risca. Non solamint téu à puniarh, mas puniarh avetz l’impünità. ’N antiert isch unmedelat quand la retrivuziun üperníca sieu medeleir. C’e pariliteir unmedelat quand el revindicheir faila à cauçarh el vür qi tent la cupa à vidarh-lo com’el revindicheir.

Ça tent àð estarh cumprencat qe ni par moct ni par dideu zonev’éu à Fortunato dal cauça à duvitarh va plainfavour. Continueveu, com’esteva va þavit, à smaidarh in sieu faça, es o non perçeiteva qe va vridi füt àl pensaziun da sieu zestrotsch.

O tignhov’iens pünt släb — acest Fortunato — ivenðo profta dals ödras cosas o füt ’n vür qi si tignhova à respectarh es à temnarh. Tignhov’iens fiirtà grült da sieu cognheçeirità del vineu. Pocs Taliaes tignhovent el haï vräts d’iens artixhan. Per el püpärts, lor estrambord isch adoptat àð asatarh el temp es l’uportunità, à practiçarh l’inziziun pa els miglhiuneirs Britanici es Áustriacs. In el peintüscu es las bitxuns, Fortunato, come sieux pätsiçaes, füt ’n cearlatan, mas in la facenda dels vineux vells o füt sinçar. In aceasta respectù non zifereveu dad o materialmint; — éu steçéu füt destreçös in els crüns Taliaes, es compreveu grültamint quandsevol pognheveu.

C’esteva abúec’ht l’ontebrû, sür ’n cvöldeu dürant la mätsità süprem del arstið dal carlevà, q’encuntreveu v’amíc. O me proximeva avetz dal cjalüra demasiada, parç q’o tignhova büvat muiteu. El vür apoarteva el garbeu d’iens schurul. Apoartev’iensa aredaziun muticolorada, es sür sieu cäps hi füt el capetsch conesc es las campuonas. Éu füt sa piaçat à vidarh-lo qe penseveu qe non txamais finischadréu va premind da sieu mha.

Zireveu à lo — “Va careu Fortunato, c’e ceastlivéu qe voi téu viestretschat. Voi sembletz àð estarh ben oxhi. Mas téu reçaifat ’n zemicearxha da quálsecosa qi sembla àð estarh Amontiglhado, es téu vaes duvitaziuns.”

“¿Come?” zireva-t-o. “Amontiglhado. ¿’N zemicearxha? ¡Unpouçival! ¡Es in el centreu dal carlevà!”

“Téu vaes duvitaziuns,” rezirev’éu; “es éu füt sa seltsam qe paxheveu el praiseu pien per l’Amontiglhado es non voi consulteveu. Éu non pognheveu trovarh-voi, es tignhoveu pör da pierdind ’n bargan.”

“¡Amontiglhado!”

“Téu vaes duvitaziuns.”

“¡Amontiglhado!”

“Es téu à satisfiarh-lor.”

“¡Amontiglhado!”

“Voi estetz ocupat, sa nun véu à Luchresi. Schi ingenviens estadr’iens critic, c’e o. O me zirarha —”

“Luchresi non put ziscriminatarh intr’Amontiglhado es C’hereþ.”

“Es ischù dels calucjeus ziradrent qe sieu palatançeu isch ’n cópul per el voastra.”

“Vetz, qe noi venadrent.”

“¿Aduve?”

“À voschtri cuplas.”

“V’amíc, non; non imposarhéu sür voastra natür ben. Entreivéu qe tenetz ’n quisclaziun. Luchresi —”

“Non téu aucün quisclaziun; –venetz.”

“V’amíc, non. Non c’e la quisclaziun, mas el raumäts straintsch cün qi entreivéu qe voi estetz cuntristat. Las cuplas sint trei c’haléu. As sint ancombradas cün dal salpietra.”

“Qe noi venadrent, ívensvo. El raumäts non c’e níþil. ¡Amontiglhado! Voi estevetz imposat. Es quant à Luchresi, o non put ziscriminatarh intra C’hereþ es Amontiglhado.”

Parlind sa, Fortunato preindeva va bräts; es setind ’n masca da s’chida neagra sür va faça es apoartind ’n amictul, lo permiteveu à duciarh-me à va pallatzeu.

Non j’ont aucün serveschti à c’hasa; os tignhovent stenec’hescu àð espienarh in þonör del temp. Lor tignhoveu zirat qe non revenadréu avant q’el morgun, es lor tignhoveu comandat specificmint da zespartarh. Acest comand füt avuondeu, säpev’éu ben, à sigüriçarh qe toct da lhor imediadamint quarfadrent moschut q’inversadréu.

Preindeveu da lors tischeirs doua faglhas, es zonind viensa à Fortunato, lo conduçeva trans severais cortius da cámeras àl volta qi ducieva àls cuplas. Marscheva lalunga d’iensa schciala serpexhind es lung, piedind-lo àð estarh cautéu quand o parsequiteva. Noi venevent enfin àl ped dal zeçentù, es stevent ensembla sür la tzara c’haléa dels cátacumps dels Montresors.

V’amíc marscheva pastatxanmint, es las campuonas sür sieu capetsch tintevent com’o marscheva.

“El barüc,” zireva-t-o.

“C’e pü prócul,” zirev’éu; “mas auservetz las festiuns biançéas qi lürent dels mürs d’aceasta cámera.”

O tornieva spre mhe, es risguardeva vaes uglhen cün doua lastras toneascas cün las lácrimas merulents.

“¿Salpietra?” as’cheva-t-o, enfin.

“Salpietra,” rezirev’éu. “¿Come lung estetz-voi à tirh aceasta toßa?”

“¡Agh! ¡Agh! ¡Agh! –¡Agh! ¡Agh! ¡Agh! –¡Agh! ¡Agh! ¡Agh! –¡Agh! ¡Agh! ¡Agh!”

V’amíc povreu non pognheva rezirarh per muiteux míuts.

“Non c’e níþil,” zireva-t-o, finalmint.

“Venetz,” zirev’éu zecidatíumint, “noi revenarhent; voastra santéu c’e preciös. Voi estetz ricieu, respectat, admirat, amescu; voi estetz felicieu, com’éu füt à’iens temp. Voi estetz ‘n vür à toscarh. Per me ça non fäts níþil. Noi revenarhent; voi seretz malalt, es éu non put estarh respunsaval. Masmint, ja Luchresi —”

“Aßei,” zireva-t-o; “la toßa non c’e níþil; ça non m’aucidarha. Non moartarhéu d’iensa toßa.”

“Vräts — vräts,” rezirev’éu; “es, echida, non intençeveu àð asturarh-voi lischnadamint — mas voi fossent úçarh toct vorsic’ht propreu. ’N trubit d’acest Medoc noi zefençarha dal c’hale’uità.”

Aicì caßeveu el col d’iens canþavar qi removeveu d’iens rangada luegnh dels canþavaes qi cubeva sür casieir.

“Büvetz,” zirev’éu, zonind el vineu à lo. O en suvlateva à sieux labras avetz ’n scrüncaziun. O piararifteva es adnuteva à mhe famiglharmint, quand sieux campuonas tintevent.

“Büvéu,” zireva-t-o, “àls iardeschti qi respoçent circüm üns.”

“Es éu à voastra vida lung.”

O preindeva va bräts ’n ödreu fäts, es noi procedevent.

“Acestilor cuplas,” zireva-t-o, “sint extendatíus.”

“Els Montresors,” respunsev’éu, “füvent d’iensa famiglha grült es nümerös.”

“Obliéu voschtri armeux.”

“’N grült ped þuman d’or, sür ’n er d’azür; el ped splaterna ’n coloveir rampatxind qissen scanas sint incrostadas in la carù.”

“¿Es la lema?”

Nemo me impune lacessit.

“¡Ben!” zireva-t-o.

El vineu splendicheva in sieux uglhen es las campuonas tintevent. Va propra splaceainça varmiçevent cün el Medoc. Noi tignhovent paßats lalunga dels mürs lungs s’cheletas, cün dels barücs es dels barais cuncernind, ainciün las adütas dels cátacumps. Piararifteveu ’n ödreu fäts, es acest temp coraxhösmint saiçeveu Fortunato sè bräts super la coída.

“¡La salpietra!” zirev’éu; “videtz, ça grültiça. Ça hanga com’el müschcel sür els mürs. Noi sint sub la fiova nun. Els glops dal mopteça sürdestelent starp las osvas. Venetz, noi revenarhent avant qe c’e tro schpeit. Voastra toßa —”

“Non c’e níþil,” zireva-t-o; “qe noi continuadrent. Mas pirmeis, ’n ödreu trubit del Medoc.”

Caßeveu es zoneveu à lo ’n canþavar del De Grave. O en exareva in ’n and. ’N lux feroç estinçelevent in sieux uglhen. O cacalaseva es xheteva el canþavar ainciün l’är avetz ’n bratzetxaziun qi non cumprencheveu.

Lo risguardeveu avetz surpriça. O repeteva el movamaintsch—’n xhestür grotesc.

“¿Non cumprenchetz-voi?” zireva-t-o.

“Non,” respunsev’éu.

“Aglhorc voi non estetz ’n membreu del viensqab.”

“¿Qet?”

“Voi non estetz dal maçonería.”

“Üc, üc,” zirev’éu; “üc, üc.”

“¿Voi? ¡Unpouçival! ¿La maçonería?

“’N maçon,” rezirev’éu.

“’N eßignha,” zireva-t-o, “’n eßignha.”

“C’e acest,” respunsev’éu, produçind ’n tamlasta da v’amictul.

“Ludicretz,” ecrieva-t-o, alugnhind ’n po. “Mas qe noi procedadrent àl Amontiglhado.”

“Q’estadra sa,” zirev’éu, remplaçind l’utul under l’amictul es ’n ödreu fäts profreveu va bräts. O gordamint clineva sür ça. Noi continuevent noastra ruta, çerçind l’Amontiglhado. Noi paßevent sub dels archeux bätsilor, descendevent, marschevent, es descendevent ’n ödreu fäts, cichevent à’iensa crüpta profundeu, in qe l’är sè tetrüsità cauçeva noschtri faglhas à claricarh pü q’ardarh.

Àl fim el pü prócul dal crüpta luschev’iens ödreu, míus spaçös. Sieux mürs füvent coverats cün dels viantzüns þumaes, agarats àl celinda, in el faiçon dels cátacumps grülts da Parighi. Tres sidas d’aceasta crüpta restevent faleradas com’acest. Dal sida quartéa las osvas tignhovent estescu removadas, es respoçevent sür la tzara, formind ’n vigardour grült. Da din el mür expoçat par las osvas sè smentiraziun, noi videvent ’n ödra crüpta eda reflésch, in profündità abúec’ht qátor pudismeux, in vidour tres, es in sürnità sex eda séifet. Ça sembleva qe non c’esteva constructescu per ingen útzil special, mas formeva solamint l’interspaçeu intra doua dals columnaziuns del tetsch dels cátacumps, es füt pirneçat par ’n mür dals granitas solidas.

Fützilamint Fortunato, levitind sieu faglha tiern, atenteva à spicarh ainciün la profündità del reflésch. Sieu fim el lux titeu noi non endünameva à vidarh.

“Procedetz,” zirev’éu; “L’Amontiglhado isch aicì. Quant à Luchresi–“

“O isch ’n fafrodour,” interompeva v’amíc, marschind avant unpastatxanmint, quand éu parsequiteveu à sieux caruns. In ’n istind o tignhova attainat la postremità dal edicla, es osprei o staxeva qe sieu progreçéu füt sterminat par el mür, steva atovat. ’N momaintsch da phü es lo tignhoveu encadeinat àls granitas. Sür la surfacea hi füvent doua aneis da fier, cün abúec’ht doua pudismeux intra lor. Da viens d’acestilor hangev’iensa entrava scurznia, es del ödreu ’n schurlixha. Àð involutarh-lo cün aceasta entrava, c’esteva el traval d’iensas secunds. O füt tro cunsternat à resistarh. Arac’hind el cleféu, alugnheveu del reflésch.

“Movetz voastra mha,” zirev’éu, “sür el mür; non pevetz da tocarh la salpietra. Echida, c’e trei c’haléu. Viens fäts da phü permitetz-me à posclarh qe revenadretz. ¿Non? Aglhorc éu positíumint téu à laßarh-voi. Mas pirmeis téu à taimprarh à vhoi sa mült qe va pevarh me permita.”

“¡L’Amontiglhado!” ecrieva v’amíc, qi adüc non tignhova aricetat da sieu udivlenia.

“Vräts,” respunsev’éu; “l’Amontiglhado.”

Quand zireveu acestilor mocts éu füt ocupat starp las osvas da qi téu parleveu. Movind-lor àl sida, bentopt schnüdeveu ’n quantità da peiras es da muolta. Cün acestilor materiais es va tamlasta, comença rapíumint à mürificarh l’entrada dal reflésch.

Non adüc tignhoveu colocat la prüma rangada dal maçonería quand staxeveu qe Fortunato sè vinolença tignhova grültamint zespartat. La mostraziun la phü frü d’acest füt ’n andrada sotvosvia dal profündità del reflésch. Non c’esteva la cridaziun d’iens merulént. À’cest temp hi estev’iens mußitaziun lung. Colocheveu la rangada secund, es la tierçéa, es la quartéa; aglhorc ausculteveu las vibrataziuns saivitschas dal entrava. El sacaquà lasteva per severais míuts, dürant qe, sa povadréu üscüdarh-en avetz la satüraziun la phü grült, ceßeveu va traval es aßeteveu sür las osvas. Enfin el son cuflacescheva, es reaßumeveu v’erbhetaziun, es finischeveu sanc l’interompaziun la rangada quintéa, sextéa, es seiftéa. El mür nun presca reaheva va potrina. ’N ödreu fäts piararifteveu es zischapezineveu la faglha à descütarh ’n po da lux sür el figür da din el reflésch.

’N seri da cridaziuns inalts es oschitons qi esclateva repentalmint dal goglha del encadeinat, violenteir sembleva à þrustarh me zürüc. Pr’iens momaintsch scurznieu deconteveu, paviteveu. Inceptind va stoc, començeveu tastonarh circüm el reflésch; mas la pensaziun d’iens instind me resigüriçeva. Seteveu va mha sür el mür solideu dels cátacumps, es füt satisfiat. Recicheveu el mür; respunseveu àls cridaziuns dad o qi clameva. Sintzourificheveu, atxuteveu, lo semeneveu in el volüm es la poderità. Façeveu acest, es el clameir sileçeva.

Nun c’esteva el centreu del nic’ht, es va tas’cha cicheva sieu terminaziun. Tignhoveu finischeveu la rangada vuitéa, nonéa es bisquintéa. Tignhoveu finischat ’n pärts dal ündeschéa es dirnalaiset; hi füt solamint viensa peira à germedarh. Luc’hteveu avetz sieu geviac’hta; en seteveu pärtsmint in siue posiziun destinada. Mas nun veneva dal edicla ’n ridaziun sotvosvia qi cauçeva va cäps sè caveglhen à súrgarh. C’esteva parsequitat par ’n voce trista, qi füt unfáþil à reconéiçarh com’el voce del noval Fortunato. La voce zireva–

“¡Ha! ¡ha! ¡ha! — ¡hi! ¡hi! ¡hi! — ’n xhoc trei ben, echida — ’n farça request. Noi cacalaßarhent över acest àl palatzeu –¡hi! ¡hi! ¡hi! –cün noastra vineu –¡hi! ¡hi! ¡hi!”

“¡L’Amontiglhado!” zirev’éu.

“¡He! ¡he! ¡he! –¡he! ¡he! ¡he! –üc, l’Amontiglhado. ¿Mas non c’e schpeit? ¿Non atendent per os àl palatzeu, la Doamna Fortunato es els ödreux? Qe noi zespartadrent.”

“Üc,” zirev’éu, “qe noi zespartadrent.”

“¡Per l’amor da Dhïeu, Montresor!”

“Üc,” zirev’éu, “per l’amor da Dhïeu!”

Mas à’cestilor mocts fützilamint ausculteveu pr’iensa contesta. Zeveneveu unpatzint. Clameveu hardop–

“¡Fortunato!”

Aucün respuns. Clameveu ’n ödreu fäts–

“¡Fortunato!”

Resteva non respunsind. Þrusteveu ’n faglha ainciün la þiança restind es en laßeva tombarh da din. Veneva del reflésch solamint ’n tintaziun dals campuonas. Va coraziun zeveneva clav; c’esteva la c’hale’uità dels cátacumps qe cauçeva acest. Txutzeveu à finischarh va traval. Fuerçeveu la peira final ainciün sieu posiziun; en germedeveu. Erga la maçonería noua refraicheveu la bastià vea dals osvas. Pr’iensa zemisáicula aucün mortadel lor tignhova zestorvescu. ¡In pace requiescat!
The Cask of Amontillado
by Edgar Allan Poe
translated by Iustì C. Canun.

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 skilful 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.”

“Amontillado!”

“I have my doubts.”

“Amontillado!”

“And I must satisfy them.”

“Amontillado!”

“As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchresi. If any one has a critical turn it is he. He will tell me —”

“Luchresi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry.”

“And yet some fools will have it that his taste is a match for your own.”

“Come, let us go.”

“Whither?”

“To your vaults.”

“My friend, no; I will not impose upon your good nature. I perceive you have an engagement. Luchresi —”

“I have no engagement; –come.”

“My friend, no. It is not the engagement, but the severe cold with which I perceive you are afflicted. The vaults are insufferably damp. They are encrusted with nitre.”

“Let us go, nevertheless. The cold is merely nothing. Amontillado! You have been imposed upon. And as for Luchresi, he cannot distinguish Sherry from Amontillado.”

Thus speaking, Fortunato possessed himself of my arm; and putting on a mask of black silk and drawing a roquelaire closely about my person, I suffered him to hurry me to my palazzo.

There were no attendants at home; they had absconded to make merry in honour of the time. I had told them that I should not return until the morning, and had given them explicit orders not to stir from the house. These orders were sufficient, I well knew, to insure their immediate disappearance, one and all, as soon as my back was turned.

I took from their sconces two flambeaux, and giving one to Fortunato, bowed him through several suites of rooms to the archway that led into the vaults. I passed down a long and winding staircase, requesting him to be cautious as he followed. We came at length to the foot of the descent, and stood together upon the damp ground of the catacombs of the Montresors.

The gait of my friend was unsteady, and the bells upon his cap jingled as he strode.

“The pipe,” he said.

“It is farther on,” said I; “but observe the white web-work which gleams from these cavern walls.”

He turned towards me, and looked into my eves with two filmy orbs that distilled the rheum of intoxication.

“Nitre?” he asked, at length.

“Nitre,” I replied. “How long have you had that cough?”

“Ugh! ugh! ugh! –ugh! ugh! ugh! –ugh! ugh! ugh! –ugh! ugh! ugh! –ugh! ugh! ugh!”

My poor friend found it impossible to reply for many minutes.

“It is nothing,” he said, at last.

“Come,” I said, with decision, “we will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter. We will go back; you will be ill, and I cannot be responsible. Besides, there is Luchresi —”

“Enough,” he said; “the cough’s a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough.”

“True — true,” I replied; “and, indeed, I had no intention of alarming you unnecessarily — but you should use all proper caution. A draught of this Medoc will defend us from the damps.”

Here I knocked off the neck of a bottle which I drew from a long row of its fellows that lay upon the mould.

“Drink,” I said, presenting him the wine. He raised it to his lips with a leer. He paused and nodded to me familiarly, while his bells jingled.

“I drink,” he said, “to the buried that repose around us.”

“And I to your long life.”

He again took my arm, and we proceeded.

“These vaults,” he said, “are extensive.”

“The Montresors,” I replied, “were a great and numerous family.”

“I forget your arms.”

“A huge human foot d’or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel.”

“And the motto?”

“Nemo me impune lacessit.”

“Good!” he said.

The wine sparkled in his eyes and the bells jingled. My own fancy grew warm with the Medoc. We had passed through long walls of piled skeletons, with casks and puncheons intermingling, into the inmost recesses of the catacombs. I paused again, and this time I made bold to seize Fortunato by an arm above the elbow.

“The nitre!” I said; “see, it increases. It hangs like moss upon the vaults. We are below the river’s bed. The drops of moisture trickle among the bones. Come, we will go back ere it is too late. Your cough —”

“It is nothing,” he said; “let us go on. But first, another draught of the Medoc.”

I broke and reached him a flagon of De Grave. He emptied it at a breath. His eyes flashed with a fierce light. He laughed and threw the bottle upwards with a gesticulation I did not understand.

I looked at him in surprise. He repeated the movement –a grotesque one.

“You do not comprehend?” he said.

“Not I,” I replied.

“Then you are not of the brotherhood.”

“How?”

“You are not of the masons.”

“Yes, yes,” I said; “yes, yes.”

“You? Impossible! A mason?”

“A mason,” I replied.

“A sign,” he said, “a sign.”

“It is this,” I answered, producing from beneath the folds of my roquelaire a trowel.

“You jest,” he exclaimed, recoiling a few paces. “But let us proceed to the Amontillado.”

“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 crypt or 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 Luchresi –“

“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 yet recovered from his astonishment.

“True,” I replied; “the Amontillado.”

As I said these words I busied myself among the pile of bones of which I have before spoken. Throwing them aside, I soon uncovered a quantity of building stone and mortar. With these materials and with the aid of my trowel, I began vigorously to wall up the entrance of the niche.

I had scarcely laid the first tier of the masonry when I discovered that the intoxication of Fortunato had in a great measure worn off. The earliest indication I had of this was a low moaning cry from the depth of the recess. It was not the cry of a drunken man. There was then a long and obstinate silence. I laid the second tier, and the third, and the fourth; and then I heard the furious vibrations of the chain. The noise lasted for several minutes, during which, that I might hearken to it with the more satisfaction, I ceased my labours and sat down upon the bones. When at last the clanking subsided, I resumed the trowel, and finished without interruption the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh tier. The wall was now nearly upon a level with my breast. I again paused, and holding the flambeaux over the mason-work, threw a few feeble rays upon the figure within.

A succession of loud and shrill screams, bursting suddenly from the throat of 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 clamoured. I re-echoed, I aided, I surpassed them in volume and in strength. I did this, and the clamourer 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 recognizing as that of the noble Fortunato. The voice said–

“Ha! ha! ha! — he! 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, Montresor!”

“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; it was the dampness of the catacombs that made it so. I hastened to make an end of my labour. 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!