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Электронная библиотека .: Детективы .: По, Эдгар Алан .: The Cask of Amontillado


По, Эдгар Алан

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Edgar Allan Poe. The Cask of Amontillado


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 skillful 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 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."
"Whither?"
"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;--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



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