The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge.
"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."
"Amontillado, A pipe? Impossible! And in the middle of the carnival! To your vault to see."
"Nitre. How long have you had that cough?"
"The vaults are insufferably damp. They are encrusted with nitre."
"Nitre?" he asked, at length. Ugh! ugh! ugh! --ugh! ugh! ugh! --ugh! ugh! ugh! --ugh! ugh! ugh! --ugh! ugh! ugh!
"The cough's a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough."
After Fortunado's several glasses of wine...
"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."
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.
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!