The hours went by; a church clock kept him aware of their progress. The aching in his arms became severe; he suffered from cold. The floor was swept by a draught which seemed strong and keen as a blast of east wind; it made his eyes smart, and he kept them closed, with some slight hope that this might also have the effect of inducing sleep. Sleep, however, held far aloof from him. When he had wearied his brain with other thoughts, his attention began to turn to sounds in the court below. There, just as it grew dusk, some children were playing, and he tried to get amusement from their games. One of them was this. A little girl would say to the rest:—“I sent my daughter to the oil-shop, and the first thing she saw was C;” and the task was to guess for what article this initial stood. “Carrots!” cried one, but was laughed to scorn. “Candles!” cried another, and triumphed. Then there were games which consisted in the saying of strange incantations. The children would go round and round, as was evident from the sound of their feet, chanting the while:—“Sally, Sally Wallflower, Sprinkle in a pan; Rise, Sally Wallflower, And choose your young man. Choose for the fairest one, Choose for the best, Choose for the rarest one, That you love best!” Upon this followed words and movements only half understood; then at length broke out a sort of hymeneal chorus:—“Here stands a young couple, Just married and settled: Their father and mother they must obey. They love one another like sister and brother. So pray, young couple, come kiss together!” Lastly, laughter and screams and confusion. This went on till it was quite dark.
Pitch dark in Slimy’s room; only the faintest reflection on a portion of the ceiling of lamplight from without. Waymark’s sufferings became extreme. The rope about his neck seemed to work itself tighter; there were moments when he had to struggle for the scant breath which the gag allowed him. He feared lest he should become insensible, and so perhaps be suffocated. His arms were entirely numbed; he could not feel that he was lying on them. Surely Slimy’s emissary would come before midnight.
“One, two, three, four—twelve!” How was it that e had lost all count of the hours since eight o’clock? Whether that had been sleep or insensibility, Waymark could not decide. Intensity of cold must have brought back consciousness; his whole body seemed to be frozen; his eyes ached insufferably. Continuous thought had somehow become an impossibility; he knew that Ida was constantly in his mind, and her image clear at times in the dark before him, but he could not think about her as he wished and tried to do. Who was it that seemed to come between her and him?—some one he knew, yet could not identify. Then the hours sounded uncertainly; some he appeared to have missed. There, at length, was seven. Why, this was morning; and Slimy had promised that he should be set free before this. What was it that tortured his struggling