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 gave utterance to a
At length I would be avenged; this was a point
definitively 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
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
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 practice 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."
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."
"I have my doubts."
"And I must satisfy
"As you are engaged, I
am on my way to Luchesi. If any one has a
critical turn it is he. He will tell me —"
"Luchesi 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."
"To your vaults."
"My friend, no; I will
not impose upon your good nature. I perceive you
have an engagement. Luchesi —"
"I have no engagement;
"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 Luchesi, he cannot distinguish Sherry from
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.
on Page 2
reprinted from Tales of Mystery and Imagination
by Edgar Allan Poe
H. Frowde (1903)
Amontillado [uh MON te YAH doh]
Dry, amber wine. The name is derived from the Spanish town of Montilla. The suffix 'ado' means in the style of.
Carnival Festival just before Lent. Called Mardi Gras (fat Tuesday) in some western countries.
The word carnival is from the Latin words carne (meat) and vale (farewell), meaning “farewell to meat.” During Lent, Roman Catholics
foreswore eating meat on particular days, such as Ash Wednesday and Fridays.
Immolation - The act of complete
destruction of a person, animal or object, often by fire, and in some
cases, as a sacrifice.
Imposture Deception, fraud.
Impunity Freedom from punishment; exempt from punishment.
Médoc Red wine from the Bordeaux region of France.
Motley Apparel of many colors; jester’s costume.
Roquelaire [rok uh LAHR or rok LAHR] Obsolete spelling for roquelaure, a knee-length,
often fur-trimmed cloak named after the Duc de Roquelaure (1656-1738)