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
recognising as that of the noble Fortunato. The voice said -
"Ha! ha! ha! - 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!"
"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, let us be gone."
"For the love of God, Montressor!"
"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 -