Charles Dickens: Barnaby Rudge

Chapter 17 (continued)

'--tle on,' cried Grip, suddenly struck with an idea and very much excited. '--tle on. Hurrah! Polly put the ket-tle on, we'll all have tea; Polly put the ket-tle on, we'll all have tea. Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah! I'm a devil, I'm a devil, I'm a ket-tle on, Keep up your spirits, Never say die, Bow, wow, wow, I'm a devil, I'm a ket-tle, I'm a--Polly put the ket-tle on, we'll all have tea.'

They stood rooted to the ground, as though it had been a voice from the grave.

But even this failed to awaken the sleeper. He turned over towards the fire, his arm fell to the ground, and his head drooped heavily upon it. The widow and her unwelcome visitor gazed at him and at each other for a moment, and then she motioned him towards the door.

'Stay,' he whispered. 'You teach your son well.'

'I have taught him nothing that you heard to-night. Depart instantly, or I will rouse him.'

'You are free to do so. Shall I rouse him?'

'You dare not do that.'

'I dare do anything, I have told you. He knows me well, it seems. At least I will know him.'

'Would you kill him in his sleep?' cried the widow, throwing herself between them.

'Woman,' he returned between his teeth, as he motioned her aside, 'I would see him nearer, and I will. If you want one of us to kill the other, wake him.'

With that he advanced, and bending down over the prostrate form, softly turned back the head and looked into the face. The light of the fire was upon it, and its every lineament was revealed distinctly. He contemplated it for a brief space, and hastily uprose.

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