The Cask of Amontillado, Part 2

by Edgar Allan Poe

Adapted to chat story format by Captivated Chat.

Me
I had no intention of alarming you unnecessarily—but you should use all proper caution. So a draught of this Medoc will defend us from the damps. (Knocking off the neck of a bottle drawn from a long row of its fellows.)
Me
Drink.
Fortunato
I drink to the buried that repose around us.
Me
And I to your long life.
Fortunato
These vaults are extensive.
Me
The Montresors were a great and numerous family.
Fortunato
I forget your arms.

Signs

Me
A huge human foot d’or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel.
Fortunato
And the motto?
Me
Nemo me impune lacessit.
Fortunato
Good!
Me
(Seizing Fortunato by an arm) The nitre! See, it increases. It hangs like moss upon the vaults. We are below the river’s bed. Hence the drops of moisture trickle among the walls of  bones. Therefore, come away ere it is too late. Your cough—
Fortunato
It is nothing, let us go on. But first, another draught of the Medoc.
Me
Here is a flagon of De Grave.
Fortunato
As above, so below. Your health!
Me
But why did you make that grotesque gesture in flipping aside the bottle. (Fortunato repeats the movement.)
Fortunato
You do not comprehend?
Me
Not I.
Fortunato
Then you are not of the brotherhood.
Me
How?
Fortunato
You are not of the masons.”
Me
Yes, yes — yes, yes.
Fortunato
You? Impossible! A mason?
Me
A mason.
Fortunato
A sign — a sign.
Me
It is this. ( Producing a trowel from beneath the folds of his roquelaire)
Fortunato
You jest. But let us proceed to the Amontillado.
Me
Be it so! Hence I shall replace the mason’s sign beneath the cloak and again offer you my arm.
Fortunato
Thank you.
Me
Here we are at the family crypt.
Fortunato
Note how the foulness of the air causes our flambeaux to glow rather than flame.

Look:

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.

Me
It is in vain that you uplift your dull torch to pry into the depth of the recess.
Fortunato
But at its termination the feeble light may enable us to see.
Me
Proceed, herein is the Amontillado. As for Luchesi—
Fortunato
He is an ignoramus! (Stepping forward)
Me
I am with you! And at your 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. So by 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.

Finally withdrawing the key I stepped back from the recess.

What’s the real end?

Look for the 3rd and final part soon!