It would be difficult to improve on Poe's story, but it has occurred to me that Montresor might say a few words at the end about how he had to act mystified and concerned about the disappearance of his "good friend" Fortunato. He might also mention that he had the additional sadistic satisfaction of causing grief for Fortunato's wife, children and other relatives by killing the head ofthe family. It is not clear whether Fortunato died quickly of suffocation or had a long, lingering death of starvation. No doubt there was enough dripping water, but was there enough air for the victim to breathe after Montresor had completed the wall? I have assumed that all the references to nitre were partly intended to suggest that there was quite a lot of oxygen in the underground passages, although Montresor describes the air as foul.